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Everyone who trades in cryptocurrencies needs to have a wallet, which is where you keep records of your Bitcoin, Ethereum, or whatever cryptocurrency you choose.
Downloading a wallet is as simple as signing up with an exchange that will let you purchase, sell and trade these currencies. One example of such an exchange is Coinbase, which provides wallets for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum.
Wallets can be stored online, or on your mobile or desktop. Experts say that storing them online is the least safe method, however.
The next step is to get the actual cryptocurrency, whether it’s Bitcoin or any other blockchain token or cryptocurrency. For this, you can go to an online exchange such as Coinbase, for these currencies, and make a purchase. You don’t have to spend a lot of money buying a whole coin or token of any cryptocurrency, but instead, you can buy some dollars’ or pounds’ worth of any one of them.
Once you have the cryptocurrency, you are set to buy, trade or invest with it. Global giants such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia and many others accept payments made using Bitcoin. And if you want to transfer money but are reluctant to do so because of transfer fees, you can do so using cryptocurrencies to anywhere in the world without added fees.
In a nutshell, that’s it, and you are good to go! Cryptocurrencies can seem intimidating at the beginning, but let’s keep in mind that the developers of these digital cash systems are actually hoping that everyone around the world will eventually use cryptocurrencies, and therefore they’re seeking to keep this system as simple and usable as possible.
What to look out for
Make sure you keep passwords from your crypto accounts safe. Experts say that it’s best not to store passwords in an online password manager, but to actually write them down old school in a notebook, and keep a backup copy of your login names and passwords in another notebook.
Protect your computer from malware, since malware can record your passwords. And since your smartphone is also key in cryptocurrency buying or trading, make sure that your cell phone is also secure with strong passwords.
Experts also recommend that you use a brand new email account just for your cryptocurrency accounts, using a new, and preferably random, username. When it comes to online security, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Important resources and platforms for cryptocurrency
Lastly, let’s look at some valuable resources and platforms in the world of crypto, especially for beginners.
Most experts point to the already-mentioned Coinbase. It’s a trusted site that’s not only one of the most popular but is also one of the most stable sites for trading. Only three cryptocurrencies are listed on Coinbase—Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, but these three are tried and true. Coinbase has a digital wallet that’s available on iPhone and Android, and it’s relatively easy to navigate the site for buying and selling.
Other newbies may want to start with the Kriptomat platform. Users have found the platform’s interface incredibly easy to use, and it only takes a few minutes to set up an account. Kriptomat operates in 22 different languages and is very popular in the EU, and has lower selling and buying fees than other platforms.
If you’ve checked out Coinbase and Kriptomat and you still want to look around a bit more, here are other crypto platforms that experts use:
Now let’s talk about resources. The crypto world moves very quickly indeed, and you’ll want to keep up with new developments. Happily enough, there are many ways to do this online, and so help is just at the tip of your fingers.
- Websites—There are many websites that feature the latest news about cryptocurrencies, among them are CryptoCurrencyNews, Bitcoin Magazine, and Coindesk. For subscribers of Medium, the online magazine has a really good section about developments in cryptocurrency.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are a lot of Twitter accounts to follow when it comes to crypto news. Among them are Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop), the author of Mastering Bitcoin; CoinGecko (@coingecko) which is a website that regularly shows terrific crypto infographics; Charlie Lee (@SatoshiLite) who founded Litecoin; and Vitalik Buterin (@VitalikButerin) who co-founded Ethereum.
YouTube videos are also a great way to learn and keep learning about crypto. Again, there’s a big number of crypto YouTubers, and instead of having to wade through them yourself, here are a few names to get you started: Ameer Rosic, Off Chain with Jimmy Song, and Crypt0.
- Cryptocurrency podcasts
The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while driving, commuting or even going for a walk or run. Listening to experts explain crypto, as well as talk about the latest news, is a great way to stay crypto-savvy. Two podcasts that I can recommend are B21 Block: Cryptocurrency & Blockchain School with Ravinder Deol and The Cryptoverse Podcast with Chris Coney.
If you’re ready to jump into the world of cryptocurrencies, we hope that this primer has been helpful to you. And let us know in the comments how your experience went.
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