Sunday, March 11, 2018

Behind the Scenes of Cryptocurrency Exchanges: Secrets, Strategies, and More (Guest Post)

The following article is based on insights from the Blockchain Connect Conference in San Francisco. Included in this exchange panel are exchange CEO’s Chris Lee (OKEX), Jesse Powell (Kraken), Mike Kayamori (Quoine), Chief Strategy Officer Kailong Cai (Huobi), and Head of International Markets Ted Lin (Binance Exchange).

We’re gonna be a much more prosperous society because we don’t require such a huge drag on our society… because the blockchain is now that trusted third party.”- Tim Draper, American venture capital investor.

Cryptocurrency Trading Demographics

The US, Japan, and China are major cryptocurrency markets. The average trader is male in their 20s and 30s, with females and other extreme age groups entering the market.
OKEX: “30% of all Koreans are trading crypto.”
Huobi: 70% of customers come from China, a lot from Japan, but not much from US. About 50% are 30-50, while the average Chinese investor is 20-30.  “The male to female customers 4 months ago was 4:1. Now it’s 3.3:1. So female involvement is growing very fast”.
Kraken: Kraken exchange users are mostly male, with a recent influx in both really young (18 years old with little money) and those around 70 years old.  The average age in mid-30s more and tech-savvy with a bit of money to invest. “Lately we’ve seen both of the extremes, teens and people 70+.”
Binance: “We are 270th globally on Alexa, and 70th in the USA. The US is our biggest market, average age 25-35, mostly men.” The ones that are still not in crypto are the midlife crises ones, ages 50-60s, “but even grandmas are talking about crypto”.
Quoine: Early 20s coming en masse.“When I started it…. they were looking for the next excitement”.  Crypto is “bigger than FX” and other assets–Japanese investors are interested in leverage trading.

Importance of Cryptocurrency Exchange Security

Individuals need to make sure the exchange they are using makes security a priority, as exchanges are always a target. Moreover, users need to stop posting their cryptocurrency investments on social media.
Kraken: “Security is something we think about constantly… it was at the core of the exchange… it’s what inspired us to make an exchange” said Powell. “It’s a marathon, not a race… saw a lot of prominent members getting their cellphones ported away, people getting kidnapped”. Powell continues to warn traders on their personal safety, saying “if you talk about Bitcoin on social media, you should think twice about it”.
Binance: “When you grow too fast too quickly, you take shortcuts…There’s a tradeoff between customer convenience and security”. Lin makes it clear that some exchanges aren’t taking warning security measures in actual practice. Even with a regulated market in Japan, things still happen, which is why it is “up to each individual to make sure the service provider you are using puts security front and foremost”.

Impact of Whales In the Cryptocurrency Market

The exchange leaders tend to agree that there are whales, ranging from medium to heavy influence over the cryptocurrency market. However, there are no market makers with control total control over the market just yet. Investors need to beware of coins with low liquidity as they can be easily manipulated.
Kraken: “There are definitely whales that are market-making…. but I wouldn’t say anyone has massive influence over the price”.
Binance: “I would say whales exist, but not necessarily with evil intentions”. Some whales “out to play, some out to arbitrage”. Lin continues to say that some whales are “out to play, some out to arbitrage”, with less liquid markets like Ripple (which is 60% owned) having “whales that are market making, doing arbitrage”. Ultimately, Lin believes manipulation isn’t too widespread.
Huobi: Whales effect “70% of Bitcoin positions”.

How do Exchange Choose the Coins They List?

OKEX: The company looks at technology and how large the market is, and if there is “a ceiling” for this market. They also want to know if it is a utility token, and the risks, security, and the characteristics of the technology behind it. Lee says it takes a couple of weeks to a month to list a new coin.
Huobi: Huobi has a credit system called “smart chain” based on five criterion. This includes the strategy, management team, technology, its market size, and its potential. However, “one thing we don’t share is how we weight these items… we don’t want the bad guys to go public”.
Binance: People ask me “what are you gonna list next. It’s become a craze for people to jump on the next big thing”. Lin says there are only a few different ways to really understand if you picked the right project. “For us, we do a very proprietary methodology. Is the team good, do they have good track records, do they have a product…. And do they actually use blockchain technology for real?”. He continues to say they like modest teams that don’t seek extravagant amounts of money. “We pass less than 3% of all applicants in our reviews… 97% of those are rejected” states, Lin.


Bitcoin still is the preferred coin to trade, but altcoins are gaining traction. There’s also a slew of entrepreneurs attempting to appeal to the masses by launching ICOs.
Huobi: Before, we saw people trading a lot more. Now we see people holding it.
Quoine: Bitcoin is still the most popular coin. Its popularity is due in part because it’s the largest token in respects to volume as well as the Japanese government calling crypto legal tender.
Binance: Japan is more around Bitcoin, with the altcoin market being very small. This has to due with government regulations, as the government has to approve coins.

The Future of Cryptocurrency Trading

While the cryptocurrency market still looks like the wild west, market manipulation is expected to decrease. Countries should be looking to regulation to help control this manipulation.
Quoine: As the market matures, market manipulation will go down. Overtime, when there are more institutional investors and retail investors, the market will mature and exchanges will have to be transparent about who’s making markets, and who’s buying what.

Cryptocurrency Trading Psychology

People need to do better background research on coins instead of just investing based on its value or what the news says.
Kraken: Powell states “it’s scary when you hear some of these strategies”. He believes the news manipulates trading behaviors and thinks it is often dangerous to invest in coins just because they have a less than one cent value.
Binance: New users are often looking to coins with large fluctuations as they find them more exciting and potentially lucrative.

Final Thoughts

As the cryptocurrency world evolves in terms of user adoption and government regulation, cryptocurrency exchanges will be forced to adapt. Many exchanges are making large strategic bets on where they see the industry headed. Running a cryptocurrency exchange requires having nearly sage-level foresight mixed with the grit of being able to run a startup in an extremely fast paced and competitive environment.
Cryptocurrency exchange developments are going to be a very interesting topic to follow in 2018, so stay tuned for more!

This article by Erin Gorsline was originally published at

Friday, March 9, 2018

Huawei Nova 2i - My First Android Phone!

I am an ardent Apple fan! Since the launch of iPhone 4 (in 2010 if I am not wrong), I have been using it continuously until now. No, I am not an user of iPhone X, currently I am using iPhone 7 and usually I only change every 2 years when my contract end. 

So, what triggered me to get a new Android phone? 

There are a couple of reasons:

1. Recently, while reading through some blockchain and cryptocurrency related projects, noticed that most (if not all) of the projects launched their Android app much earlier than iOS (I believed one of the main reason is Apple take longer to review/accept the app). So, kind of FOMO (Fear of missing out) in that sense :-) 

2. Just happen that my company has arranged for a corporate  roadshow (by M1) and I took the opportunity to get myself my very first Android Phone in the form of Huawei's Nova 2i. With corporate discount, the handset is FREE, I just need to pay about $37+ per month (after the corporate discount) for 24 months. So, effectively this phone will cost me about $900+ in 2 years.

3. I have been wanting to try my hand on the non-Apple phone for a while just to see how difference is it from iPhone?

So, what is the verdict of my maiden experience? 

The UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) are quite close to iOS and probably Android is providing even more features than iOS (in view of the minimalist concept of the latter). It took me less time than expected to get used to the new UI. 

I've been using it for only 3 days now and so far the OS (operating system) is very stable. Also, admittedly the camera/photo quality is better than iOS. 

The next question is : would I switch from iOS to Android phone (completely) now?

The answer is NO! I will continue to treat iPhone as my main phone while using the Huawei phone to access news/apps interchangeably. 


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Top 10 Cryptocurrencies For the Past 5 Years And My Observation

By now, I believed most, if not all, of my readers have heard of cryptocurrency or minimally, the term Bitcoin? If you are the minority few that have not heard of it and why cryptocurrency could possibly the "new asset class"  that you could consider as part of your investment portfolio, head down to my friend, Christopher Ng's blog at Growing Your Tree Of Prosperity as he has started a new blog series on cryptocurrency.  

Cryptocurrency market is as volatile as it can get and double digits up and down within 24 hours is a common scene. So, if you are planning to plunge into it, do make sure that you are "invest" with your casino money (i.e. money that you are prepared to loss all without losing sleep), or if you are totally new to crypto, you might consider earning them (freely but slowly) as shared it in my earlier post.   

Recently, I chanced upon a neat picture on the Top 10 Cryptocurrencies for the past 5 years (see below) and thought it is worth sharing here. 

TOP 10 Cryptocurrencies By Market Cap (2014 to 2018):

My observations:
1. Bitcoin (BTC) is the mother of all Cryptocurrencies and personally think that it will continue to be the pivotal crypto for the next 5 years. The closest contender to dethrone Bitcoin is non other than Ethereum. 

2. 2017 is the catalyst year in crypto market as 9 out of the 10 cryptocurrencies achieved the billion dollars club in 2017 alone.

3. In the Jan 2018 list, half of the Top 10 cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, NEO, EOS, NEM) are the new entrance, it shows how vibrant the market is and the increasing trend of new coins/tokens being introduced in the recent years.    

4. If you notice, there is a dip in Bitcoin's market cap in Jan 2015, it mostly due to the Mt Gox saga.  

5. Only 4 Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin) continuously in Top 10 positions since their introduction.

Following is the Top 10 position as at 25th Feb 2018:

Further Observation:
a. Except for NEM (being replaced by IOTA), all the other 9 cryptocurrencies are staying put (with some shift of position).

b. Due to the huge sell-off in the beginning of 2018, there are a tremendous drop in the market cap for all the Top 10 cryptocurrencies.

c. Most of the cryptocurrencies moved in tandem, with some exceptional like DGD (DigixDAO) which is usually moving in the opposite direction.   

Are you vested in cryptocurrency? What is your view?


Exchanges that I am currently using:


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Recap Of My Blockchain Experience (Steemit and

As per my earlier post (3 Sites/Apps That Will Earn You Trade-able Cryptocurrencies), if you are keen to get your hand with some cryptocurrencies but not prepared to invest/buy it from the exchange, you can participate in some of the blockchain projects and at the same time earn you some associated cryptocurrencies/tokens.

Today, I am going to share/recap my experience thus far with Steemit (decentralized social network) and (blockchain related campaigns/tasks)

For more details of what each of them, check out my earlier post here

I've joined the Steemit community since Sep 2017. In the initial few weeks, I did participate in posting/commenting quite regularly (almost everyday) but subsequently, I only post/comment as and went I feel like it (still doing it now).

So far, my earning of STEEM and STEEM DOLLARS (cryptocurrencies of Steemit) is about USD 43.69:   
FYI, I've not cash out the amount to my exchange yet.

I've joined since late Dec 2017 and effective only with the platform/app for 2 months. So, far, most of the campaigns/surveys received are related to ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) and took more 1 or 2 minutes to complete each task. 

If you are interested to join this community, there is a need for you to create an account with Telegram (messaging service commonly used in ICO) and create a free ERC-20 compatible Ethereum Wallet like MyEtherWallet

So far, I've earned 0.0073 Bitcoins (about USD 71.36) :   

To test out their Cashout service, I've since cashout all the BTC to my linked Coinbase account (exchange) and it seems to work perfectly as I've received the following email immediately from Coinbase: 

Note: The BTC is slightly higher than the first image as I've since completed a couple more tasks before cashing out. Also, the transaction fee of 0.000076 BTC (about USD 0.80) is reasonable (initially I am expecting an higher fee). 

Do you have any experience in participating in the blockchain projects? What is your review? 


Exchanges that I am currently using:


Saturday, February 17, 2018

What is Litecoin? - A Beginner's Guide (Guest Post)

What is Litecoin?

Litecoin (LTC) is a decentralized peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that was released on October 7th, 2011 and went live on October 13th, 2011.
The silver to Bitcoin’s gold.
Bitcoin’s little brother that doesn’t get out much.
These are just a few of the things you might hear being tossed around when talking about Litecoin. At a first glance, Litecoin doesn’t garner much respect as a top 10 market cap cryptocurrency.
However, once you get into the weeds, Litecoin presents an extremely useful and interesting application of the original Bitcoin blockchain.
For all the flak Litecoin gets, it’s easy to overlook what it actually is, and what functions it serves.

The Low-Down on Litecoin

Litecoin was founded by former Google employee Charlie Lee. It was one of the first forks of the Bitcoin core client. It was proposed as a solution to some of the bottlenecks and scalability issues with Bitcoin, most notably the number of transactions that could be processed within a given time.

232.91 USD (5.64%) 
0.02253590 BTC


$12.87 B

$1.26 B
The edge Litecoin has over Bitcoin is that the payment transaction costs are extremely low, and it is capable of facilitating payments around 4x as fast.
Litecoin originally started gathering attention during its explosive growth in November 2013, where it saw a near 15x spike in price. This jump in price, however, was short-lived and Litecoin hovered around the $4 per LTC range for about two years. It wasn’t until May 2017 that it started to pick up steam again during a time where generally all cryptocurrencies experienced massive growth.

Litecoin market cap
Litecoin has also been relatively innovative, adopting new technologies such as Segregated Witness and carrying out the first Lightning Network transaction that sent 0.00000001 LTC from Zurich, Switzerland to San Francisco, USA in under a single second.

The Silver to Bitcoin’s Gold

There’s a reason Litecoin receives a lot of comparisons to Bitcoin. Except for a handful of minor distinctions, Litecoin serves the exact same purpose as Bitcoin. After all, it was one of the first Bitcoin forks.
bitcoin vs litecoin
Comparing Litecoin to Bitcoin not only makes sense from a convenience point of view, it also lets us zone in what makes it different at a technological level. Litecoin is meant to be used as peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and is actually able to accomplish the same job Bitcoin does at a faster and cheaper rate.  


Transaction confirmation speed plays a huge role in how quickly a currency gets adopted. Bitcoin confirmations usually take around ten minutes and have been steadily increasing with periods hitting as high as 2,548 minutes. Litecoin’s network is able to confirm transactions at a much quicker rate.
Litecoin’s verification period lasts a fixed 2.5 minutes. For every individual Bitcoin block that gets confirmed, four Litecoin blocks of equal size get confirmed.


The cost of sending any denomination of Litecoin costs around $0.09, whereas Bitcoin currently hovers around $5.00. This is an immediate advantage Litecoin has over Bitcoin for small transactions, since splitting a $10 Uber with a friend doesn’t make sense for most people if you have to pay $5.00 on top of that. Litecoin offers the option to pay for everyday goods without high fees that will start add up very quickly.


One of Litecoin’s goals is to distribute hash power more evenly than Bitcoin’s network. The problem that Litecoin’s founder Charlie Lee wanted to address was how Bitcoin’s hash power was largely distributed among mining pools, groups of miners, and generally a much smaller (and less decentralized) subset of miners. Litecoin aims to keep the hashing power decentralized.
Litecoin’s mining also keeps transaction fees relatively low due to the inherently higher total supply. There can only be 21 million Bitcoins existence, whereas there can be up to 84 million Litecoins. This matters because it makes mining less competitive, and the more competitive mining gets, the higher the transaction fees.
Whereas Bitcoin is near hitting some pretty serious scalability issues due to its high transaction fees, Litecoin is able to churn out block after block and retain its lower transaction costs. Granted, not as many people are using Litecoin as they are Bitcoin and Litecoin could theoretically end up dealing with the same scalability issues if it were to experience proportionate growth and usage, but that simply just isn’t the case today.
Litecoin also uses the Scrypt hashing algorithm that utilizes much less processing power than the Bitcoin SHA256 hashing algorithm. Placing a higher emphasis on utilizing high-speed RAM, Litecoin makes it much less possible for a single player (or small collective group of big players) to dominate the mining world.
Fundamental Non-Technical Differences
It’s important to also look at the differences in how both Bitcoin and Litecoin came about.
Bitcoin’s founder’s origins are relatively shrouded in mystery. Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym of Bitcoin’s founder, is essentially relegated to legend and myth.
Litecoin’s founder, on the other hand, has been publicly available and active in the community. You can find Charlie Lee on Linkedin or on Twitter, as @SatoshiLite. After working at Google and founding Litecoin, he also worked on the engineering side at Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.
Personally, I much rather prefer Lee’s accessible and open nature to the mysterious secretive Satoshi, and the fact that Lee is capable of making light (Lite) of the situation is very humanizing.
Additionally, you’d be hard pressed to find any serious claims or illusions of grandeur within the Litecoin camp. It’s meant to make cryptocurrency accessible and usable for everyone, and is perfectly fine with taking a back-seat role to Bitcoin.

So, Litecoin is…Better?

Well, the fact that Litecoin can hold its own weight when it comes to having a legitimate use case says a lot, especially in a cryptocurrency world with over 700+ alt-coins with dubious purposes.
It does, after all, hold a market cap of upwards of $3 billion. That doesn’t just happen by dumb luck.
When compared to Bitcoin, which has a market cap about 33x bigger, Litecoin does pose several advantages. As listed above, it’s capable of offering users lower transaction fees, faster transaction processing times, a more decentralized mining network, and its founder even throws out the occasional zinger on Twitter. These advantages technically make Litecoin a better coin for the vast majority of small transactions. 
litecoin twitter
However, to be fair, Litecoin hasn’t been pushed to its limits because there simply aren’t that many people using it. For the time being, Litecoin does exactly what it was created to do: offer low-cost, speedy transactions in a way that Bitcoin couldn’t.

Final Thoughts

As is, Litecoin is simply another cryptocurrency that just so happened to prove its use case as a low-cost decentralized peer-to-peer payment method.
Litecoin was never made to go head to head with Bitcoin, but its technological advantages do pose somewhat of a threat. While it might be theoretically “better” than Bitcoin, Bitcoin has already run off with the network effect of having rapidly onboarded a much larger and active user base.
Bitcoin also has the benefit of being a near household name by now, whereas Litecoin is much more obscure (especially with hot new tokens on the block like Ethereum). The vast majority of people who jump into the cryptocurrency world will buy Bitcoin first, and if their hunger isn’t satiated, maybesome Litecoin and Ethereum.
While Litecoin seems to function very well for what it’s meant for, it’s interesting to postulate ideas about situations where it could experience massive user adoption and growth. There isn’t much meat on the bones of whatever Litecoin loyalists are chewing on, but it’s worth noting that it could only be a matter of time before more people start to add Litecoin into their portfolios.
If, and this is a big IF, Bitcoin isn’t able to address its scalability issues, Litecoin will be there to at least offer the same utility without having to pay high (and if Bitcoin reaches the climax of its scalability problems – extremely high) fees.
Until then, Litecoin will likely hang around the top 10 market-cap cryptocurrencies, doing the same thing it always has.

This article is originally posted at

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Accumulating Singtel (Z74) Amidst The Perfect Storm

For the past few weeks, I've been accumulating Singtel (Z74) in a few tranches as part of my mutated DCA (see my earlier post here and here for more details). Did a stock take today and noticed that I've accumulated 7,500 shares with average price of about $3.60. At the time of writing, it is closed at $3.49 (means I am still sitting at a paper loss :-)). 

This is before the seemingly upcoming perfect storm, starting with the biggest single-day drop since 2008 at Dow Jones yesterday (Friday, 02/02/2018). Dow Jones dropped 665.75 (2.54%) and closed at 25,520.96. Hence, I foresee that when Asian market open on the upcoming Monday, it will be a sea of crimson (just like Cryptos market in the past few days/weeks). Well, I think market correction has been long anticipated, or overdue for quite a while, so, 2018 might be it. 

Many of my financial blogger friends starting to unlock their vault, taking out their war chest or gold bar or whatever they have and just waiting for the right time to hoot! 

What is your view? Do you think 2018 will be the year of angry and fierce dog (like the ones at Chinatown, see below)  which will be the beginning of the anticipated collapse of the markets? 



Monday, January 22, 2018

3 Sites/Apps That Willl Earn You Trade-able Cryptocurrencies

Before the Bitcoin/cryptocurrency bubble burst (not sure when), many people are still very keen to get their hand "dirty" into the crypto-mania. Of course, the fastest way is to buy it from the cryptocurrency exchange (assuming you already have an account with them) or buy it from the ATM. Next, is to get it through mining which take time and there is no guarantee.

Today, I am going to share the third way, which is by participating in the Blockchain project itself. Depending on the ecosystem of the projects, some of them (see below for at least 3 of them) allow the users to earn some cryptocurrency just by involving in their project.    

Description : Steemit is a simple looking decentralized social network platform which allow users to connect with friends and blog about anything under the sun. 

How you earn the crypto? You will earn the STEEM and/or STEEM DOLLARS (SBD) cryptocurrency when other users upvote (equivalent to Facebook's like) your post/comment. Similarly, when you are upvoting other user's post/comment, you are giving them fraction of STEEM and/or STEEM DOLLARS. Of course, this is just the simplified version of explanation, you can refer to the site or the Whitepaper for more details on how the Steemit ecosystem works?  

STEEM is currently trading at USD 4.51 : 

STEEM DOLLARS (SBD)  is currently trading at USD 7.11: 

I am a current user of Steemit and my profile is @investopenly

Description : Yours is similar to Steemit with the following differences:
1. In order to post in Yours, you need to pay 10 cents (USD) per post, hence, you need to "cash in" some money (can be in USD, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash or Ethereum etc..) before you can start the ball rolling
2. The cryptocurrency that you can "cash out" is in Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
3. You can set your own price for other users to view your post (of course, you can set it as FREE too) 

Bitcoin Cash (BCH)  is currently trading at USD  1,708.87: 
I have an account with Yours but haven't posted anything there yet. 

Description : Earn is an survey app that earn you Bitcoin (BTC) once you completed the simple survey. There is a feature to link your Google email account to monetize the non-white list email senders, but personally I didn't active this feature. Note: In view of the high transaction fee of Bitcoin, Earn is currently looking into introducing their own crypto so that it's cheaper to withdraw the earned crypto.    

Bitcoin (BTC)  is currently trading at USD  11,307.30: 

I am currently having an account with Earn. So far, most of their surveys related to ICO (Initial Coin Offerings). Average earning per survey is USD 1 to USD 4 (in BTC).  

I am sure there are other similar projects/sites around or coming soon. These are the sites that might not earn you size-able cryptocurrencies but if you are not interested in buying or mining the crypto but yet wanted to have a feel of owning them, you are free to try them. 


Sunday, January 14, 2018

SG Cares - Enabler To Foster A Giving Society

Yet another cooling day, another day to give my over-worked air-conditioning system a rest, how I wish we can have more of such weather (minus the rain). We are already at the end of second week of 2018, it has been non-event for me, besides accumulating a bit of of the Singtel shares, I did some more reading on blockchain related books, researching on some ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) and continue writing post for my other pet project blog Blockchain SG.

Anyway, the focus of this post is on the "Do Good" part that all of us can participate in. From the recent sharing of the portfolio performances of blogger friends here, I believed most of us have a bumper year of 2017 and hence, the "Do Well" (financially) part has been taken care of.  

Yesterday, SG Cares officially launched their app (available in iOS and Google Play) to promote volunteerism as well as the act of giving. It's like a "market place" that matching the aspiring do-gooders with the matching social causes. All good causes under one roof! 

I've just downloaded the iOS app, the user interface is sleek and easy to use. Besides the listing of matching social causes/campaigns, it also has feature like "Stories" and "Learn" for users to share/learn more of the social causes within the community. Also, I quite like the "Inspiration" feature whereby it listed some random inspiring act/quotes and user can tap on it to indicate that they have done that too. Example of the inspiring acts/quotes are:

1. Hold the door open for someone today? 
2. Say hi to a stranger today!
3. Dream big and dare to fail etc..

Also, I find this promotional video (Because She Cares) very inspiring, check it out too:

Let's do good (on top of doing well) together to make it a better place for all!


Saturday, January 6, 2018

How to Value Some of Life's Biggest Investments (Guest Post)

You will own many things in your lifetime but your home will be one of your most value assets. It is the place that you built with your hands and your children grew up in. Your home holds a value that cannot be explained in words. The traditional way every Australian lived was by building a family in one home. New trends have shown a different approach where a family only uses a house for nine to ten years.

Investing in a house has become a medium term investment given the volatile nature of real-estate market. The process of buying, selling, and maintaining a home is not an easy one. An experienced investor would be able to come out of it all ahead of others – or maybe way ahead.

Building the Value of your House

When buying a new home, it is advisable to make decisions rationally. Think things through from the start of your home search to the time you get the keys in your hands. Before you buy your home, make sure to study in great detail about the best kind of loans available. The best loan is one that is safe with a quick repayment period. Talk to your bank and decide on the loan that fits your profile.

Picking the right real estate agent is the second most important thing you can do when buying and selling your home. Ensure that the agent has the right amount of work experience in the real estate industry. Watch out for a “dual agent” where the agent represents both the seller and the buyer.

Understand the size of the home you are buying. It’s not the “per square foot” that you need to consider but the features and the design. Understand yours and your family’s needs before selecting a home. Check the location and survey the neighbourhood. If you have a growing family, look for schools nearby since a school within a few miles indicates a growing neighbourhood.

Maintaining the house is essential as it counts when you are valuing your house for sale. Having an updated kitchen with fresh greenery in the backyard and the front lawn helps improve the overall look of your house. Keep it updated as when you decide to sell your home sometime later, you will need minimum repairs.

Investing in Gold and Silver

Another medium term investment is investing in gold and silver. If you have some money in hand and are not ready to buy a home yet or start a family, investing in gold and silver can be a good option for you. Websites like Gold Stackers can help you invest the right amount in the right commodity.

Just like the price fluctuations in stocks, the price also fluctuates in silver and gold and other precious metals. A smart investment decision can help you build a fortune and generate greater returns on your investment.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Business Loan (Guest Post)

Businesses will require an additional injection of capital, big or small, several times throughout their cycle. Business loans are one of the options companies can look into to get additional funding which can be used various purposes: for purchasing additional IT equipment andmachinery, cover operating expenses, grow or expand your venture, etc.

Common Business Loan Application Mistakes to Avoid

Applying for the right business loan and having it approved will depend greatly on avoiding several mistakes that you may commit during the whole process. As a business owner, you need to make sure you avoid making these grave errors during the loan application process:

1. Failing to have a clear picture of your business’s financial situation

This is the number one loan application mistake you can make from which all others can stem from. Having a messy bookkeeping and accounting system will make it difficult for you to understand where you are losing money and where you can best appropriate or use the loan for.

It is therefore important that you keep good financial records or at the very least, know the basics of bookkeeping. When you regularly review your financial records, you will be able to make accurate financial forecasts and create a suitable long-term financial plan for your business which will help you to borrow more wisely.

2. Not knowing your credit score

Your business credit score is one of the biggest factors banks and lenders will consider in reviewing your loan application. They will base the amount they will offer, related fees, interest rates, repayment terms, and even the actual approval of the loan on your business credit score.

Before applying for a loan, get a copy of your credit report from several credit bureaus. Also, make sure that your credit scores are up-to- date and accurate.

3. Having a poor business plan

When applying for a business loan, you can’t just submit your financial statements and other documents to assure the lender that you have a regular source of income. Keep in mind that if you are applying for a loan, you have to demonstrate how your business will continue to operate and make money.

With a good business plan, you will show the lender your goals, how you intend to reach them, supporting data, and your past and current financials. This key document will help convince the lender they should invest in your business.

4. Failing to have a clear idea of what the loan will be used for

All lenders will want to know where and how you will use the loan they will grant you. As such, you need to know the specific reasons why you need a loan and explain this thoroughly to the lender. The best business bank or lending institution will need to know how a loan will benefit your business.

5. Applying for the wrong type of business loan

There are different types of business loans and when applying for one, you should always match the type of loan to its purpose. For instance, if you have to finance commercial real estate, don’t take out a business loan with a 12-month term.

Also, avoid applying for a long-term loan to pay for some short-term expenses such as meeting payroll or purchasing additional supplies to satisfy your customer’s request. If you’re still in the initial stages of applying for a loan, look for a lender that offers the particular type of financing you need.

6. Selecting the wrong lending institution

There are now more establishments offering business loans: banks, credit unions, crowdfunding websites, etc. Take some time to evaluate all of your options. You can even send your applications to several lenders and when you receive an approval, carefully compare the offers to make sure you’re getting the best possible terms.

The lender you ultimately choose should be the one that offers the best deal suitable to your needs and payment capability.

7. Not reading the fine print

Lastly, before signing the contract or agreement, go over all of the loan fine print and carefully read every term and condition. Make sure you know the specific interest rate and if this is fixed or variable. If it varies, be sure you know when it will change.

Get all details about payment schedules, grace periods, late payment fees, and prepayment penalties, if you decide to pay off the loan early. In case you have any questions about any of these, discuss them with the lender before signing the agreement.

A business loan can be the best solution you can get if your company is struggling or needs a substantial amount of money quickly. However, to get prompt approval and to make sure taking out a loan won’t cause more financial issues for your business, study the different types of loans offered by various institutions. Make sure you prepare for the whole application process properly as well.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Turning Challenges Into Victories

Today is the last day of the year (2017), in a couple of hours' time, we will be ushering into a brand new year (2018), the year Of Dog (Chinese Zodiac). I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone here:


Usually, this is the time of the year to recap (the achievements, lesson learnt aka mistakes of the previous year) and make resolution(s) for the new year. For me, I think I've stopped making resolutions for quite awhile, my motto is just to keep learning, keep going and keep smiling! 

Regardless of what stage are we, life is and will continue to be filled with challenges (big or small), it's a matter of mindset to look at it from another angle to turn it into victory and the following Chinese words said it all :
For those who can't read Chinese, basically there are 2 Chinese words on the left. If you view it straight, it mean CHALLENGE, but if you turn it upside down, it mean VICTORY). Chinese calligraphy is such a beauty!


Friday, December 29, 2017

Ripple - New Crypto In My Minion Crypto Portfolio

I've been eyeing to add Ripple into my minion Crypto portfolio for quite sometime but I've been procrastinating as the exchange that I am using, Coinbase haven't listed Ripple yet (hint hint). During the Christmas season period, I've made the move and open an account with Binance so that I can buy other alt-coins that are not listed in Coinbase. 

Immediately after that, I've accumulated about SGD800 worth of Ripple at SGD1.47. When I first chanced upon Ripple, I remember the price is around USD 0.40 cents (SGD 0.54). One thing for sure, crypto market movement is fast and furious and not for the faint hearted. 

Following are the reason why I bought Ripple:
1. Ripple is the first blockchain-based cross border payment solution provider (established since 2012) that has already providing (or testing) their solutions to well known corporate customers, mostly banks, in various  countries (e.g. MUFG [Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan], Santender, Standard Chartered, SBI Remit and American Express etc..) 

2. I am of the view that there is a very high chance that Ripple (being the third largest coin in market cap, after Bitcoin and Ethereum) will be listed in Coinbase. If this happens, the demand will increase tremendously. Currently, the biggest market of Ripple is actual from South Korea (through BitThumb):
Ripple - Top 10 Exchanges (South Korea is the Top market)
Note: Generally, South Korea/India exchanges' price is much higher than the rest of the world. 

3. There are (unconfirmed) news that Ripple is in talks to two giant/well known non-bank corporate customers to provide their payment solution. If the deals went through, it will be a great boost to the use cases of Ripple. 

4. Ripple is a non-mineable coins and hence speed of transaction can be contained (reported as 4 seconds). Also, it has a limited supply of 100 billions coins. Even though it is much higher than Bitcoin's 21 millions but because Ripple target market is corporate customers/banks, the coin usage is expected to be much higher. Anyway, coins with limited supply is always a positive sign (at least to me).

Following are my minion Crypto portfolio:

How is your Crypto Portfolio doing so far?


Note: This is not a recommendation of investment, investing in cryptocurrency is of high risk and make sure that you are prepared to lose all your capital! 

Exchanges that I am currently using:


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