I used to obsess over the price of Bitcoin. I used to watch the ups and downs in the market, tracking my holdings in spreadsheets, watching to see if I was in the black or in the red. I used to constantly pull my phone out of my pocket and see where the price was hoping for a surprise moonshot in the seven seconds I hadn’t checked before. I’ve since tempered my expectations and my obsessive nature, but I still want to know if anything major is going on that I don’t know about. I still use some tools to keep an eye on things. One of those tools is an Android app called Bitcoin Paranoid.
Note: I know iOS is coming close to being half of my mobile traffic, so I’m going to ask all you Apple fans to help me out here. Because this app is Android only, could someone recommend an iOS equivalent here? Sign up to my blog or use your WordPress login and comment on this post with your favorite iOS equivalent to this app! Maybe I’ll invite a user to write a guest review to be posted on my site.
Bitcoin Paranoid is not a standard app and it’s not a widget. This is really the main reason I like it so much. I know there are other apps out there that do this, but Bitcoin Paranoid is simple, ad free, and doesn’t require any special permissions. It is a fairly simple app that places the current price of Bitcoin in your notification bar. The price automatically updates on an interval you select. The app will also alarm if the price varies a certain percentage. There are several other options, so let’s take a look.
Once installed the options are pretty much the only thing in there if you open the app itself. I recommend setting them right away. At the very top is a switch to turn the service off and on. In times of crazy price swings, I’ve actually used this to get some sleep, so don’t rule it out.
There is also an option to hide the icon from your notification bar. In newer versions of Android with the pull down shade, if you remove the icon from the notification bar you will still have it as a notification in the shade. Let’s skip alarm for now because it has its own settings page.
You can set the Interval Update to one of four settings. This will use background data, so set it accordingly. Also consider your sanity when setting this. Even though I have unlimited data I don’t need an update every 10 seconds. Think I’m joking? Paranoia mode has a 10 second update. Thankfully there are three others. Crazy mode, for slightly less intense price watchers, updates every minute. Normal mode is every 15 minutes. Economic mode is every hour. I personally use Normal mode. I figure this will give me sufficient notification to cheer on the rocket when we all go to the moon.
In Data Sources you can choose from a nice selection of exchanges to watch. I personally choose Coinbase because that’s where I do the majority of my buying and selling. When I check the price these days it’s usually because I’m considering either buying or selling and I like to know the price at the service I’m probably going to use. But there are several from around the world. One of them is even a weighted 24h world average. You don’t have to select just one, but note that each one you select will put an icon in your notification bar and a notification in your pull down shade.
In the Currency section you can choose from a nice selection of local currencies to check against the price of Bitcoin. By default Bitcoin Paranoid checks against the default currency from the exchange you chose in the last step. But the list doesn’t stop there. It can calculate from two dozen other currencies. As I am American, I chose the US Dollar.
In the Bitcoin Unit section, here is the one place that I find the app a bit dated. The only two options here are BTC, full 8 decimal Bitcoin, or mBTC. Personally I still prefer to look at the full 8 decimals and work with fractions and I know there are a lot of people that like to knock some off and use mBTC. But I’ve actually found more people that prefer to use Bits instead of mBTC these days. There is a support section listed just below the Bitcoin Unit section. If any of you fans of Bits out there want to bug the developer, there’s a link to report problems or request new features.
Now let’s go back up and check out the Alarm Setup section. At the top there is a switch to turn the alarm on and off. I don’t use this often. When it’s bugging me I generally just use the previous switch to turn the whole service off. But this is here if you still want to see the price and not get alarms for fluctuations. It’s a good option to have. I just don’t tend to use it. Right below the switch there is an area where you can tap to reset the alarm checkpoint. I’m honestly not sure why this is here because the checkpoints move with price changes.
In the Alarm Sensibility section you can set another level of paranoia. If you’re insane you can set it to notify you of every change in price with a 0% threshhold. Crazy mode is 1%. Normal mode is 3%. Cool mode is 6%. And Zen mode is 10%. At this point I find that 3% notifies me of significant enough changes. Cool mode might be a bit better, but at a price of $421 at the time of writing, the price would have to move $25 to alarm. I want to know of moves a bit more often than that.
I personally don’t like Annoying mode because one notification is enough for me. I do like to leave it so my phone vibrates. As an Android Wear user the sound doesn’t make a difference because my watch silences audible notifications. But the option is there for those that like audio cues.
The feature of audio themes is pretty neat. You can use Wall Street for stock market sounds or your system default. I’ve not used the cartoon sound theme, but I imagine they are used by Buttcoiners (warning: you can’t unsee this stuff…) when they want to troll us that the price is crashing again.
Once you get this set up the way you like it, rest assured that you’ll be notified of any significant changes in price and be able to react accordingly. I recommend this app to any Android user that wants to keep informed of price changes, whether they’re day traders or just interested parties, like myself. If you fall into these two categories or anywhere in between, give Bitcoin Paranoid a try.