For the crypto-curious . . .

If you’re reading this, I probably sent you this URL and you’ve heard me go on and on about the risks of investing/trading cryptocurrencies.  If not, here are just a few (of 1000s) of articles you should read:  

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I created this guide because so many friends have asked how to get started with Bitcoin.  Please note the below is not investment advice, financial advice or legal advice.  Please do your own research and only invest what you can afford to lose.



Purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin on Coinbase

  • Register for an account on Coinbase.com
    (if you use THIS LINK, we both get $10 of free Bitcoin if you purchase $100 or more in cryptocurrency)
     
  • On Coinbase, you can purchase fractions of a coin.  You do not have to purchase an entire coin.
     
  • It may take several days to open the account.  Once you make a purchase, it may take several days for the coins to become available in your account.  

If you need detailed instructions, this is a good video by “Jenny From the Blockchain”: LINK 

There are less expensive ways to purchase Bitcoin, but Coinbase is the easiest to navigate when you're just getting started. Also, take a look at how Coinbase in insured: LINK.


Create a Wallet

Remember that with crypto, you are your own bank.  Most people recommend moving your crypto to what’s known as a wallet so you have more control over your money.  

Here’s a good explanation from CoinCentral.com:

There are three types of Bitcoin wallets: hardware, software, and paper. Hardware wallets are physical wallets with your private keys encrypted in them, software wallets are programs that live either on your computer or on the Internet, and paper wallets are physical documents with private keys.

For hard wallets, you’ll need a digital signature. Your digital signature is your ID. It’s how you prove that you own a specific private key without flashing your key around in public. Digital signatures verify ownership, keeping your private key safe and away from prying hands.

The advantage of hardware wallets is that your private keys are isolated from your computer, keeping your risk of theft near zero. Software wallets, on the other hand, are still connected to the Internet and expose you to some risk.

The only potential downside of a hardware wallet is that it costs money. Most software wallets are free. While both wallets protect your bitcoins more securely, some users would rather pass on the extra cost.

Notes on wallets:

  • I use all three types of wallets.  Here's another article to help you figure out which is right for you: LINK
     
  • Remember: Keep your “seed phrase” safe!  Do not store it on an electronic device or email it to yourself (or put the password under a pillow).  Here’s a cautionary tale that went viral: LINK
     
  • List of altcoins and tokens supported by Ledger Nano S hard wallet: LINK

Additional Security

Please take a close look at this terrific infographic by Jennifer Leigh (@jennicide):

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To download, LINK.


Altcoins (i.e., anything other than Bitcoin)

The easiest way to get started in altcoins is to deposit Bitcoin from your Coinbase account or wallet to an exchange.  Each exchange includes different altcoins, so you may need to create accounts as several exchanges.

Good places to start your research:

Links to the exchanges I use (bookmark to avoid phishing scams):



Miscellany

  • Mining, master nodes and staking are other ways to make money with crypto, but are not recommended for newbies.  
  • Beware of MLMs like USI-Tech or any other schemes that "guarantee" returns.  Article on red flags: LINK
  • Cryptocurrency lingo: LINK