How to Automatically Lend your Bitcoin

Having put your Bitcoin on a trading exchange like Bitfinex we can set it to lend out the Bitcoin for interest. Rates of interest vary widely between exchanges and coins, and over time. However, they can be surprisingly generous – for example you can currently lend Bitcoin on Bitfinex at an annual rate of up to 40%.

Cryptocurrency lending, however, is typically over short durations – for example a non-compound annual rate of 36.5% really means a rate of 0.1% per day for a certain number of days. In fact crypto loans are typically quoted as being for a minimum of 2 days and in my experience nearly always last exactly 2 days.

That could make things very inconvenient if every 2 days you had to start another loan manually. However, there are bots that you can do this for you – I always use CoinLend and I highly recommend it. Not only does it work really well – it’s an online bot with nothing to install – but it’s completely free!

Start by going to CoinLend.org and creating a new account by selecting Setup Bot. Enter your email address and a password and selecting Register. Then login.

Coinlend Home Page (Image: BIUK)
Coinlend Home Page (Image: BIUK)

You will be taken to the Bots screen where you can set up bots for three different exchanges: Poloniex, Bitfinex and Quoine. Bitfinex seems to consistently give the best interest rates so that’s the one we’ll use.

Coinlend Bot screen (Image: BIUK)
Coinlend Bot screen (Image: BIUK)

Go to your Bitfinex account and login. Then select the Manage Account (a head-and-shoulders icon) in the top right of the screen, then API. An Application Program Interface (API) is a software call that allows a third party program – our bot – to communicate with the Bitfinex exchange directly without us needing to be involved.

Bitfinex API screen (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex API screen (Image: BIUK)

Click on Create New Key. Make sure the following permissions are ticked and no others:

  • Read: Account History, Margin Funding and Wallets.
  • Write: Margin Funding.

Make doubly sure that Write permission is off for Withdraw so that this API cannot be used (by Coinlend or some other party) to withdraw your funds. Enter a name at Label Your API Key such as Coinlend lending key. Select Generate API Key. Check your email and confirm creation of the new key.

Your new API Key, and a secret key to access it, will now be shown in Bitfinex – copy both of these somewhere safe to record them.

Bitfinex API screen with keys (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex API screen with keys (Image: BIUK)

Copy both keys into the Bitfinex Bot section of the Coinlend Bots tab and click Save. If you’ve done this correctly you will get a confirmation message, it will display Bitfinex credentials valid, and the button will go green and say On.

Coinlend Bot screen - Bitfinex On (Image: BIUK)
Coinlend Bot screen – Bitfinex On (Image: BIUK)

Coinlend will generally start working very quickly, almost immediately. To see your loans underway just switch to the Loans tab and wait a minute or two – here it’s showing our first loan has gone out, and it’s at 16.62% (the display defaults to annual, compounded interest):

Coinlend Loans screen (Image: BIUK)
Coinlend Loans screen (Image: BIUK)

You can also confirm your loan status by going to Bitfinex and selecting Funding -> Bitcoin. Your active loans will be shown under the PROVIDED pane – click the drop-down icon to open. The interest rate shown in Bitfinex is the daily one – so here it’s 0.04214 per day.

Bitfinex Funding screen (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Funding screen (Image: BIUK)

If you want the interest rate shown in Coinlend to be the same then you can change this on the Settings tab – the options are Daily, Yearly, Compounded.

Tip: If you think you might want quick access to your Bitcoin then in Coinlend in the Bots/Bitfinex Bot tab under the On/Off button select Settings -> BTCExtended and switch on the option for Always lend at the minimum duration of 2 days, and then Save Settings. This setting doesn’t always ‘stick’ so check it by going back into Settings and repeat if necessary – once it has set successfully the Extended button will show orange.

And that’s it done – the Coinlend bot will keep lending out your Bitcoin until you set the Bitfinex bot to Off on the Bots tab. Your Bitcoin stake will grow, and all for free.

How to Put Your Bitcoin on a Trading Exchange

Once you’ve got some Bitcoin what can you do to make it grow? The obvious answer is to put it on a Trading Exchange. Then you have the options of Trading, Margin Trading and Lending. These will be covered in more detail later; here we’ll look at the process of getting your Bitcoin onto an exchange.

The five biggest exchanges by trading volume are Bitfinex, Bithumb, Bittrex, GDAX and Poloniex, in that order. Here we’ll use Bitfinex.

Bitfinex Home Page (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Home Page (Image: BIUK)

Go to Bitfinex.com and click on Sign Up. Enter your chosen Username and Email address. Enter a strong password, e.g. from Passwords Generator. Set the Timezone (e.g. to (GMT+00:00) London). This will create you a new account.

Bitfinex Welcome Screen (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Welcome Screen (Image: BIUK)

Find the email you’ll be sent and verify your email address. Login at Bitfinex.com. You will start in the Trading screen, likely showing a Bitcoin – Dollar chart (‘BTC/USD’).

Bitfinex Trading View - Dark theme (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Trading View – Dark theme (Image: BIUK)

By default it will be dark. If you prefer a lighter colour scheme go to the top right user icon and select Interface, then Theme and choose Light.

Bitfinex Trading View - Light theme (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Trading View – Light theme (Image: BIUK)

To transfer some Bitcoin from your Electrum wallet into Bitfinex select Deposit -> Bitcoin. You may then get a warning about there being a fee on small deposits (less than $1000) that you need to acknowledge.

On the New Deposit screen select Bitcoin. You may then get advice to set up two-factor authentication (e.g. using your mobile phone to confirm withdrawals) – it’s a good idea but for simplicity we will ignore it at this point. You will see options for Exchange Wallet (for trading), Margin Wallet (for trading with leverage) and Funding Wallet (for lending). Under Funding Wallet select Click to generate address. This will create you a Bitcoin address where you can send funds; click on the Copy to Clipboard icon next to it.

Bitfinex Deposit Screen (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Deposit Screen (Image: BIUK)

Log into your Electrum Wallet and select the Send tab; paste in the Bitfinex address. Add an optional Description (e.g. Transfer to Bitfinex). Enter the amount of Bitcoin to transfer (or press Max if you intend all of it).

Electrum Send tab (Image: BIUK)
Electrum Send tab (Image: BIUK)

If you hover over the Fee slider you can see what the mining fee will be – moving the slider to the right will speed up the transaction and increase the fee – this can usually be left at the default. Press Send, re-enter your password to confirm. You will see a brief message about signing and then Payment Sent.

Select the History tab and you will see the transaction there. Once it has been confirmed (which may take from minutes to hours depending on how busy the network is) it will show here with a green tick.

In Bitfinex select Deposit and once confirmed the deposit transaction will also show here. Initially it will be marked Unconfirmed.

Bitfinex Deposit screen - transaction unconfirmed (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Deposit screen – transaction unconfirmed (Image: BIUK)

Once confirmed it will show as Completed, and the new balance will also show under Funding in the Balances area of the sidebar.

Bitfinex Deposit screen - transaction confirmed (Image: BIUK)
Bitfinex Deposit screen – transaction confirmed (Image: BIUK)

Your Bitcoin is now on the Bitfinex exchange ready for trading or lending.

Bitcoin breaks through the $16,000 mark

Bitcoin has breached the $16,000 mark, extending the digital currency’s record-breaking surge.

The cryptocurrency began the year below $1,000 but continues to rise despite warnings of a dangerous bubble.

According to Coindesk.com, Bitcoin reached $16,663.18 (£12, 358.35), having soared over 50% in a week.

The new high comes days before the launch of Bitcoin futures on two exchanges, including the world’s largest futures exchange, CME.

Spread betting firm CMC Markets said the rise had all the symptoms of a bubble market, warning “there is no way to know when the bubble will burst”.

Read more: BBC

My $200,000 bitcoin odyssey

This was not what I expected to be doing with my October. But there I was, on a flight to Hong Kong, hoping I would be able to retrieve $200,000 worth of bitcoin from a broken laptop.

Four years ago, I was living in Hong Kong when a fellow journalist named Mike and I decided to invest in bitcoin. I bought four while Mike went in for 40; I spent about $2,000 while he put in $15,000. At the time, it seemed super speculative, but over the years, bitcoin surged and Mike seemed downright prescient. I had since relocated to Los Angeles and had been texting Mike about the 2,000 percent rise in our investment.

Strangely, I wasn’t getting much of a response from him. He had 10 times as many bitcoins as I did — shouldn’t he at least have been excited? Finally, when the price of one bitcoin broke $4,000 this summer, I sent him this message: “You do still have those bitcoins right?” That’s when he broke it to me: “Maybe not …”

Bitcoin (Image: Pixabay)
Bitcoin (Image: Pixabay)

Here’s what happened: At some point in 2013, Mike had rightfully become concerned about security. He initially kept his coins in an exchange called LocalBitcoins. Exchanges are commonly used to buy and sell cryptocurrency, but you shouldn’t keep your coins there. The most infamous bitcoin scandal to date was when Mt. Gox, an exchange based in Japan, lost 850,000 of its users’ bitcoins.

Exchanges can also suddenly close, as some did in China this year when the Chinese government suddenly made them illegal. Any serious cryptocurrency investor will tell you that your coins are best kept in “cold storage” (an offline hardware wallet). That’s what I’d done with mine, but Mike hadn’t gone that far three years ago when he started thinking about security. Instead, he set up a software wallet. It was a good step, but he would soon learn, it was not foolproof.

Read more: Engadget

What the Fork? 3 Bitcoin Hard Forks Scheduled for December, More to Come

Super Bitcoin, Bitcoin Platinum, Bitcoin Uranium, Bitcoin Cash Plus, and Bitcoin Silver could threaten the Bitcoin ecosystem.

As Bitcoin continues its rapid journey to unprecedented heights, the plot thickens: at least three Bitcoin forks have been scheduled for the month of December, with more to follow in January, February, and March of 2018. Bitcoinist questioned if the sudden rash of Bitcoin forks was “the dawn of the ‘initial fork offering’”.

Bitcoin Fork Pens (Image: BTC Keychain/Flickr)
Bitcoin Fork Pens (Image: BTC Keychain/Flickr)

Super Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash Plus, Bitcoin Silver, Bitcoin Platinum, and Bitcoin Uranium (which has the quaint ticker symbol ‘BUM’) are all on the menu. Each of these coins claims in its own way to solve the issues of scalability and centralization that have plagued the Bitcoin network, although none of them really seem to have proven that they have the technological basis to do so.

For example, Bitcoin Silver (BTCS), which claims to be making “cryptocurrency accessible to the rest of the world”, claims to have an “incredible team consisting of financial experts, blockchain developers, telecommunication influencers, international law experts, and local business ventures” that are based all over the world. However, none of the identities of any of these supposed team members are anywhere to be found.

Read more: Finance Magnates

Will the bitcoin bubble burst?

A pillar analysis of the market shows a promising future for cryptocurrency, despite the naysayers.

One of the biggest hurdles bitcoin has faced throughout 2017 has been poor journalism around the cryptocurrency, along with uneducated opinions from many so-called “experts” within the financial industry.

Jamie Dimon famously labelled the currency a “fraud” suitable for murders and drug dealers, while the chief economic advisor of Allianz said in September it should be worth half of what it was trading at back in September when it was edging US$5,000. I wrote about this in my last article when the price fell back to US$3,600.

Peter Switzer, a prominent and well respected financial commentator, was asked for his thoughts on the cryptocurrency around the same time in September. However in a more honest approach he advised he had chosen not to invest stating “I subscribe to the view that I don’t invest in things that I don’t understand”, further quoting Charlie Aitken’s reference to bitcoin being a “bubble”.

Bitcoin price chart (Image: geralt/Pixabay)
Bitcoin price chart (Image: geralt/Pixabay)

The real negligence here has come into play, as there have been few signs that many of the most prominent financial commentators actually understand the cryptocurrency. Myopia has hit many individuals we have historically trusted to understand financial markets.

Despite the numerous comparisons, the cryptocurrency boom displays very few characteristics to Tulip Mania outside of a huge price spike. Many more similarities are found in comparison to the oil rush in the 1850’s, which was actually the largest wealth transfer of this magnitude prior to the evolution of cryptocurrency. Those involved in it simply understood that the world was moving away from the horse and cart, and into a realm where oil would become an essential pillar of the economy. In the same way, currencies are changing and they are about to have a profound impact on everyday life.

It’s time those around the financial industry, especially those giving financial advice and opinion, actually understood the currency, and what its technology really means for the future of currencies.

Read more: Finder

Cash, Gold, 2X — What the fork!

Repost from HackerNoon

After all, what was going on with Bitcoin in the last few months?

It looks like, in the last few months, Bitcoin has made friends with forking. When I wrote about Bitcoin forking the last time, I didn’t expect there would be this many so soon. But hey, here we are, trying to make sense of what the hell is happening in the crypto world.

Bitcoin fork pen and bitcoin keychains (Image: BTC Keychain/Flickr)
Bitcoin fork pen and bitcoin keychains (Image: BTC Keychain/Flickr)

With this article, I try to put everything that has happened since Bitcoin Cash in a proper order that would become anyone’s go-to article for learning about Bitcoin forks between August 2017 and November 2017.

🍴 But first, what is a fork?

“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” — Paul Prudhomme

You can think of blockchain ledger as a stack of pages. Every full node in the network keep a copy of this stack of pages with themselves. Everyone’s copy of the ledger is exactly the same because everyone followed the same set of rules to build it.

So, if there are ten people in the network, each of them will have a copy of the ledger that would look something like this:

Read more: HackerNoon

A Beginner’s Guide to Cryptocoin Mining

Is it worth your time to mine for cryptocoins?

Mining cryptocoins is an arms race that rewards early adopters. You might have heard of Bitcoin, the first decentralized cryptocurrency that was released in early 2009. Similar digital currencies have crept into the worldwide market since then, including a spin-off from Bitcoin called Bitcoin Cash. You can get in on the cryptocurrency rush if you take the time to learn the basics properly.

Which Alt-Coins Should Be Mined?

If you had started mining Bitcoins back in 2009, you could have earned thousands of dollars by now.

At the same time, there are plenty of ways you could have lost money, too. Bitcoins are not a good choice for beginning miners who work on a small scale. The current up-front investment and maintenance costs, not to mention the sheer mathematical difficulty of the process, just doesn’t make it profitable for consumer-level hardware. Now, Bitcoin mining is reserved for large-scale operations only.

Bitcoin mining (Image: Pixabay)
Bitcoin mining (Image: Pixabay)

Litecoins, Dogecoins, and Feathercoins, on the other hand, are three Scrypt-based cryptocurrencies that are the best cost-benefit for beginners. At the current value of Litecoin, a person might earn anywhere from 50 cents to 10 dollars per day using consumer level mining hardware.

Dogecoins and Feathercoins would yield slightly less profit with the same mining hardware but are becoming more popular daily. Peercoins, too, can also be a reasonably decent return on your investment of time and energy.

As more people join the cryptocoin rush, your choice could get more difficult to mine because more expensive hardware will be required to to discover coins. You will be forced to either invest heavily if you want to stay mining that coin, or you will want to take your earnings and switch to an easier cryptocoin.

Read more: Lifewire

Mining Bitcore

Like everyone involved in cryptocurrency I know that Bitcoin and other coins are produced through mining:

Bitcoin mining is the process by which transactions are verified and added to the public ledger, known as the block chain, and also the means through which new bitcoin are released. Anyone with access to the internet and suitable hardware can participate in mining. The mining process involves compiling recent transactions into blocks and trying to solve a computationally difficult puzzle. The participant who first solves the puzzle gets to place the next block on the block chain and claim the rewards. The rewards, which incentivize mining, are both the transaction fees associated with the transactions compiled in the block as well as newly released bitcoin.

Bitcoin Mining: Investopedia.com

I also know that in most cases Bitcoin mining is done by big organisations, mostly in China and Eastern Europe, running large farms of mining computers. It’s tough to compete against that.

Cryptocurrency Mining Farm (Image: M. Krohn/Wikimedia)
Cryptocurrency Mining Farm (Image: M. Krohn/Wikimedia)

However, in learning about my current ‘favourite’ coin, Bitcore (BTX), I found out that it can be mined on a home PC with a half-decent graphics card. I decided to give it a go.

The basic process is straightforward:

  1. You run a dedicated mining app, typically CCMiner, which mines Bitcore by maxing out your graphics card.
  2. You connect the app to an online mining pool server so your mining power contributes to a pool of other miners’ hardware and you share the coins created. I use Suprnova.cc.
  3. You connect your mining pool account to your Bitcore wallet so that payouts come to you.

The details are covered well in a YouTube video by Mod Rage, ‘How to Mine Bitcore (BTX) for Beginners (From Scratch)‘, included below. There’s another one that gives some additional useful information by IMineBlocks.

My Setup

When I initially tried running CCMiner I got the error “qubit_luffa512_cpu_init” each time. I worked out this indicated my graphics card was too old to run the latest version of CCMiner – no great surprise there – so I went back through older versions to find one that worked for me. That turned out to be the x64 version of build CCMiner v2.2.

When you start up the miner, initially not a lot happens – you just get a command window with a basic startup screen:

CC Miner Screen - startup (Image: BIUK)
CC Miner Screen – startup (Image: BIUK)

After a minute or two, however, you will likely become aware of a rising background noise as your graphics card starts to ‘take off’. You may also find your PC’s response becomes a bit ‘sluggish’. Here mine has started – the card temperature has increased from 68C to 88C, and the fan speed from 46% to 67%:

CC Miner Screen - startup 2 (Image: BIUK)
CC Miner Screen – startup 2 (Image: BIUK)

The key thing is the “yes!” message which tells us it has started to mine successfully (failure is indicated by “boo!”). Success seems to improve over time, so initially I only get occasional successes:

CC Miner Screen - early on (Image: BIUK)
CC Miner Screen – early on (Image: BIUK)

But half an hour or so after starting up each time I see screens like this – we’re up and running (the card settles at a temperature of about 95C and a fan speed of about 85%):

CC Miner Screen - up and running (Image: BIUK)
CC Miner Screen – up and running (Image: BIUK)

In parallel we can monitor the status on the Suprnova website – this shows us in approximate real-time how much solving power (‘hashrate’) we are contributing to the pool, for example:

Suprnova Status screen (Image: BIUK)
Suprnova Status screen (Image: BIUK)

To monitor the graphics card itself, which of course is now running hot, you can use various utilities. Probably the best known is MSI Afterburner – here it is (with its UI skin set to ‘Default MSI Afterburner v3 – big edition’) showing a real-time display of card temperature and Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) usage:

Afterburner Status screen (Image: BIUK)
Afterburner Status screen (Image: BIUK)

The GPU usage varies over time, but if I stop using the PC for other things it starts to settle near 100% as you would expect.

Mining Results

So is Bitcore mining profitable with my setup? I decided to work it out over the course of an evening, specifically a 5 hour period.

First I used a watt meter to work out how much energy the PC consumed. This turned out to be about 240W when mining and about 180W when not mining, so about 25% of the electricity used in that period was used for mining.

The watt meter told me I had used 1.25kWh over the period so about 0.3kWh was used for mining. My evening electricity rate is about 14p/kWh so the mining cost me about 4p.

So how much did I earn? Suprnova tells me I mined about 0.0006 BTX, which is worth somewhere around 2p. So no, my setup isn’t profitable as I ran it.

Can Bitcore Mining Be Profitable?

The result is interesting to me because, actually, it’s not as bad as I feared. After all, I am running an old PC with a graphics card that is old enough it can’t run the latest – and presumably most efficient – mining software.

(Tip: you can look up the power, ‘Compute Capability’, of your Nvidia card here. A good value is 6+, mine – a 1Gb NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti – is 2.1).

With the current setup I could:

  1. Run only at night, leaving the PC mining on Economy 7 electricity and unattended (which should get the efficiency up by 10%-15%). My overnight rate is about half the daytime rate so immediately I would be close to breaking even, and maybe even making a profit.
  2. Run only during the middle part of the day, with the PC mining just on electricity from my solar panels. It would immediately become profitable, even if only at the rate of a few pence per day. And that’s without even trying overclocking on the card.

Of course, if I really want to mine seriously I would be looking at buying new hardware – specifically a powerful graphics card, as it’s not necessarily an issue if the PC isn’t particularly fast.

Initial research implies that a current top-end graphics card may have enough power (hashrate) to mine at perhaps 30 times the rate of my current card. Suddenly Bitcore mining starts to become a realistic proposition – a profit of £1-2 per day seems achievable – so I’m going to investigate further.

How £100 Became £1000 in a Month

November has been a lively month in cryptocurrency, but particularly for the Bitcore coin (symbol BTX). I’ve written a number of blog posts about it, but I think a summary would be worthwhile:

1. One month ago, on 22 October, I had just 2.8 Bitcore, courtesy of a free airdrop from last April. Each Bitcore was worth about $6 so the total value was about £13.

2. To get the next big Airdrop I needed to own at least 10 Bitcore, so I decided to simply buy £100 worth on 25 October. That got me 19.77 BTX, for a total of 22.6 BTX. With Bitcore at about $7 that was worth about £120.

3. Having met the threshold I received a one-off airdrop of 25% on 30 October bringing the total to 28.2 BTX, at about $8 each, so a total of £170.

4. While the one-off airdrop was nice I was actually after the weekly 3% airdrops and the first one came in on 8 November. At this point I reached 29 BTX at about $10 each so worth £227.

5. The next weekly airdrop on 13 November took me to 30 BTX at $13, so £290. This was starting to look serious!

6. On 18 November I received my Bitcoin Gold airdrop. Since Bitcore was doing so well I used the money to buy some more. Bitcore had another airdrop of their own so my end result was 51 BTX, now at an impressive $30, so worth £1100!

7. The next day I sold a small Ethereum Dark airdrop for 1.25 more BTX.

8. This Monday the next weekly airdrop came in giving me another 0.9 BT

The end result for the month – not counting at least another weekly airdrop to come in before the end of this month – is that I now have 53.3 BTX. Today their value has dropped back a little to $27 each, so their total value still hovers around £1100.

Bitcore November transactions (Image: BIUK)
Bitcore November transactions (Image: BIUK)

So, through a whole series of free airdrops, plus a big rise in the market, my outlay of £100 is now worth £1100. Just one reason why I love cryptocurrency!

To an extent it feels like I’ve earned the money, by ‘jumping through hoops’ to claim the free airdrops. Therefore the outcome is the most satisfying, despite the fact that over the same month, by doing nothing, each of my Bitcoins (BTC) has gone up in value from £4100 to £6200, so my 12.5 BTC have gone up by an astonishing £26,000 in a month. Somehow that seems less real than the BTX gains.