How Do I Keep Up With It All?

Before crypto, when I had only stocks, I had logins to various websites that all combined to create my portfolio. The problem– each of these logins had its own app, and there was no way to get an overall view of my investments in their entirety unless I trusted one portfolio company to connect them. While this overview is what I wanted, asking a company to get involved also meant being bound to their restrictions and limitations and trusting them with my financial data.

The Bot Guy
The Bot Guy
June 8, 2022

Spoiler Alert… I don’t.

Unless I develop a new system.

A little while ago, I discovered my hand-built asset tracking system had become too complicated. It took around 3 hours a day to input the data needed to measure my positions. By the time I finished, the balance would often be outdated. My solution: Delete the antiquated system and start again.

While this action seems drastic, my old system had served its purpose, and I needed to move on. I guess you could say I like doing that, deleting something that I created from the ground up and entirely rebuilding it to suit my current needs. My philosophy: Don’t re-use— re-think, because that’s how you make genuine progress. The knowledge I’ve gained since designing the old system will help with the rebuild because I now know how to do more and do specific tasks better.

Here’s the downside— in the meantime, I have no clue what I have for assets or where they are. But that’s okay because I know they’re all sucky as they relate to the US dollar, so I’ll let it be for now. The more I have access to, and the more I watch my investments during this crappy market, the more depressed I’ll become.  And depressed traders make horrible, emotional decisions—  I learned this the hard way in the last bear market.

How I Used To Keep Up

Before crypto, when I had only stocks, I had logins to various websites that all combined to create my portfolio. The problem– each of these logins had its own app, and there was no way to get an overall view of my investments in their entirety unless I trusted one portfolio company to connect them. While this overview is what I wanted, asking a company to get involved also meant being bound to their restrictions and limitations and trusting them with my financial data.

Anyhow, this choice seemed logical at the time. I could log into the apps and view all the charts in a self-contained, hopefully, unbiased setting.  Add in crypto, and indeed, there is some information I can access with a good old username and password. But, most of my asset storage is on-chain, and to access it, I need a long, convoluted private key, which I protect extensively.

The access isn’t the trouble, though. I have amassed a decent amount of these digital wallets, but I haven’t found any analytical software capable of making sense of these vastly unique data sources.  Plus, putting these wallet addresses into managed software risks my wallets being doxed.  It’s not like I care. I just don’t want people looking through my horrible trades and thinking I’m not so bright.  The truth is, it’s just money, and some trades work while others don’t. But, I have three lingering questions. How much of what asset do I have to use for bots? Where can I combine assets where they are spread too thin.  Are there any wallets I can retire to limit the complexity?

Back Even Farther

Back when I had my own development team, I’d have long conversations about consuming APIs (Application Programmer Interfaces). We’d map fields into systems and standardize data that led to situations where various non-similar streams of information were made similar, sortable, and filterable— that was the magic of my team.  That process was with a group of experts, and we accomplished a lot.  Now, it’s just me trying to squeeze every moment out of every day.

Because I am only one person and not a team, I felt it was nearly impossible to connect all of my wallets with the tools available when I started in crypto, so I never really tried.  But of course, I planted a lot of land mines— weird trades and obscure assets— to uncover later.  As I look back, I can see that I laid interesting stories to tell later as I discovered them from my past. I almost think it was a challenge for my future self to figure out the crypto universe of possibilities.

Inevitably, questions arose that haunted me: How can I calculate asset evaluations purchased in another asset? What if I want to sell one asset to another, yet another bought it?  How do I know I’m gaining in the world?  How can I be alerted if an asset I own is over 100x?  Are any that I own up this much?  Which assets are ripe for botting on what exchanges?  

True, these are all questions bouncing around in my brain, but why? How valuable would it be to know the answers? I still have X dollars worth of crypto that I built the last version of my portfolio manager to oversee.

Say I have 6 million dollars in crypto— I don’t, but let’s imagine I do— what’s the benefit of knowing the total USD value of my portfolio unless I need 6 million dollars and plan on selling all my crypto at once?  The crypto will gain and lose as all markets do, and its value will go up and down as all portfolio balances do. This flux is natural, inevitable, and welcome as it’s how yield is generated. But I need to focus on the quantity of each asset I have and how that changes over time.  That’s my new measure.

I remember how one overall value that changed infrequently guided my decisions in my former system.  In the year or so that I ran this past analytics system, the overall BTC value of my portfolio varied ever so slightly daily. In contrast, the USDT value of my portfolio hit a crescendo. After the Fall 2021 peak, the USDT value came cascading down with expected minor upward spikes, making the visual of the market cycle look like a typical Wyckoff Market Cycle

As I remember, this downturn had a lot to do with that industry-wide downward USDT valuation. I spent my crypto at its height, realized my actual gains from my first investment round, and recouped all my initial investments several times.  Instead of banking the cash (and getting 0.5% APR), I invested in my home to hopefully increase its valuation and, most importantly, improve the quality of our lives.

A New System

In light of my disabled tracking system, I needed a new one, and this system had to keep me focused. One great opportunity of starting over is building everything with fresh eyes. I’m going to import these crazy blockchain wallets, view the data, and figure out how to import the transactions. I’ll start with the database programming to determine the cost basis of each asset.  Easier said than done, though.

It isn’t the first time I’ve started over. Sometimes I need to clear my head, and this method seems like the best way. This rebuild is my fourth complete portfolio build, and each time, just like now, I began with a theoretical blank page, going back to the roots.  This time, I will re-think my approach to the next bull market and glean valuable insights into what I have now and how I can better position it for growth.  

At this point, the bots are satisfactory percentage-wise, just really insufficient in quantity.  I mean, it’s pretty sad when a bot gaining 49% in 5 days only nets 147 USDT.  These markets are perfect for botting because going sideways and lots of volume make a bot profitable.  After all, I’m supplying the market with much-needed liquidity that stabilizes prices.  If folks like me didn’t do this, the crypto markets— particularly the low liquidity markets with small coins on small exchanges— would be even more volatile.  In fact, if no one posts buy and sell limit orders, there would be no market at all.

So, my bots should do well in the (more than likely bear) market we are likely to continue. But I must preserve the quantity on the way down.  Botting with my strategy allows me to stop the bleeding as the trading price goes down below the lower grid line. At this point, all my base is returned, and no matter how low values go, I get to end that bot with my original HODL bag and the newly generated quote.  It’s all about timing their start, watching for when they need to be stopped, and checking that the amount of BASE that went into the bot is the same as the amount coming out.  As long as I follow these rules, I shouldn’t lose the quantity of my crypto, and my overarching HODL strategy will still be intact.  I should also be able to birth new BTC, ETH, and USDT— just not as much as if my bags were larger.

I need this new system to alert me when markets are primed for botting, but only if I own those assets.  I’d also like to know if any of my investments are on the coin gecko highest movers page and the name of my highest trading volume assets.  I need to address all of these questions that come to mind in my new system. This challenge is doable because I’m starting from scratch and building to suit.

This process isn’t going to be fun because, in general, I don’t like this kind of technical work— but I must do it as I found out the hard way that I can’t track my data by hand.

Physical System Is Nearly Finished

I have been working on this system for a bit now, and I discovered that I need to put my bot army together in stages and maintain its original function.  Now, my physical system is nearly complete; it just needs a few final touches.  

Let’s face it. It’s time-consuming to log in and out of multiple accounts and complicated to restart bots.  This new system must help manage my number of actions and propel everything forwards.  Here’s my journey to establish what I believe is a sustainable and growable physical footprint to manage these bots.

My process starts with a recent upgrade of the family phones. Everyone wanted an iPhone 13, and I bit the bullet. I spun their accounts off of mine, and everyone got a new phone but me— I didn’t need one. But I had a plan all along.  For the past five years, I purchased all of our iPhones from eBay for about $150 each.  They were a year or two old, and this process worked for a while when no one cared what kind of phone they carried.

However, the old system became a nightmare for me to support because someone had to handle it when the phone crashed or had other issues. And the nightmare continued since all of their devices were different and housed different iOS versions—- yucko!  I thought the upgrade would give them more stability and, more importantly, all the same phones for easy support and insurance because these devices are super expensive.  However, I underestimated how much easier it would be with everyone having the same device.  When an issue arises, they often answer their own questions, and I don’t really have to help unless the Wi-Fi goes out— then it’s on me.

Anyhow, I backed up their old phones and restored the backup to their new ones. I gave everyone their new phones but kept the old devices and the backups for a good 2 or 3 months— just in case.

However, my real purpose for not selling the phones back to another ebay user is directly related to my new tracking system. I had planned on using these devices to help with my crypto management.  When I finally had the will to go through and set them up, it took quite some time since I needed to upgrade iOS and install some apps. Fortunately, I have a fantastic program that allows me to easily make these adjustments from the computer and not on the actual device.

I only needed a few old phones to get started, so here’s the result. Look at them lined up in their parking spots waiting to start their day’s work.

Phone Accounts

Since I have quite a few accounts and several logins on the same app, I got tired of logging out only to log back in, so I have these apps on multiple iPhones. This way, each phone only has one set of logins and stays logged in for a while.

Right now, I have two phones, each with one of my Kucoin accounts logged into the app and one phone with the pionex app logged in. The other device is quite old, and I’m getting all the valuable information off of it before it dies a painful death. The good news about crypto is the security key system. If any of my devices die, it doesn’t matter because my keys are appropriately secured, meaning everything is restorable to other devices.

The only downside to a device crash is that I may forget what I had installed, so I’m now re-checking each account, wallet, and service to verify if they are active or not.  I want to make sure I use this bear market to get an accurate picture of what I have now and form the ability to watch as assets climb into selling territory, whatever that may be for me.  These are all details I need to sort out at this point.  Equally important are the empty accounts and wallets, as I don’t want to re-establish unused accounts unless there is a genuine reason.

It’s taken me quite some time to figure this system out, but having the different logins on the phones has been an enormous help. I used to log in to multiple browsers each day, and it drove me crazy. Now I check each phone 2 or 3 times a day at random, restart bots that I can, pull profits into the main account, and then stake the profits.

The Techie Stuff

No matter how careful you are, there is always room to achieve better security.  Here’s what I have been doing to tighten mine. I’m changing ALL my passwords to new secure unique combinations, meaning there will be no repeat and in-secure passwords. Although this adds to my time on task, it’s good to change passwords at least once a year. I’m also updating my password manager and closing accounts I no longer need at the same time.  It’s imperative to remove ALL personal details from an account before you close it.  Good cyber hygiene is critical at all times. A hack into a former service exposes your details just the same.

So, here’s the security I added on the phones to trust them with my accounts.  First off, I made each one so I can open the phone with just a finger. I’ll never tell you which finger— heck, it might be a toe, for all you know. Anyway…

I also turned off Bluetooth and put the phones in airplane mode.  This maneuver shuts the radios off, preserves battery, and eliminates a few hack points.  I then turned on Wi-Fi and connected to my guest network since it has more security than my main network.  I used a physical firewall to disable social media, gaming, adult content and protect the device from communicating with known malicious sites.  Plus, I added a VPN on the devices. Now they are set.

Additionally, none of the devices have SIM cards because even if the device has an inactive SIM card, it’s still a hack point, in my opinion. So, the less “visible” the device is, the better I am in my use.  It’s like hiding in the middle of the room. However, I hate that it uses WI-FI to communicate as that’s still very insecure, but at least it’s running all traffic through a VPN to encrypt it.

I also shut the phones off when I leave the office and turn them on when I come back in because they don’t need to be on all night.  This step is for security and battery life because older iPhones have weird battery issues, especially when upgrading to newer iOS versions.  But this practice is not just for these older phones. I shut down all of my devices every day, even my laptops, as the newest laptop in my arsenal is lightning fast to start up, and if I am not in front of the machine, it doesn’t need to be on unless I’m running an exceptionally long task.

My New Laptop

Okay, it’s not really “new” per se, but it’s relatively new and has an interesting story.

I think I wrote about purchasing an open box gaming laptop for cheap a long time ago. I paid about $800 for it, and it retailed for nearly $1,600 at the time.  I planned to use this device to mine ETH with the graphics card while it was still economical. I didn’t plan on making money but instead paying myself back for all the ETH gas I spent moving things around.

So, I used the device to mine a little ETH, enough to cover the cost of the laptop and a little of my gas spent. I’m not going to sell until ETH is above 6k—- if I sold it now I’d be at a loss.  So, if ETH never goes above 6k, it will just get passed along to my kids when I die.  Enough morbid thinking, though ironically, this laptop does have two lives.

Because the laptop is a gaming laptop, the hardware is top-notch. However, it runs a little hotter and is louder now, most likely because it was stressed to the extreme mining ETH non-stop for many months. I only gave it a break in the hottest heat, so I didn’t start a fire. This laptop got so hot to the touch I swear I could make smores next to it.

Because I’m tired of owning the hottest computer on the planet and tired of spreading out all over the place, I decided it was time for a new computer. I have known that a central home for my crypto accounts would answer my problems for a long time. Therefore, I decided to finally take my own advice and have a single computer that is both secure and the only place that I keep crypto access.

The computer I bought has a large laptop screen and is perfect for my purposes. I’ve installed a highly secure version of Linux, and I am detangling my other access points and making sure I can get to anything I need via this new computer.

Security wise, the first thing I did was disable Wi-Fi and plug in the ethernet.  The benefit of this step is two-fold: I can disconnect the device from the internet anytime I want by removing one plug, and I can completely eliminate the Wi-Fi insecurities.

So here it is. I have a new laptop, some phones, and a ton of accounts I need to go through to see what is where and figure out how I can consolidate and make my life easier. Honestly, who knows what I’ll end up with, but if I don’t have to spread myself over two computers and four logins to access my accounts every day, I’ll consider myself lucky. I just need to find an organizational process and migrate my assets to the new computer.  But first, I’ll weed out the empty accounts and wallets so I can stop thinking about them and focus on the portfolio building software as I’m set in hardware for the time being.

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