HISA Rates Update (2019/09/06)

Interest rates in US dollars are falling again. I have created a USD HISA Rates page that tracks the High Interest Savings rates available to Canadians through their brokerage accounts.

Canadian dollar HISA rates are holding steady for the most part. The major issuers (RBC, TD) have kept their rates at 1.60% for the past few months as the Bank of Canada has held rates constant. But there have been a few issuers on my list who have dropped their rates. The major standout is Scotia whose Hollis HISA now pays only 1.10% for Canadian dollars and 0.95% for US dollars.

B2B Bank (Laurentian Bank) also has their HISA rate at 1.45% and Manulife now has their own HISA at only 1.50%.

Click here to view the latest HISA rates.

Poloniex Lending Pool Loss Update

Poloniex recently provided users affected by the lending pool loss with an update. Poloniex is committing to re-reimburse users by refunding their trading fees. Poloniex claims they will reimburse the trading fees of users until those users are made 100% whole by the lending pool loss. When this “solution” was first announced, I figured it was a pretty crappy solution for users like myself who don’t do much trading. So now Poloniex is saying they will also reimburse lending fees. This seems to make more sense since users

Overall, the way Circle Financial handled the whole lending pool loss incident left me with a lot less confidence and decreased my level of trust in them. Compared to Bitfinex, which has also suffered a number of similar losses. I think the leadership of Poloniex could have been more creative in the way they compensated users. But maybe their hands were tied by being located in the US and partially regulated. When Circle first purchased Poloniex and introduced products like USDC trading, I thought this would be a positive development for users. But now I think Poloniex being partially regulated in the US restricts their ability to adjust to developments in crypto markets.

Trade CLAM coins on FreiExchange

I recently started making a market for CLAM coins on FreiExchange, and the experience has been good so far. There are no trading fees on FreiExchange, because the exchange makes money on withdrawal fees instead. And since deposits/withdrawals for CLAM coins have been suspended on Poloniex, I’ve been looking for other venues to trade CLAMs.

I will keep moving my CLAM coin mining rewards to FreiExchange and offer them for sale. If anyone buys CLAM coins from me on FreiExchange, I will take those bitcoins and place them as bids on the other side of the market. Hopefully, this will help bring a little bit of liquidity to FreiExchange.

Feel free to comment on this post if you want me to make a specific market, I’ll be happy to post larger sizes by request.


freiexchange.com review

As an investor in CLAM coins, I’ve been a bit nervous since Poloniex has restricted deposits/withdrawals of CLAMs over the past few weeks. I’m uncertain whether Poloniex will once again accept CLAM coin payments, so until then I poked around to see if any other exchanges exist where CLAM coin users can trade CLAMs for other currencies.

FreeBitcoins.com is a mixer that provides instant anonymous exchanges of the CLAM/BTC pair.

Although Poloniex trades by far the most CLAM/BTC volume, another exchange for CLAM/BTC exists called FreiExchange.com.

FreiExchange is a cryptocurrency exchange offering basic trading features. FreiExchange offers trading in a variety of obscure ALT coins including their namesake Freicons. Trading volume on FreiExchange is low, with less than 1 BTC traded in the past 24 hours. FreiExchange also offers a basic API with a basic public endpoint to receive up to date bid/ask data on any pair listed on the exchange. The API does not allow users to make trades or other transactions.

I decided to deposit a few hundred CLAM coins on FreiExchange to test out them out. The deposit functionality is very basic but easy to use. Users have to register a user account, login, then navigate to the Wallets page. On the Wallets page, users will see all the listed pairs with the user’s balances, and buttons representing Deposits, Withdraw, Transactions, and Trades. To deposit CLAM coins, I simply clicked on the Deposit link to reveal a unique deposit address. I sent CLAM coins to my deposit address and they arrived promptly and credited to my account.

Once the CLAMs had cleared the CLAM coin blockchain and were credited to my FreiExchange account, I offered them for sale. To do this, I navigated to the CLAM/BTC pair market and entered limit orders for what I wanted to sell.

I will keep depositing and offering CLAMs for sale on FreiExchange over the next few weeks. Please trade with me, I would love to develop another market for CLAM/BTC trades.

CoinBerry Review

Coinberry is a Canadian based site that provides a way to buy and sell bitcoins and other crypto-currencies. To signup, you’ll need to disclose some basic information about yourself including an e-mail address, name, and confirm your phone number. Once you’ve registered, Coinberry gives users the ability to buy & sell a variety of crpytos including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Litecoin, and XRP. Prices in Coinberry are similar to other Canadian based sites including Bylls and Coinsquare.

Users can fund their Coinberry account with Canadian dollars using Interac eTransfer, Wire transfer and Credit Card. In order to fund your Coinberry account with a credit card, you must verify your account further by linking a Canadian bank account. To do this, once logged into your account, navigate to the drop down menu labelled with your name in the top right corner of any page. Then choose “Settings”, then choose the button labelled “link your bank account”. This will take you to a menu where you must choose which bank to link. Banks you can choose from include TD, RBC, BMO, Scotia, CIBC, National Bank, Desjardins, Tangerine, Vancity, ATB, Simplii, Meridian, Laurentian, Coast Capital, HSBC, and EQ Bank.

I tried verifying my account by linking my bank account, but was unsuccessful. It wasn’t obvious what the problem might be. I got to the point where the Coinberry page was telling me “finalizing…” after I confirmed my identity with a text code, but then it seemed like the verification page where I linked my bank account simply hung up (or timed out?).

If you have a different experience, please comment this post so I might be able to share a more useful experience with other readers.

PGA Championship 2019 Odds

This post will provide my 2019 PGA Championship picks by comparing the odds at Nitgrogen Sports to Bodog. Nitrogen is an online sports book that uses bitcoins and Bodog is an online sports book using US dollars.

The PGA Championship is being held at Bethpage outside NYC this year. Tiger has won here before, and on some books, he is the odds on favorite. This surprises me since it still seems incredible that Tiger would win again, but he just won the Masters a few weeks ago, so its certainly possible. But I also feel like Tiger had the best chance to win the Masters (or any tournament with a shorter field) since the course setup has the least rough and is not as long as some of the other major courses will be.

Tiger is 12.00 on Bodog and 13.00 on Nitrogen. While Mickelson is 71.00 on Bodog and 76.00 on Nitrogen.

Here are my picks:

Tony Finau @ 36.00 on Nitrogen

Webb Simpson @ 86.00 on Nitrogen (he is only 71.00 on Bodog)

Kevin Kisner @ 111.00 on Nitrogen

Cameron Smith @ 176.00 on Nitrogen

Corey Connors @ 201.00 on Bodog

Overall, the odds on Nitrogen are a lot better than Bodog. But some of the deep odds are a bit better on Bodog.

Bitcoin Keeps Growing

Its always funny to me to hear people wonder about whether bitcoin will continue to grow, and even whether its a scam, a ponzi scheme, etc. Almost always, these people have no idea what money is, what a blockchain is, and what bitcoin is being used for. I think one of the best ways determine whether the bitcoin economy will continue growing is to consider the number of bitcoin transactions taking place. They continue to grow, and have been growing fairly steady since bitcoin was first used. See this link from Blockchain.com for a graph showing the number of bitcoin transactions over time. Bitcoin is not going away, it will change, other crypto currencies will continue to be released.

My 2019 Masters Bets

I really enjoy the Masters. And I also enjoy betting on the Masters. Below are my 2019 Masters bets. I don’t do much fundamental analysis to determine my bets. I don’t attempt to handicap the players chances of winning. I simply rely on technical analysis.

This year I’m considering the difference in the odds between exchanges such as Betfair and sports books where I have an account. I notice that the odds of favourites on Betfair is close to their price at most sports books, but the odds of players with slim chances of winning are much lower on sports books than on betting exchanges. For example, at the time of writing, the odds for Rory McIlroy is 8.6 on Betfair and is between 8 and 9 on most sports books. But the odds of Kevin Tway, who is one of the least likely active tour players is 950 on Betfair but only about 300 on most sports books. Ian Woosnam seems like the least likely player to win the Masters this week, and interestingly his odds on Betair are 950 (which is the practically highest price Betfair will post) and his odds on many sports books are about 3000.

These odds make sense to me because they follow the principal of short paying the longest odds. Sports books and casinos in general frequently make their profits by short paying the biggest payoffs. Its more difficult for gamblers to intuitively estimate the odds of less frequent events, and there is also a psychological element attached to gamblers who win a long shot and quickly forget to examine the true odds of their wager.

So it looks like the players in the second tier of golfers at this year’s Masters have the best value if you’re betting on a mainstream sports books. Here are my three value picks at these prices on Tuesday afternoon.

Paul Casey @ 31

Hideki Matsuyama @ 34

Xander Schauffele @ 46

Some other interesting bets. Top Canadian?  Conners/Weir 1.22/4.00. I would choose Conners at that price. Based on Weir’s recent Masters records, and the fact that he hasn’t really made a mark on the PGA Tour in a few years, and Corey Conners is a second time Masters starter and just coming off his win, and Conners is a the prime of his career. I think its also likely both Conners and Weir miss the cut, but I still think its very likely Conners gets a lower score.

Best German? Kaymer/Langer 1.77/2.00. This is a funny bet since Kaymer is a regular tour player but hasn’t had much success lately, whereas Langer is the best senior player on the planet. I think giving the edge to Kaymer is fair since Langer will have a tougher time with distance and number of holes down the stretch. Remember that Champions Tour events are only 3 rounds and the courses are much shorter than PGA Tour.