Kelly and Crypto

There’s an idea, it’s a formula but really it’s an idea, in gambling called the Kelly Criterion. Broadly, it suggests to act in proportion to edge. Bet big when you have a big advantage. Card counters, like those in the book Bringing Down the House followed this idea.

While Kelly is math, like being Bayesian, it works as a general idea too. Most people never follow the formulaic ‘full Kelly’, rather they bet half or ‘quarter Kelly’ because there’s no way to truly know an edge. So, how exactly does it work as just an idea?

“I’ve had a ton of friends who thought Solana is the future, bought in at a couple of dollars, waited eight months and nothing happened and sold everything. Then, all of a sudden, boom Solana took off. The rapid climb is where a majority of the value capture occurred. You have to build a pretty serious conviction around something and have it be small enough dollars. You can’t say: this didn’t work I’m going to move into the next thing. You have to be able to say: I still have conviction here, I’m going to leave this be.” – Kevin Rose, September 2021

Rose practically uses the Kelly language! Rather than edge and bet he says conviction and small-enough-dollars.

This cost to benefit ratio approach is a nice way to frame decisions. While Kelly started in gambling and moved afield, anything about risk and reward, travel budgets for instance, works.

Most systems have lowish cadences: closer to construction than technology, and the reward portion takes time to compound. When that’s the case, it may help to think about how much conviction we have and how long the cycle may take.


This podcast hit my feed September 19, the same day my wife asked me to buy some Doge Coin. ‘Why’ I asked. I’d convinced her to dollar-cost-average into Bitcoin and Ethereum, but it took a fair bit of convincing. ‘I just want some’ she explained. shrug

2021 Predictions

My Superforecasting notes.

So, this probably should have been written in January. Writing it in March means it should be more accurate. Less time, less variance (see also: Something is always happening)

One of the lessons from thinking like Tyler Cowen was to see the world as it is, not as we’d like it to be. Making accurate predictions is one way to approach that concept. One of the lessons from Phillip Tetlock’s Superforecasting was that improving predictions is possible.

Tetlock gives 10 commandments for better forecasting, one of which is to practice forecasting. Here are the prediction, if you want an overview of Tetlock’s book see the post: Is Bill Simmons a Superforecaster?

Hurricanes. NOAA “An average season has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.”

Will there be more than 12 named storms? Yes, 90%.

Will there be more than 30 named storms (the 2020 record)? Yes, 25%

Will there be 3 or more major hurricanes (top winds of 111+mph)? Yes, 60%

Will I lose power at my home in Central Florida for more than 3 days? Yes, 10%.

Blog.

Will this blog have more than 41,000 views in 2021 (41k is the 2020 number)? Yes, 15%

Will this blog have more than 800 posts by year end? Yes, 30%

Finance

BTC will top 75,000 at any point in the year? Yes, 10%

BTC will be under 30,000 at any point in the year (started 2020 at this point)? Yes, 20%

ETH will top 5,000 at any point in the year? Yes 5%

ETH will be under 130 at any point in the year (started 2020 at this point)? Yes, 20%.

BRKB will top 275 at any point in the year? Yes 10%

BRKB will be under 234 at any point in the year (started 2020 at this point)? Yes, 30%

Economic Recovery These will be graded per Bill McBride’s numbers on Calculate Risk

Any single day of the last week of the year will top 2M travelers (2019 was 2.0-2.5M)? Yes, 75%

Open Table reservations will be down less than 10% YOY? Yes, 75%

Open Table reservations will be positive YOY? Yes, 20%

Any movie earns more than 250M on opening weekend during the year (Dark Knight in 2019)? Yes, 5%

Hotel occupancy tops 60% (graph)? Yes 80%

Hotel occupancy tops 70%? Yes, 60%

Sports (I needed two more)

As of year-end, Tom Brady averages +270 ypg? Yes, 30% (This is an ongoing thing)

The Lakers are NBA champions? Yes, 25%