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Author : Matt at Matt Matrix 19 Dec 2017
A beginner’s guide to getting started with cryptocurrencies The meteoric rise of the Cryptocurrency market in 2017. Disclaimer: This article is meant to serve as a general guide and provides some insight from my personal experience of investing in cryptocurrencies. It does not constitute financial advice. You should always seek your own professional financial advisor and do your own research before investing or trading. So you’ve taken the red pill, and now you’re either looking to invest, or have started investing into cryptocurrencies already. With the overall crypto market growing over $100 billion in value in just 2 weeks (as of this writing), the space is heating up and it’s entering mainstream adoption. But where do you start? There’s now over 1300 cryptocurrencies on coinmarketcap.com, and dozens of exchanges, and many layers of technologies to understand. The crypto world can be quite overwhelming for newcomers, and it takes plenty of time and research to understand how to get started, and to avoid costly mistakes. I’ll attempt to breakdown the basics and the major things every investor should know, including what crypto wallets are and how to use them, how to trade, where to trade, what to look for in good projects, and general advice that I’ve personally learned from investing in this space since the beginning of the year. Getting started. Here’s the topics I’ll cover in this article.
Wallets. Wallets are like bank accounts for your tokens. I’ll go over all the major types of wallets and how to use them. Exchanges. How to send money to get started on popular exchanges. Trading. How to start trading, and things you should understand about the crypto markets. Managing your portfolio. Apps to help you get a better understanding of your gains & losses, and how to watch tokens and prices. Security & safety. Tips on maximizing security for your holdings, best practices, and how to avoid phishing scams, etc. Common mistakes. Costly mistakes you should avoid. General tips & advice. Advice that I’ve found helpful from my own experiences, from trading, to research, etc. Resources. Useful resources to learn more about the disruptive technology behind cryptocurrencies, keep up with crypto news, communities to engage in, and more. Wallets. Wallets are like your crypto bank accounts, and different wallets store different tokens. To trade any crypto currency, you first need a wallet for to store them, ie: Bitcoin needs to be kept in a Bitcoin wallet. Wallets are exactly like they sound, they’re like a crypto bank account. How to get a wallet. The easiest way is to sign up to an exchange that allows you to buy, trade, or sell cryptocurrencies, they allow you to generate a wallet for every token that they trade, even if you don’t own any. Coinbase for example, gives you a wallet for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. Crypto Wallets don’t actually hold anything, unlike a physical one.
An important thing to understand is that wallets are simply a secure “window” into the blockchain so you can view your records and transactions. Think of it like Gmail, where your wallet is your Gmail login and password, but you’re not actually storing the emails yourself, you’re simply accessing it. Your tokens and transactions are saved on a blockchain, which is distributed across a vast network. So it’s always there, no matter if you lose your wallet. You just won’t be able to access or do anything with the tokens without your wallet. How to send and receive tokens between wallets Every Wallet has its own unique address, so if you trade on 3 different exchanges, you will have a different Wallet and address for each exchange, for each token. Think of them as a different website address or URL. Wallet addresses are currently a very long string of characters, called a hash. An example of what a Bitcoin Wallet Address looks like on Coinbase. To send tokens between wallets, you will need to first copy the receiving address, and then enter the address into the Recipient field when sending. Here’s an example of what the sending screen looks like on Coinbase. Sending Bitcoin from Coinbase. Wallets are currency specific. Meaning, they only allow sending and receiving of their own token. This is very important to understand. In the crypto world, you cannot send different coins to different wallets (there are exceptions), otherwise you will lose your funds forever.
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