Adventures with XYO – The Thrilling Conclusion

Back in November I decided to try out mining XYO using the Coin app on an old Nexus 5X that I reappropriated for the purpose.

Now it's February, and I think I'm about done with the whole thing.

To be candid, the main reason is that my sentinel went through the wash, and while it looked like a fresh battery would fix it back up, the new batteries don't seem to last more than a couple weeks. As such, I'm out $12.95 for the sentinel and $7 for a set of replacement batteries. In the same amount of time, I've earned about 8,000 COIN, which, if I could convert them to XYO (that option doesn't start until 10,000), would be worth...

31 cents.

I'll probably throw a few other posts about the various aspects of the COIN app and geomining, but for now here are my main takeaways:

Great for Truckers

Perusing the Reddits, the one group of people who seem to get a decent-ish return from geomining are truckers, who spend literally all their time cruising from tile to tile.  I'd wager that Uber drivers fit this description as well, though truckers have the advantage that they can geoclaim gobs of regions every cycle.  Truckers, who pass from cell to cell quickly and thus need a rapid recharge cycle, are probably the only group who benefit from Pro accounts as well.

And Nobody Else

As an ordinary schlub who works in an office and either drives to work or takes a train, there's simply no return to be had.  Five miles of walking net about 100 COIN, which isn't a whole lot greater than just sitting around refreshing the tile periodically while I work from my desk.  Geoclaiming isn't an option either, since the two regions I can claim (work and home) are both chronically oversubscribed, making the a losing proposition for everyone involved.

It's a shame, really.  The premise of geomining, as outlined on an XYO Medium post, ain't bad.  Using a fleet of smartphone-armed passers-by to determine whether packages arrived is clever, and I really do hope they figure out a way to make it work.  For now, though, it's just another GPS device attached to yet another freight truck.

Posted by Adam Labay, 0 comments

The Futility of Geoclaiming

As described by the folks at the COIN App:


When you Geoclaim a tile, you are becoming an owner of the tile for the remainder of the campaign(Currently UTC Monday to UTC Sunday). Anyone that Geomines using the COIN app in your area will give you a chance, based on your Ownership percentage, to collect 10% of rewards.

An Owner with 100% ownership of a Geoclaimed Area will receive the 10% of rewards every time. 

An Owner with 50% ownership of a Geoclaimed Area will receive the 10% of rewards half of the time. 

An Owner with 25% ownership will receive the 10% of a miners reward a quarter of the time.

In theory, this is a way of earning that sweet, sweet COIN without having to actually, you know, go places.

In practice, it’s a lovely exercise in overestimation and accidentally returning COIN to the system.

But it doesn’t have to be, and my current goal is to figure out means of optimizing geoclaims.

The Basics

The amount you get out – your return – is proportional to your stake – i.e. the amount of the area that you control, or what the COIN folks call your ownership.

I’m using stake because in this context, ownership is a misleading term. Take a look at this screenshot:

Paid: 1905. Ownership: 13%

Throughout this week, my ownership has never dropped below 10%, and has usually hovered in the 13-14% range.  Yet, my returns are well less than even 10% of the total 10,940 COIN held by this region.

That’s because you don’t own a fraction of the COIN held; you get a fraction of the COIN earned, as it gets mined.  And remember that geomines are random numbers, further dependent on whether that user happens to have a sentinel at the time.  It seems that my RNG luck this week was pretty crap, since the users I was earning from tended to have lower mines than average.  That, or a lot of users in my area have premium accounts, which prevents their mines from entering the pool.  Probably both.

The Point of No Return(s)

Say it with me: your earning potential is not unlimited.  It’s determined by your stake, and by the available earnings.  If we make the simplifying assumption that your stake is actually an ownership, then

the amount you pay into the geoclaim – your investmentmust be less than your stake multiplied by the total COIN in the region.

Seems obvious, but you would be amazed how many people on Reddit get hyped about how much they dumped into their latest geoclaim without realizing this basic fact.  And, as discussed earlier, your expected return is actually significantly less.  (How much less? I’m working on a heuristic, but that’s another post.)

Consider the screenshot above: That 13% stake cost me 1905 COIN.  Even if I earned a full 13% of the available ~11k COIN, I’m still not going to recoup my investment.  (In this case, I saw that coming, but dumped the all the COIN in for other reasons.)

Good Money After Bad

But what if I just increased my stake until the math worked out?  There’s a possibility that would work, but it depends on two things:

First, the distribution of investments.  If it were linear, then doubling my investment would double my return.  But it’s not linear, it’s a Pareto distribution (more on that in a future post).  TL;DR: it’s like the American economy, where most of the stakes are taken up by a very small fraction of users.

It turns out that doubling your investment does indeed double your return.  The only thing that matters is how much has been invested total, below.

Second, there is a point of no return.  If the total investments ever exceed the available COINage, then nobody gets a positive return, no matter how much they put in.

The math is easy enough:  Again, pretending that your stake is an ownership – which, emphatically, it ain’t – we can say that your return is defined by

\(R = s \times A\)

where R is your return, s is your stake, and A is the total available COIN.  Your stake, meanwhile, is defined by the ratio of your investment to the total investment:


So, we end up with

\(R=\frac{i}{I} \times A\)

If we want a positive return, then

\(\frac{R}{i} > 1\)



or, the total available COIN must exceed the total investment.  If everybody tries to pump up their stake, then there comes a point where everybody loses.  Whoops.

So can Geoclaiming work?

It depends.  Specifically, it depends on the distribution of stakes, and a few other factors.  I’ll get back to you.

Posted by Adam Labay, 3 comments

Adventures with XYO


For the unfamiliar, XYO is yet another cryptocurrency venture.  The basic premise is that users mine their coin (also called XYO) using the Coin app, which uses proof of location as the mining function (as opposed to proof of work for Bitcoin, or say proof of storage for Burst or Filecoin).

You wander about the world, which is divided into squares about 25 feet on a side.  Each square you enter is worth a random amount between 0.02 and 0.1 XYO, which gets “geomined” when your phone enters that region.  If you pay them $12.99, you can get a Sentinel – a bluetooth doodad that, as a reward for foolishly dropping 13 bucks on their technology, multiplies each geomine by a factor of 12.

XYO Sentinel Doodad

This method of mining, however, is crap.  As an average person who walks around casually (about 6 miles a day, much of it around the office), a daily haul is ~200 Coin (not 200 XYO; read on.).  At that rate, it would take about 2 months before I could convert the minimum 10,000 Coin into 10,000 XYO, which as of this writing is worth about $2.95.

As in any good cock-and-bull crypto scheme, there are other ways to increase your rewards.  One is a Premium subscription, starting at $24.99 a month, which multiplies all of your mining by various factors.  Another is to hijack the mining of others by staking a Geoclaim – i.e. paying into a 25×25 mile region in exchange for a percentage of the coin mined therein.  This comes with its own risks and rewards.

For funsies, I’ve decided to spend the next two months answering the question, Is it possible to actually generate any manner of money using XYO?  I’ll wander about, rapidly draining the battery on the old Nexus 5X I’ve dedicated to the endeavor, do the math, and report back.

Posted by Adam Labay, 0 comments