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Crypto for dummies

December 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Here is a basic primer on cryptocurrencies, as I understand it.

BLOCKCHAIN: A linked chain of validated transactions (and a transaction is the exchange/transfer of currency between two parties).

These validations are performed by multiple nodes, willing to contribute their computing resources to the currency’s network.

Wedding ceremony – the analogy:

  • Thousands of people attend wedding ceremony ~ Millions, billions of “rigs” mine crypto.
  • People witness and validate the wedding ~ Mining rigs witness and validate the transaction.
  • People are rewarded with food for attending the event ~ Miners are rewarded with “coins”. Not surprisingly, this is the main motivation for both groups to participate in the first place ūüôā

Finally, the validated transactions become an integral part of the blockchain that cannot be broken (atleast, as per the claim). Unfortunately, such claims cannot be made for marriages these days (Kacche Dhaage)!

Potential benefits:

  • Decentralization : No single entity (Central banks/government) in control of the network/currency.
  • Finite resources : Only N million “coins” can be mined. Thus, there is no risk of inflation due to “quantitative easing” (Uncle Ben will be missed).
  • No “double spending” : Any transaction would have to happen in full public view and must be validated to be part of the blockchain. (No risk of “extra marital affairs”).

    Public Key Cryptography (another analogy):

    • A P.O. box is analogous to a public key.
    • The physical key to the P.O. box is analogous to a private key.
    • People send letters to the P.O. box of the recipient. Only the recipoent can access these letters using the “private key.
    • Bonus (Common sense): Private key should be private.


    • A wallet serves as a store for the currency. You need atleast one of these to begin your cryptocurrency journey.
    • These are based on the public key cryptography framework we discussed earlier.
    • Paper wallets ( for BTC, for LTC and for ETH) are one way to go (I believe the safest!). If worried about malware on PC, one could take the offline route to generate paper wallets using the related github packages.
    • Online wallets offers more convenience (but the risk of your private key(s) stored somewhere on the cloud is too hard to ignore).
    • Hardware wallets are another option (basically these are USB sticks that securely save the private keys – probably secured with another master password).

    Side note – Sloppy wallets : Multiple wallets strewn all over the place with small amounts deposited. Regularly monitoring their balance would alert you if someone is after your wallets!

    Useful Sites:

    • : Find a BTC wallet’s balance based on its public key. (Yeah, if you know somebody’s public key, you know their balance! Although, without their private key, you can do nothing about it).
    • : Find an ETH wallet’s balance based on it’s public key.
    • : Identify optimal algorithms/hardware/power usage etc. from the list of available altcoins to be mined to make an “informed decision”.

      Mining hardware – evolution

      • CPU : The Genesis block of bitcoin was mined using a CPU by the mythical creature – Mr. Satoshi Nakamoto.
      • GPU : The greedy and intelligent human brain is always on the look out for better ways of doing things. Naturally, GPUs turned out to be the next best option for mining.
      • ASIC chips : Another genius popped up with the idea of building the logic behind the puzzles directly into a hardware chip. This idea let to the obsolescence of CPUs/GPUs for mining bitcoins.

        If you are gold, dear Bitcoin, then we are silver, platinum, diamond, copper, iron, petroleum, uranium, strontium, calcium, … (does it end?)

        – Altcoins

        Naturally, as Bitcoin (BTC) started getting the limelight, few (many) other coins had to follow suit. All those coins are collectively known as altcoins. Few major altcoins are Litecoin (LTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

        The twitter profile background of Litecoin’s founder Charlie Lee depicts this emotion in a brilliant way.

        Bitcoin mining is now the domain of big players (mostly sitting in China) with their multi-ASIC/multi-GPU mining farms (or forests, to be more accurate). Naturally as more and more coins are mined by more and even more participants,  the complexity keeps leaping up. Thus enthusiasts like you and me can only expect to mine altcoins.

        Unseen side effects? (There’s always some…)

        • GPU prices have gone through the roof. Gamers are usually happy using a single card per PC, but not the miners. (just youtube for  6, 14, 50, etc. GPU farms set up by regular individuals in thier basements).
        • NVIDIA and AMD will observe lots of dark green colors on their 2017 income statements.
        • Gamers pissed off by miners :). (Youtube comments on mining rig videos speak for themselves.)

        To conclude,  cryptocurrency is not just another fad (was Internet just a fad?). There might be a bubble coming up, and it will most certainly pop, but cryptos are here to stay.



        PS: It’s customary these days to ask for crypto donations. In that spirit here are my wallets; feel free to donate ūüėČ

        BTC: 12AsKqfcpeASKU4DTCu8kXSiccasyurtuG

        ETH: 0x2396234ac5580cFdf560BDcB0841e0d4F94697fB

        LTC: LiLhdoUafkaFSGukFecXz2kdC6HgjN9YbZ

        Categories: Random

        Evolution of a trader/investor

        In the midst of 2007, I started trading stocks on the BSE/ NSE. As a beginner, ¬†I was reading about a variety of trading styles viz. penny stock trading – dreaming of doubling¬† money in a day (bloody resurg3r3 mines and minerals!), arbitrage – trying to exploit the inefficient stock pricing across different exchanges, news/tip based trading and trying them out on real money (my own money of course) and burned my fingers at almost all of them.¬†My biggest mistake was averaging down the cost of a few stocks with a “great story” based on friends’ tips (e.g 3duc0mp, lanc0,¬† etc) and ending up being an “investor” in those f*****-up companies. I still regret those decisions.

        Lessons learned: 
        A) Friends/colleagues are only meant for office gossip and tea time chit-chat, not for financial and/or general advice.
        B) Financial news channels are only supposed to be eye candy (immediately, CNBC comes to my mind).

        Luckily, I tilted towards investing side of things and did own some good company stocks. The losses, from my trading foolishness, were thus balanced out (in a way). Also, having invested in some great MFs did help in saving my bum from going bankrupt.

        Cut to 2016, as I continued investing in MFs, I bought this wonderful book – Common Sense Investing in MFs (John “Jack” Bogle) and it shattered my beliefs in my MF investment skills.¬† Apparently, Index based MFs do a better and cheaper job of beating the benchmark indexes (“cheaper” is key here). Obviously again, I was way behind in discovering this – the investing public had already made big leaps in this battle of active v/s passive MF styles (“passive” is the new superhero).
        Just imagine MERs of 20-50 basis points on index MF v/s 100-200 basis points on actively managed MFs.

        I kept studying (out of FOMO) and am glad that I did so as I came across the fact that¬† Index ETFs (that’s right, ETFs – Exchange Traded Funds) are much cheaper and tax efficient than index MFs. Consider MERs of 8-10 basis points charged for Index ETFs! Case in point – Vanguard’s Index ETF offerings. (Vanguard was founded by John Bogle, the pioneer of Index based investing). I need to further study about the tax efficiency aspect of ETFs v/s MFs – something about Capital Gains Distribution tax; I am sure there’s more to learn there.

        Meanwhile I am also exploring my first love – Trading (currencies this time). But I am approaching it with a lot of psychological preparation and discipline.

        Of course none of these constitute investment advice (after all who am l to give advice). All risks you assume based on this blog-post are yours and yours alone!

        Categories: Random

        Towards Trading Success…

        Here is a list of content that I have found useful in my currency trading journey. I am yet to find success and still on a demo-account, but do have high hopes of being part of the elite group of disciplined, successful traders.

        First book:


        • Trading in the Zone by Mark Douglas.
        • This book is an essential first step in building trading psychology.



        • Open an account on BabyPips, complete the free course to gain a basic idea of forex trading. Make sure you thoroughly understand the Pre-school, KG and Elementary sections – the lessons are self contained thus you do not need any extra Googling while you are at it. And do skim through the other sections as well.



        • Chat With Traders (by Aaron Fifield)
        • Desire to Trade (by Etienne Crete)
        • Market Life (by Adam H. Grimes)

        The art of “Tape Reading“:




        Some actual traders and their techniques:


        Other recommended reads:


          1. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (Edwin Lefèvre)
          2. Market Wizards (Jack Schwager) – Learning from others
          3. New Market Wizards (Jack Schwager) РLearning from others
          4. One Good Trade (Mike Bellafiore of SMB) РLearning from others
          5. The Art and Science of Technical Analysis (Adam H. Grimes)¬†–¬†Covers many aspects of trading
          6. The Checklist Manifesto (Atul Gawande) – Unrelated but good.


        Categories: Money, Trading Tags: , ,

        CPU – 98.6

        Back after along time since Khandvification; a lot has changed in life. Getting married changes your life completely Рfor good. You get more involved, evolved and absolved. Life becomes busier but peaceful, more intense yet restful and lazier but fruitful.

        One such fruitful evening, I realized¬†its been a long time since I fiddled¬†with electronic¬†circuits – opened up my laptop (i3, 4Gb – purchased back in 2011; still rock solid), decided the CPU fan needs cleaning and ended up cracking the dried up thermal insulation “paste”¬†that apparently improves the thermal conductivity between the CPU and its heat sink (genius!)

        Although I managed to re-assemble everything in place, it seemed the laptop was heating up quicker than before (which might have been an illusion considering the fact that I never bothered about the CPU temperature ever before) reaching temperatures so high, it could have had a major impact on my lineage (and even more on the motherboard).

        Looking up on Google, it seemed to me that the CPU had a bad case of viral fever and the acetaminophen that could possibly cure the symptoms was in a 1.5 gm syringe (Amazon)!


        And then it was time to open up it up again: clicking and snapping out the keyboard, prying open the chassis and separating out the heat sink from the CPU, I was privileged to view the most beautiful mess that I had created myself:

        Then, using a bunch of coffee filters, I cleaned up the older, dried-up paste. I used an ordinary 50% rubbing alcohol solution ¬†(ethyl alcohol, camphor, etc.) as the solvent – although the Internet recommends to use¬†Isopropyl alcohol (>90%) or no solvent at all; but as I type this story from the same laptop and do not see any sparks flying out, I guess it’s¬†OK (although now I realize it could have been dangerous – so all risks are yours and yours alone) . Maybe in a few months, the residual camphor reacts with the metal oxide and converts the 2 cores into 3 – who knows.

        Despite using the coffee filter, the cleanup look a lot linty (aggression!!)- so used a hair dryer to blow away the lints (carefully in small bursts so as not to melt the motherboard).

        Two “pea-sized” drops of fresh metal oxide paste were then injected on the CPU surface(s) and the heat-sink was set in place (no manual spreading of the paste with cards/spatulas) followed by the overall assembly, which was a breeze.

        Starting up the laptop, I confess, was a bit scary – but I sailed through. And yes, it’s 98.6 now – the kid is¬†alright.


        Not much load


        Three Youtube vids in parallel (maybe some load)

        Categories: Random

        Khandvification – The first Milestone…

        June 17, 2013 2 comments

        I started a new inning in Canada recently, and with a new inning comes new responsibilities. And I have assumed this new responsibility – of a COOK – with elan (oh yeah!!).

        As per Sanjeev Kapoor, preparing Khandvi is an art and I am proud to announce that I have nailed it!! Here, check it out baby..

        Click on them to get the “bigger picture” ¬†(whatever can be magnified, will be magnified..)


        Laying the groundwork..


        Masta Khandvi is ready..


        From 30 degree angle now ūüôā

        Public is God

        Public khush ūüôā

        I know you can see that “Babumoshai, is baar Khandvi ke chithdey udd gaye“. But beta, perfection ko improve karne mein time lagta hai na!!

        Thanks for the recipe Sanjeev!! You are to cooking what Ramdev-baba is to yoga.

        Om NaMo Narayananaya,


        Categories: Food Tags: , ,

        Ae “Status Quo” – Tujhya aicha gho

        October 25, 2012 2 comments

        This status quo that has trapped me

        Does not let me break free

        My life, this is my question to thee

        What the PHAK do you want from me?


        That one little spark is what I look for

        To shut the PC and walk out the door

        But all I have is lack of  motivation

        A lot of baggage and stupid emotion

        Makaan Shift kar raha hai kya be

        Dear Life, show me the light, give me a rhythm

        Let me choose a new algorithm

        I remember quicksort has a complexity of n Log n

        Damn you ‘status quo’, PHAK off until then!


        Jai Maharashtra,


        PS: Sincere thanks to Yerwada jail, American Tourister and Wikipedia for the images!

        Categories: Random Tags: ,

        Learning vowels the SOTY way

        October 19, 2012 Leave a comment

        I was trying to figure out the inspiration behind the composition of the recent song – “Ishq waala Love” from the movie SOTY.

        And then I came across motivation in the form of a fantastic spoof of the song by some creative artists on you-tube (here). Common sense tells you that some grammatical rules need to be followed while constructing the key phrases that form the song viz.

        1. The phrase must consist of exactly 3 words – 2 nouns and a preposition
        2. The preposition must be either a waala or a waali
        3. The 2 nouns must represent related objects (physical or abstract) and may be in 2 different languages

        After laying a few ground rules mentioned above one can create his/her own version of such stupidity. Below are some examples:

        Shoe waala joota
        Dog waala kutta
        Pandu waala mama
        Dhondu waala pajama
        Highway waala khadda
        Vicky donor waala Chadda

        Dance waala pole
        Dark waala hole
        Scam waala crore
        (Yeh dil maange more)

        Doodh waali gaai
        Neend waali chai
        Colour waali holi
        Support waali choli
        Rubber waali choti
        Silk waali langoti

        Phone waala hello
        Goa waala D’Mello
        Get up waala utho
        Sit down waala baitho
        Disney waala Pluto
        Hina waala Bhutto

        Singham waala bhau
        Bread waala pau
        Gori waali Shalu
        Kaala waala bhalu
        Serial waala gattu
        Darpok waala fattu

        Note: Some/most of the rules have been broken above, but its cool.

        Nowadays it doesn’t take much brain power to be a lyricist ūüėõ

        Alvida waala Bye,


        Categories: Random, Stupidity Tags: , ,