Making money with Amazon Mechanical Turk

I discovered Amazon Mechanical Turk while searching for a way to make money online and work part-time. It’s one of the most famous crowdsourcing websites; it allows businesses to post online micro-tasks (at most a few minutes long), which will be completed by online workers. Due to their short durations, these tasks pay very little individually, often a few cents; however it’s possible to complete many of them in a single hour. I spent a bit more than two months on Mechanical Turk; although I work part-time and I’m a non-US worker (more on this below), I managed to make around $375.

You may wonder why I publish an article related to crowdsourcing on Alternative Investments. I think that one large advantage of real-estate crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending is that they allow to invest very small sums, making them much more accessible than traditional investments. However, even these small amounts may be unavailable to some would-be investors, especially when you factor in the fact that you need to diversify your investments. Crowdsourcing allows nearly anyone to make an additional revenue easily, providingthem with some additional income they can invest.

Signing up to Amazon Mechanical Turk

As I already had an Amazon.com account, signing up to Mechanical Turk was trivial. A few days later, I received an e-mail stating that I got accepted as a Mechanical Turk worker. Unfortunately, it looks like Amazon doesn’t accept all applications; the required criteria are unclear, and some even suggest that they’re purely random. In case you’re rejected, all you can do is wait; apparently several workers got accepted at a later date.

First steps with Amazon Mechanical Turk

If you’re among the lucky ones who get selected, you’ll be taken to the main screen of Amazon Mechanical Turk. In spite of its simplicity, the it can seem a bit overwhelming. By default, you’ll be on the “HITs” part of the website. A HIT (human intelligence task) is simply another name for the tasks available for workers.

The screen will show you a list of available HITs; for each of them, the site shows the requester’s name, the title, the number of HITs available, the reward and how long ago it was created. If there’s more than one HIT available, workers commonly talk of these HITs as a batch; they’re a quick way to improve your statistics and earn more if you can work on them quickly enough.

Clicking on “Accept & Work” will directly allow you to start working on the HIT, while “Preview” will only display it, allowing you to either accept it or skip it. Note that it’s also possible that the HIT you selected isn’t available anymore, if another worker completed it; in this case you’ll be taken back to the main screen, which will also display an error message at the top.

It’s possible to search for a special requester or HIT name by using the search bar. In addition, clicking on “Filter” shows the following dialog, which not only allows to filter but also to sort. Note that sorting is also possible by clicking on any of the column header labeled “HITs”, “Reward” or “Created”.

Finally, you can display how many HITs are shown for each page.

Previewing & accepting HITs : let’s work !

HITs can be anything. You’ll find many surveys; other may involve searching for a company’s website, transcribing data, tagging photos and videos… The possibilities are rather endless and there are always new requesters, which provides some variety.

Each HIT will look different, however in most cases the controls at the top and bottom of the screen will be the same. If you’re previewing the HIT, you have the opportunity to Skip it; that is, switch to the next one on the batch. Otherwise, you can start working on it by clicking on Accept. Once accepted, you can Submit the result of your work if you’re satisfied; you may also give up the task by using the Return button.

At the top of the screen, you’ll also see the HIT name, requester name, number of HITs available, reward for each HIT as well as a timer showing how much time is left to complete the task. Indeed, you’re alloted a limited time; once the time is up, the task is automatically returned and you can’t submit it anymore.

After a task is submitted, the requester had one month to accept it or reject it. In most cases, it will only take two or three days. If your work is accepted, the money will be added to your available earnings. If unfortunately the requested isn’t satisfied and rejects your work, you  won’t get paid and your statistics will be hurt. While having a few rejections is unavoidable, you should try to have as few of them as possible. Let’s head out to the dashboard to find out why.

Amazon Mechanical Turk’s dashboard : show me the money !

The main role is the dashboard is to display how much money you’ve made so far. It also allows you to transfer your gains to your Amazon.com gift card.

However, another very important information here is the statistics on the number of HITs approved and rejected. Indeed, if you click on any HIT on the main screen, it will show you the conditions necessary to be able to work on it. Many of them require you to have a minimum of approved HITs, and often also set an approval rate threshold. The more HITs you complete and the higher your approval rate, the more HITs will be available; it’s kind of a virtuous circle. I can’t stress enough the important of having a good approval rate ! Otherwise you’ll have to transcribe handwritten text for one cent until the end of your life 🙂

Qualifications & tests

In addition to your statistics, other aspects will influence the HITs availability. HITs may be targeted at workers in a specific country (often the USA), barring you from taking them.

If you uncheck “HITs that I’m qualified to work on” in the filters screen, you will see many more HITs. With some perseverance, many of them may become available. Indeed, when inspecting the requirements for a HIT by clicking on it, you may see a “Take Test” button, like in the following hit.

Successfully taking the test will grant you the matching qualification. Should you fail, you may be able to try it again later; however, in some cases, you won’t be given the opportunity for a second try ! This information is displayed before you start the test; if you’re unsure of yourself, I strongly advise you to wait a bit and take the test later.

Note that you may also try the “Request qualification” button when it’s available, although apparently the request isn’t visible to most requesters and thus useless.

As time goes by and your statistics improve, you’ll have more and more tasks available. Even as a non-Us worker, I now have enough to keep me busy several hours a day if I want to !

A warning note for non-US workers

If you’re located outside the US, the only way to enjoy your hard-earned money will be to use it to buy stuff on Amazon.com; you won’t even be able to spend it in other national Amazon stores !

One safe but slightly inconvenient way to get rid of your gift card is to use purse.io in order to exchange them against bitcoins. You’ll fulfill other people’s orders using your gift card, earning bitcoins in return. Unfortunately, the price to pay for the safety of the process is high : you’ll often lose as much as 20% of the transaction’s value.

Is Amazon Mechanical Turk worth it ?

It totally depends on your expectations. I’m totally satisfied with my earnings so far, considering I work part-time. However, the restrictions on the payout may be really bothersome for non-US workers. Also, it requires a rather large time investment at first, in order to boost your stats and have access to HITs that pay better and are more interesting.

In a later article, I’ll share some advises in order to help beginner Turkers (that’s how workers at Amazon Mechanical Turk call themselves). meanwhile, a great way to get more information is to browse Reddit’s forums.

 

P2P lending portfolio review for April 2018

Overview of the month

April was another quiet month for my P2P lending portfolio. I withdrew some more funds from my Omaraha’s portfolio as it’s getting harder and harder to invest there, and managed to withdraw some money from Bondora.

Website changes

I didn’t have time to update many articles, but finally started Alternative Investment’s Facebook page ! I’ve been thinking for some time about a way to communicate up-to-date but transient informations, like P2P lending companies’ new offers. I think that a Facebook page is a great way to do so, instead of cluttering the website with short-lived posts. Of course, the website will remain my main focus, and I have a few background articles being written !

Current performance

Omaraha

Current XIRR is slightly down again, at 20.26% against 20.47% in April. Again, it’s still an excellent result, but it looks like it will be harder and harder to replicate it, especially for large accounts.

Bondora

XIRR was 12.91%, compared to 13.54% last month. As I mention in my last portfolio review, I stopped re-investing at Bondora. I keep on computing the resulting XIRR in order to see how well the recovery performs.

Grupeer

Another month with a lot of cashback offers from one of my favorite companies ! As a result, the XIRR increased to 14.68%, up from 14.54%. Do I need to point out that it’s an excellent return ? 🙂

Mintos

Like Grupeer, Mintos offers runs several cashback campaigns; however I once again failed to invest in the matching loans. As a result my XIRR was really stable at 12.75%, basically the same value as last month’s 12.71%. Note that for long-term investors, it’s now possible to invest in loans offering as much as 15% interest rate, coming with a buyback guarantee.

Swaper

Returns were very stable this month, with an XIRR of 12.14% versus 12.16% last month.

Robo.cash

After several months of slow increase, the XIRR for April was nearly identical to March’s one, at 12.23%; last month’s value was 12.25%.

DoFinance

Shame on me ! I just realized that I forgot to include this company in my monthly review. Well, now it’s done; the XIRR for my portfolio there is 12.17%,  stable from last month’s 12.20%. Note that thanks to the simplicity of the company’s offer, I don’t expect this value to fluctuate much !

Other companies

As usual, I didn’t compute the XIRR for several companies.

Several of my investments at CrowdEstate have been paying interests for a few months, but as they’re not real-estate crowdfunding, their returns are different from most other projects in my portfolio. My first investment in Crowdestor also started to return interests, but here again my portfolio is too new for me to publish the results. Finally, I’m still waiting for my BulkEstate‘s long-term investments to pay interests within a few months.

Finbee and Monestro’s reviews still aren’t ready, so reporting the result would be rather pointless if I don’t provide more details.

Aggregate portfolio XIRR

This value is the average of the XIRR for each company, weighted by its amount. This month it’s fallen again; it’s now 17.03%, versus 17.34% last month. Once again, the large weight of Omaraha and Bondora explain most of this decrease.

XIRR evolution

Remember that values until October (included) were provided by the platform or crudely estimated; from November onwards they were computed using the method outlined in this article.

There’s nearly no noticeable change compared to last month; the tendency is again for returns to get uniform between most comparable companies.

Returns by P2P lending company - April 2018

Current allocation

As mentioned in the overview, I decreased the size of my Bondora and Omaraha portfolios. My only new investment was in CrowdEstate’s last project, as I had some idle funds there.

Due to the large withdrawal in Omaraha, most other companies’ relative size increased.

Allocation between P2P lending companies - April 2018

New platforms

I found out a new platform which seem great, but several aspects kind of annoy me so I want to spend some more time researching it, rather than give a rushed opinion.

 

 

 

P2P lending portfolio review for March 2018

Overview of the month

It’s time for changes ! I finally decided to stop investing in Bondora, as I’m totally unsatisfied by the ever-decreasing returns. The two available options were either selling my portfolio, or stopping the portfolio manager. As I’m not in a hurry to get my funds back, I chose the latter option, which is also more cost-effective as selling my loans would mean offering a discount.

Also, like last month, I withdrew the received interests from Omaraha, as this portfolio is too large compared to other companies, and it’s hard to get it totally invested.

The funds withdrawn from Bondora will be mostly spread between Grupeer, Finbee and CrowdEstate. I won’t reinvest the amount withdrawn from Omaraha in P2P loans, as I need them for a top-secret project I still have to blog about 🙂

Updated reviews

I finally took the time to update Investly‘s review, as its performance had decreased a lot since my initial review. I also mention Mintos‘s new predefined strategies, Grupeer‘s improved liquidity and new development projects, and CrowdEstate‘s / BulkEstate‘s recent improvements. Check them out !

Current performance

Omaraha

Current XIRR is 20.47%, down from 20.84%. Performance is still excellent, but it has become too hard to invest large sums now so I decided to stop reinvesting the interests, basically capping the portfolio’s size to its current amount.

Bondora

XIRR was down again to 13.54%, compared to 14.37% last month. I’ve delayed the decision to cut off my investments from a while, but I can’t delay it anymore.

Grupeer

I managed to get less cashback in March, leading to a slightly down XIRR. It was 14.54%, versus 14.72% on the previous month. Their solid performance never ceases to amaze me, and I’ll allocate most of my withdrawn funds to Grupeer.

Mintos

Once again it was a very stable month for this platform; the XIRR was 12.71%, nearly the same as last month’s 12.69% last month. Several cashback campaigns are active but I have a hard time investing in the matching loans.

Swaper

Another month of increasing returns for Swaper, with a XIRR of 12.16%, up from last month’s 11.90%.

Robo.cash

Like Swaper, Robo.cash results suffered from a cash drag and are improving steadily. XIRR for March was 12.25%, compared to 11.97% last month.

Other companies

As usual, I didn’t compute the XIRR for several companies. I still didn’t write Finbee and Monestro’s reviews, and reports are a bit useless without an introduction to the platform. For CrowdEstate, BulkEstate and Crowdestor, it’s because they’re long-term investments, and most of them will only pay interests after one year.

Aggregate portfolio XIRR

This value is the average of the XIRR for each company, weighted by its amount. This month it’s fallen from 17.72% to 17.34%. The large weight of Omaraha and Bondora explain most of this drop.

XIRR evolution

Remember that values until October (included) were provided by the platform or crudely estimated; from November onwards they were computed using the method outlined in this article.

It’s interesting to see that returns are getting more and more similar from one company to another. I expect the XIRR for most companies to increase a bit : Swaper and RoboCash suffered from a lack of liquidity which decreased returns, while Mintos’s interest rates have increased over time. On the other hand, Bondora’s and Omaraha’s results may keep on decreasing.

Returns by P2P lending company - March 2018

Current allocation

My P2P lending portfolio allocation hasn’t changed much since February, but overall I target a more balanced allocation, along with a slightly higher weight for real-estate crowdfunding companies. I haven’t decided the target allocation yet, but changes will be incremental anyway.

I slightly increased my portfolio in Crowdestor, investing in their crazy opportunity offering a 36% interest rate. To be frank, I’m a bit puzzled that a new platform offers such a risky project; if the borrower defaults, it could be fatal to the company’s credibility. However, as the loan has a 3 months duration, we’ll soon see the outcome of this bet !

Allocation between P2P lending companies - March 2018

New platforms

I’m currently checking two new platforms, in order to determine whether they would bring value to investors. Indeed, I don’t want Alternative Investments to become a catalog of reviews, so I try to find companies that use a different approach or are financially more rewarding.

Also, now that I updated Investly’s review, I still have to rewrite most of Bondora’s one.

 

 

Three investing mistakes that may harm your P2P lending or real-estate crowdfunding portfolio

Like other investment forms, P2P lending and real-estate crowdfunding come with associated risks. This post will introduce you with three classical investing mistakes that beginners and even advanced investor may make.

Investing mistake #1 : investing money you need

Always consider your future financial needs before investing. Many P2P lending companies provide a secondary market, but you’ll usually have to sell your loans for a discount, thus losing money. Worse, if this feature isn’t available, your money will be stuck for a long time.

Investing mistake #2 : investing too much, too early

Don’t be in a hurry ! I always start investing with a small amount, even with reputable companies. It takes time to get used to most websites; you don’t want to improperly invest your money because of a mistake in auto-invest configuration ! So, start small, and take time to get to know the platform. Once the returns satisfy you, gradually increase your investments.

Investing mistake #3 : not diversifying enough

Diversification is an absolute must in any investment form. When investing in peer-to-peer lending or real-estate crowdfunding,  there are several degrees of diversification available. First, between the different companies themselves. No matter if you want to invest in secured on unsecured loans, for a short or a long duration, in individual or business loans; there will always be several companies offering great investment opportunities. Signing up is usually very easy, so splitting your investment between several companies is a no-brainer.

For peer-to-peer loans, there are two different diversification levels. First between loan originators; this is essential as these firms provide the buyback guarantee. But buyback is not infallible, so if one originator bankrupts, you don’t want to have all your money invested there ! Finally, I advise you to use the smallest loan size possible, in order to spread the risk between as many different loans as possible !

Mintos‘s blog features several articles on diversification. They’re well worth the time necessary to read them.

 

My four favorite P2P lending and real-estate crowdfunding companies

Alternative investments already features a long guide comparing many peer-to-peer lending and real-estate crowdfunding companies. However, it’s a long read, and I understand it can be intimidating. So, here’s a much shorter list of my favorite companies.

Keep in mind that limiting the number of entries is necessarily unfair, and doesn’t mean that the missing ones aren’t worth investing in ! For example, Robo.cash is missing from this list, although it’s a company I strongly appreciate. So, don’t hesitate to check the longer comparison at a later date, or browse all available reviews. Diversification will allow you to reduce risk !

Peer-to-peer lending companies

Omaraha

Omaraha is still the largest part of my portfolio. In spite of a large cash drag, it’s still possible to invest in quality loans offering around 20% interest rate, for a long-term duration. However, be warned that Omaraha is probably not for beginners. Their website is dated and hard to use, and the loans are only partially guaranteed.

Grupeer

I may not be objective about Grupeer, but it’s probably my favorite P2P lending company. I’m honestly puzzled why there are not more people investing through this company. They offer guaranteed loans with an interest rate of 14% or more for a duration below one year. As time goes by, Grupeer features more and more originators with an increasing loans volume. The website is easy to use and require very little time; the only drawback I see is the lack of a secondary market. As a result, you can’t resell your loan if you find yourself in need of the money.

Mintos

Mintos‘s offering is truly impressive. There are both business and personal loans, a huge array of originators from many countries, and it offers loans both with or without buyback. In spite of this very rich offering, the website is very easy to use. It’s the perfect offer for beginners; longer-term guaranteed loans currently offer 14% interest rate.

Real-estate crowdfunding

Real-estate crowdfunding offers a great way to invest in real-estate with as little as €100. The returns are usually rather high – I actually cry when I compare them to the returns I get from a traditional real-estate investment I made several years ago -. One word of caution, though :  these returns come an equivalent level of risk. Please make sure you understand the risks associated with real-estate investments before committing your money !

CrowdEstate

CrowdEstate is by far the undisputed leader in this category. They regularly add new projects, which offer great expected returns. The investments are extremely detailed, and investors have the opportunity to ask questions before the start of the investment period. It’s a perfect way to diversify your portfolio if you already invested in the above companies !

 

 

P2P lending portfolio review for February 2018

Overview of the month

The most important change in my P2P lending portfolio was that I withdrew some cash from Omaraha. Also, in order to write Crowdestor‘s review, I invested a small sum in this firm’s first project.

Current performance

Omaraha

In spite of offering a large bonus, I got nearly no new loan at Omaraha until the very end of February. This situation has been lasting since the beginning of the year, so I decided to withdraw most of the idle funds in order to allocate them to Grupeer, Finbee and Crowdestor (in decreasing order).

My XIRR is absolutely stable compared to last month, at 20.84% versus 20.86%; it’s once again my best portfolio, and it pained me to have to withdraw money from it !

Bondora

Ah, Bondora… Once again it was a very deceiving month for this platform. I made more money with my Grupeer portfolio, although it’s twice smaller than my Bondora portfolio. Another striking figure is the received interests, which have dropped by more than 50% between January and February !

The XIRR dropped below 15%, setting a new low at 14.37% against 15.14% last month. Needless to say, that’s a very poor result, especially compared to Bondora’s “expected return” when I started investing. While this may look like a harsh judgment- after all, it’s really not a bad result by itself -, the clearly decreasing returns is really worrisome !

Grupeer

It was yet another excellent month for my portfolio at Grupeer. The XIRR  reached 14.72%, slightly above last month’s 14.63%. There were few cashback offers this month, so the returns may drop slightly; however one can only marvel at Grupeer’s very consistent returns. The reallocation from Omaraha meant that my Grupeer portfolio increased by around 10%.

Mintos

Another very stable month for this platform; the XIRR was 12.69%, compared to 12.63% last month. As a reminder, don’t forget to sign up for the cashback campaigns at they run regularly, and they offer a quick way to improve the returns of your portfolio.

Swaper

The XIRR is also very similar to January’s, at 11.90% for this month versus 11.83% for February.

Robo.cash

The XIRR increased once again, reaching 11.97%. Robo.cash is slowly recovering from the long cash drag that plagued it several months ago.

Other companies

As usual, I didn’t compute the XIRR for several companies. For Finbee and Monestro, it’s because I need to update or write the review. For CrowdEstate, BulkEstate and the very new Crowdestor, the reason is simply that I need to wait until the projects complete. I could actually provide a XIRR for CrowdEstate as one of the projects I invested in yields monthly interests, but it’s not typical from this platform’s investments.

Aggregate portfolio XIRR

That’s a value I’m really interested in; it shows the effect of the various portfolios size. It’s compute this value by simply taking the average of the XIRR for each company, weighted by its amount. This month it’s slightly down at 17.72%, versus 17.95% last month. I’m still very pleased by this result !

XIRR evolution

Earlier values until October (included) were provided by the platform or crudely estimated; from November onwards they were computed using the method outlined in this article.

Apart from Bondora’s continual downtrend, the results for most platforms are rather regular.

P2P Lending companies returns

Current allocation

I withdrew some money from Omaraha, and split this amount between Grupeer, Finbee, and a very tiny Crowdestor portfolio. This portfolio is so small compared to the other companies that there’s no legend for it ! (it’s located between CrowdEstate and Grupeer on the pie chart)

P2P lending companies allocations for February 2018

New platforms

I’ve had a portfolio for a long time at Finbee and I still have to write the review. It’s a rather complex platform with many options, and I lack time to explore it totally. But first, I  urgently need to update both Bondora and Investly reviews in order to reflect my current opinion !

 

 

 

ICO portfolio review for January 2018

After a crazy rise in December, January was a very bad month for crypto-currencies. The most famous one, Bitcoin, lost about two third of its value. As a result, my ICO portfolio also suffered. I’m really happy I invested only a small sum as I’m not sure I could bear such volatility !

Portfolio structure

There has been noo change in my portfolio composition in January; I didn’t invest in any new ICO. WePower ICO took place on February, 1st and I really wanted to invest in it, but I totally missed it as I didn’t have internet access 🙁

I have invested in the following ICOs in equal proportions :

  • Crypto20 (C20), a crypto index fund
  • Symmetry (SYMM), a fund invested in crypto-currencies and ICOs
  • Naga Coin, (NGC) a smart crypto-currency for gaming and trading
  • Signals (SGN), a platform aimed at providing crypto-trading strategies

Current tokens valuation

Currently only two tokens are valued. C20 value is available in realtime at the project’s homepage, while pas values are displayed in the performance page. In addition to this, C20 is finally trading on exchanges. I’m using the official NAV value here, as there are differences between exchanges prices; moreover, the small liquidity may lead to unrealistic prices.

At the end of January, C20 token’s value was around $2.31 (versus $2.91 last month).

Crypto20 (C20) token price

Here’s NGC priced in USD at HitBTC; the chart includes most of February as I’m writing this article very late 🙁 While the token was worth at $2.82 at the end of December, it dropped to $1.46 at the end of January.

Naga Coin (NGC) token price

Total portfolio valuation

My ICOs portfolio saw an insane growth in December. In January, it went back to Earth – especially NGC -. The total growth of the portfolio is now “only” 25%. This figure  shows how crazy the crypto-currencies world is; it’s a huge drop compared to last month (where I doubled my portfolio), but even after that, the return is still impressive for such a small time.

ICOs portfolio evolution

Future directions

Spoiler alert 🙂 After missing the WePower ICO, I decided to invest in NapoleonX, a crypto asset manager. I’ve been considering it for some time, and finally invested in it. I’ll provide more details in next month’s ICo review.

 

Also, as I really appreciate Crypto20’s approach, I keep a close eye on their current developments, and will probably invest in their future tokens.

 

P2P lending portfolio review for January 2018

Overview of the month

The first month of 2018 looked suspiciously like the last month of 2017 ! I once again added money to CrowdEstate and BulkEstate. Returns were overall equivalent to last month, the exception being once again Bondora.

Current performance

Omaraha

Omaraha is currently suffering from a large cash drag. It’s very hard to have money invested, and I actually increased the amount of “bonus” I give back to the side in order to have a higher priority. In spite of this, there’s more and more idle cash on my account.

Computed XIRR is 20.86%, which is roughly the same as last month’s 20.96%. It’s still by far the best performing part of my portfolio.

Bondora

Once again, Bondora’s returns decreased. They stand at 15.14%, well below the value for last month, which was 15.86%. The recovery isn’t improving, in spite of reassuring communication from Bondora. Like many Bondora investors, I’m tempted to cut down the size of my portfolio, but I’m afraid it will lower results even further…

Grupeer

Month after month, Grupeer delivers very consistent returns. The 1% cashback offer allowed me to boost my returns again; this portfolio’s XIRR was 14.63% for January, slightly higher than December’s 14.49%.

Mintos

Just like Grupeer, Mintos performs extremely well. The XIRR was slightly up, at 12.63% versus 12.54% for the previous month. There are several campaigns that allow you to get cashback; you currently can get as much as 5% cashback when investing in Mogo’s long-term loans ! These offers are a great way to increase your returns.

Swaper

The XIRR is currently 11.83%, which is okay for loans offering a 12% interest rate. It increased greatly from last month’s 11.66%; it looks like the cash drag is over for now, as returns have been increasing for several months in a row.

Robo.cash

Robo.cash is another site that suffered from a long cash drag several months ago. Just like Swaper, they now seem to have enough loans available for everyone to invest in, and the returns are in an uptrend. December’s XIRR was 10.59%, and it increased to 11.19% in January. While still not an optimal value – the loans are supposed to yield 14% -, it’s a great improvement from the past values.

Other companies

Once again, I don’t compute XIRR for several companies : Investly, Finbee, Monestro, CrowdEstate and BulkEstate. I keep on adding money to the two latter companies, as they have very interesting offers coming in regularly.

Aggregate portfolio XIRR

I compute this value by taking the average of the XIRR for each portfolio, weighted by the portfolio’s size. The value for January was very similar to last month : 17.95% versus 17.99% for December. Overall it’s still an excellent value… I can only wish Bondora would stop bringing it down 🙁

XIRR evolution

Value from December onwards were all computed by myself, leading to more precise value and easier comparison. There’s little change between January’s results and the previous month.

P2P Lending companies returns

Current allocation

I once again added funds to CrowdEstate and BulkEstate. The evolution of the other portfolios’ relative size is due to the received interests.

P2P lending companies allocations for January 2018

New platforms

I had a look at EstateGuru, but current returns seem much lower than CrowEstate of BulkEstate. I’m currently performing some due diligence on Crowdestor, which seems like a worthy competitor for these two websites; however the investors base seems to be very small.

 

 

 

Monthly ICO portfolio review

As I mentioned in this post, I started investing a small sum in crypto-currencies through ICOs (initial coin offerings) at the end of 2017. This portfolio is extremely small compared to my P2P lending portfolio.

From now on, I’ll report on the fluctuations of the tokens price on a monthly basis.

Portfolio structure

I invested an equal amount in the following ICOs :

  • Crypto20 (C20), a crypto index fund
  • Symmetry (SYMM), a fund invested in crypto-currencies and ICOs
  • Naga Coin, (NGC) a smart crypto-currency for gaming and trading
  • Signals (SGN), a platform aimed at providing crypto-trading strategies

Current tokens valuation

It may be hard to value a portfolio invested in ICOs. Currently neither SGN or SYMM have real value, as the ICO is not over yet.

The value of a C20 token is published at the project’s homepage; historical NAV can be found in the performance page. C20 token will also soon trade at HitBTC, a crypto-currency exchange. The NAV on December, 31st was $2.91.

CRYPTO20 - NAV Chart

NGC’s situation is even clearer as it already trades at HitBTC. As of December, 31st its closing price was $2.82.

NGC/USD chart at HitBTC

Total portfolio valuation

As I mentioned, I invested an equal amount in all four ICOs. Depending on the crypto-currency used to invest in ICOs, the transaction fees were different. In order to simplify comparison, I will disregard the transaction fees paid initially.

Also, as I bought the NGC tokens during the pre-sale, I got a nice 30% bonus on the price, meaning that I actually bought 30% more tokens for the same price.

In order to make comparisons easier, I gave an initial value of 1 for all tokens. The resulting growth is impressive : around 3 times for C20 ($1 to $2.91), and about 3.6 times for NGC, thanks to the bonus ($1 to $2.82 plus 30% equal $3.66 ). Including the two “idle” tokens, I doubled the value of my portfolio in one month.

ICOs portfolio valuation as of December 2017

 

Will this crazy growth continue ? I’m of course not sure. Overall I’m really confident  in C20’s value; NGC’s price variations remain to be seen. SYMM’s first dividend is supposed to be paid in April, so we’ll see how it turns out !

Future directions

I try to stay informed on current ICOs and trends in crypto space, as I find this topic interesting. However I don’t plan to grow my portfolio much, unless I found a very compelling ICO to invest in. Crypto20 is supposed to create new indexes later (for example for ICOs), so it may provide new investment opportunities.

 

 

P2P lending portfolio review for December 2017

First of all, I wish all readers of Alternative Investments a happy new year !

Overview of the month

The only change to my P2P lending portfolio allocation in December was a size increase for CrowdEstate and BulkEstate.

Returns for most sites are stable or higher than last month, with the notable exception of Bondora.

Current performance

Omaraha

I’m still using Omaraha’s “bonus” feature in order to invest all my funds. The forecasted cost of this feature is a bit more than one euro per month, so I consider it’s worth using it in order to prevent cash drags ! As I mentioned last month, all my new investments are in Estonia; I stopped investing in Slovakia and Finland due to the high default rate.

Computed XIRR is 20.96%, slightly down from last month’s 21.11%. Once again it’s an excellent return !

Bondora

Bondora‘s performance is – again – rather concerning. XIRR for this portolio is 15.86%, much below last month’s 16.73%. I still didn’t decrease the portfolio’s size, as I’m waiting to see whether recovered amounts increase.

Grupeer

In December I invested in many loans offering an additional 1% cashback, which boosted the returns of loans offering an already nice 14% interest rate. As a result, the computed XIRR is a whooping 14.49%, nearly one more point than last month’s XIRR of 13.48%. I really appreciate Grupeer more and more, and if I ever decreased Bondora’s portfolio, I’d invest most funds in Grupeer.

Mintos

I set my auto-invest profile to invest in loans with interest rates of at least 13.5%; there are many of them for long durations so liquidity isn’t a concern. I also got a small bonus for investing in long term loans in December. Compared to a few months ago, Mintos’s loans offer a greater interest rate, so the XIRR keeps on increasing : for December it was 12.54%, versus 12.35% last month.

Swaper

The XIRR value is more or less in line with the expected value for loans offering a 12% interest rate. Last month’s value was 11.36% (after a long period of cash drag), and for December it has improved to 12.54%.

Robo.cash

Last month’s XIRR was a very low 9%, partly because of the lack of loans to invest in. In December the loans volume has greatly improved, and the XIRR is now 10.59%. While it’s still very low – especially for a platform where you invest in loans with 14% interest rate -, I expect the XIRR to improve over time.

Other companies

Like the previous months, I don’t compute XIRR for several companies : Investly, Finbee, Monestro, CrowdEstate and BulkEstate.

Aggregate portfolio XIRR

This is simply the average of the XIRR for each company, weighted by the portfolio’s size. I didn’t compute it previously and was pleasantly surprised by the result : 17.99% ! The high weight of Omaraha explains this great result.

XIRR evolution

Values from October and earlier were estimated or taken from the statistics computed by the P2P company. After November, all values are manually computed.

P2P lending companies returns for December 2017

Current allocation

I only added funds to CrowdEstate and BulkEstate. Portfolios for other companies only grew with the received interests.

P2P lending companies allocations for December 2017

New platforms

I spent some time improving the current reviews in order to reflect platforms improvements : for example Mintos‘ “Loans issuers diversification” feature, or Omaraha‘s more friendly configuration of investments profile. Several reviews are still currently being written, but I must admit I’m not satisfied with them yet.

Maybe I’ll have a look at EstateGuru this month, as it seems like a great way to invest in real-estate, in spite of rather low interest rates.