Getting started with cryptocurrency
Three or four months ago, after avoiding Bitcoin and digital currency for years, I finally decided to give in. My friends that bought in were benefiting from huge gains and I decided I would try it out just to have some fun. I was nervous about the unconventional trading of coins as if they were a commodity. I have always been comfortable with the stock market (albeit unsettled by major fluctuations) because I was buying part of a company that produced output for their shareholders.
But what the hell are these coins? What are they tied to? What do they even represent and why would you want to buy into something that appears so fictitious? Teetering somewhere between the cynical and questioning elders and the alt-reality, careless millennials, I just couldn’t find my comfort zone. I figured there must be more, so I started examining them to see what their purpose is. What I found was that these coins are somewhat like companies. At least the major ones. They have a purpose with a development team and an organizational structure. These currencies are trying to satisfy a purpose and possibly for major corporations in the future.
That’s when I realized I was still “somewhat” early to this game. Yeah I am several years late to currencies such as Bitcoin, but this technology is the future for payments. That’s when I realized I was ready. The first thing I needed to do was get money into the market. I immediately found that the US is very limited in coin exchange options. There are some exchanges outside the US, but you cannot upload US funds directly. After some more research, I found that I just needed to get in and then I could send my currency to any of the major exchanges. In the next steps I will describe the process to get into this hot, turbulent market.
Step 1: Registering
*I would greatly appreciate it if you use my reference codes (we will both receive a bonus).
- Coinbase: https://www.coinbase.com/join/5a2965fa9640f5025da3b396
- Binance: https://www.binance.com/?ref=12322557
Coinbase is the main player which has exploded in growth over the past couple of months. I am sure there are others, but this is where I landed. They also own GDAX, their digital exchange, which operates like E*TRADE for stocks. Once you look at these sites you will notice there are only a few options. Four to be exact. There are hundreds of digital currencies and most of them are having wild rides right now. To get started, create your account and link your bank account. The verification process will take several days to complete. While you are waiting you can go ahead and sign up for Binance. You should also go ahead and do the 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) on your account. You will need to download the Authenticator app from the app store, but this will keep your account that much safer.
Step 2: Getting Money into the Market
After the verification process you can finally jump in. Or just upload cash to your USD wallet. If you buy any of the coins with your Coinbase transfer, you will be locked into that price and you cannot trade out until the money clears roughly 5 days later. This was still too scary for me in the beginning so I just uploaded cash. If you think one of the options available is going to rise in value, then go for it! Now once again you wait…….
Step 3: Transferring to the Digital Exchange
So you have waited a long 5 days. Your money has cleared, and it’s finally time to have some fun! Before you transfer money, you should know that the main coin to trade in Binance is Bitcoin. You have a couple of options at this point. You can buy Bitcoin on Coinbase and then send it to Binance or buy a different coin to send. Bitcoin is slow and the fees are super high. It will take at least an hour to send the money. I have found Litecoin to be much faster (around 10 minutes) and much cheaper. However, you will take a hit on Binance to convert back to Bitcoin before you buy into the coins you want. I think its cheaper this way because you are not buying the Bitcoin on Coinbase, rather trading with someone on the Binance platform. I could be wrong with this thinking, but for me it has worked out to be cheaper. You can play around with this step and find out for yourself.
This step is normally easier using your computer and phone at the same time. Buy into your coin on Coinbase (in the mobile app) and then go over the Binance (using the computer). There you will need to initiate a trade. Click on Funds and then Deposit Withdrawals. On this page, find the coin type you bought on Coinbase and click deposit. Next, click on the scan QR code and leave this up. On your mobile device, if you are not already in Coinbase, open the app and navigate to your wallet with your currency. Click the top right icon (airplane for send). Click use max (if you want to send it all) and click send. You should then see an option to scan a QR code. Once you do this and send, you must wait for the transaction to go through. You should receive an email once it settles.
Step 4: Buying on the Digital Exchange
You’re finally ready to buy. On Binance click on the Exchange in the top left. You can do Basic or Advanced, whichever you can read better. Remember pretty much everything you buy must be done using Bitcoin. If you already have your Bitcoin you are good. If not, you will need to initiate a trade into Bitcoin first and then into the coin you want. Just search for your coin, and then they make it easy by letting you select a percentage instead of calculating out what you want. However, if you want something other than 25, 50, 75, or 100 you will need to put that in the Amount box and hit purchase. Your purchase will then appear in your open orders below. Sometimes it clears immediately, and sometimes you must wait for the purchase to go through. Once your transaction is completed, you can check out the Funds tab and click on Balances. You will be able to see what you have in different coins and the total estimated Bitcoin/USD.
Extras: Research of Coins
Below are a couple of sites I have found useful in researching the various coins and their organizational teams.
- Coin Market Cap - they do a good job of showing the high-level basics of how the market is currently doing.
- Coin Checkup - I personally like this one for their high-level market overview and their more in-depth view of each coin. If you select a coin on this site you can then see what the site has rated them on different criteria (team strength, product strength, advisory board, etc). You can also click through the tabs and get different news or predictions. Some of the predictions seem a little hokey although so does the concept of coins so…………
So that’s it. Pretty easy really, just figuring it all out took a little bit of time. My plan thus far has been to buy into some of the major ones just in case something takes off one day. However, I have also been playing around with the cheaper ones. I’m surfing the waves like I would be doing on US stocks, I just seem to be doing better over here. There are going to be ups and downs while every nation is trying to figure it out, but if it is the future….I would like to be part of it before we are there.
I plan to keep you updated on my coin buying journey and throw around some helpful information as I stumble through it. So if your wife glazes over the way mine does when I talk about coins, you can come check out the blog and avoid the awkward interest/disinterest.