‘Bitcoin Family’ has a trading algorithm that tracks moon cycles

Taihuttu family in Phuket, Thailand

Didi Taihuttu

LAGOS, PORTUGAL — In the small coastal town of Lagos in the heart of Portugal’s southern Algarve region, Didi Taihuttu begins most days on the rooftop of his villa — an unassuming home with rustic charm set atop a hill that slopes up from the Atlantic Ocean. The Mediterranean sun bounces off the bright white stucco walls of the house, illuminating the orange terracotta roof and casting a glow over Taihuttu, who sits on a plastic chair tucked under a round table of the same make. The Dutch patriarch of the ‘Bitcoin Family’ drinks black coffee and pores over cryptocurrency price charts on his MacBook Pro as he decides which trades will begin his day.

“We just need a few thousand per month to live on so our performance is not really important to us,” Taihuttu tells CNBC from his deck overlooking an expansive stretch of cobalt-colored water, cliff-backed beaches and bougainvillea.

Taihuttu’s family home in Lagos, Portugal

MacKenzie Sigalos

Taihuttu’s self-effacement and modest surroundings belie the 45-year-old’s success. In 2017, Taihuttu, along with his wife and three kids, liquidated all of their assets, trading a 2,500-square-foot house and most of their earthly possessions for bitcoin and a life on the road. This was back when the price of bitcoin was around $900. Bitcoin is currently trading at over $30,000, down from an all-time high of nearly $70,000 in Nov. 2021.

Those extreme price swings have helped grow the Dutch family’s crypto nest egg.

For seven years, the investor has regularly been swapping his bitcoin for U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoins in order to capitalize on the volatility in the price of the world’s largest cryptocurrency. When Taihuttu thinks that bitcoin is reaching a bull market peak, he trades his bitcoin into stablecoins like tether, USDC, and DAI — and when it appears as though bitcoin is touching cycle lows during a bear market, he starts buying it back. So far, Taihuttu says the gamble is working out great thanks to a market indicator he created himself dubbed the “Didi BAM BAM.”

Didi Taihuttu in Lagos, Portugal

MacKenzie Sigalos

Taihuttu’s indicator considers a mix of inputs, including directional trading data and moon cycles. It’s guided all of Taihuttu’s investing decisions since he built it before the pandemic.

“From mid-November to the start of December 2022, we saw the first signs the bear market was completely over,” said Taihuttu. “It was confirmed in January 2023 when the long flag appeared in the model.”

He added, “People should have been buying bitcoin already, because every bitcoin you bought at $16k, it’s at $30k now, so that’s almost 90% upside.”

The father of five says his bitcoin investment is up about 50% since the bottom of the most recent bear market.

The Taihuttus declined to share with CNBC the current dollar amount of their crypto investment in aggregate — but Didi did disclose that they had fully bought back into bitcoin by the time the coin surpassed the $19,000 price threshold, so they’re “not doing so bad.”

It also helps that the nomadic family’s primary domicile is in Portugal — Europe’s ultimate crypto tax haven.

“You don’t pay any capital gains tax or anything else in Portugal on cryptocurrency,” said Taihuttu. “As long as you don’t earn cryptocurrency for providing services in Portugal, you’re in the clear.”

“That’s a very beautiful bitcoin heaven,” he said.

Didi Taihuttu in Lagos, Portugal

Didi Taihuttu

How the ‘BAM BAM’ indicator works

When Taihuttu began day trading tokens, he initially turned to traditional predictive metrics like the stock-to-flow model and the Mayer Multiple — a measure calculated by dividing the current price of bitcoin by the 200-day moving average in order to help identify frothy moments in the market when an asset’s value eclipses its intrinsic value.

But spending the time reading the tea leaves of all these somewhat related measures didn’t seem like a particularly productive use of his time, so Taihuttu decided to create his own proprietary blend of the best indicators on the market.

“It’s not just enough to know which indicators go into a formula,” explained Taihuttu. “What you can’t see is the calculus and the code that implements over the stock conditions. Those calculations display in charts.”

So beginning in 2019, Taihuttu started to incubate and perfect a custom-built predictive trading tool that would weigh multiple technical indicators — plus a bit of astrology — and then spit out real-time insights into potential price swings.

It’s a combination of Bollinger Bands, Lower and Upper Bands, NMA, Red/Green Ribbon, NormStoch, RSI, Price Oscillator, Plot, MACD, Cross, Chande Momentum Oscillator, RSI-EMA, Full Moon, and New Moon,” explained Taihuttu, naming a dozen of the most popular market signals that crypto traders watch when they make investment decisions.

“Short and long signals and confirmation signals are shown on the charts when it could be a great moment to buy or sell,” continued Taihuttu.

Taihuttu family in Lagos, Portugal

MacKenzie Sigalos

Here is a quick breakdown of the technicals that underly the model:

  • Bollinger Bands focus on price volatility over time. The model consists of a simple moving average line with two standard deviation lines known as the Upper and Lower Bands. Price moves outside those outer bands can indicate whether an asset is oversold — or vice versa.
  • N-day Moving Average (NMA) is a type of moving average that takes the mean of the closing price of an asset over a variable period of time, or “N” days.
  • Red/Green Ribbon indicators depict bullish, or green, and bearish, or red, market conditions.
  • The Normalized Stochastic (NormStoch) looks at price momentum. It is a variation of the Stochastic Oscillator — an indicator which compares the closing price of an asset to its price variation over a designated period of time.
  • Similar to the Bollinger Bands, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) assesses whether an asset is oversold or overbought. The index, which ranges from 0 to 100, measures the speed and the scale of an asset’s recent price swings.
  • Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) compares two moving averages of a cryptocurrency’s price by subtracting the 26-period exponential moving average (EMA) from the 12-period EMA.
  • The Percentage Price Oscillator (PPO) takes the MACD reading and divides it by the 26-period EMA. It is possible to compare the PPO measures of different assets with larger price discrepancies, because it is expressed as a percentage.
  • With bitcoin, when the line charting the 50-day moving average crosses above a rising 200-day moving average, it is read as a bullish indicator known as a Golden Cross. When the 50-day moving average crosses below a falling 200-day moving average, it is known as the Death Cross, signaling a bear market may be imminent.
  • Chande Momentum Oscillator is a technical momentum indicator similar to the Relative Strength Index and the Stochastic Oscillator, except that it reacts faster to price changes.
  • As the name implies, the Relative Strength Index-Exponential Moving Average (RSI-EMA) combines both measures into a single indicator.

Price chart showing the ‘Didi BAM BAM’ market indicator

Didi Taihuttu

And then there are the intangible price influencers — like moon phases.

“I’m not saying it always affects the price of bitcoin, but the moon influences a lot,” said Taihuttu.

Taihuttu has found that when there is a full moon or a half moon, people tend to trade more.

“They tend to buy more, they tend to sell more,” he said. “Maybe it’s a coincidence, but if you look at the chart, you can see that mostly at the full moon, depending on where we are in the cycle, there’s a dump or a pump.”

Taihuttu added that the lunar phases also typically sync with the opening and closing of bitcoin’s monthly puts and options.

“So if we are in the top of the Bollinger Band in combination with a full moon, then you know that we are going to run,” continued Taihuttu, suggesting a market sell-off is imminent.

Losing his edge to ChatGPT

Taihuttu used to sell the Didi Bam Bam indicator to traders, but he says he will soon make give the trading tool away to selected bitcoin evangelists in order to help spur adoption.

But he also admits that his business model is disappearing.

“Anyone in the world can now go into ChatGPT and tell them, ‘Write me an indicator based on the moving averages and this cycle or that cycle. And write me a script that I can implement into TradingView and then they can make their own indicators,'” explained Taihuttu.

“I’m losing business there.”

‘Bitcoin Family’ in Thailand

Didi Taihuttu

Generative AI is a specific form of AI that is able to produce content from scratch. The systems take inputs from the user and feed them into powerful algorithms fueled by large datasets to generate new text, images, and video in a way that can appear almost human-like.

The technology captured the spotlight following widespread public adoption of OpenAI’s GPT language processing technology. ChatGPT, which uses massive language models to create human-sounding responses to questions, has ignited an arms race among some companies over what is seen as the next “paradigm shift” in tech.

While ChatGPT isn’t able to deliver a querent a trading algorithm in Pine Script, which is TradingView’s programming language, the technology does challenge the role of investment advisers.

In March, Goldman Sachs’ chief information officer, Marco Argenti, told CNBC the bank is experimenting with generative AI tools internally to help its developers automatically generate and test code.

More recently, in May, Goldman spun off the first startup from the bank’s internal incubator — an AI-powered social media company for corporate use called Louisa. The push into AI is part of a larger effort by CEO David Solomon to expedite the bank’s digital makeover.

Morgan Stanley, meanwhile, is using it to inform its financial advisors on queries they may have. The bank has been testing an OpenAI-powered chatbot with 300 advisors so far, with a view to ultimately aid its roughly 16,000 advisors in making use of Morgan Stanley’s repository of research and data, according to Jeff McMillan, head of analytics and data at the firm’s wealth management division.

Taihuttu uses ChatGPT himself — but more for writing articles about subjects like bitcoin and the Lightning Networks. But he notes that while it is a productivity hack, the output doesn’t necessarily rank highly in search results.

“They will still find out that it’s ChatGPT,” he says. “But it’s still saving you a lot of time.”

CNBC’s Ryan Browne contributed to this report.

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