Daytrading Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency

For the past 6 weeks, I’ve been playing with Bitcoin and Litecoin.

The bitcoin logo

The bitcoin logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can hear you from across the internet.   You’re asking, “What the hell is Bitcoin?”

I’m glad you asked.  It’s a cryptocurrency.

And now you know as much as you did before.

Cryptocurrencies are anonymous internet-based money.   You spend it just like money, though granted, there are fewer places that accept cryptocurrency.

The big name in cryptocurrency is Bitcoin.   In second place, trying to play silver to Bitcoin’s gold, is Litecoin.

So what do I mean by “playing with” Bitcoin and Litecoin?

I’ve been daytrading, which is generally a horrible idea…when you’re doing it with stocks.   Daytrading is gambling.  It’s the art of doing short-term flips on a stock.  You buy it today to sell tomorrow, hoping it goes up.   With stocks, I play a long game.  I buy and hold.   I buy a stock that I believe has long-term value, and I hold it for months or years.

That’s not the game I play with BTC and LTC.    I play a short game, rarely longer than a week.  When the coins are at a low price, I buy, then I immediately sell when they price is higher.   When it’s high, I short the coin, essentially selling coins I don’t own to trade back when the dollar-price is lower.   When I’m paying attention, I make money as the coins go up and I make money when the coins go down.

Why is this a good strategy for cryptocoins?

Because they are extremely volatile.   As I’m writing this, Litecoin has had a 10% swing today, from $4.03 at midnight, to a current price of $4.16, with a peak of $4.36.  On Thursday, it was floating around $4.60 all day.   In the last 30 days, it’s been as high as $8.65 and as low as $3.18.  Go back to May and the low is $1.29.

Traditional wisdom says that volatile investments are bad.   In traditional investments, that’s true.  But when a stock is this volatile, nearly every bet is a good one, as long as you’re patient.   If I buy LTC at $4.20 and it drops to $3.90, that’s bad.  I lost money.   But, if I wait a couple of days, it’s almost definitely going to climb back up.   Except for large-scale sell-offs, it’s usually going to bounce 10% in a given day.     You can buy in the dips and sell at the peaks all day long, turning 5-10% profits with each time.   If you’re brave or stupid, you can short at the peaks and make 5-10% on every downturn, too.

For example, today started at $4.03.  Buy.  Today’s peak was at 7:15AM at $4.36.   When the graphs start swinging down, sell short.   Two hours later, it bottomed out at $4.20 for a 4% return.   Then, buy while it’s low.  Ninety minutes later, it was at $4.31, another 3% return.  Short it again, then close the position at 7PM for $4.13.

Let’s walk through this.

Buy $10 worth of Litecoin at midnight, sell at 7:15AM.    You have $10.81.

Turn around and short the same amount until 9AM.   You have $11.22.

Buy that same amount to sell at 10:30AM.   You have $11.51.

Short it again before closing out at 7PM and going to bed.  You have 12.01.   That’s almost a 12% return in 12 hours, assuming you guessed all of the major swings right.  If you guessed some wrong, you’d just have to wait until the next time it swung your way, and it will.   Did I do that well?  No.  I bought in at $4.008 yesterday and sold today-once-for $4.32.   I will not complain at an 8% return over 12 hours.

The only exception to that is during major buying and selling streaks.  On July 5th, a major buying run started.  By July 8th, the price was run up to $8.65.   A huge sell-off happened then, dropping the price to $4.36 on July 9th.

If you bought at $8.65 you’d be hosed.

The lesson there is, don’t buy at the peak.   I’ve had a number of trades that could have been huge scores if I would have held onto them longer, but I’m a wimp.   I sell as soon as I’ve gotten enough money to make me smile, then I refuse to regret the decision.   That also prevents me from holding on to my positions too long.  I avoid all of the crashes that way.  That giant buy-in happened while I was on vacation, so I wasn’t paying attention.  When I’m not paying attention, I leave my money in US dollars, so there’s no risk…and also no reward.

Also, an important caveat:  while I am learning the cryptocurrency ropes, I’m playing with a non-critical amount of money.  I put $75 into the exchange in June.   Not enough to cry over losing, but enough I can play with all of the different investment options.  As I said, I’m a wimp, although a 30% return in 7 weeks is pretty sweet.

Next up, I’ll show you how to get started investing/gambling with Bitcoin.

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Why Companies Need to Acquire MIS Graduates

This is a guest post.

Most companies recognize that technology will play an increasing role in future success. That realization doesn’t necessarily mean that businesses know what type of professionals to hire. These four benefits should convince companies that they need to acquire MIS graduates.

To Reach More Customers

The Internet has radically changed the way that people shop. Consumers spent about $210.6 billion buying products from online retailers. At $4,778.24 billion, the business-to-business e-commerce volume is even greater. The trend is quite clear: businesses that want to increase sales need to offer their clients online options.

Despite its popularity, e-commerce is still an evolving industry that presents several unanswered questions to businesses that want to take advantage of it. Adding an information systems manager to a technology development team makes it easier to find solutions as businesses encounter new problems.

To Protect Customer Information

Image via Flickr by Alan Cleaver

Image via Flickr by Alan Cleaver

In January 2014, hackers stole information about 110 million Target customers. In September of the same year, hackers stole information from Kmart. When companies suffer security breaches, media outlets pick up the stories and spread them across the Internet. This creates terrible public relations scenarios that can make consumers cautious of using credit cards when shopping online or at stores.

A strong computer security team is the only way businesses can stop hackers from stealing customer information. That team needs to include several types of professionals who specialize in specific areas of computer technology. Someone with an Information Systems Management degree can bring those professionals together to create a security program that outwits even the best hackers.

To Become More Efficient

Companies need to cut spending and increase profits to remain competitive. Computer technology that focuses on efficiency accomplishes both of those goals. Without someone trained to build and maintain computer systems, businesses can’t keep up with competitors who understand that spending a little more money today on the right team members can lead to long-term benefits.

Businesses that don’t use computer technology to improve efficiency will likely fail to meet the needs of their customers. Either their services will suffer or their prices will go up. Either way, refusing to adopt new technology puts businesses at a significant disadvantage.

To Improve Communications

Communications plays a key role in helping businesses meet their goals. Today’s latest technology helps companies stay in contact with customers, transfer large amounts of information between offices, and develop database systems so employees and managers can access information instantly.

Improved communication technology doesn’t just happen on its own. It takes a commitment to building reliable computer networks that can transmit information securely. MIS graduates who enjoy traveling can use this as an opportunity to help businesses while exploring the world. While small businesses probably don’t need to hire a staff member dedicated to building computer networks, medium and large companies can benefit from hiring their own information technology staff members.

As technology continues to evolve, companies will need to rely on more IT professionals. What advantages do you think an MIS graduate could offer businesses in your community?

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Obama Signals Change by Appointing Janet Yellen to Run the Federal Reserve

Rethinking Macro Policy II: First Steps and Ea...

Rethinking Macro Policy II: First Steps and Early Lessons (Photo credit: International Monetary Fund)

President Barack Obama just announced that he is nominating Janet Yellen to run the Federal Reserve. The announcement heralded one of the most significant decisions in his presidency. Yellen is currently the Vice Chairwoman of the Fed, so her succession would be a natural progression. The White House struggled with the selection, and the joint press conference with Obama and Yellen capped off a contentious deliberation. Ultimately, the new nominee’s reign could signal a series of unexpected changes.

Not the First Choice

Previously, Obama has demonstrated a tendency to be extremely loyal to his inside circle. This practice of favoritism was intended to extend to the Federal Reserve. The president’s primary candidate was Lawrence Summers, who has been a close political ally. Unfortunately, members of Obama’s Democratic Party derailed Summers’ chances by demanding a liberal nominee. After being undermined by his own establishment, Obama had no choice but to pick a Democrat.

Likelihood of Confirmation

The Senate chamber has a Democratic majority, and this coalition has vocalized widespread support for Yellen. Although her initial selection required a little extra luck and patience, she appears to be on the fasttrack to confirmation. Republicans have voiced concerns about her economic philosophy, but they will be powerless to obstruct her path to leadership.

First Chairwoman

The announcement was immediately considered to be a major symbolic victory for womens’ rights across the country. Yellen will be the first woman to operate this crucial organization. This is another convenient boost for Obama’s progressive agenda, especially since his second term cabinet has been unusually lacking in female members.

First Democrat in Decades

For some incongruous reason, the last two Democratic Commanders in Chief both nominated Republicans to head the Fed. Obama reinstated Ben Bernanke, and Bill Clinton appointed Alan Greenspan before him. By finally choosing a Democrat, Obama can help his party reclaim governmental economics. As a result, Yellen will be expected to switch ideological course on a variety of monetary issues. Still, liberals hoping for a grand overhaul will be sorely disappointed.

Financial Consequences

Because she spent her tenure serving under Ben Bernanke, the transition of leadership is expected to be conducted in a seamless fashion. This means that there will not be instantaneous transformations; instead, Yellen is expected to subtly shift the direction of countless economic debates. It will be done is a slow moving manner that remains undetected by the general public. Under the radar, she is expected to facilitate mild increases in inflation to effectively combat unemployment. She also appears more inclined to regulate big banking industries. At least from the start, Yellen will only be making minor adjustments.

Pristine Qualifications

This pragmatic economist has earned doctoral honors from Yale, and she was a professor at Harvard. She had successful experiences operating the Fed in California, and her tenure witnessed a substantial economic turnaround for the region. Now, she has navigated a tenuous stimulus recovery for the entire nation. She will only expand these efforts when she ascends to the top.

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So You’re Getting Evicted…

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit eviction court, though not for anything having to do with my properties.

It was an interesting experience.  Eviction court is a day when nobody is at their best.  Landlords are fighting to remove bad tenants, sometimes questioning their desire to be a landlord, while tenants are fighting to keep their homes, often with no backup plan.  Occasionally, you get someone who just wants to get out of their lease because the landlord is a creepy peeper who digs through the dirty laundry.

Nobody goes to eviction court in a good mood.

If you ever find yourself in eviction court, here are some things to remember:

Everyone

  • If you don’t show up, you lose.  Period. Landlord or tenant, judges don’t like waiting around.  You will get the worst possible outcome if you stay home.
  • The first day is a hearing.  The judge will either accept a settlement between the two parties, or he’ll check if there is a valid reason for a full trial.  The trial will be schedule for another day.  In Minnesota, that happens within 6 days of the hearing.
  • Don’t make faces at the other side while they are talking to the judge.  Do you want to go to jail for being a smartass?  It’s called contempt of court.

Landlords

  • Fix the mold, rot, and other habitability issues.  You’ll have a hard time getting your rent back if you are a slumlord forcing your tenants to live in a biohazard.
  • If you’ve got an automatically renewing lease, don’t file the eviction notice with the renewed lease for violations that happened under the old lease.    If you do, you’ll be handing a win to your tenant.
  • Make sure you lease has an eviction clause.  If it doesn’t, you may not have the right to kick out your tenant for any reason.
  • Your tenant’s dirty underwear is not a toy for you to play with.  Creep.

Tenants

  • Pay your rent.  If you are withholding rent to get something fixed, you’ll be expected to put that in escrow the day of the hearing, so don’t spend it on vodka or a new stereo.
  • Read your lease and the filing.   It may have a backdoor that lets you escape the eviction.
  • Try not to get evicted.  An unlawful detainer can make it hard to rent again for a couple of years.
  • Dress nice.  I’m amazed by how many people showed up in ratty jeans and uncombed hair.  Look professional.  The judge will appreciate the effort.

All in all, it’s best if landlords and tenants try to keep each other happy.  The whole business relationship will go much smoother if you do.

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