Getting into crypto can appear daunting to someone new to this strange world. I wanted to write a basic guide that goes through some of the most important essentials that should help everyone new to this world of Crypto. The goal is to paint a clearer picture of the landscape and help people to understand how they can safely and effectively jump into it.
There is a whole list of jargon and acronyms being tossed around by those in the space, which make it all appear a lot more complicated than it really is. You do not need to understand everything to get started, and with time you will quickly come to comprehend most of it quite easily. Thanks to the overall community doing a great job of providing a wealth of information and resources about the various aspects that exist.
So, with that let us get into the essentials.
Responsibilities that Come with dealing with Crypto
One of the most Important Aspects to understand about Crypto is that you bear full responsibility for your funds and securing them properly. Relying on others to store and secure your money is not the point of crypto. Many who get into crypto, sign up on an exchange, buy some crypto and then leave it there, not realizing that by doing so they are risking all of their assets. Many people have lost their funds due to their account being frozen, for some unforeseen reason. You can avoid this outcome, by not having everything stored on an exchange. Crypto is something that should be carefully watched over, if not in cold storage (paper wallet or hardware wallet).
This is the first rule of Crypto: “If You Don’t Own your Keys, then it’s Not your Crypto“.
So for a start, get yourself a proper Software Wallet, I personally enjoy Exodus, since it has built-in support for a whole range of cryptocurrencies, allowing you to store a diverse portfolio of assets privately in one wallet. When you create your wallet, you are given a Seed Phrase that is composed of a string of 20-24 words. Write this down, this is basically your Vault, Bank Account. This string of words allows you to restore your account into most wallets designed for crypto. Back it up on a USB stick offline and unplugged, write it down in several secret notebooks, memorize it, you are responsible for its safekeeping. You will never be asked to give this seed-phrase to anybody. This is only for you and nobody else in the world, ever.
Now to you have your wallet installed, you can obtain the individual receiving addresses to the different currencies you can hold in your wallet. These are used to send Crypto into your Wallet or receive from someone else.
Where do I get Crypto?
Now that you have a wallet installed, I congratulate you to having officially become your own private Bank! Welcome to the world of decentralized finance, in which you are the true sovereign over your assets and wealth, as long you own the keys to your wallet. Do not leave your funds with third-parties who will take custody of your assets, these entities could become the banks of the future if we become comfortable in leaving our assets in their hands. And that would defeat the whole point of cryptocurrency!
However, with that being said, the best place to onboard will be through a centralized exchange, ironically. Since they are the easiest route of converting Fiat Currency into Crypto, you don’t have much other choice (for now). The Choices are Coinbase, Binance, Uphold, Changelly, Crypto.com Bitcoin.com and probably several others. I believe some allow you to buy small amounts without needing to register via KYC (Know-Your-Customer) which is an Identity Verification Procedure you will have to do before having access to the site. Taking this route, you will have to sacrifice some of your privacy to get a hold of crypto. If you do go this route, then buy the crypto of your choice and simply withdraw it to your wallet and store it there.
There are also some P2P Markets, where you can make a deal with people online and do a trade against fiat or even other value items like gift-cards/coupons/paysafecard. But you will have to inform yourself about those and they will be probably less convenient for an absolute beginner. Although they would allow you to obtain it without the need to reveal your identity. I wouldn’t recommend this for now, just stick with a mainstream exchange to onboard with. At least until you have learned from a few transactions and get a feel for how the technology works, the markets move, and the community you are entering.
Finally you can simply try earning some Cryptocurrencies online, by sharing your content on one of the social media style blockchains which reward you in their respective Cryptocoin for your content. I personally am a great supporter of the HIVE blockchain, where you can easily share your blog posts into a wide range of different communities, and earn HIVE on your content. I easily make an average of 5-10$ per article there, quality content gets curated generously. Other options are “noise.cash” which is basically a twitter clone where you can earn BCH on your tweets. And also “read.cash” which is created for longer blog posts, rewarding articles in BCH.
The Greater Ecosystem.
So as mentioned in the beginning, the World of Crypto is filled with strange terms.
Two of these are; CEX and DEX. Which stand for Centralized Exchange and Decentralized Exchange.
The Centralized Exchanges are connected to the Fiat Currency Market. They allow you to trade Fiat into Crypto, but they also have become major players trading cryptos for one another.
The Decentralized Exchanges do not have Fiat options. But through different autonomous mechanics they facilitate the possibility of trading different cryptos between each other. It is not self-evident to trade BTC for Ethereum, since both are completely separate blockchains. So, there are lots of ways, solutions have been created to make trading these incompatible assets for one another. Atomic Swaps being the Newest Generation of Technology that allows trading these different cryptos directly P2P with one another getting rid of the need to pass through the CEX to efficiently manage our crypto finances and trades.
The Key Aspects, Recap and Vision of the Future.
Cryptocurrencies are making the individual responsible in shaping the future of Finance. The Centralized Financial Institutions have reached the peak and also the end of their power, or at least perhaps the End. It is us individually who decide the outcome, these novel blockchain technologies are innovating our World at a pace that is beyond comprehension. And while these tools are allowing us to break free from the shackles of debt-slavery, they also possess the power to do the exact opposite and bring us into a world that will be an Orwellian nightmare.
Our own voluntary ignorance about economics and also our outsourcing of self-responsibility to central entities like government, banks and institutions, comes from not informing ourselves how to actually feel empowered to keep the weight of responsibility upon ourselves instead of handing it to others for an illusory sense of security and most importantly just blind comfort. And to realize that actually being responsible for ourselves while it may involve some hard work and research, it actually comes with no Weight or Burden, but quite the opposite strangely, namely Freedom and Liberty.
In the World of Cryptos, Your Keys are your Treasure. They make you responsible for all that is contained within them. And if you begin turning towards the decentralized communities and projects that are being built in this giant sphere, then you will be actively participating in the greatest wealth redistribution and power redistribution in human history.
The True Power of Crypto, Privacy.
The True Value and Power in Crypto lies in the ability to decentralize the financial market of the world, and to remove the stranglehold of power from corrupt monopolies which are manipulating what could be a Free Market. But to do so we must also use it in the manner that enables it to bring about this needed change.
The First step is to make sure you own the Keys to the Wallet in which your crypto are held.
The Second step is to get informed about the different options of Privacy Coins that exist. The old generation of crypto are transparent blockchains in which every transaction can be publicly looked up and analyzed. This makes them ideal for regulation and control. In the early days this was not a problem, but now that the attention of the regulatory bodies and governments are shifting to take a close look at Crypto, the need for caution is advised when dealing with those Coins.
There are a handful of Crypto which I recommend whose vision is to be truly Private, my star is $ARRR from Pirate.black, then there is Monero and its fork Wownero, and one I find interesting focusing on private communications called HUSH. Once Mass-Adoption of Privacy coins takes place, we are in a for a big revolutionary shift in the entire Financial Markets Worldwide. With the potential to rid ourselves of the corrupt powerhouses and monopolies that rule the world today without the use of any violence, devaluing their Fiat currencies and making them loose Power by making their wealth inflate into a pile of valueless paper.