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Best Crypto Trading Books Everybody In Crypto Should Read
Many currencies in existence today owe their foundations as well as their underlying structures and systems of Bitcoin. Fortunately for those investors, there are many other digital currencies available today, and new currencies are emerging all the time. Many of these currencies will not succeed, but there is a chance that some could go on to be the next big star of the digital currency world. As an investor, it's a responsibility to make better decisions to limit the risk of losing thousands or millions of money. In cryptocurrency, there are several ways to improve skills as an investor. The best thing to do is read the Best Crypto Trading Books and apply the skills and theories on investing or trading. One known book about crypto trading is The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Each section addresses a different perspective of battle and psychology. While it has long been studied by militaries around the world, it has gained much attention in the business and financial world as well thanks to the applicability of its ideas to operating a business. Magazines like Forbes have published articles about applying the teachings to the business world. Another book a crypto trader must-read is the Diary Of A Professional Commodity Trader by Peter Brandt. The book focuses on trade administration over trade association, contradicting what many others in the industry view as the most important aspect of successful trading. Brandt declares that, rather than rushing from one trade to the next, constantly searching for a magic-bullet indicator that will let them choose all winners, solid risk management and consistency are the keys to success. These are just two essential works that can be considered as the best crypto trading books an investor should read. There are hundreds of books out there, and an investor should cherry-pick what's gonna be a suitable article to ponder. Reading is essential for a crypto-trader overall personal growth and development. Besides, if one develops good reading habits, it's expected that it will lessen the burden of decision making.
Why Reading Crypto Trading Books Is The Best Investment For A Trader?
Day in and day out the cost of living continues to grow, inflation seems to be getting out of hand and at the same time salaries are not matching up. That's why more people have tried several ways of earning money. One of the ways people are trying right now is investing in cryptocurrency. This is an emerging innovation which attracted millions of traders around the world. Even businessmen and company owners have invested in cryptocurrency markets. Many people have earned millions and thousands of dollars by just investing and trading in this platform, while others just got nothing and still trying their luck to win a large amount of money. To limit the risks of crypto trading, a great skill of decision making is needed. There are several ways how can someone improve their knowledge in trading. The best thing to do is to find time reading books aboutcrypto-trading and start incorporating some concepts that someone learned about trading. One of the most recommended books for novice traders is the Trend Following: How to Make a Fortune in Bull, Bear and Black Swan Markets, Michael Covels. It offers insights into the unique approach to trading known as trend following. While the name may imply simplicity, there are still some intricacies to this philosophy, all of which can be applied to crypto markets. Covel argues that at the heart of this fundamental analysis-based trading are stories that we tell ourselves to create order out of chaos. Humans are creatures whose minds work based around the patterns of cause and effect, and Covel asserts that we will find these patterns even in places where they might not truly exist, like financial markets. Reading daily is one of the best habits one can possess. Continuous knowledge investment will surely help a trader to earn more income in cryptocurrency.
Best Books On Cryptocurrency Investing: A Guide For Crypto Enthusiasts
The best crypto trading books help an individual understand how crypto works and how to get started with trading. One will get to know how to choose a suitable cryptocurrency exchange and create their crypto wallet. A person will also learn about various digital tokens and how to buy one's first cryptocurrency. Simply put, the book has a lot of information to help a beginner understand the way through the crypto-verse. It’s a matter of, Asking questions, and one shall receive a lot of income through crypto trading. Cryptocurrency investing books delivers everything a person needs to know about the crypto sphere. It offers an individual the basics of cryptocurrency investment and how it works. Strategies of investing as well as recommends some epic strategies that crypto-traders may consider. A trader can get a list of all top altcoins they can invest in and a full guide to how smart contracts operate. The book has answers to almost anything a crypto-trader want to know about the cryptocurrency. One prominent book about crypto-trading is The New Trading for a Living by Dr. Alexander Elder. Originally Published in 1993 with the updated text released in 2014, this book has shifted a modern classic that has been translated into over a dozen languages and is still utilized as an educational text to this day. This recently updated version builds upon his preceding work with more in-depth analysis of the original text while updating the content for the changes in the landscape over the past twenty years. With his proven track record and an emphasis on the basics, The New Trading for a Living is a great book for any novice trader to look into. Dr. Elder’s deep understanding of human psychology and the role it plays in markets whether they be stocks, futures or cryptocurrencies make this a book that anyone with an interest in trading professionally should read. There are a dozen more crypto trading books that portray the behavioral economics and how it's been revolutionary in identifying the cognitive biases. It’s had repercussions for how traders think about practically every industry in the world.
You may have heard about off-shore tax havens of questionable legality where wealthy people invest their money in legal "grey zones" and don't pay any tax, as featured for example, in Netflix's drama, The Laundromat. The reality is that the Government of Canada offers 100% tax-free investing throughout your life, with unlimited withdrawals of your contributions and profits, and no limits on how much you can make tax-free. There is also nothing to report to the Canada Revenue Agency. Although Britain has a comparable program, Canada is the only country in the world that offers tax-free investing with this level of power and flexibility. Thank you fellow Redditors for the wonderful Gold Award and Today I Learned Award! (Unrelated but Important Note: I put a link at the bottom for my margin account explainer. Many people are interested in margin trading but don't understand the math behind margin accounts and cannot find an explanation. If you want to do margin, but don't know how, click on the link.) As a Gen-Xer, I wrote this post with Millennials in mind, many of whom are getting interested in investing in ETFs, individual stocks, and also my personal favourite, options. Your generation is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this extremely powerful program at a relatively young age. But whether you're in your 20's or your 90's, read on! Are TFSAs important? In 2020 Canadians have almost 1 trillion dollars saved up in their TFSAs, so if that doesn't prove that pennies add up to dollars, I don't know what does. The TFSA truly is the Great Canadian Tax Shelter. I will periodically be checking this and adding issues as they arise, to this post. I really appreciate that people are finding this useful. As this post is now fairly complete from a basic mechanics point of view, and some questions are already answered in this post, please be advised that at this stage I cannot respond to questions that are already covered here. If I do not respond to your post, check this post as I may have added the answer to the FAQs at the bottom.
How to Invest in Stocks
A lot of people get really excited - for good reason - when they discover that the TFSA allows you to invest in stocks, tax free. I get questions about which stocks to buy. I have made some comments about that throughout this post, however; I can't comprehensively answer that question. Having said that, though, if you're interested in picking your own stocks and want to learn how, I recommmend starting with the following videos: The first is by Peter Lynch, a famous American investor in the 80's who wrote some well-respected books for the general public, like "One Up on Wall Street." The advice he gives is always valid, always works, and that never changes, even with 2020's technology, companies and AI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRMpgaBv-U4&t=2256s The second is a recording of a university lecture given by investment legend Warren Buffett, who expounds on the same principles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MHIcabnjrA Please note that I have no connection to whomever posted the videos.
TFSAs were introduced in 2009 by Stephen Harper's government, to encourage Canadians to save. The effect of the TFSA is that ordinary Canadians don't pay any income or capital gains tax on their securities investments. Initial uptake was slow as the contribution rules take some getting used to, but over time the program became a smash hit with Canadians. There are about 20 million Canadians with TFSAs, so the uptake is about 70%- 80% (as you have to be the age of majority in your province/territory to open a TFSA).
Eligibility to Open a TFSA
You must be a Canadian resident with a valid Social Insurance Number to open a TFSA. You must be at the voting age in the province in which you reside in order to open a TFSA, however contribution room begins to accumulate from the year in which you turned 18. You do not have to file a tax return to open a TFSA. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen to open and contribute to a TFSA. No minimum balance is required to open a TFSA.
Where you Can Open a TFSA
There are hundreds of financial institutions in Canada that offer the TFSA. There is only one kind of TFSA; however, different institutions offer a different range of financial products. Here are some examples:
The Canadian big 5 bank branches and most other financial institutions offer a TFSA that allows you to buy mutual funds, hold cash, GICs, term deposits, and possibly ETFs. This is a good choice if you want guaranteed returns or diversified investing.
There are a number of on-line banks such as Tangerine, Simplii Financial, Oaken Financial, and many more that offer the TFSA.
The discount DIY brokerage arms of the big 5 banks give you more choices, including stocks, warrants, bonds and options. There are also standalone brokers like IBKR Canada, Questrade, Qtrade, and Virtual Brokers, among others, that offer this.
Some brokerages and financial advisors also offer TFSAs that give you these investment choices, in different formats such as:
Traditional brokerage, where a stockbroker invests your money (BMO Nesbitt Burns, RBC Dominion Securities and others)
Financial advisor who will invest your money according to a plan you put together with the advisor (TSI Network and many others)
"Robo" advisors such as Wealthsimple, RBC InvestEase, BMO SmartFolio, or Wealthbar
BMO's AdviceDirect, which is a semi-directed hybrid between standalone DIY investing and fully-advised investing, where you operate on a DIY basis but have access to a registered investment advisor (a live person) who can give you suggetions and advice.
Your TFSA may be covered by either CIFP or CDIC insuranceor both. Ask your bank or broker for details.
What You Can Trade and Invest In
You can trade the following:
GICS, mutual funds, term deposits
individual common and preferred stocks listed on an "approved exchange" which is the TSX, TSX-V, NASDAQ, NYSE, and about 20 other exchanges worldwide, but not the US OTC pink sheets. Many examples, such as Suncor, Linamar, Apple, any of the big banks, and many thousands of others, when you want to buy into an individual company
stock-like securities like REITS, ETFs and ETNs, including 2x and 3x leveraged
gold and silver certificates
cash of many countries (CAD/USD/EUGBP/AUD/NZD/JPY/CHF and many others)
government bills and bonds of most countries, subsovereigns like Canadian provincial bills and bonds, and most corporations
options that trade on the Montreal Exchange or various options exchanges in the USA and the rest of the word (see FAQ for details)
gold, silver bullion certificates
shares in certain private companies -- but consult your tax advisor on this
What You Cannot Trade
You cannot trade:
commodity futures contracts
option spread positions (see FAQ for details)
anything that requires a margin account, meaning, a special kind of account that allows you to borrow money directly from the broker against the assets you have in your account and the assets you intend to buy.
crypto (although there exist crypto ETNs that you can buy)
Again, if it requires a margin account, it's out. You cannot buy on margin in a TFSA. Nothing stopping you from borrowing money from other sources as long as you stay within your contribution limits, but you can't trade on margin in a TFSA. You can of course trade long puts and calls which give you leverage.
Rules for Contribution Room
Starting at 18 you get a certain amount of contribution room. According to the CRA: You will accumulate TFSA contribution room for each year even if you do not file an Income Tax and Benefit Return or open a TFSA. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2009 to2012 was $5,000. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2013 and 2014 was $5,500. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the year 2015 was $10,000. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2016 to 2018 was $5,500. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the year 2019 is $6,000. The TFSA annual room limit will be indexed to inflation and rounded to the nearest $500. Investment income earned by, and changes in the value of TFSA investments will not affect your TFSA contribution room for the current or future years. https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/tax-free-savings-account/contributions.html If you don't use the room, it accumulates indefinitely. Trades you make in a TFSA are truly tax free. But you cannot claim the dividend tax credit and you cannot claim losses in a TFSA against capital gains whether inside or outside of the TFSA. So do make money and don't lose money in a TFSA. You are stuck with the 15% withholding tax on U.S. dividend distributions unlike the RRSP, due to U.S. tax rules, but you do not pay any capital gains on sale of U.S. shares. You can withdraw *both* contributions *and* capital gains, no matter how much, at any time, without penalty. The amount of the withdrawal (contributions+gains) converts into contribution room in the *next* calendar year. So if you put the withdrawn funds back in the same calendar year you take them out, that burns up your total accumulated contribution room to the extent of the amount that you re-contribute in the same calendar year.
E.g. Say you turned 18 in 2016 in Alberta where the age of majority is 18. It is now sometime in 2020. You have never contributed to a TFSA. You now have $5,500+$5,500+$5,500+$6,000+$6,000 = $28,500 of room in 2020. In 2020 you manage to put $20,000 in to your TFSA and you buy Canadian Megacorp common shares. You now have $8,500 of room remaining in 2020. Sometime in 2021 - it doesn't matter when in 2021 - your shares go to $100K due to the success of the Canadian Megacorp. You also have $6,000 worth of room for 2021 as set by the government. You therefore have $8,500 carried over from 2020+$6,000 = $14,500 of room in 2021. In 2021 you sell the shares and pull out the $100K. This amount is tax-free and does not even have to be reported. You can do whatever you want with it. But: if you put it back in 2021 you will over-contribute by $100,000 - $14,500 = $85,500 and incur a penalty. But if you wait until 2022 you will have $14,500 unused contribution room carried forward from 2021, another $6,000 for 2022, and $100,000 carried forward from the withdrawal 2021, so in 2022 you will have $14,500+$6,000+$100,000 = $120,500 of contribution room. This means that if you choose, you can put the $100,000 back in in 2022 tax-free and still have $20,500 left over. If you do not put the money back in 2021, then in 2022 you will have $120,500+$6,000 = $126,500 of contribution room. There is no age limit on how old you can be to contribute, no limit on how much money you can make in the TFSA, and if you do not use the room it keeps carrying forward forever. Just remember the following formula: This year's contribution room = (A) unused contribution room carried forward from last year + (B) contribution room provided by the government for this year + (C) total withdrawals from last year. EXAMPLE 1: Say in 2020 you never contributed to a TFSA but you were 18 in 2009. You have $69,500 of unused room (see above) in 2020 which accumulated from 2009-2020. In 2020 you contribute $50,000, leaving $19,500 contribution room unused for 2020. You buy $50,000 worth of stock. The next day, also in 2020, the stock doubles and it's worth $100,000. Also in 2020 you sell the stock and withdraw $100,000, tax-free. You continue to trade stocks within your TFSA, and hopefully grow your TFSA in 2020, but you make no further contributions or withdrawals in 2020. The question is, How much room will you have in 2021? Answer: In the year 2021, the following applies: (A) Unused contribution room carried forward from last year, 2020: $19,500 (B) Contribution room provided by government for this year, 2021: $6,000 (C) Total withdrawals from last year, 2020: $100,000 Total contribution room for 2021 = $19,500+6,000+100,000 = $125,500. EXAMPLE 2: Say between 2020 and 2021 you decided to buy a tax-free car (well you're still stuck with the GST/PST/HST/QST but you get the picture) so you went to the dealer and spent $25,000 of the $100,000 you withdrew in 2020. You now have a car and $75,000 still burning a hole in your pocket. Say in early 2021 you re-contribute the $75,000 you still have left over, to your TFSA. However, in mid-2021 you suddenly need $75,000 because of an emergency so you pull the $75,000 back out. But then a few weeks later, it turns out that for whatever reason you don't need it after all so you decide to put the $75,000 back into the TFSA, also in 2021. You continue to trade inside your TFSA but make no further withdrawals or contributions. How much room will you have in 2022? Answer: In the year 2022, the following applies: (A) Unused contribution room carried forward from last year, 2021: $125,500 - $75,000 - $75,000 = -$24,500. Already you have a problem. You have over-contributed in 2021. You will be assessed a penalty on the over-contribution! (penalty = 1% a month). But if you waited until 2022 to re-contribute the $75,000 you pulled out for the emergency..... In the year 2022, the following would apply: (A) Unused contribution room carried forward from last year, 2021: $125,500 -$75,000 =$50,500. (B) Contribution room provided by government for this year, 2022: $6,000 (C) Total withdrawals from last year, 2020: $75,000 Total contribution room for 2022 = $50,500 + $6,000 + $75,000 = $131,500. ...And...re-contributing that $75,000 that was left over from your 2021 emergency that didn't materialize, you still have $131,500-$75,000 = $56,500 of contribution room left in 2022. For a more comprehensive discussion, please see the CRA info link below.
FAQs That Have Arisen in the Discussion and Other Potential Questions:
Equity and ETF/ETN Options in a TFSA: can I get leverage? Yes. You can buy puts and calls in your TFSA and you only need to have the cash to pay the premium and broker commissions. Example: if XYZ is trading at $70, and you want to buy the $90 call with 6 months to expiration, and the call is trading at $2.50, you only need to have $250 in your account, per option contract, and if you are dealing with BMO IL for example you need $9.95 + $1.25/contract which is what they charge in commission. Of course, any profits on closing your position are tax-free. You only need the full value of the strike in your account if you want to exercise your option instead of selling it. Please note: this is not meant to be an options tutorial; see the Montreal Exchange's Equity Options Reference Manual if you have questions on how options work.
Equity and ETF/ETN Options in a TFSA: what is ok and not ok? Long puts and calls are allowed. Covered calls are allowed, but cash-secured puts are not allowed. All other option trades are also not allowed. Basically the rule is, if the trade is not a covered call and it either requires being short an option or short the stock, you can't do it in a TFSA.
Live in a province where the voting age is 19 so I can't open a TFSA until I'm 19, when does my contribution room begin? Your contribution room begins to accumulate at 18, so if you live in province where the age of majority is 19, you'll get the room carried forward from the year you turned 18.
If I turn 18 on December 31, do I get the contribution room just for that day or for the whole year? The whole year.
Do commissions paid on share transactions count as withdrawals? Unfortunately, no. If you contribute $2,000 cash and you buy $1,975 worth of stock and pay $25 in commission, the $25 does not count as a withdrawal. It is the same as if you lost money in the TFSA.
How much room do I have? If your broker records are complete, you can do a spreadsheet. The other thing you can do is call the CRA and they will tell you.
TFSATFSA direct transfer from one institution to another: this has no impact on your contributions or withdrawals as it counts as neither.
More than 1 TFSA: you can have as many as you want but your total contribution room does not increase or decrease depending on how many accounts you have.
Withdrawals that convert into contribution room in the next year. Do they carry forward indefinitely if not used in the next year? Answer :yes.
Do I have to declare my profits, withdrawals and contributions? No. Your bank or broker interfaces directly with the CRA on this. There are no declarations to make.
Risky investments - smart? In a TFSA you want always to make money, because you pay no tax, and you want never to lose money, because you cannot claim the loss against your income from your job. If in year X you have $5,000 of contribution room and put it into a TFSA and buy Canadian Speculative Corp. and due to the failure of the Canadian Speculative Corp. it goes to zero, two things happen. One, you burn up that contribution room and you have to wait until next year for the government to give you more room. Two, you can't claim the $5,000 loss against your employment income or investment income or capital gains like you could in a non-registered account. So remember Buffett's rule #1: Do not lose money. Rule #2 being don't forget the first rule. TFSA's are absolutely tailor-made for Graham-Buffett value investing or for diversified ETF or mutual fund investing, but you don't want to buy a lot of small specs because you don't get the tax loss.
Moving to/from Canada/residency. You must be a resident of Canada and 18 years old with a valid SIN to open a TFSA. Consult your tax advisor on whether your circumstances make you a resident for tax purposes. Since 2009, your TFSA contribution room accumulates every year, if at any time in the calendar year you are 18 years of age or older and a resident of Canada. Note: If you move to another country, you can STILL trade your TFSA online from your other country and keep making money within the account tax-free. You can withdraw money and Canada will not tax you. But you have to get tax advice in your country as to what they do. There restrictions on contributions for non-residents. See "non residents of Canada:" https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/formspubs/pub/rc4466/rc4466-19e.pdf
The U.S. withholding tax. Dividends paid by U.S.-domiciled companies are subject to a 15% U.S. withholding tax. Your broker does this automatically at the time of the dividend payment. So if your stock pays a $100 USD dividend, you only get $85 USD in your broker account and in your statement the broker will have a note saying 15% U.S. withholding tax. I do not know under what circumstances if any it is possible to get the withheld amount. Normally it is not, but consult a tax professional.
The U.S. withholding tax does not apply to capital gains. So if you buy $5,000 USD worth of Apple and sell it for $7,000 USD, you get the full $2,000 USD gain automatically.
Tax-Free Leverage. Leverage in the TFSA is effectively equal to your tax rate * the capital gains inclusion rate because you're not paying tax. So if you're paying 25% on average in income tax, and the capital gains contribution rate is 50%, the TFSA is like having 12.5%, no margin call leverage costing you 0% and that also doesn't magnify your losses.
Margin accounts. These accounts allow you to borrow money from your broker to buy stocks. TFSAs are not margin accounts. Nothing stopping you from borrowing from other sources (such as borrowing cash against your stocks in an actual margin account, or borrowing cash against your house in a HELOC or borrowing cash against your promise to pay it back as in a personal LOC) to fund a TFSA if that is your decision, bearing in mind the risks, but a TFSA is not a margin account. Consider options if you want leverage that you can use in a TFSA, without borrowing money.
Dividend Tax Credit on Canadian Companies. Remember, dividends paid into the TFSA are not eligible to be claimed for the credit, on the rationale that you already got a tax break.
FX risk. The CRA allows you to contribute and withdraw foreign currency from the TFSA but the contribution/withdrawal accounting is done in CAD. So if you contribute $10,000 USD into your TFSA and withdraw $15,000 USD, and the CAD is trading at 70 cents USD when you contribute and $80 cents USD when you withdraw, the CRA will treat it as if you contributed $14,285.71 CAD and withdrew $18,75.00 CAD.
OTC (over-the-counter stocks). You can only buy stocks if they are listed on an approved exchange ("approved exchange" = TSX, TSX-V, NYSE, NASDAQ and about 25 or so others). The U.S. pink sheets "over-the-counter" market is an example of a place where you can buy stocks, that is not an approved exchange, therefore you can't buy these penny stocks. I have however read that the CRA make an exception for a stock traded over the counter if it has a dual listing on an approved exchange. You should check that with a tax lawyer or accountant though.
The RRSP. This is another great tax shelter. Tax shelters in Canada are either deferrals or in a few cases - such as the TFSA - outright tax breaks, The RRSP is an example of a deferral. The RRSP allows you to deduct your contributions from your income, which the TFSA does not allow. This deduction is a huge advantage if you earn a lot of money. The RRSP has tax consequences for withdrawing money whereas the TFSA does not. Withdrawals from the RRSP are taxable whereas they are obviously not in a TFSA. You probably want to start out with a TFSA and maintain and grow that all your life. It is a good idea to start contributing to an RRSP when you start working because you get the tax deduction, and then you can use the amount of the deduction to contribute to your TFSA. There are certain rules that claw back your annual contribution room into an RRSP if you contribute to a pension. See your tax advisor.
Pensions. If I contribute to a pension does that claw back my TFSA contribution room or otherwise affect my TFSA in any way? Answer: No.
The $10K contribution limit for 2015. This was PM Harper's pledge. In 2015 the Conservative government changed the rules to make the annual government allowance $10,000 per year forever. Note: withdrawals still converted into contribution room in the following year - that did not change. When the Liberals came into power they switched the program back for 2016 to the original Harper rules and have kept the original Harper rules since then. That is why there is the $10,000 anomaly of 2015. The original Harper rules (which, again, are in effect now) called for $500 increments to the annual government allowance as and when required to keep up with inflation, based on the BofC's Consumer Price Index (CPI). Under the new Harper rules, it would have been $10,000 flat forever. Which you prefer depends on your politics but the TFSA program is massively popular with Canadians. Assuming 1.6% annual CPI inflation then the annual contribution room will hit $10,000 in 2052 under the present rules. Note: the Bank of Canada does an excellent and informative job of explaining inflation and the CPI at their website.
Losses in a TFSA - you cannot claim a loss in a TFSA against income. So in a TFSA you always want to make money and never want to lose money. A few ppl here have asked if you are losing money on your position in a TFSA can you transfer it in-kind to a cash account and claim the loss. I would expect no as I cannot see how in view of the fact that TFSA losses can't be claimed, that the adjusted cost base would somehow be the cost paid in the TFSA. But I'm not a tax lawyeaccountant. You should consult a tax professional.
Transfers in-kind to the TFSA and the the superficial loss rule. You can transfer securities (shares etc.) "in-kind," meaning, directly, from an unregistered account to the TFSA. If you do that, the CRA considers that you "disposed" of, meaning, equivalent to having sold, the shares in the unregistered account and then re-purchased them at the same price in the TFSA. The CRA considers that you did this even though the broker transfers the shares directly in the the TFSA. The superficial loss rule, which means that you cannot claim a loss for a security re-purchased within 30 days of sale, applies. So if you buy something for $20 in your unregistered account, and it's trading for $25 when you transfer it in-kind into the TFSA, then you have a deemed disposition with a capital gain of $5. But it doesn't work the other way around due to the superficial loss rule. If you buy it for $20 in the unregistered account, and it's trading at $15 when you transfer it in-kind into the TFSA, the superficial loss rule prevents you from claiming the loss because it is treated as having been sold in the unregistered account and immediately bought back in the TFSA.
Day trading/swing trading. It is possible for the CRA to try to tax your TFSA on the basis of "advantage." The one reported decision I'm aware of (emphasis on I'm aware of) is from B.C. where a woman was doing "swap transactions" in her TFSA which were not explicitly disallowed but the court rules that they were an "advantage" in certain years and liable to taxation. Swaps were subsequently banned. I'm not sure what a swap is exactly but it's not that someone who is simply making contributions according to the above rules would run afoul of. The CRA from what I understand doesn't care how much money you make in the TFSA, they care how you made it. So if you're logged on to your broker 40 hours a week and trading all day every day they might take the position that you found a way to work a job 40 hours a week and not pay any tax on the money you make, which they would argue is an "advantage," although there are arguments against that. This is not legal advice, just information.
The U.S. Roth IRA. This is a U.S. retirement savings tax shelter that is superficially similar to the TFSA but it has a number of limitations, including lack of cumulative contribution room, no ability for withdrawals to convert into contribution room in the following year, complex rules on who is eligible to contribute, limits on how much you can invest based on your income, income cutoffs on whether you can even use the Roth IRA at all, age limits that govern when and to what extent you can use it, and strict restrictions on reasons to withdraw funds prior to retirement (withdrawals prior to retirement can only be used to pay for private medical insurance, unpaid medical bills, adoption/childbirth expenses, certain educational expenses). The TFSA is totally unlike the Roth IRA in that it has none of these restrictions, therefore, the Roth IRA is not in any reasonable sense a valid comparison. The TFSA was modeled after the U.K. Investment Savings Account, which is the only comparable program to the TFSA.
The UK Investment Savings Account. This is what the TFSA was based off of. Main difference is that the UK uses a 20,000 pound annual contribution allowance, use-it-or-lose-it. There are several different flavours of ISA, and some do have a limited recontribution feature but not to the extent of the TFSA.
Is it smart to overcontribute to buy a really hot stock and just pay the 1% a month overcontribution penalty? If the CRA believes you made the overcontribution deliberately the penalty is 100% of the gains on the overcontribution, meaning, you can keep the overcontribution, or the loss, but the CRA takes the profit.
Speculative stocks-- are they ok? There is no such thing as a "speculative stock." That term is not used by the CRA. Either the stock trades on an approved exchange or it doesn't. So if a really blue chip stock, the most stable company in the world, trades on an exchange that is not approved, you can't buy it in a TFSA. If a really speculative gold mining stock in Busang, Indonesia that has gone through the roof due to reports of enormous amounts of gold, but their geologist somehow just mysteriously fell out of a helicopter into the jungle and maybe there's no gold there at all, but it trades on an approved exchange, it is fine to buy it in a TFSA. Of course the risk of whether it turns out to be a good investment or not, is on you.
Remember, you're working for your money anyway, so if you can get free money from the government -- you should take it! Follow the rules because Canadians have ended up with a tax bill for not understanding the TFSA rules. Appreciate the feedback everyone. Glad this basic post has been useful for many. The CRA does a good job of explaining TFSAs in detail at https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/formspubs/pub/rc4466/rc4466-19e.pdf
Unrelated but of Interest: The Margin Account
Note: if you are interested in how margin accounts work, I refer you to my post on margin accounts, where I use a straightforward explanation of the math behind margin accounts to try and give readers the confidence that they understand this powerful leveraging tool.
COM: $83k Mcap Token That Gives You Control Over Project Decisions (5x Potential)
Two days ago, I posted about Community Token (COM) and encouraged everyone to get in while it was at a low price of $0.10. Now, it’s trading at double the price and the COM telegram has 113 new members, hungry to take this coin to $1 and beyond- another 4-5x from here. And here’s why think $1+ is going to happen…and can be life changing for you if you get in now. You see, with most coins, what ends up happening is the team (and some whales) ends up gets rich while ordinary buyers like you and I get dumped on. This is because there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes that the public doesn’t know about. COM is a Token That Gives You A Voice The Community Token is based on a totally different-yet-proven model because important project decisions are not made by a small team but instead by the community of COM holders. This means there is full transparency and you also have some control over the future of the project. Rather than being at the whims of a centralized team (or whales) that controls most of the supply and will do sneaky stuff behind closed doors. And speaking of supply, let’s look at the tokenomics which are among the best I’ve seen in the crypto space. COM’s Tokenomics (The “Pumpamentals”) First of all, the supply of COM is deflationary meaning tokens get burned with every transaction. This means by nature, your COM tokens become more valuable over time as the total supply decreases. You’ve probably heard of AMPL, XAMP, RMPL are all examples of deflation tokens that have done extremely well. Imagine getting into those at the very beginning. The COM token currently has a total supply of 955,072 and it decreases 1% with each transaction. - 30% of the tokens are set as reserves, locked for 1 year. - 20% is in the Uniswap Liquidity pool, and is locked for 1 year. - 15% is reserved for community development - and these funds will be transferred to a multi-sig wallet meaning a select # of community members must approve of the transaction. This prevents the developer from dumping these tokens himself. - The developer only has 5% of total supply and you can check Etherscan to verify he hasn’t sold a single cent - There are only 121 holders right now and ZERO whales - check the token contract to verify for yourself What Happens If You Just Grab 2 ETH of COM right now? So that makes the current circulating supply of COM only 525,289 (taking into account the reserved tokens in the multi-sig wallet). At $.0.21 per token (current market price), that’s a market cap of $110,310. Meaning if you just buy just 3 ETH, you get 5389 tokens or almost 1% of the entire supply. And if we are in a true bull market like myself and other firmly believe, the market cap of almost every single coin is going to skyrocket to face melting levels over the upcoming weeks/months. This means when the COM project reaches a mere $1M market cap, your 1% of coins will be worth $10,000. If this reaches $10M, that will be $100,000, and so on. (By the way, the tokenomics are very similar to BOMB token which has an ATH of $15) Anyway, I know price is always speculative in crypto, but I do want you to see the true potential in this gem that most people are overlooking because it’s not being shilled everywhere (yet). *A Real Project With A Passionate and Talented Community\* The facts of the matter is, this is a legitimate project led by a talented and transparent developer. And backed by a passionate community that you’ll love being part of. So far, COM has only done a ~2X from presale price, and ~3x from it’s bottom. With even the most worthless projects pumping during this DeFi madness, there’s no reason this can’t go another 5x from here - and the best part is, there’s still time for you to join and get in on this ride! Thanks for reading and as always DYOR! Official website: https://communitytoken.network/ (This was the original website. A few days after launch, the community decided it was too amateur-looking and now they're completely rebranding for a cleaner look, to appeal those who "judge a book by its cover") PS- This is probably going to be my final reddit post about COM. Once we have our key community members ready, we're going to launch the next phase of marketing. PSS. Obviously, don’t buy just because I said so. Look into it for yourself to verify everything I'm saying is true. If you find something different, post a comment below. I truly believe this is a gem in sea of shitcoins, and I just don’t want you to be kicking yourself when you start seeing COM all over Crypto Twitter and being mentioned by YouTube influencers in the upcoming weeks ;) EDIT: Updated the current circulating supply/token price
My guide to start working online. After doing this for three years, I am on track to make $40,000 this year from it.
I have posted something very similar here a few times, and it usually gets a good amount of attention. I apologize if you have seen it before, but some people haven't and they could use the money. In 2018 I made about 15k from this guide (give or take a few sites). In 2019 it was closer to 25k. This year I am on track to make 40k. I also want to preface this by saying that this post has refs in it. Some are mine, some are random Redditors, and some don't have one. If that upsets you for some reason, click the link, delete the stuff after .com and submit again and that will take care of it.
Top deals for September 2020
Swagbucks $10-$35 Hulu deal Right now SB has another deal where you get credits to sign up to Hulu with the $5.99 plan. It may only be $20 or it may be $35 when you check as they seem to change it day to day. Since this deal has new terms, the credits might be paid out immediately or after 32 days. The credits can be used for Amazon GC or PayPal credit (both take a few days to get processed). Not only that, but you can get a $25 Amazon GC for $22 worth of points, so you can make even more. You can cancel the subscription after 8 days, but no sooner so you don't lose the points. So, five minutes of work for the equivalent of $16-$29 and a free month of Hulu. $50 from SoFi for opening an account and direct depositing This one will require you to have $500 that you can direct deposit. SoFi Money is a savings account, fee-free, 2% APY annual; so typical bank account. This deal will require you to use your SSN, link a bank account, and do a soft pull with Experian to complete. You just need to create a SoFi Money account through the link, deposit $500 twice to the account, and wait for a few days. After the deposit clears (1-2 business days), SoFi will instantly give you $50 bonus. After you get the $50 bonus you can pull out all money and close the account or keep using it. Another $50 from SoFi but for stocks After you get the $50 sign up bonus from SoFi Money, flip it through this link and fund the invest account. Since I (and you now) already had an account, it literally took under 5 minutes to set up and fund the account. Either way you do it, SoFi will give you an additional $50 in free stock of your choice. Keep it and hope it grows, or sell it for the quick $50 profit. $50 from Chime for opening an account and depositing $200 Pretty much the same exact set up as SoFi. This one will require you to have $200 that you can do without for a few days. You just need to create the Chime account through the link, deposit $200 to the account, and wait for a few days. It says direct deposit only, but this tested and worded with just connecting a bank account and doing the deposit. After the deposit clears (1-2 business days), Chime will instantly give you $50 bonus. After you get the $50 bonus you have to wait until your new debit card arrives and is activated before you can move the money out. $50 from eToro This is a crypto trading account. The same deal as the other ones. Fund the account using the ref link and get $50. The wait time on this one is usually around 7 business days. $10-$120 in crypto for watching videos and answering quiz questions $10 from Coinbase if you buy / sell $100 or more worth of crypto This is a crypto trading account. The link takes you to the account signup screen. After you create the account visit coinbase.com/trade and initiate a buy or sell (in case you transferred crypto into Coinbase from another account) of $100 USD or more (or 100 USD equivalent of your domestic currency) within 180 days of opening and you will receive a $10 bonus (or local equivalent). Orders can take up to 4 business days to complete. Pretty much just watch and answer videos for varying types of crypto. The crypto you earn will get deposited into the wallet you create, which can then be cashed out into USD. Depending on the day, you can earn up to $120 if all free tokens are available. $10-$40 for signing up with OhmConnect A great website if you have one of a few utility companies in California, Texas, or Toronto. OhmConnect supports PGE, SCE, SDGE, Smart Meter Texas, and Toronto Hydro. You essentially just connect your utility account, and earn points. You earn $10 after signing up and getting to a status level of Silver (took me like 10 minutes). $10 more if you connect a smart device like NEST. Several hundred for test driving cars Pretty easy. Click the link, go through the dealerships, get your code, test drive a car, and get paid. I did this last year and I was in and out on my lunch break. These offers come and go all year, so check frequently. UNCLAIMED/ABANDONED PROPERTY States return millions of dollars worth of unclaimed property a year. Unclaimed property typically consists of unclaimed money in accounts that have sat dormant for more than a year. Every state has its own abandoned property site but a good place to start is MissingMoney.com. It’s very simple to search there. If anything comes up, continue the search/filing on your states gov website. Example: California’s is https://ucpi.sco.ca.gov/UCP/Default.aspx. Just cashed a check for $35 from an account I closed years ago. The following are ref links that I am putting in for a random Redditor or two, just to spread goodwill and try to give back to all of you. I get nothing from these and will be doing this for one or two random people every month. PM me if you want your ref link featured here. The Redditor for September is u/moongains PERKSY From Moon: Perksy is a survey app with nice payouts and a fun vibe. I’ve made about $50 on the app with little effort.
Ok. Back to the main post content.
Hey everyone. This is an all-inclusive write-up compiling all of my past posts on how I am making upwards of $1,000 a month through the use of beermoney sites. Beermoney is, according to Urban Dictionary, "Extra money for non-essential payments, available for spending on luxuries, hobbies, or a fresh pint of your favorite draft." I use this definition, because this is (in most cases) not intended to be a primary source of income. This is a way to supplement what you already have. There is no way to know what you will make any given month, so do not count on it. My worst month I only made around $500 and my best I made over $2,000. You can also check out my post on using apps to save money and earn cash back. As I have stated in my other posts, this is not a definitive list of everything a person can do online by any means and refs are included. Do your own research on the subs I list, use Google, ask other people, and find what works for you. What I talk about works well for me, my family, and my schedule. Below I will include time requirements to make this money, provide a quick recap of the revenue streams that I have found to work, and provide payment proof for what I can. I personally invest anywhere from 20 to 30 hours a week doing these sites, on top of my day job. Some days I will make $20 all day, and others I will make over $200. I prefer this, as opposed to a second job, because I can pay partial attention to a laptop and 'clock-out' when I want to focus on family or Netflix. This works better for my temperament and preferences. Tech required: A working laptop, a cellphone (in some cases), an internet connection, and a fairly good amount of patience to learn. If you are in a position where these tools are not available, you can also do many of these from a library. I put all of this info into an e-book, plus a TON of other stuff that was either written by me, or compiled from others (with their permission). Here is a link to it. If you tried even half of the stuff in the book, you would make your money back in less than a day. The dollar amounts next to each site are what I made in 2018. 2019 and 2020 were considerably more, but I have been too lazy to update all of these. Anyway, on to the revenue streams: SwagBucks ($775) Surveys – Majority of countries– This is more of a catch-all for stuff to do when you want to make and save money. You can do surveys, play games, and watch videos to earn points. You can also get cash back from using SB to visit and buy from different stores. You get paid in points which can be used to purchase gift cards or sent directly to PayPal. Each point is the equivalent of $0.01. Usually, SB will have deals where you can get certain gift cards for less. For example, a $20 Amazon gift card for 1800 SB points. The payout can be slow, but if you don’t mind running ads in the background, using a plug-in to save money while you shop, or killing time playing a game, SwagBucks can be a great way to earn $20 a month. Mturk ($3,142): Small tasks and surveys - US mainly. Confirmed also in Canada, Europe, & Aus. - This is by far the one I spent the most time on and has been the best earner. This site lets humans perform small tasks that robots still cannot do well. It is owned by Amazon. Downside is there are slim pickings on weekends and when colleges are out on vacation. I typically stick to surveys, but once in a while do batch jobs which there are more of. You have to wait a week for your first payout, which will go to an Amazon payment account. You can the get payouts one time per day after that. Approval for mturk can sometimes be a pain in the ass, almost impossible if you are not from the US, but is definitely worth it in my opinion if you can get approved. Secret shopper US and Secret shopper UK ($485): In-person store evaluation - US and UK only - These links will take you directly to a sign-up page. US version populates with my ref code. Feel free to delete it before signing up, if you want. You will be taken to the app store where you can download the actual app on your phone. Essentially, you go to stores near you that are identified in the app and take pictures or videos of specific items. I like this one because I have the ability to make a few extra bucks if I am already out shopping. The pay for this one averages about $15/hr. Note: I have not tried the UK version, but it was recommended by another Redditor. Usertesting ($800): Website evaluation - US & maybe select others - This site allows you to review new websites and apps. The pay is usually $10 per recorded test lasting 10-15 minutes. Sometimes the pay is more, but never less. I average a few tests a week. Some weeks I will get a dozen tests, other weeks nothing. This one is great to practice your feedback skills, which open up a lot of other doors. Pay is through PayPal, one week (to the minute) after the test is complete. Redbubble ([$305]: T-shirt creation - Worldwide - After getting rejected by merch by Amazon, I came here. You design and publish t-shirts, phone cases, and about 20 other mixed products, with each sell netting you a few bucks. They are based in Australia, and do pay-outs once a month on the 15th via PayPal. You do all of the uploading and just wait for people to find it with keywords or searches. Great if you are artistic or know how to use any creative software. Prolific.ac ($3,500): Based in the UK, this used to be one of my favorites because they pay in Great British Pound (GBP) which is the equivalent to 1.25x the USD. Prolific is similar to Mturk (listed earlier) in that all you do is fill out surveys. Pay is better than Mturk, but the availability of surveys is not as great. In fact, I personally haven't seen a survey in months, but see others get them often. The initial questionnaire you have to fill out is a bit long taking me about 20 minutes, but ensures you qualify for every survey they show you and will never get disqualified for not meeting the demographic. You have to hit £5 before you can cash out, but you get this after a few days of watching for surveys. Leave it open in a tab and check it throughout the day. I wish I could do this one all day because the pay rocks, but I only see a few a day. They pay out in PayPal anytime you request it and have a balance of over £5. Ebay ($190): Selling goods - Worldwide - Not much explanation needed here. You buy stuff in-person low, and sell online high. Here is a $2.99 beginner's guide dedicated to flipping that covers absolutely everything you need to know (also mine). PlaytestCloud ($190): Video game testing - Many countries - This is just simple game testing. It is super fun, very quick, and you get to test new games before anyone else. They send you tests for different listed devices, you download the game file, and they record your screen and voice. The only issue I have with this one is that you are only able to test 3-4 games per month, at $9-$11 each. Paid almost immediately after each test via PayPal. UsabilityHub ($15): App testing - Many countries - This one lets the user take quick one or two minute surveys on your opinion of an app screen. They pay for this averages to about $.10 a minute, so it is nothing spectacular. Just leave it open in another tab and take a quick survey when you hear a new one come available. UserInterviews ($50): Studies - US & maybe select others - Similar to Respondent, but with less approval when filling out the demographics for each study. Product Testing ($1,500): Mainly US & some UK/CA - There are places online that will pay you to leave positive/negative reviews for companies or purchase products. This is actually a big business model in China and other S.E.A. countries. Personally, I already know that Amazon reviews, Yelp, BBB, and everything in the middle are at least half fake reviews; so I may as well monetize on it. If this is something that sounds interesting, here is more info. Reddit subs($2,300): It is super simple to use Reddit as more than a social media tool or news website. Knowing the right subs to subscribe to, and what to look for, can help you make a few extra hundred bucks a month. There are a ton that you can find small or medium jobs on, but I am only going to outline the top four that have worked for me. /slavelabour: This sub is normally dedicated to doing cheap jobs for people, at cheap rates. I have both had things done for me here, as well as completed a lot of tasks. It may seem daunting at first, with people offering $2 to write an essay (seriously though.. no homework here), but there are gems to be found. Two of my best jobs have been creating meal plans for $60, and finding the name of a book for $80. Cancel that. SL is now power mods that block the decent work and only allow the trash jobs. No longer worth the time. I only leave it up as people ask about it when I don't. /signupsforpay: Since slave labour does not allow paying people to sign up for websites, this is where to go to make a few bucks with signups. From connecting your gas and electric information, to signing up with Acorns, I have probably made a grand total of $100 here. Nothing overly special, but $100 is $100. /giftcardexchange: This is one of my favorites, because you can buy and sell all of those gift cards you have/want. Have a $20 gift card from a family member that you will never use? Sell it here for 80-90%. Want to buy Amazon gift cards for less than face value? Get 'em here. I do a lot of buying on Amazon, so this sub has easily saved me hundreds over the course of using it. Caution: Trade carefully. I know this is a lot of info and a bunch of it is repetitive from my last post, but I wanted to provide as much info as possible for the compiled post. Hope it helps!
Fairly Conservative Stock Advice for the non Expert
Buy stocks with earnings and increasing revenues. You can forget that occasionally but it takes time to learn when you can do that. Yahoo finance has all the general info you need to assess a stock in most cases but it'll take a while to learn to navigate for everything. If you can find a stock that is going up nicely (during normal times) in volume more than triple its average inexplicably on NO CURRENT NEWS-that is the best way i have found explosive stocks-Finding one in a hot sector is a big plus. It may take 2-3 weeks or more before they start popping. The reason this works is because it indicates some 'wise guys' know something is coming that isn't out yet. It is best used for small cap to low mid cap generally unknown stocks. Don't use this formula for stocks that have crashed and are now bouncing up. Read these boards and watch all the business channels as often as you can-Listen when Buffet speaks. This is to learn basic market and business principles and not necessarily for specific stock picks. If you hear of an interesting stock, do your own due diligence. A Drip plan on a Utility or Dividend Mutual Fund where you add extra money of the same amount regularly is the surest way to make a nice score over time. Try to get in when the market tanks and/or up your extra contribution at that time. Don't EVER buy stocks under $3-$4. If you have to, make sure you can handle a total loss. If you receive a phone call from a broker you don't know to buy one, don't even think about it-just hang up. Avoid Margin unless you can transfer in covering funds in a day or two Buy thinly traded stocks that you like when they are down on low volume. Never set a GTC order for more than a week or two at most. You can wind up buying a stock for forty that is 25 ten minutes later. Much less likely to happen in a week or two and then you can re-assess your decision. If you have a GTC order, you must read the after market and pre market news so that you can cancel your order if something weird is going on. The exception might be in the crypto market to set some GTC orders at 60% below market and hope for a flash crash. With short term trading, only trade stocks with good fundamentals that you wont mind owning if things don't go your way. Don't buy in the pre market Once you sell a stock at a profit, don't buy back in on a small drop Always have 20% cash in case of a market crash. Adding money incrementally and waiting for a 5% rally are usually good ideas If you get lucky and have a 500% gain or more inside of a year on a stock, take double your investment off the table. Remember "No one ever went broke taking a profit" and You'll never buy at the absolute lows or sell at the highs. When in doubt on taking a profit, sell half! NONE of this info came from a book. I have never read a book on the market but quite a few articles, watched the business channels, talked extensively to active investors and been trading and following the market for decades. Good luck!
Why Geyser is Bad, liquidity pools are unintuitive, and you should hodl...
Alright folks, I am going to drop some information here that alot of people will find unintuitive. You might even get mad. You might even think its a sham... at least until you try it with a test account yourself. So, you are an active trader. You like getting tendies, and you are willing to swing trade the rebases. You read the ampleforth paper, and you know what you are getting into... right? Not a chance bro. The ampleforth paper made a pretty big assumption. They assumed that most of the trades would be executed on an order book. NOT against a liquidity pool with an automated market making algorithm like uniswap. That makes a world of difference. I made a post here about how the rebasing occurs on liquidity pools: https://www.reddit.com/AmpleforthCrypto/comments/hyqnmv/the_hidden_rebase_problembased/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x Basically, you cannot beat the liquidity pool because it will outspeed you every time. So the first assumption that ampleforth makes that fast traders have an advantage is GONE when liquidity pools enter the equation. Secondly, the uniswap price depends upon oracles, and because uniswap has beat the rest of the market to the real price, ALL price actions elsewhere will have an outsized effect on uniswap. Specifically, they will have double impact. Worse yet, the websites looking at uniswap prices like coingecko are not live, and as a result, people never see how low its really going until the look to execute a trade on uniswap. So, the other day, I had 2.4*X eth. Now, I have 1.9*x eth a day later. I would have done well to sell before the rebase, and buy in afterwards. But, you can't see this on any of the major charts because suprise.... uniswap doesn't export data to trading view. But is this true for all rebases? Not really. There are rebases that are safe to catch, but there are also rebases that are unsafe to catch. As a trader, its your job to figure out which is which. Today's rebase was safe. Yesterdays rebase was not. Next up... GEYSER. Geyser is not profitable, and here is why. Over the course of a day, you will make .01-.02% of your value in geyser drops. However, you had to give up both 50% of your rebase coins, which is 5% of lost value. The ONLY time geyser is more profitable than hodling is if the rebase is going to give you less than double what the geyser drop would have given you. The only time it makes sense to be in the liquidity pool is when you think ample is going to be trending down or flat. This means locking/unlocking your stake and unless you got over 20k ampl the gas fees will eat you alive faster than you generate geyser profits. TLDR: If you are on uniswap the optimal strategy during the downturns is to sell all ample for eth. During consolidation, if you are a whale, you geyser. If you are a minnow, you hodl. During upswings you hodl. During rebases, you evaluate if the market is overpriced if its overpriced, you sell for eth, and rebuy after the 30-40% crash. If the market is oversold, you hodl your ampl. This is the way.
What you need to know (PART #1: FOMO Psychology) - Bull Run 2020: Exo-Affects
The crypto-market has entered a new bull cycle, and it seems like these bullish events are starting with Decentralized Finance (DeFi) cryptocurrencies. A little background about myself: First, let me put this out there. I am no one special. I am not different than anyone here. I'll keep it short. I've been around crypto for a while. I do not day trade. I buy when the market hits the floor, and come back and sell when things start to look suspiciously bullish. It's easier said than done. I know. But honestly, I'm sure many of you can relate. Regardless of fundamentals, when you start to see a certain type of behavior in the market, you get this little spidey sense telling you something. So here is mine. 2020 Bull Event: Many of you have been noticing the crypto market in an uptrend. Especially with the not-so-new buzz word DeFi (stands for Decentralized Finance). So we are currently witnessing some impressive uptrend price movement with Chainlink ($LINK), and its bullish cycle has started an exo-affect on other coins in the DeFi market. (I'm going to use the word "exo-affect" to describe domino affects of post-price movements). Now we are noticing other coins such as Maker ($MKR), Compound ($COMP), and Aave ($LEND). Earlier I said I am going to disregard fundamentals slightly. I'll tell you why. Fundamentals are great, and I use them all the time. But with the current market behavior, it is crucial to use psychological market behavior since FOMO is kicking in with only the DeFi related cryptocurrencies. What do you notice about the recent three that started pumping? Two out of three of the cryptocurrencies literally have two buzz words related to decentralized finance, such as compound and lend. Maker is known, so the crowd knows it already. Easy to distinguish, and the people are just jumping on them. You have sites like coinmarketcap and coingecko making pages dedicated to DeFi to help you narrow it down. So is it done? Did you miss the bandwagon? Honestly, no one knows, and I certainly do not know. But Considering some of the coins hitting ATH, and Chainlink has been on a bullish run for a while. I would say there are more opportunities still. If you stick to the psychological behaviors, I feel the price will play a factor. As stupid as this sounds, people will see low prices as "cheap prices", and think it is an opportunity. I know that is entirely dumb, but we saw it happen in the 2017/2018 bull run. So which DeFi coins people have not noticed yet? There are honestly several coins that might start pumping when considering the psychological behaviors I mentioned above. FOMOers might see attraction in coins such Terra ($LUNA), Request ($REQ), and 0x ($ZRX). These are just some that fit the "low-price" psychological criteria and haven't reached highs like the others. But once the FOMOers start noticing, most of have been pumped or people that made money on previous pumps. They will start jumping into the ones that are priced higher such as Augur ($REP). I am not going to go through all of them. Just check out coingecko or coinmarkets section for DeFi and go through the list. Yes, I know it all sounds dumb. But when the market is irrational, who do you think it making those irrational decisions? When you look at things like Ethereum, it started its gradual momentum in an uptrend. Why isn't it pumping hard like the rest? It is more liquid and holds a higher market share than the rest. Those Defi coins are pumping hard because their books are illiquid. But once the stages I mentioned above are complete, trading will flow into Ethereum, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. So the rest will have its moment after. If everything starts flowing like the way I mention in this post, then I might make another post for the next phase of the bubble. Don't take anything I am saying here seriously, and make sure you do your own damn research before making any investment decisions!
Why I believe too many SPOs are barking up the wrong tree and what I think they can do better
Yet another opinion about which stake pools to choose or why the system currently is broken/unfaicentralizing? No, but an attempt to find a more positive approach. For the impatient, here's a way too short and exaggerated TL;DR: I think SPOs should consider to stop selling their stake pool as if it's a commodity like rice and instead rather start building a solid identity for their pools. I have spent quite some time scanning through, pooltool.io , CardanoStakePools and cardano including the comments in the last couple of days, initially to see if I can find a stake pool that I like better. Here's what I observed:
Beautifully designed web pages
Explanations about pledge / fees and top competitive ROS
Explanations about what Cardano and ADA is
Description of the pool setup with technicalities I don't comprehend
Profiles of the operators mentioning their experience, sometimes their names, sometimes with their location
0% pool margin as temporary offer
Frequent naming of pool tickers in comment sections in this sub
"I'm going to donate/spend x% of pool rewards on charity/project/pledge"
Even if you cover most or all of the above points, I won't know why you bothered setting up a pool. Sometimes it's clear that you want to make money, sometimes it's clear that you want to be nonprofit. Most of times it's stated that the pool cares about Cardano, which separates that pool from the very small minority of the pools being operated by actors that also operate mining/staking pools of other coins. So what do I think you're doing wrong then? I get the impression that most times I get told what the SPO thinks I want to hear: Obviously I must be interested in earning as much as possible and if not I must want the ADA I'm missing out on going to a good case, right? That's not necessary what they try to tell but that's at least for me the message I hear. And they are putting their money where their mouth is, they give up margin or they spend on top hardware/cloud service for top security and they invest countless hours on keeping the pool safe and running. ...and they stay often unrecognizable if one would anonymize the names and take away the pictures and layouts from the websites, just leaving the bare information about the pool. Most pools are very good at explaining what they are doing (and let's face it they are essentially all doing the same in different flavours) and sometimes they are quite good in explaining how they are doing it. There's very few pools out there that describe why they do what they do, which is awesome, yet it could often use some more conciseness. Too abstract and you don't understand what I'm getting at? I would neither, here's an example how I can express myself: "I care about Cardano, I've been invested in it since 2017. Since Shelley has been released, it seems that there's some centralization happening on the pools, which I don't like. I want many small pools to be successful. I'm writing this post because I want Cardano to be successful and gain money from it." Sounds kind of bland, no? Could have been written by anyone and is probably not very relatable. Let's try again: "I want to provide meaningful inputs, so that others are enabled to do the same and so we can make the world a better place. Furthermore I want to create value with what I do, encourage personal growth and make sure that what I do is not at the expense of others. Learning about Cardano, I realized that their aim to decentralize financial identity and push power to the edges is well in line with my core values, which is why I really care about it being successful in changing the world. I noticed that many pools seem to run in the wrong direction in my opinion and I at least want to attempt to help them getting better in promoting their pools and becoming successful, so that not a small elite of pools creates an oligarchy in the long run. Very often I can tell that there is a very good motivation behind a pool but there's no way to be sure because it's not communicated clearly and I'd be happy if this would change and the power gets properly pushed to the edges." I started with why I do things and then transitioned to how I want to get things done and underlined it by what I do, why I'm invested in Cardano. I'll leave it to the reader to decide which of the above statements is more convincing that the actor behind it has an honest motivation and is not in for the greed. For the SPOs who are not solely in the game to make money (I feel that's the majority), I invite you to ask yourself: What seems more trustworthy to you: Someone telling you what they care about decentralization and their actions being in line with that or someone telling you the same but then they also do some of the following: aggressive marketing with entry treats e.g. 0% margin, giveaways; dropping pool tickers left and right without proper context or multiplying their pools? On the flip side: Which customer do you trust more to stick around when things would go sideways: The one who joined your pool even though you don't have the best ROS but your ideals resonated with them or the one who delegated because you did a giveaway? And how confident are you about your delegated stake staying in your pool if you have to cut the x% donated for the good cause for some time to be able to cover your costs? I'm not advocating to give up those diversifying strategies altogether and I'm not saying that no one should donate part of their ROS but that one should be very aware of which trade offs those strategies carry and maybe consider making them a supporting aspect of why you are running a pool rather than your main selling point. It would seem to me that way you're less endangered of commoditizing your pool. And let's be frank: The commodity market has only space for a few, not everyone can have the highest efficiency, especially not when we want to be globally spread. That being sad, if your are only in for the money and you run a pool because you think that Cardano is going to be the best cow to milk in the crypto environment. Please don't let me distract you, that's absolutely legitimate and to be expected too, go do your thing and good luck with competing in the unforgiving battlefield of the commodity market. To give credit: That's not all just my ideas I'm mainly applying what I learned in a video, well in the according book but oh well: Check it out if you're curious -> Simon Sinek: Start with Why And as an end thought: Maybe a pools selling point is not ROS or blocks per epoch but trust, they are the guardians of Cardano after all.
The Turkey City Lexicon - annotated for 40K by Matt Farrer circa 2004 - and Farrer's analysis of Abnett's eye-ball kicks
I wrote a suggestion on how to create a Space Marine OC (the whole thread is a good reading for aspiring fan authors so I'll link it), and it got me thinking about writing within the 40K setting. Back in the day when Black Library still had their own forum, I saved Matt Farrer's annotation of the Turkey City Lexicon (the original, pre-internet version of TV Tropes). I searched the subreddit for it earlier with no results, so I'll share it again here. — Please note: The Turkey City Lexicon isspecifically, explicitlynon-copyright and isencouragedto be shared/reposted/expanded. Posting it here in its entirety violates no copyright legislation in any country - in fact, Matt Farrer himself asked us to share it with our fellow writers. Hat off to you, Mr Farrer, for your contributions to the 40K lore from a longtime fan. — [Originally posted to Black Library Online, November 2004, by user Matt Farrer] The Turkey City Lexicon (Annotated with some Games Workshop observations) The Turkey City Lexicon is a terminology guide that’s been floating around in one form or another since the late eighties (Google will turn up plenty of hits if you want to see one of the original copies; I got this one from the SFWA website). The Lexicon is deliberately not copyrighted and is intended to be copied at will and passed on to other writers (note that you shouldn’t try this with anything else on the SFWA site, if you go there – there are some great articles but most of them are copyrighted). There’s a tendency for people to look at the Lexicon as a list of “common mistakes” or “things not to do”, which is not entirely correct as I understand its purpose. Certainly seeing a common problem set down pithily can help crystallise that particular example of bad technique, but a couple of the terms in here are complimentary and many others aren’t necessarily fatal problems. As in “you might want to watch out for funny-hat characterisation on page four, although with the narrative voice you use it works well”. What it is meant to be is a useful resource for critiquers, giving you a quick and easy shorthand for a known quantity you’ve observed in writing. In the above example, you don’t need to spend half a paragraph describing a shaky spot in the characterisation, you have a quick term to cover it and save space and time for both of you. The early, simple version of the lexicon by Lewis Shiner was expanded and added to by Bruce Sterling, not, in my opinion, always for the better. There are no real differences in actual content between the two, so for this version I’ve picked whichever version of an entry I thought was better phrased. The GW-specific notes are my own – I’ll add more as I think of them, if I have the time. Discussion of any or all of the entries is of course welcome - it's what I'm posting this for. Anyway, let’s get on with it. The meta-rule: Cherryh's Law No rule should be followed over a cliff. (C.J. Cherryh) MF - There are times when the literary or dramatic effect of breaking any supposed "rule" about writing is going to be worth it, and that includes any and all of the points about writing offered in the Lexicon. Such principles are based on experience that shows that certain approaches work better than others, but getting carried away with imposing a set of rules as though they were holy writ simply turns into an attempt to stamp out creativity and have every writer write exactly alike. Know the principles, understand why they work as they do, but don't wear them like shackles. Part One: Words and Sentences Brenda Starr dialogue Long sections of talk with no physical background or description of the characters. Such dialogue, detached from the story's setting, tends to echo hollowly, as if suspended in mid-air. Named for the American comic-strip in which dialogue balloons were often seen emerging from the Manhattan skyline. "Burly Detective" Syndrome This useful term is taken from SF's cousin-genre, the detective-pulp. The hack writers of the Mike Shayne series showed an odd reluctance to use Shayne's proper name, preferring euphemisms like "the burly detective" or "the red-headed sleuth." This comes from a wrong-headed conviction that the same word should not be used twice in close succession. This is only true of particularly strong and visible words, such as "vertiginous." Better to re-use a simple tag or phrase than to contrive cumbersome methods of avoiding it. Brand Name Fever Use of brand name alone, without accompanying visual detail, to create false verisimilitude. You can stock a future with Hondas and Sonys and IBM's and still have no idea with it looks like. "Call a Rabbit a Smeerp" A cheap technique for false exoticism, in which common elements of the real world are re-named for a fantastic milieu without any real alteration in their basic nature or behavior. "Smeerps" are especially common in fantasy worlds, where people often ride exotic steeds that look and act just like horses. (Attributed to James Blish.) Gingerbread Useless ornament in prose, such as fancy sesquipedalian Latinate words where short clear English ones will do. Novice authors sometimes use "gingerbread" in the hope of disguising faults and conveying an air of refinement. (Attr. Damon Knight) Not Simultaneous The mis-use of the present participle is a common structural sentence-fault for beginning writers. "Putting his key in the door, he leapt up the stairs and got his revolver out of the bureau." Alas, our hero couldn't do this even if his arms were forty feet long. This fault shades into "Ing Disease," the tendency to pepper sentences with words ending in "-ing," a grammatical construction which tends to confuse the proper sequence of events. (Attr. Damon Knight) Pushbutton Words Bogus lyricism like "star," "dance," "dream," "song," "tears" and "poet". Used to evoke a cheap emotional response without engaging the intellect or critical faculties, getting us misty-eyed and tender-hearted without us quite knowing why. Most often found in titles. Roget's Disease The ludicrous overuse of far-fetched adjectives, piled into a festering, fungal, tenebrous, troglodytic, ichorous, leprous, synonymic heap. (Attr. John W. Campbell) "Said" Bookism An artificial verb used to avoid the word "said." "Said" is one of the few invisible words in the English language and is almost impossible to overuse. It is much less distracting than "he retorted," "she inquired," "he ejaculated," and other oddities. The term "said-book" comes from certain pamphlets, containing hundreds of purple-prose synonyms for the word "said," which were sold to aspiring authors from tiny ads in American magazines of the pre-WWII era. Tom Swifty An unseemly compulsion to follow the word "said" with a colourful adverb: "'We'd better hurry,' Tom said swiftly." This was a standard mannerism of the old Tom Swift adventure dime-novels. Good dialogue can stand on its own without a clutter of adverbial props. Part Two: Paragraphs and Prose Structure Bathos A sudden, alarming change in the level of diction. "There will be bloody riots and savage insurrections leading to a violent popular uprising unless the regime starts being lots nicer about stuff." Countersinking Expositional redundancy. "'Let's get out of here,' he said, urging her to leave." Dischism The unwitting intrusion of the author's physical surroundings or mental state into the text of the story. Authors who smoke or drink while writing often drown or choke their characters with an endless supply of booze and cigs. In subtler forms of the Dischism, the characters complain of their confusion and indecision -- when this is actually the author's condition at the moment of writing, not theirs within the story. "Dischism" is named after the critic who diagnosed this syndrome. (Attr. Thomas M. Disch) False Humanity An ailment endemic to genre writing, in which soap-opera elements of purported human interest are stuffed into the story willy-nilly, whether or not they advance the plot or contribute to the point of the story. The actions of such characters convey an itchy sense of irrelevance, for the author has invented their problems out of whole cloth, so as to have something to emote about. False Interiorisation A cheap labour-saving technique in which the author, too lazy to describe the surroundings, afflicts the viewpoint-character with a blindfold, an attack of space-sickness, the urge to play marathon whist-games in the smoking-room, etc. Fuzz An element of motivation the author was too lazy to supply. The word "somehow" is a useful tip-off to fuzzy areas of a story. "Somehow she had forgotten to bring her gun." Hand Waving An attempt to distract the reader with dazzling prose or other verbal fireworks, so as to divert attention from a severe logical flaw. (Attr. Stewart Brand) Laughtrack Characters grandstand and tug the reader's sleeve in an effort to force a specific emotional reaction. They laugh wildly at their own jokes, cry loudly at their own pain, and rob the reader of any real chance of attaining genuine emotion. Show, Don’t Tell A cardinal principle of effective writing. The reader should be allowed to react naturally to the evidence presented in the story, not instructed in how to react by the author. Specific incidents and carefully observed details will render auctorial lectures unnecessary. For instance, instead of telling the reader "She had a bad childhood, an unhappy childhood," a specific incident -- involving, say, a locked closet and two jars of honey -- should be shown. Rigid adherence to show-don't-tell can become absurd. Minor matters are sometimes best gotten out of the way in a swift, straightforward fashion. Signal from Fred A comic form of the "Dischism" in which the author's subconscious, alarmed by the poor quality of the work, makes unwitting critical comments: "This doesn't make sense." "This is really boring." "This sounds like a bad movie." (Attr. Damon Knight) Squid in the Mouth The failure of an author to realize that his/her own weird assumptions and personal in-jokes are simply not shared by the world-at-large. Instead of applauding the wit or insight of the author's remarks, the world-at-large will stare in vague shock and alarm at such a writer, as if he or she had a live squid in the mouth. Since SF writers as a breed are generally quite loony, and in fact make this a stock in trade, "squid in the mouth" doubles as a term of grudging praise, describing the essential, irreducible, divinely unpredictable lunacy of the true SF writer. (Attr. James P Blaylock) Squid on the Mantelpiece Chekhov said that if there are dueling pistols over the mantelpiece in the first act, they should be fired in the third. In other words, a plot element should be deployed in a timely fashion and with proper dramatic emphasis. However, in SF plotting the MacGuffins are often so overwhelming that they cause conventional plot structures to collapse. It's hard to properly dramatize, say, the domestic effects of Dad's bank overdraft when a giant writhing kraken is levelling the city. This mismatch between the conventional dramatic proprieties and SF's extreme, grotesque, or visionary thematics is known as the "squid on the mantelpiece." MF – I’ve heard several versions of the supposed “Chekhov’s Gun” principle, no two of them meaning exactly the same thing. For example, the version I first heard is “If a character produces a gun, then it should be used to shoot someone, or threaten someone, or go off by accident, or fail to fire when it’s needed, and so on. If it does none of these things, then it is superfluous and should be taken out altogether.” That’s a point about narrative tidiness rather than timely deployment of plot elements. White Room Syndrome A clear and common sign of the failure of the author's imagination, most often seen at the beginning of a story, before the setting, background, or characters have gelled. "She awoke in a white room." The 'white room' is a featureless set for which details have yet to be invented -- a failure of invention by the author. The character 'wakes' in order to begin a fresh train of thought -- again, just like the author. This 'white room' opening is generally followed by much earnest pondering of circumstances and useless exposition; all of which can be cut, painlessly. It remains to be seen whether the "white room" cliche' will fade from use now that most authors confront glowing screens rather than blank white paper. Wiring Diagram Fiction A genre ailment related to "False Humanity," "Wiring Diagram Fiction" involves "characters" who show no convincing emotional reactions at all, since they are overwhelmed by the author's fascination with gadgetry or didactic lectures. MF – A trap hard SF often falls into, in my experience. I suppose the related ailment in GW fiction would be “fluff-diagram fiction” (sorry Gav), in which the story is sidelined by the author’s desire to lay out in detail some aspect of his take on the game-universe. You Can't Fire Me, I Quit An attempt to diffuse the reader's incredulity with a pre-emptive strike -- as if by anticipating the reader's objections, the author had somehow answered them. "I would never have believed it, if I hadn't seen it myself!" "It was one of those amazing coincidences that can only take place in real life!" "It's a one-in-a-million chance, but it's so crazy it just might work!" Surprisingly common, especially in SF. (Attr. John Kessel) Part Three: Common Workshop Story Types Adam and Eve Story Nauseatingly common subset of the "Shaggy God Story" in which a terrible apocalypse, spaceship crash, etc., leaves two survivors, man and woman, who turn out to be Adam and Eve, parents of the human race! MF – Not an issue for GW writing for obvious reasons. See Alfred Bester’s “Adam With No Eve” in the brilliant anthology Starburst for a rather good twist on the idea. The Cosy Catastrophe Story in which horrific events are overwhelming the entirety of human civilization, but the action concentrates on a small group of tidy, middle-class, white Anglo-Saxon protagonists. The essence of the cosy catastrophe is despite the supposed devastation the hero actually has a pretty good time (a girl, free suites at the Savoy, fancy cars for the taking) while everyone is dying off. (Attr. Brian Aldiss) Dennis Hopper Syndrome A story based on some arcane bit of science or folklore, which noodles around producing random weirdness. Then a loony character-actor (usually best played by Dennis Hopper) barges into the story and baldly tells the protagonist what's going on by explaining the underlying mystery in a long bug-eyed rant. (Attr. Howard Waldrop) MF - Not unrelated to Roger Ebert's remarks about the Talking Killer device, aka "Before I kill you, Mister Bond..." The killer gets the protagonist at his mercy and then decides to put off killing him so that he can fill the hero in on exactly what's been going on, and bring the reader up to speed at the same time. You know, like I did at the end of Crossfire. Although this is a plot device rather than an actual story type. Deus ex Machina or "God in the Box" Story featuring a miraculous solution to the story's conflict, which comes out of nowhere and renders the struggles of the characters irrelevant. Oh look, the Martians all caught cold and died. The Grubby Apartment Story Writing a little too much about what you know. The penniless writer living in a grubby apartment writes a story about a penniless writer living in a grubby apartment. Stars all his friends. The Jar of Tang "For you see, we are all living in a jar of Tang!" "For you see, I am a dog!" Mainstay of the old Twilight Zone TV show. An entire pointless story contrived so the author can jump out at the end and cry "Fooled you!" For instance, the story takes place in a desert of coarse orange sand surrounded by an impenetrable vitrine barrier; surprise! our heroes are microbes in a jar of Tang powdered orange drink. This is a classic case of the difference between a conceit and an idea. "What if we all lived in a jar of Tang?" is an example of the former; "What if the revolutionaries from the sixties had been allowed to set up their own society?" is an example of the latter. Good SF requires ideas, not conceits. (Attr. Stephen P. Brown) When done with serious intent rather than as a passing conceit, this type of story can be dignified by the term "Concealed Environment." (Attr. Christopher Priest) Just-Like Fallacy SF story which thinly adapts the trappings of a standard pulp adventure setting. The spaceship is "just like" an Atlantic steamer, down to the Scottish engineer in the hold. A colony planet is "just like" Arizona except for two moons in the sky. "Space Westerns" and futuristic hard-boiled detective stories have been especially common versions. MF – Then again, one of the fun things about the GW settings – the 40Kverse more than the Warhammer world, it seems to me – is the way you can rip all kinds of stuff off and stuff it in there to do a 41st-millennium tribute to it. Not necessarily a bad thing, providing you don’t end up in Bat Durston territory (more about him another time). [From another post:] In case you are not familiar with the term, a Bat Durston refers derogatorily to a science fiction story which is little more than a traditional western using sf settings and icons. Taking the comparison to alternate history, the better stories in this genre should create the story’s world for some reason other than merely creating a nice setting for an adventure. The Kitchen-Sink Story A story overwhelmed by the inclusion of any and every new idea that occurs to the author in the process of writing it. (Attr. Damon Knight) The Motherhood Statement SF story which posits some profoundly unsettling threat to the human condition, explores the implications briefly, then hastily retreats to affirm the conventional social and humanistic pieties, ie apple pie and motherhood. Greg Egan once stated that the secret of truly effective SF was to deliberately "burn the motherhood statement." (Attr. Greg Egan) MF - He wasn’t kidding, either. Greg Egan writes some of the most powerful and disturbing hard SF I’ve read, precisely because he’s not afraid to back away from the full implications of the science and technology he writes about. I think that 40K writing is vulnerable to this to a certain degree: I’ve seen quite a few stories that dip a toe into the grim, violent, insane world of the 41st Millennium, stay there for a moment but quickly falls back into “but the Imperium is actually an OK place and lots of people there are nice and happy just like us”. Discussion on this welcome. The "Poor Me" Story Autobiographical piece in which the male viewpoint character complains that he is ugly and can't get laid. (Attr. Kate Wilhelm) Re-Inventing the Wheel A novice author goes to enormous lengths to create a situation already tiresomely familiar to the experienced reader. Reinventing the Wheel was traditionally typical of mainstream writers venturing into SF without actually reading any of the existing stuff first (because it's all obviously crap anyway). Thus you get endless explanations of, say, how an atomic war might get started by accident, and so on. It is now often seen in writers who lack experience in genre history because they were attracted to written SF via movies, television, role-playing games, comics or computer gaming. MF – Not that coming into the genre that way is a bad thing per se, but when a writer hasn’t had much exposure to written specfic in this way it usually shows, and not in a good way. To quote Terry Pratchett, you should be importing, not recycling. The Rembrandt Comic Book A story in which incredible craftsmanship has been lavished on a theme or idea which is basically trivial or subliterary, and which simply cannot bear the weight. The Shaggy God Story A piece which mechanically adopts a Biblical or other mythological tale and provides flat science-fictional "explanations" for the theological events. (Attr. Michael Moorcock) MF – Although he wrote them himself: arguably his finest and most powerful story, called “Behold The Man”, does this for the life of Jesus. I remember it disturbed me when I read it, and I’m not even religious. The Slipstream Story Non-SF story which is so ontologically distorted or related in such a bizarrely non-realist fashion that it cannot pass muster as commercial mainstream fiction and therefore seeks shelter in the SF or fantasy genre. Postmodern critique and technique are particularly fruitful in creating slipstream stories. The Steam-Grommet Factory Didactic SF story which consists entirely of a guided tour of a large and elaborate gimmick. A common technique of SF utopias and dystopias. (Attr. Gardner Dozois) MF – See the opening of Huxley’s Brave New World for an example of this done effectively. The Tabloid Weird Story produced by a confusion of SF and Fantasy tropes -- or rather, by a confusion of basic world-views. Tabloid Weird is usually produced by the author's own inability to distinguish between a rational, Newtonian-Einsteinian, cause-and- effect universe and an irrational, supernatural, fantastic universe. Either the FBI is hunting the escaped mutant from the genetics lab, or the drill-bit has bored straight into Hell -- but not both at once in the very same piece of fiction. Even fantasy worlds need an internal consistency of sorts, so that a Sasquatch Deal-with-the-Devil story is also "Tabloid Weird." Sasquatch crypto-zoology and Christian folk superstition simply don't mix well, even for comic effect. (Attr. Howard Waldrop) MF – I’m not as convinced as the Lexicon that these two genres are utterly incompatible. Well, obviously not, since I work in a setting which combines them without hesitation. Which isn’t to say that the combination doesn’t need to be handled delicately, since those aforementioned different mindsets lead to different storytelling conventions as well as different world views. The Whistling Dog A story related in such an elaborate, arcane, or convoluted manner that it impresses by its sheer narrative ingenuity, but which, as a story, is basically not worth the candle. Like the whistling dog, it's astonishing that the thing can whistle -- but it doesn't actually whistle very well. (Attr. Harlan Ellison) Part Four: Plots Abbess Phone Home Takes its name from a mainstream story about a medieval cloister which was sold as SF because of the serendipitous arrival of a UFO at the end. By extension, any mainstream story with a gratuitous SF or fantasy element tacked on so it could be sold. And plot Picaresque plot in which this happens, and then that happens, and then something else happens, and it all adds up to nothing in particular. Bogus Alternatives List of actions a character could have taken, but didn't. Frequently includes all the reasons why, as the author stops the action dead to work out complicated plot problems at the reader's expense. "If I'd gone along with the cops they would have found the gun in my purse. And anyway, I didn't want to spend the night in jail. I suppose I could have just run instead of stealing their car, but then..." etc. Best dispensed with entirely. Card Tricks in the Dark Elaborately contrived plot which arrives at (a) the punchline of a private joke nobody else will get, or (b) the display of some bit of learned trivia only the author is interested in. This stunt may be intensely ingenious, and very gratifying to the author, but it serves no visible fictional purpose. (Attr. Tim Powers) Idiot Plot A plot which functions only because all the characters involved are idiots. They behave in a way that suits the author's convenience, rather than through any rational motivation of their own. (Attr. James Blish) Kudzu plot Plot which weaves and curls and writhes in weedy organic profusion, smothering everything in its path. Plot Coupons The basic building blocks of the quest-type fantasy plot. The "hero" collects sufficient plot coupons (magic sword, magic book, magic cat) to send off to the author for the ending. Note that "the author" can be substituted for "the Gods" in such a work: "The Gods decreed he would pursue this quest." Right, mate. The author decreed he would pursue this quest until sufficient pages were filled to procure an advance. (Dave Langford) MF - Nick Lowe expands on the idea in an excellent article atwww.ansible.co.uk/Ansible/plotdev.html. Cheers to Bill King for the link. Second-order Idiot Plot A plot involving an entire invented SF society which functions only because every single person in it is necessarily an idiot. (Attr. Damon Knight) MF – The assertion that this applies to the 40K Imperium is not a new one. Floor’s open… Part Five: Background "As You Know Bob" A pernicious form of info-dump through dialogue, in which characters tell each other things they already know, for the sake of getting the reader up-to-speed. This very common technique is also known as "Rod and Don dialogue" (attr. Damon Knight) or "maid and butler dialogue" (attr Algis Budrys). The Edges of Ideas The solution to the "Info-Dump" problem (how to fill in the background). The theory is that, for example, the mechanics of an interstellar drive (the centre of the idea) are not important. What matters is the impact on your characters: they can get to other planets in a few months, and, oh yeah, it gives them hallucinations about past lives. Or, more radically: the physics of TV transmission is the center of an idea; on the edges of it we find people turning into couch potatoes because they no longer have to leave home for entertainment. Or, more bluntly: we don't need info dump at all. We just need a clear picture of how people's lives have been affected by their background. Eyeball Kick That perfect, telling detail that creates an instant visual image. The ideal of certain postmodern schools of SF is to achieve a "crammed prose" full of "eyeball kicks." (Rudy Rucker) MF - See the other thread. Frontloading Piling too much exposition into the beginning of the story, so that it becomes so dense and dry that it is almost impossible to read. (Attr. Connie Willis) Infodump Large chunk of indigestible expository matter intended to explain the background situation. Info-dumps can be covert, as in fake newspaper or "Encyclopedia Galactica" articles, or overt, in which all action stops as the author assumes center stage and lectures. Info-dumps are also known as "expository lumps." The use of brief, deft, inoffensive info-dumps is known as "kuttnering," after Henry Kuttner. When information is worked unobtrusively into the story's basic structure, this is known as "heinleining." "I've suffered for my Art" (and now it's your turn) A form of info-dump in which the author inflicts upon the reader hard-won, but irrelevant bits of data acquired while researching the story. As Algis Budrys once pointed out, homework exists to make the difficult look easy. Nowhere Nowhen Story Putting too little exposition into the story's beginning, so that the story, while physically readable, seems to take place in a vacuum and fails to engage any readerly interest. (Attr. L. Sprague de Camp) Ontological riff Passage in an SF story which suggests that our deepest and most basic convictions about the nature of reality, space-time, or consciousness have been violated, technologically transformed, or at least rendered thoroughly dubious. The works of H. P. Lovecraft, Barrington Bayley, and Philip K Dick abound in "ontological riffs." Space Western The most pernicious suite of "Used Furniture". The grizzled space captain swaggering into the spacer bar and slugging down a Jovian brandy. Stapledon Name assigned to the voice which takes centre stage to lecture. Actually a common noun, as: "You have a Stapledon come on to answer this problem instead of showing the characters resolve it." Used Furniture Use of a background out of Central Casting. Rather than invent a background and have to explain it, or risk re-inventing the wheel, let's just steal one. We'll set it in the Star Trek Universe, only we'll call it the Empire instead of the Federation. Part Six: Character and Viewpoint Funny-hat characterization A character distinguished by a single identifying tag, such as odd headgear, a limp, a lisp, a parrot on his shoulder, etc. MF – This can work if done deftly and with minor characters. Stephen King excels at it, and Ed McBain is pretty good too. Mary Sue A ridiculously perfect and idealised character, moving through a story which serves no other purpose than demonstrating how ridiculously perfect and idealised Mary Sue is. None of the other characters have anything to do other than rave about Mary Sue's wonderfulness; challenges and obstacles exist only for Mary Sue to solve effortlessly to admiring gasps from everyone else. Also known as "avatars" or "self-insertion", since the most common Mary Sues are thinly-disguised versions of the author and are more about wish-fulfiment fantasies than conventional storytelling. Endemic to fanfic; the term apparently originates from an early and infamous example in an old Star Trek fanzine. MF - There are lots of definitions and examples of Mary Sue, although the term as it's used here isn't really attributable to one author any more. The definition supplied here owes much to Teresa Nielsen Hayden's rather good one athttp://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004188.html. GW fanfics and homebrew backgrounds aren't immune either - you can find them pretty easily once you know the signs. The twist is that the Mary Sue is often a Guard regiment, Space Marine Chapter, Eldar Craftworld or an entire galactic state. Common warning signs: "The Mary Sue Regiment fought so ferociously in the Battle of Sueville that even the [famous Space Marine Chapter] were awe-struck that unaugmented humans could fight so hard, and their Chapter Master officially declared the Mary Sue regiment the equals of Space Marines". "Inquisitor Mary Sue has demonstrated such amazing ability that the High Lords have personally ordered that nobody is allowed to stand in her way or question her actions". "Now that it has declared independence from the Imperium the Mary Sue Republic has become a haven of enlightenment and progress, where technology is being developed at an exponential rate with no aura of superstitious mysticism, painless and fully-effective techniques to protect psykers from daemonic attack have been developed, alien races of all kinds are putting aside their differences and living contentedly side by side, and where every Imperial who sees what's going on immediately defects once they see how wonderful and free life among the Mary Sues is". I've since found out that even the original "Ensign Mary Sue" in that old seventies fanfic was a satire on the trope, so clearly it was already a fiction cliche by then. Mrs. Brown The small, downtrodden, eminently common, everyday little person who nevertheless encapsulates something vital and important about the human condition. "Mrs. Brown" is a rare personage in the SF genre, being generally overshadowed by swaggering submyth types made of the finest gold-plated cardboard. In a famous essay, "Science Fiction and Mrs. Brown," Ursula K. Le Guin decried Mrs. Brown's absence from the SF field. (Attr: Virginia Woolf) ...stamped on their forehead The story lets a character get away with something illogical or impossible because they have "hero" (or "villain", "sidekick", disposable underling", or whatever) stamped on their foreheads. There's nothing wrong with heroes triumphing against the odds or villains being brought low through their own flaws, but those consequences need to come about because of the characters and their actions rather than despite them. Adapted from Aaron Allston's roleplayers' glossary from a few years ago, which included "He's got 'PC' [player character] stamped on his forehead" as an all-purpose excuse for why characters unquestioningly accepted or trusted one anothers' actions while treating non-player characters differently. (Aaron Allston.) MF - This was partly prompted by the "script immunity" and "Hollywood Shield" ideas in the discussion thread, although the scene I had in mind for it was actually in Walking Tall, where the main character is manifestly guilty of all manner of assaults and property destruction but is acquitted in court when he makes a sentimental speech about down-home values. It doesn't even resemble making a legal case for his innocence, but he gets let off because he's got "hero" stamped on his forehead. Submyth Classic character-types in SF which aspire to the condition of archetype but don't quite make it, such as the mad scientist, the crazed supercomputer, the emotionless super-rational alien, the vindictive mutant child, etc. (Attr. Ursula K. Le Guin) MF – You can pick the GWverse submyths for yourselves, I’m sure. Viewpoint glitch The author loses track of point-of-view, switches point-of-view for no good reason, or relates something that the viewpoint character could not possibly know. Part Seven: Miscellaneous AM/FM Engineer's term distinguishing the inevitable clunky real-world faultiness of "Actual Machines" from the power-fantasy techno-dreams of "Fething Magic." MF – Except the original Lexicon didn’t say “fething”. :grinning_emoticon: Well worth remembering for 40K and Necromunda fiction, which deliberately shies away from the sleek, clean, super-reliable dream-tech of settings like Star Trek. Consensus Reality Useful term for the purported world in which the majority of modern sane people generally agree that they live -- as opposed to the worlds of, say, Forteans, semioticians or quantum physicists. Intellectual sexiness The intoxicating glamor of a novel scientific idea, as distinguished from any actual intellectual merit that it may someday prove to possess. The Ol' Baloney Factory "Science Fiction" as a publishing and promotional entity in the world of commerce. — Additional suggestions from other forum members: User Chiron: Script Immunity The tendency of lynchpin characters to be blatantly immune to harm, despite the fact that they consistently place themselves in situations that they cannot reasonably be expected to survive. User Vortemir: Hollywood Shield / Imperial Stormtrooper Syndrome Bad Guys will never be able to hit essential characters no matter what they're armed with or how hard they try. — [Originally posted to Black Library Online, October 2004, by user Matt Farrer] A term from the Turkey City Lexicon that might be useful here is the "eyeball kick", Rudy Rucker's term for that perfectly-turned descriptive phrase that creates an instant, telling visual image for the reader. An example that springs to mind from the opening of Necropolis:
After a minute or so, raid-sirens in the central district also began keening. The pattern was picked up by manufactory hooters and mill whistles all through the lower hive, and in the mill whistles and outer habs across the river too. Even the great ceremonial horns on the top of the Ecclesiarchy Basilica started to sound.Vervunhive was screaming with every one of its voices.
That last line provides the eyeball kick. Some other examples that spring to mind: "[he] screamed out two mouthfuls of silent spun glass" (Stephen King); "the sky above Chiba City was the colour of a television tuned to a blank band" (William Gibson); "a great moist loaf of a body... features as bunched as kissed fingertips" (E. Annie Proulx); "[after walking through snow] my feet, in wet socks, slowly turned to marble and fell off" (Donald Westlake). I don't know if there's a way you can break down an eyeball kick to pick apart the technique, since its whole impact comes from lateral thinking and the effect of an incongruous image that nevertheless fits exactly with what you're describing. It's an imagination thing rather than a technique thing. However, the paragraph from Necropolis that I used above is also a very good example of how to maximise the effect of a good piece of description, and worth having a closer look at. Firstly, the rest of the paragraph has been describing the machinery that makes the sound, and doing so in fairly neutral, inorganic terms: "keening", at the start of the para, is about as close as we get to an emotive word. The rest is a pretty calm description about how a series of klaxons and horns are going off. That increases the wrench when we suddenly switch gears into words that you'd use to describe a living being in agony: "screaming with every one of its voices", which gives weight to the sense of foreboding that dominates the early pages. This is reinforced further by the way that the previous sentences tend to be longer, with more connecting commas and lots of adjectives to slow their rhythm and give a more discursive feel, while the last sentence is a simple, flat declarative. Using the rhythm of words and sentences for a setup and payoff like that is a very good way of driving home a piece of exposition or description, and it's something that Dan uses quite a bit. Secondly, look at the way that the passage, which at first blush is about the sounds of the sirens, actually helps build a visual image as well. We've been going through all the various parts and districts of Vervunhive, watching as different kinds of buildings in different areas go off. Look at how the mental "camera" moves down the lower hive, then down the river, then up to the top of the Basilica. Then in the last sentence we get an eyeball kick that describes the whole of Vervunhive as a single entity: the effect is like pulling back sharply from an individual scene or building and seeing the whole Hive at once. And that concludes the main piece of visual scene-setting at the opening: notice that in the next line Dan can start in on conversations between individual characters around the Hive because the major scene has been laid out. The broad point to take away from this is that each piece of text should work on as many levels as possible, and even a short passage like that one can be far more than the sum of its parts. I suspect that the reason a lot of bad fiction (including, I am sorry to say, a lot of fanfic I've seen) seems so flat and plodding is that each sentence is put down to do one thing: make a statement, provide a description or what have you. But there's no depth to the prose, no interaction between them to create any rhythm, or momentum, or startling switch in imagery. It's like a song from your favourite band, with each element (vocals, percussion, each instrument) separated and played end to end. It sounds so much better when they're all working together. — That's it. Got any suggestions for new 40K-specific tropes to add?
The world of DeFi is exploding but is it all it’s made out to be?
DeFi (decentralised finance) is most certainly the buzz in the crypto world this minute. It’s bringing similar feelings which was the 2017/18 ICO phase, where a mammoth of new projects begun to explode onto the scene, each with their own promise of new innovation and use case. Hindsight has shown us that most of those projects have ultimately failed, or worse, were outright scams that took advantage of not so wise investors looking to make a buck. Obviously, not all projects fit that description, with many teams still around today working on and delivering their individual visions. Crypto is, after all, still a big experiment of new technology.
Enter DeFi: Serum
DeFi has exploded into the limelight over the last few months, with some tokens appreciating hundreds of percent in price. It appears to be the catalyst that has driven a huge market shift in the crypto world, and for those who’ve been around a number of years, this is a welcome change. In this piece, I’m going to examine a particular project called Serum.
Serum is the world’s first completely decentralized derivatives exchange with trustless cross-chain trading brought to you by Project Serum.
The Serum Project is aiming to create both a decentralised exchange and a cross-chain swapping mechanism. In this article, I’m going to focus solely on the cross-chain swapping aspect of Serum. Although the Serum whitepaper is quite short and lacking in detail, it is useful to derive some understanding of how the cross-chain swapping protocol should work. Throughout this review, I will use it to describe how the imagined protocol works.
Let's assume Alice wants to trade some BTC for ETH and Bob wants to trade some ETH for BTC using Serum. These two users are matched and agree on a price using an on-chain order book on the Solana blockchain (whitepaper provides no practical details on how to do this). Once these users are matched, Bob must send the ETH he wants to trade to an Ethereum smart contract, plus some amount of ETH ~200 USD worth (see section 4 below) to the smart contract as collateral. Alice will also need to send some collateral to the smart contract. Once this initial setup process is complete Alice then has to send her BTC to Bob’s BTC address and if Bob receives the BTC from Alice he can then release his ETH from the smart contract sending it to Alice’s ETH address. Upon completion of this both Alice and Bob are refunded their ETH collateral. So what happens if something goes wrong? For example, say Alice never sends BTC to Bob, after some period of time Bob can initiate a dispute. When the dispute begins both Alice and Bob present a portion of the Bitcoin blockchain information to the smart contract (see section 3). The smart contract then decides whether or not Alice did send BTC to Bob. If she hasn’t then the smart contract returns Bob's ETH and collateral to Bob and also takes Alice’s ETH collateral and gives that to Bob. The same occurs in reverse if Alice sends BTC but Bob never approves the transfer of ETH from the smart contract. This scheme seems pretty simple, there’s no oracles and no centralised parties, however, it has a number of disadvantages.
1. User-Provided Collateral Is Bad for User Experience
Each time a user conducts a swap they must reserve some percentage or fixed amount to cover the collateral for the swap. This collateral amount needs to be present to prevent griefing attacks where users initiate swaps with no intention of ever following through and sending funds to the alternate participant. However, this creates a poor user experience as both Alice and Bob need to have at least the value of the dispute fee committed to the contract in collateral before they conduct a swap. This is totally foreign from the normal exchange experience in which you only require a single coin and a single transaction to begin trading. For example, if using Serum to trade Bitcoin you would need to hold Bitcoin and ~200$ of Ethereum and also interact with the Ethereum chain before any swap occurs. This adds unnecessary complexity and confusion, especially for newcomers to the crypto space.
2. ETH Must Always Be on One Side of the Swap
Although the Serum method of cross-chain swapping could occur on any blockchain with smart contracts, the Serum whitepaper makes it clear the Serum arbitration contract is going to be deployed on the Ethereum blockchain. This means one party must always be locking the full value of the trade in ETH using an Ethereum smart contract. This makes it impossible, for example, to do a single step trade between Bitcoin and Monero since the swap would need to be from Bitcoin to ETH first and then from ETH to Monero. This is comparable to other proposed cross-chain swap systems like Thorchain and Blockswap, however since those networks use AMM’s (automated market makers)and decentralized vaults to take custody of funds, the user needs not to interact with the intermediary chain at all. Instead in Serum, the user wanting to swap Bitcoin to Monero will need to do the following steps:
Send Ethereum collateral to the Serum arbitration contract
Send Bitcoin to the user they are swapping with.
Send Ethereum back to Serum arbitration contract
Send Ethereum out of Serum arbitration contract
Receive back Ethereum collateral
It might be possible to remove or simplify step 4, depending on how the smart contract is built, however, this means a swap from BTC to Monero would require 2 Ethereum and 1 Bitcoin transaction in the best-case scenario. Compared with the experience of other cross-chain swapping mechanisms, which only require the user to send a single transaction to swap between two assets, this is very poor user experience.
3. Proving Transactions on Arbitrary Chains to a Smart Contract Is Not Trivial
Perhaps the most central part of the Serum cross-chain swapping mechanism is left completely unexplored in the Serum whitepaper with only a brief explanation given.
“[The] Smart Contract is programmed to parse whether a proposed BTC blockchain is valid; it can then check which of Alice and Bob send the longer valid blockchain, and settle in their favor”
This is not a trivial problem, and it is unclear how this actually works from the explanation given in the Serum whitepaper. What actually needs to be presented to the smart contract to prove a Bitcoin transaction? Typically when talking about SPV the smart contract would need the block headers of all previous blocks and a merkle inclusion proof. This is far too heavy to submit in a dispute. Instead, Serum could use NIPoPoW, however, these proofs only work on chains with fixed difficulty and are still probably prohibitively too large (~100KB) to be submitted as a proof to a contract. Other solutions like Flyclient are more versatile, but proof sizes are much larger and have failed to see much real-world adoption. Without explaining how they actually plan to do this validation of Bitcoin transactions, users are left in the dark about how secure their solution actually is.
4. High Dispute Fees Force Large Collateral on Small Trades
Although disputes should almost never happen because of the incentives and punishments designed into the Serum protocol, the way they are designed has negative impacts on the use of the network. Although the Serum whitepaper does not say how the dispute mechanism works, they do say that it will cost about ~100 USD in GAS to dispute a swap. Note: keep in mind that the Serum paper was published in July 2020 when the gas price was about 50 Gwei, as Ethereum use has picked up over the past month we have seen average GAS prices as high as 250 Gwei, with the average price right now about 120 Gwei. This means that at the height of GAS prices it could have cost a user ~500 USD to dispute a swap. This means for the network to ensure losing cross-chain swaps aren’t made each user must deploy at least $200 in collateral on each side. It may be possible to lower this to collateral if we assume the attacker is not financially motivated, however, there is a lower bound in which ransom attacks become possible on low-value trades. Further and perhaps more damagingly, this means in a trade of any size the user needs to have at least 300 USD in ETH laying around. 100 USD in ETH for the required collateral and 200 USD if they need to challenge the transaction. This further adds to the poor user experience when using Serum for cross-chain swapping.
5. Swaps Are Not Set and Forget
Instead of being able to send a transaction and receive funds on the blockchain you are swapping to, the process is highly interactive. In the case where I am swapping ETH for Bitcoin, the following occurs:
Send a transaction to the Serum arbitration contract with my collateral.
Send a transaction to the Serum arbitration contract with the funds to be traded.
Wait until the Bitcoin transaction sent to my address has an acceptable amount of confirmations (up to 60 mins, depending on network congestion).
If the Bitcoin transaction is never received then I need to wait for a timeout to occur before I can participate in the dispute process.
Send a transaction to the Serum arbitration contract unlocking my funds and sending them to the participant.
And on the Bitcoin side (assuming the seller is ready), the following must take place:
Send my Ethereum collateral to the smart contract.
Send the Bitcoin.
Wait until the Seller has accepted that Bitcoin.
If the Seller never accepts the Bitcoin I sent to him then I need to wait on line for the dispute process.
Wait to receive my ETH + Collateral back.
This presents a strange user experience where the seller or seller’s wallet must be left online during this whole process and be ready to sign a new transaction if they need to dispute transactions or unlock funds from a smart contract. This is different from the typical exchange or swapping scenario in which, once your funds are sent you can be assured you will receive the amount you expected in your swap back to you, without any of your wallets needing to remain online.
6. The Serum Token Seems to Lack a Use Case
The cross-chain swapping protocol Serum describes in its whitepaper could easily be forked and launched on the Ethereum blockchain without having any need for the Serum token. It seems that the Serum token will be used in some capacity when placing orders on the Solana based blockchain, however, the order book could just as easily be placed off with traditional rate-limiting schemes. There is some brief mention of future governance abilities for token holders, however, as a common theme in their whitepaper, details are scarce:
Serum is anticipated to include a limited governance model based on the SRM token. While most of the Serum ecosystem will be immutable, some parameters without large security risks (e.g. future fees) may be modified via a governance vote of SRM tokens.
Until satisfactory answers are given to these questions I would be looking at other projects who are attempting to build platforms for cross-chain swaps. As previously mentioned, Thorchain & Blockswap show some promise in design, whilst there are some others competing in this space too, such as Incognito and RenVM. However, this area is still extremely immature so plenty of testing and time is required before we can call any of these projects a success. If you’ve got any feedback or thoughts about Serum, cross-chain swapping or DeFi in general, please don’t be shy in leaving a comment.
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