It’s 5am. My partner is getting up to head out to an early class. I should, by all rights, be turning over to try and get another three or four hours of sleep. But there’s something I need to do first..
“Hey, toss my phone on the bed, will you?” I say groggily. Five minutes later there’s a thud in the darkness. I pick up my phone, engage the screen, and open up the Cindicator app. I’ve got predicting to do, and I’m in deep.
I started my odyssey into the crypto trading universe in November 2017. After a serious accident, I was left badly injured and spent many months recovering. I had a little bit of money, a ton of time on my hands, and a computer. It took a call from an old friend to put all the pieces together. He gave me a few places to start gathering information and I began to make my first, tentative investments. 100 IOTA, 500 Bitshares, dipping my toes in as it were. I got my first break with the big Verge pump of December. I had bought in cheap, and plopped down a few hundred dollars. Now, as the Wraith countdown ticked away on the Verge home page and the price escalated, I made a decision I stand by and sold my holdings.
I had made a tidy profit, turned two hundred into two thousand dollars, and thought I pretty much had it figured out. The once mysterious interfaces of Binance and Bittrex became second nature over time. I planned, researched, and fanned that two thousand USD of Bitcoin out into myriad other crypto investments. Some did well, others didn’t, but overall I was coming out okay. I’ve heard it said that beginners luck is one of the worst things for a trader. In that case, a lot of the people who began trading in the Q4 of 2017 are unlucky, as the majority began trading at a point when you could throw a dart at the top 100 list, put in one thousand dollars USD, and expect massive gains. I began to experiment with high risk/low market cap coins on low volume exchanges. I knew better than to extend myself the way I was, but it just seemed like I couldn’t lose.
Then January came, and The Bear awoke from his slumber. The fallout from the plummeting Bitcoin price devastated the altcoin holdings I had accumulated up to that point. So now, with a sprawling portfolio of small holdings (some purchased at or near all time high) I had a decision to make: Liquidate what I had before it officially lost value — in a market awash in the blood of lambo kids and crypto old timers alike — or hold on and resume trading when I was no longer completely underwater. Luckily, I had followed the golden rule repeated so many times to others during the December craze: Don’t invest more than you’re willing to lose.
So I decided to wait. It’s what I was doing anyway. Recovery from major injury takes time, but trading, as well as learning about crypto, gave me an important focus. Something to learn about and master, something with the possibility of helping me achieve financial autonomy. I began to scan my holdings for tokens and coins with interesting use cases, trying to get into the communities of the currencies I was holding to see which services were available to me. There was one in particular that stood out: Cindicator.
I picked up the tokens early on, after reviewing the website and whitepaper. Immediately I saw the potential of machine learning and predictive technology, especially in the crypto environment. I was even more pleased to see their technology picked up on some ideas that had been gestating in my mind for many years, specifically since reading The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov as a teenager. In these, society has developed a predictive method they call “psychohistory”, about which wikipedia says:
Psychohistory is a fictional science in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation universe which combines history, sociology, and mathematical statistics to make general predictions about the future behaviour of very large groups of people, such as the Galactic Empire.
It’s essentially a systematized science combining big data collected on every aspect of human reality smashed into a psychic interface allowing trained users to tweak and run algorithmic models on the development of a large group of people — basically an extremely usable machine learning interface. This combined with the idea of “the wisdom of crowds”, the idea that with a sufficiently wide sample group that has sufficient knowledge of a subject, one can average their predictions to achieve a correct answer — an idea that led me to place an urgent call to a programmer friend one rainy evening in San Francisco, and request an immediate meeting at a local bar. I asked him if he could design a “generalized prediction platform that would allow people everywhere to enter their own predictions, post their own questions and vote on the most relevant ones”. He answered that he could, but he couldn’t understand why I would want to do such a thing.
Well, clearly someone did understand, and not only that — decided to début this idea in the crypto world, one that financially incentivizes those who participate in it to learn more about it. The more you know, the greater your potential for success, and the more you know, the better predictor you will be. As I read more and understood more, I began to get the feeling one gets when you brush up against an idea that is bigger than your current understanding will permit — like trying to swim against the pressure of currents from a passing whale in the ocean.
I took the plunge and bought up to five thousand tokens in order to use the beginner bot, which is their entry level trading product and downloaded the phone app, then began predicting — and learning. I did not feel comfortable selling my holdings, all of which were worth less than I had paid for them, and lacked more money to play with, so I began reading up on technical analysis, and trying to understand the Cindicator prediction system.
It was rough at first. I had to educate myself on technical jargon in order to fully grasp the questions. I began to read everything I could find on trading in general and crypto markets specifically. I lived on coinmarketcap.com and cryptopanic.com, and the natural gamer in me began to come out — I wanted to climb the Cindicator ranking, yet still I remained in the lower five to ten thousand predictors, sometimes even lower. I didn’t understand anything at all about the traditional markets, I tried to guess far too wide on price spreads, and I made predictions based on emotion instead of knowledge. Needless to say, my score continue to reflect this reality. Through the Cindicator prediction feedback, without staking any of my own money, I began to become more aware of the limits of my knowledge of trading, but also where I do well.
I had to admit to myself my romantic tendency to become emotionally involved in my investments, to root for an investment like a team. It’s easy to do and one of the worst ways to interact with politics, investments, religions or anything that affects the world at large. Also a good way to lose points on the platform, quickly.
You have to separate yourself from what you hold and focus on what market movements appear to be likely, given the data you are given. All of this has made me a much better trader. I’ve found out that for whatever reason, percent change questions don’t frame as well in my mind, I do much better charting specific price points and interpreting the chart for daily and weekly price movements, so I focused there. Now I maintain a rank in the top thousand of both the traditional and crypto prediction rankings, and an accuracy rating in the seventy to seventy five percent range most days of the week.
Cindicator itself is one of the only projects in the crypto world with a working application, a working product, a reason for the token to be held and go up in value, and a development team that meets it’s goals. These reasons alone makes it a must hold for any crypto investor. As far as fundamentals, there really aren’t that many other projects that stack up — with both a strong product and team that consistently hits its’ goals. Combined with the possibility of learning and improving your trading skills while earning extra Ethereum, and the fact that as the machine learning and crowd indicators get better, the tokens will be in high demand makes it an easy pick.
But more than that, there is a community. Highly active developers who answer questions at any time, and a push to involve anyone who truly wants to help shape the direction of the platform. Any suggestion that I have made have been seriously received, and the discussion doesn’t disintegrate into coin price, ‘moonshots’ etc. These are people genuinely interested in the future of prediction technology.
All of this has done wonders for understanding which kind of trades I would like to make, keeping my eye on which markets are moving, and keeping up my overall engagement in the crypto realm. If your aren’t going to be engaged, you will get passed by, and end up with nothing but wasted fiat and out of date wallets attempting to sync to chains that no longer exist. So, in short, participating in the Cindicator platform as an analyst has improved my trading in almost every way — but it is the larger context on which I would now like to focus.
It’s 5am, my partner has left for class and I’m reading the charts. Getting in all my price predictions for the day, but why this dedication? Outside of my own financial self-interest, which is considerable, there is a larger drive at play here. All of us have bought in to the promise of big data, whether we like it or not. But what is this promise? Has it ever clearly been stated? What is the end game of all this documentation and intrusion into the minutae of daily life? It has been used to sell advertising opportunities, for political control, for situational awareness in relation to control through force… But it could be so much more than that, it could help predict the next flu pandemic, the next reservoir that will run dry, leaving a region devastated and the world reeling from migration. To identify and reverse trends leading towards a next World War. But whose decision is it?
Every time we use our phones, tablets and computers we aggregate data — but to what end, and for whom? In the past few weeks, Facebook and its’ privacy abuses have become standard fare on the nightly news around the world, yet U.S. senators serve up softball questions and most demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the platforms they intend to regulate. Our methods of societal control have been outpaced by the technical innovation of our corporate entities, which is why I would assert that the responsibility falls on the User, the individual, to engage in arrangements where their data is being used in a way that suits theirs, and hopefully the greater needs of society as a whole.
Users have a choice, and ultimately it is our engagement that drives which platforms succeed, and which fail. We have experimented with private platforms for the purpose of corporate financial gain, and it has gotten us to this place where the scanners are for certain seeing darkly. The road ahead, forging our way out to clarity, will be rocky as pioneers carve out new niches on the internet that reward interaction and transparency, and provide users with control over the flow of data to and from the systems. Cindicator, Bitshares, Steemit and other DAO organizations are all good examples of these principles in application. Ultimately it is up to us to decide, with our engagement, what we want our experience of personal data to be going forward. There are many options, I hope the model of simple corporate exploitation is abandoned as better technology moves to the forefront.
I am optimistic for the future, and to me, the Cindicator platform is a harbinger of things to come — of data shared communally for common goals. Of platforms with incentives for producers and users, and a say in what their data is being used for, instead of the lifeless siphoning to opaque corporate databases that happens today. This is why, every day at 5am, I get up to make my predictions. If I could pose a question to the platform, it would be — What is the percent likelihood that the future holds for humanity a variety of experiences, and expansion of freedom hitherto unknown to us as a species?
I give it an eighty percent currently — as I said, I am optimistic. I wonder what the machine learning algorithm would say.