Category Archives: Blog

Gunbot Crypto Trading 1: Starting With Gunbot

What is Gunbot?

Gunbot is an automated bot (robotic software) for trading cryptocurrencies, primarily trading Bitcoin with other crypto coins (‘altcoins’). It was coded by Gunthar De Niro (‘Gunthy‘) with support from the Bitcointalk community.

The theory for trading with Gunbot is relatively straightforward:

  1. You deposit some Bitcoin on a trading exchange.
  2. You request remote access to your account via an API Key and give the Key details to the bot.
  3. You setup the bot, using particular settings to specify how you want it to trade (e.g. what level of risk/reward, etc.).
  4. You start the bot. It runs 24/7 and when the trading conditions are right it buys and sells coins on your behalf using the Bitcoin in your account.
  5. The intention is that it will buy an altcoin at a low price, determined by its trading history, and hold on to it until its price goes above a certain threshold (allowing for trading fees) when it will sell it.
  6. In most cases this works well and makes a profit, and the bot is then ready to make the next trade.
  7. In a small proportion of cases the altcoin price goes down steadily and cannot be sold (this is known as ‘holding a bag’). At that point you need to step in and, in some cases, sell the altcoin at a loss.
  8. With good settings, and regular monitoring, in my experience trading with Gunbot will make more money than it loses and can produce a significant income over time.


Preparing to Use Gunbot

Before you use Gunbot for the first time it is worthwhile to learn about how it operates and what its features and limitations are.

  1. Spend some time in the Gunbot Wiki to get familiar with the bot, how it runs, what strategies it uses, etc.
  2. Read at least the last dozen or so pages of the Gunbot thread on BitcoinTalk to learn about recent changes, and any issues or bugs found. Join BitcoinTalk if you aren’t already a member.
  3. Do the same for the Gunthy forum.
  4. When you feel ready to take the plunge buy a copy of Gunbot from an authorised reseller.
  5. Get an API key for your exchange(s) and have it linked to your Gunbot licence by your reseller.
  6. Join the Telegram group to get support (the link will be provided once you’ve bought the bot).

When you’re ready, see my next blog post and learn how to install and setup Gunbot.


Experiments in Crypto Mining 9: Paying Attention to Cooling

Although my mining PC, The Beast, is capable of mining cryptocurrency profitably I was concerned about the amount of heat it produced, and consequently how noisy it was (because of the graphics card fans running hard). My conclusion was that it was not set up well for running the graphics cards continuously because most of the cooling airflow bypassed the cards.

That can be seen in this photo where I have tried to illustrate the airflow route – it comes in the front of the case via the fan in the middle, then gets pulled through the CPU heatsink via the CPU fan then exits out the far corner through the outlet fan. This makes sense for a PC where the CPU is running hard. It’s pretty useless for crypto mining where the graphics cards – whose positions are ringed in red – are doing all the work and generating all the heat.

The current airflow largely bypasses the hot graphics cards (Image: BIUK)
The current airflow largely bypasses the hot graphics cards (Image: BIUK)

The main change I have implemented therefore is to install a second inlet fan, nearly opposite the graphics cards, powered from the same connector as the current fan (so they match speeds). I have also removed two expansion card blanking plates between the graphics cards so there is more space for the hot air to exit after it has passed the graphics cards.

This is the ‘after’ picture:

After the addition of a second front fan (Image: BIUK)
After the addition of a second front fan (Image: BIUK)

The result is that the graphics cards are running cooler most of the time, and significantly cooler if I manually increase the speed of the inlet fans. The main issue now is that they are set to automatically react to the CPU temperature, which of course stays relatively low, rather than directly to the GPU temperature. My next step in cooling will therefore be to look into slaving the fan speed to the GPU temp.

That is not a standard feature on almost any motherboard or fan utility, but is apparently something that can be done by a third party utility called SpeedFan. But that’s for another day – for now I’m happy to keep mining with the system as it is with the extra fan.

Experiments in Crypto Mining 8: Initial Performance

Following my initial attempts at mining I had decided to stick with NiceHash on my old PC as a good compromise between mining performance and convenience. Therefore it was natural to move straight to mining with NiceHash on The Beast.


Initial results have been largely encouraging – as might be expected given its impressive performance. Certainly it can mine profitably: as I write this it has Daily Estimated Earnings of about 0.0004 BTC, currently worth about £2 per day.

Nicehash Mining with The Beast April 2018 (Image: BIUK)
Nicehash Mining with The Beast April 2018 (Image: BIUK)

I have a screenshot from back in February showing a slightly greater Bitcoin earning rate of 0.00048 BTC:

Nicehash Mining with The Beast February 2018 (Image: BIUK)
Nicehash Mining with The Beast February 2018 (Image: BIUK)

But because of the volatile nature of Bitcoin value we can see that only two months ago that was worth nearly £3.50 per day. Because of this volatility I try not to focus too much on the fiat earnings but instead on the Bitcoin earnings, since I think long term that’s what matters.

I use a Kill-a-watt style meter to see how much electricity the PC is using – and currently it’s 400W. Though that’s not all spent on mining, since the PC gets used for other things (like this blog) it’s a good enough approximation. So in the worst case, over 24 hours this PC will use 24 x 0.4 = 9.6 kWh. At about 15p per kWh that would cost £1.44 – so definitely I’m into profit.

In fact it’s much better than that:

  • During the daylight hours our roof generates a lot of solar, so in that period the electricity is effectively free.
  • For seven hours during the night we run on Economy 7 electricity at approximately half price.
  • I recently had a home battery installed to power the house from our solar once the sun has gone down (one of these: PowerBanx).

So in practice I’m definitely paying less than half the maximum, and probably less than 50p per day.


That’s the good news. The bad news is that there are downsides beyond just the cost of electricity. Specifically The Beast runs hot – I’m monitoring it with MSI Afterburner and in less than an hour after starting mining the graphics cards hit their default maximum temperature of 83° C.

MSI Afterburner showing high graphics card temperatures during mining (Image: BIUK)
MSI Afterburner showing high graphics card temperatures during mining (Image: BIUK)

The results of this are:

  • The PC generates a lot of heat, much like having a fan heater running in the room.
  • The graphics cards are temperature limited and could probably generate more money if they weren’t so hot.
  • The PC gets noisy as all its fans are running flat out.

The upshot of this is that I’ve bought an extra fan to go into the PC case low down where the graphics cards are. Currently the case has most of its air flow going along the top where the CPU is, but that’s hardly used during mining. I think this is a case where Scan made a mistake in the system design, despite me making it clear the PC was intended for cryptocurrency mining.

I’ll install the new fan as soon as I can and then report back on the results.


Experiments in Crypto Mining 7: Testing The Beast

Once my mining PC (‘The Beast’) had arrived it unfortunately sat around for a while as I was busy on other things (particularly getting my tax return done). Once more time became available the first thing I did was to check out The Beast’s performance.

Having paid out for a high end system I was hoping for great things. I ran two particular suites of tests: 3D Mark  and PassMark.

3D Mark

The 3D Mark software is used for evaluating specific 3D graphics card performance – the most crucial element in cryptocurrency mining.

3DMark Home Page (Image: BIUK)
3DMark Home Page (Image: BIUK)

3D Mark works primarily by running the latest version of the Time Spy benchmark at high resolution and with a range of graphical features enabled to determine how well the graphic card(s) can keep up. The benchmark is impressive to watch run with highly complex and challenging scenes running through at an impressive speed.

I’m pleased to say the Beast showed itself off well, with an overall 3D Mark score of 11,589.

3DMark Results (Image: BIUK)
3DMark Results (Image: BIUK)

Comparing this to all the PCs logged against 3D Mark shows The Beast’s score to be better than 97% of all results.

3DMark Comparison (Image: BIUK)
3DMark Comparison (Image: BIUK)

PassMark PerformanceTest9

The PerformanceTest9 benchmark by PassMark, in contrast, is for bench-marking general PC performance, including CPU, disk and memory speed – although it does also include some graphical tests.

PassMark PerformanceTest Screen (Image: BIUK)
PassMark PerformanceTest Screen (Image: BIUK)

Again The Beast acquitted itself well with 5/5 scores for CPU, 3D Graphics, Memory and Disk (though only 4.5/5 for 2D Graphics).

PerformanceTest Scores (Image: BIUK)
PerformanceTest Scores (Image: BIUK)

It achieved an overall score of 6736:

PerformanceTest Score (Image: BIUK)
PerformanceTest Score (Image: BIUK)

And individual results putting it in the 99th Percentile, against other PCs testing with the same benchmark, for CPU, 3D Graphics, Memory and Disk (though only 90th Percentile for 2D Graphics):

PerformanceTest Comparison (Image: BIUK)
PerformanceTest Comparison (Image: BIUK)


Overall I was very pleased with the core performance of The Beast, particularly its raw 3D performance which is the key to cryptocurrency mining.

Next I tried it out mining to see if it would live up to the potential it clearly showed on paper – results are here: Experiments in Crypto Mining 8: Initial Performance.

BCS Northampton: Blockchain Lecture

This evening I attended an interesting lecture on Blockchain at the University of Northampton, presented by Drs Ali Al-Sherbaz and Scott Turner. It covered the basics of blockchain, include hashing, mining, signing, creating blocks, and so on.

It then covered particular examples of blockchain projects within the University, including one on social interactions and one on network activity logging. Apparently Blockchain is one of the key topics the University will be addressing in its future development strategy.

What wasn’t covered, however, was Bitcoin and in general most comments were dismissive of cryptocurrency. I think that will prove to be shortsighted. Most of the criticisms and limitations levelled at Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies during the event were demonstrably false or at least incomplete and a more detailed discussion would have demonstrated that.

Personally I think cryptocurrencies are here to stay, with Bitcoin taking the role of the reserve cryptocurrency, and their positions will get stronger and stronger over time. Whether they will eventually replace fiat currencies is less clear, but I certainly wouldn’t dismiss the possibility.

For sure they will massively disrupt the banking and financial sectors (see, for example, Bank Of America: Our ‘Inability To Adapt’ Could See A Failure To Compete With Crypto).

Buy the Bitcoin Dip Part 2 – And How to Save on Coinbase Fees

I was right about the Bitcoin Dip – and have made a tidy profit. I bought half a Bitcoin at £5500.

Of course, it should have cost me £2750 but I bought it through Coinbase with my debit card which is a pricey, though convenient, way to do it. Coinbase charged me 4%, so about £110, making the total £2850.

Bitcoin was been rising in value since as I predicted, though in its usual erratic way. I had intended to take my money out when it passed £8000 and, as I watched it last night, it did just that.

I was hesitant to sell it directly through Coinbase again because of its fees. However, I had come across some advice about selling through Coinbase’s exchange, GDAX, instead at lower fees. Here’s an example video from the excellent Coin Mastery:

I followed the advice and it worked like a charm.

GDAX Exchange Trading Screen (Image: BIUK)
GDAX Exchange Trading Screen (Image: BIUK)

This is the process if you want to save a stack on Coinbase fees:

  1. Create a GDAX account if you don’t already have one (I already did).
  2. Transfer the Bitcoin to GDAX – on GDAX click the DEPOSIT button, then in the form choose your Coinbase Account -> BTC Wallet and set the amount. Click Deposit Funds. It will appear almost immediately on GDAX and there is no charge.
  3. Select LIMIT then SELL, then set the amount. Here you need to be a bit careful and set the correct price you are prepared to sell at (double check it, because if you set it low it will sell low). At the time Bitcoin was selling for about £8010. I wanted to make sure that, if there were fees, I would clear £4000 on my 0.5 BTC so I set the value to £8050.
  4. Since the price is volatile your price will likely be hit very quickly so long as you didn’t set it too high (mine too less than a minute).
  5. The BTC sells, the money appears in your GDAX wallet – and there’s no fee!
  6. Transfer the money back to Coinbase using the WITHDRAW button, set the amount and the destination (e.g. GBP Wallet) and click WITHDRAW FUNDS. It goes back to Coinbase – no charge.

So I have proved to my own satisfaction you can sell BTC, i.e. convert it to pounds sterling, for no charge this way – and at a price slightly higher than the current market rate

Note that selling Bitcoin is called a ‘Maker’ transaction since you are putting Bitcoin into the market. Note that moving in the opposite direction has a ‘Taker’ fee of 0.25%, still not a bad deal.

I sold my 0.5BTC at £8050 so I received £4025, and that’s all now sitting in my Coinbase account.

Since I only paid £2870 for the Bitcoin less than a month ago (a profit of about £1100), I’m rather pleased with that.



Experiments in Crypto Mining 6: The Beast Has Landed

After my initial experiments into mining for cryptocurrency with my own PC’s GPU and CPU, and even before acquiring my improved GPU, it was clear that good mining results were only possible with specialised and up-to-date hardware. Therefore about Christmas I ordered a new PC with a view to designing it for use in cryptocurrency mining.

We needed a new family PC for occasional use anyway (for children’s homework, etc.) as our previous one was old and had slowed down to the point it was almost useless. At the same time I knew it would be idle most of the time, when it could be used as a dedicated mining machine.

The Beast - High End Mining PC (Image: BIUK)
The Beast – High End Mining PC (Image: BIUK)

I took some time investigating the options before deciding on the specification I wanted. Although all our previous PCs had come from Dell, this time I ordered through Scan PC to get exactly what I wanted at an acceptable price:

  • A gaming motherboard with twin high speed GPU slots
  • A large, clear-airflow case with sound insulation
  • Two top-end GPUs – the NVidia GTX 1070 Ti
  • A high power (850W) power supply
  • High performance disks (an SSD for fast access, and a RAID array for backup)
The Beast - High End Mining PC (Image: BIUK)
The Beast – High End Mining PC (Image: BIUK)

In discussions with Scan I changed the spec a couple of times after ordering (e.g. increasing the memory) and was pretty happy with their service. It arrived in January and so far has shown itself to be a very powerful machine. It cost an eye-watering £2500, but then the two graphics cards alone were about £650 each.

I’ll blog about how I got on with it, including its mining capability, in the next few posts.

Next post: Testing the Beast.

UK Tax on Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

In January I completed and filed my 2016-2017 UK self-assessment tax return, for which I had to consider the tax implications of my cryptocurrency holding and trading. While I was able to convince myself that there were no issues for that period, since I had sold no cryptocurrency (only bought) in that period, it was clear that I would definitely need to consider tax in detail for the upcoming 2017-2018 period.

My first step, back last summer, was to invest in a cryptocurrency accounting app known as I have used it carefully since to record all transactions, but nonetheless it was clear that while it could help with tax filing, it was necessary for me to research and understand the issues myself.

Bitcoin (Image: Pixabay)
Bitcoin ‘Taxation is Theft’ (Image: Pixabay)

The tax situation in the UK for cryptocurrency is unclear so here I’m going to record my views on the current situation – if anyone knows otherwise, please detail any corrections in the comments.

The main guidance we have from HMRC dates back to 2014 and hasn’t been updated since. It is known as Revenue and Customs Brief 9 (2014): Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and I will give my interpretation of it here.

In a nutshell for an individual (not a company) with a moderate amount of cryptocurrency (less than £45k) it is as follows:

  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT): If you buy and sell cryptocurrency then you are liable for capital gains tax on the difference in value of the currency between when you bought it and when you sold it, valued in pounds sterling. Where this exceeds the CGT tax-free allowance (£11,300 for 2017-18) there is tax to be paid.
  • Income Tax: If you trade or mine cryptocurrency then you are liable for income tax on the value of the currency gained, valued in pounds sterling. Where this exceeds the income tax personal allowance (£11,500 for 2017-18) there is tax to be paid.
  • Value Added Tax (VAT): In virtually all circumstances VAT can be ignored (as with most conventional currencies).

While the guidance suggest that on a case-by-case basis some cryptocurrency transactions may be considered to be gambling or betting – and therefore not taxable – I will assume that the safest course is to assume that, if reviewed, all transactions will turn out to be taxable on the basis just described.

Note that, in my opinion, income tax is probably liable on any free gains of cryptocurrency, for example:

With regard to CGT, it looks like cryptocurrency will be valued in the same way as shares. If you have bought and sold lots at different times then the value of what you sell compared to what you paid for it can be difficult to calculate – how do you match which sold Bitcoin to which bought Bitcoin?

Following HMRC guidance for shares the process is basically:

  • Same Day Rule: If you buy and sell on the same day then the coins can be matched off against each other (even though you bought and sold at different values) and there is no CGT liability. You just have to consider CGT on any ‘left over’, i.e. if you sold more than you bought.
  • Bed and Breakfasting Rule: Any coins not covered by the first rule but bought and sold within 30 days can be matched against each other, and CGT is due on the difference between the buying and selling values.
  • All others: Any coins not covered by the first and second rules are considered to be held in a single pot (called a ‘Section 104’) and when some are sold they are valued at their proportion to the value of the total pot. That value is determined by adding up the bought price of the coins in the pot.

That’s the tax situation for cryptocurrency as I understand it so far, though of course I will look into it further in time for my next tax return. With that return in mind, I have decided to do some specific bookkeeping in advance (probably in spreadsheets) and if you own crypto you might want to consider doing something similar:

  • Track the buying and selling of all crypto coins to pounds, with dates, in order to determine the CGT liability as per the 3 rules just described.
  • Track the receipt of any free coins (including airdrops, forks and faucets) in order to determine the income tax liability – even if (particularly if) the coins ended up in the same account as those that were paid for.



Experiments in Crypto Mining 5: How to Use Nicehash on a Home PC

My recent attempts to mine cryptocurrency using CCMiner and MinerGate were disappointing dead-ends – I had really been sidetracked by accounts I’d read of people making these approaches profitable, even though they were not mainstream.

This time I’ve decided to cut to the chase and just use NiceHash, probably the most popular mining pool and supposedly the world’s ‘largest crypto-mining markeplace’. If I can’t make a profit there then I should probably just give up.

NiceHash Mining Marketplace Home Page (Image: BIUK)
NiceHash Mining Marketplace Home Page (Image: BIUK)

The process is straightforward; there’s a good background article here: How Much Money Can You Make Mining With Your Gaming PC?

Go to and click on For sellers (with NiceHash you’re not directly mining, rather selling your mining power to other users to mine with). For a PC click on ‘I want to earn with my CPU or GPU‘. Download and install the NiceHash Miner software, choosing the version that’s appropriate for your graphics card.

When the software runs, accept the License Agreement and Risk Acknowledgement. It will then start setting itself up – note your virus scanner may give a warning (and even quarantine some files) so be ready for that; you may need to restart the installation if it appears to hang.

NiceHash Miner setting up (Image: BIUK)
NiceHash Miner setting up (Image: BIUK)

The miner launches a command window when it’s ready to run. It should show that it has found the graphics card and ‘initialized’.

NiceHash Miner command window (Image: BIUK)
NiceHash Miner command window (Image: BIUK)

Once it is happy it will show its main screen ready to start:

NiceHash Miner ready screen (Image: BIUK)
NiceHash Miner ready screen (Image: BIUK)

Click on the link at the bottom to ‘Set your wallet‘. If you don’t already have an account at NiceHash you will need to create one. Registering for a new account is straightforward, you just click on the Create New Account to go to NiceHash, there you enter your email address and a password. Then you will need to setup the account (language, currency, create wallet, etc.).

Once done, enter the email address for the account into the NiceHash miner and click Save. The previous link will have changed to ‘Benchmark your devices‘; click on it, then the Benchmark All button and the Standard button.

The miner will benchmark and optimise for your system; this took just over 10 minutes on my PC. When it’s done click back to the main screen and click on the Start button. The status will change to Active – Running and mining is underway. The amount earned so far will show as Balance and the amount you are predicted to earn per day is shown as Daily Estimated Earnings (about £1 for this system).

Clicking on View Stats Online will take you to your account on to show you more details, including your total earnings so far (the current Balance on the app is reset each time you start it). The overview there is particularly useful if you have more than one PC mining at the same time.

I’ve just set the system running and will check in an hour to see the result. What’s impressive is how quiet it is running – there must be scope to overclock it significantly. To get a better idea of what’s going on I’ve run up MSI Afterburner as recommended before.

Here I can see that the GPU is running at a temperature of just 65 degrees C – hardly working at all though it’s at 100% usage – and the CPU is likewise at about 60 degrees. Again this implies lots of opportunities for overclocking.

It’s now been running for an hour and it has earned 0.000004 BTC, worth about 3.2p. Energy usage by the PC has been 0.2 kWh, costing about 2.8p so it’s made a profit of 0.4p in an hour. That’s equivalent to about 10p per day.

It’s not a great deal of money – but at least it’s a profit!

Experiments in Crypto Mining 4: Cryptocurrency Mining with an Upgraded Home PC

Having upgraded my PC with a new graphics card, but getting disappointing results mining Bitcore with Suprnova software, next I repeated my test of mining Monero (XMR) using the MinerGate software.

This time the benchmark score was 1998 with a message “You can make an extra 100 USD per year with only this computer” – both values being roughly double what they had been before the upgrade.

MinerGate's benchmark on a GTX 1050 system (Image: BIUK)
MinerGate’s benchmark on a GTX 1050 system (Image: BIUK)

For the best outcome I set the mining to use both the CPU and the GPU (graphics card). This produced about 3 times as much hashing power as before.

Mining XMR using the MinerGate app and a GXT 1050 card (Image: BIUK)
Mining XMR using the MinerGate app and a GXT 1050 card (Image: BIUK)

However, given the poor results from last time (about 15p of Monero/XMR mined for 50p in costs) it’s clear that even at 3 times the mining power it would still not be very profitable. This is therefore another dead end.