In the midst of the bitcoin boom and bust, I came across an interesting site: cex.io, which lets you trade bitcoin mining contracts. Essentially you pay for computing power (in GH/s) with bitcoins, and you receive bitcoins back as a fraction of the block reward as the entire pool is awarded them.
Obviously it’s not as simple as just investing a large amount of money and sitting back watching the BTC roll in – between the ever increasing difficulty, reducing block rewards and highly volatile prices of both GHS/BTC and BTC/USD, it’s a huge gamble.
However, for fun I decided to throw a small amount ($100) into a couple of GHS and see what came out. I’ve been getting the equivalent of a few cents a day (unfortunately due to the tumbling BTC price, my original $100 is worth probably $60), but rather than withdrawing that and buying a few penny sweets, I decided to constantly throw it back into more GHS.
Initially I just went in every other day and added a quick BTC/GHS trade, but the whole process is quite painful: go to cex.io website (often lags my browser), log in (logs out every session close and login occasionally requires SMS auth), copy and paste my BTC amount into BTC trade and submit, go to NMC tab, copy and paste NMC amount into NMC trade and submit.
Ok, so the whole process takes a little under 5 minutes, but that’s still 2.5 hours per month I’m wasting, and it somewhat reminds me of a famous quote by Bill Gates: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” Thankfully, a cex.io API and Rails are just the tools I need to make a hard job easy.
After a bit of playing with the API in Ruby (connecting, pulling trade data, parsing and displaying, etc) I produced Lazy Cexio, which connects to your cex.io account hourly in order to re-invest any awarded BTC/NMC in more GHS. It’s very MVP at present, but feels (to me) nicely simple to setup and use. I have a long list of enhancements I could add, but for now will mostly focus on refactoring, at least until I have one or more users specifically requesting some feature.
It’s been running nicely for about a week now and in that time, without needing to log onto cex.io once, I’ve gone up from 3.3GHS to 3.5GHS…And saved myself about 35 minutes compared to doing it manually, which I have probably since wasted on Hacker News.