Just like anything else, at first the whole concept of Bitcoin, the Blockchain, and cryptocurrencies can seem really overwhelming.
Imagine walking into a shopping plaza in a foreign country, not speaking the language, and not really knowing what any of the products are. That’s this space…at first.
But once you get the hang of some of the concepts, it’s not that bad. Really.
In that vein, we present a post that could actually be an ebook. It’s called 11 Ways to Get Started Now.
DISCLOSURE: some of the links on this page are AFFILIATE LINKS, and we’ll do our best to blatantly identify them as AFFILIATE LINKS. That means we may be compensated if you set up an account or make a purchase.
1. Get a Coinbase Account
Let’s face it, there are really two big categories of Bitcoin users: the hardcore ones – mining rigs in their basements, wallets on all sorts of machines, exhaustive lists of which coins are PoS and which are PoW – and there are those who just tuned out at everything you just read.
If you’re in that second camp, Coinbase is for you. (THAT’S AN AFFILIATE LINK.)
(If you’re in that first camp, you might actually have started with a Coinbase account, but you don’t want to admit it.)
Coinbase offers the most silly simple service you can use to get into Bitcoin – or Ethereum or Litecoin; those are their three currencies as of right now – and you can link it through a US bank account or a credit card. (We are based in the US, so we
Note that Coinbase will actually give you a bonus of $10 worth of Bitcoin when you set up an account, so using our link actually benefits you as much as it benefits us. (But it probably benefits you MORE than it benefits us, since you are now “in the game.”)
2. Transfer some of your funds to one of our three favorite exchanges
First, let’s explain an “exchange” vs. a wallet/purchase platform such as Coinbase. Simply put, exchanges where you can trade cryptocurrencies are like stock exchanges were you buy and sell stocks.
Dozens of exchanges are out there, but we have so far only used three:
- Poloniex. We used this one first. “Polo” is based in the USA. Most of the largest coins by market capitalization are traded here.
- Bittrex. We started using this one a month or so after we started with Poloniex. It, too, is based in the USA. If you hear about a “small cap altcoin” (small market capitalization, alternative to Bitcoin) that isn’t traded on Polo, it might be traded on “Trex.”
- Cryptopia. THAT’S AN AFFILIATE LINK. It’s based in New Zealand, so if you want to feel all exotic, trade there. Speaking of exotic, we’ve got a decent chunk of small cap altcoins over there. “Topia” is their common abbreviation.
Ask people about their experiences with these and you might get a varying degree of answers; our own experience has been just fine.
3. Get a Steemit account…get paid to blog?
I’ll admit, this is the most fun I’ve had with any site since the early days of Twitter. Steemit is pretty cool – you’ll find all sorts of people there, with all sorts of interests.
It’s a social network that is powered by a cryptocurrency of its own, Steem. You’re given a certain amount of “voting power” and you earn more power through more interactions. It can get a little complicated, but suffice it to say you can start to see some results – a few dollars here and a few dollars there.
I don’t do it for the money, though – I’m there to trade ideas with others, and to find out what folks are thinking a bout a variety of topics.
4. Investigate coins at CoinMarketCap
CoinMarketCap.com, or CMC, is the leading site for getting a snapshot of what is happening with cryptocurrencies. Pretty much all of them are listed here, they’re ranked by market cap, you can see what’s trending up or down or sideways.
Here’s where you can keep track of the Crypto Unicorns (those coins with a market cap of $1 Billion or more), all the way down to the tiny market cap coins that, again, seem to dominate our Cryptopia account.
5. Start Lending at Bitconnect
We did a pretty big write-up on this one last week. That write-up includes several AFFILIATE LINKS, but if you want to cut to the chase and just get started, here’s an actual banner ad you can click on.
In our post the other day, which we tried to make “warts and all” in nature, we did mention our skepticism around this lending platform. As with ANYTHING in this space, remember to do your own research, to seek the advice of tax professionals and accountants, and to not invest more than you can afford to lose.
We still consider Bitconnect to be rather speculative in nature; but we’ve also studied the coin behind the solution, and it has a large market cap ($540 million-plus) and we don’t think the coin itself is going anywhere.
6. Lock up some coins in DOT at Cryptopia
If you tend to be impetuous with your trades, you might want to consider cooling off a little – and one way to do that is to lock some coins down in an interest-bearing coin such as DOT, which helps to fuel Cryptopia. (AFFILIATE LINK over there.) For a minimum term of 90 days, you can receive interest at 0.5%, compounded monthly, with higher rates for longer-term deposits.
Once you’re on Cryptopia, you’ll need to mouse over “More” and then “Term Deposits.”
7. Buy a Trezor, store your coins offline
We love this little device so much that we joined its AFFILIATE PROGRAM (here’s the link).
What you’re doing is moving the keys for the coins you own (that are supported by Trezor) over into cold storage, on a device that you own that can’t be corrupted.
If you have a decent amount of coins, you’ll want to explore Trezor.
8. Invest in an ICO
With all the news surrounding ICOs, you wonder why we have this so far down the list. Well, ICO investing is A LOT of WORK. You want to research them thoroughly, and you’re still making a leap of faith.
Hands down, ICO Countdown is the best service for this.
We’ve got an okay track record so far getting involved in ICOs, but one thing that gets in our way as an American site is that we’re Americans. Some ICOs won’t let you participate if you’re an American citizen or even an American expat living abroad.
9. Visit the Bitcoin news sites
The ones that we like the most are Coindesk and CoinTelegraph. Both may, at first, seem over your head. That’s okay. We’ve got to start somewhere.
10. Set up an Automatic Investment Program
This is one of those super-simple ways to “set it and forget it.” Just hop on over to Coinbase and, when buying your next batch of Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin, ask to repeat that purchase daily, weekly, every two weeks, or monthly.
You’re “averaging in,” or “dollar cost averaging” your crypto purchases, so that’s another way to smooth out your returns and your risk.
11. Think about a Bitcoin IRA
Yes, that’s a thing. Bitcoin IRA is the world’s first and we’re sharing this link as a public service – we’re not in their affiliate program and we haven’t gone this route ourselves. Yet.
You can search and find a few other links – some ads, some not – but, in our limited investigation of these, this appears to be the best and most reputable service.
Wow. 11 Ways to Get Started. We’re exhausted now, so we’re going to take a break. But you…you should really consider getting started…look around and consider getting into the Bitcoin game.