If you’re curious about how to get started in crypto, you have several different avenues to pursue. Whether you’re ready to geek out with the white paper that started it all or want to skip the wonky formulas and get right to purchasing your first crypto “coin,” we’ve got you covered! Read on for quick tips on how to get started with cryptocurrency and be sure to read our whole series on cryptocurrency basics.
From Humble Beginnings to Billions
A great place to get started with crypto is understanding the origins of this innovative, peer-to-peer currency system. In 2008, a group of anonymous programmers under the collective pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper that outlines the blockchain technology that serves as the foundation for cryptocurrency transactions. The paper, simply entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” outlines previous problems with digital currency systems, as well as a proposed solution.
While the paper is under 10 pages, the technical language is a bit more than light reading, however the key element is of cryptocurrency is described fairly clearly as “a peer-to-peer network using proof-of-work to record a public history of transactions that quickly becomes computationally impractical for an attacker to change.” In other words, this system no longer relies on a third party or central institution to provide verification and trust, as the system’s security is instead built around a single, shared ledger that all peers on the network have access to.
Basic Steps for Getting Started With Crypto
Once you’re ready to move past the origin story and into the current world of cryptocurrency, it’s important to understand that, while Bitcoin is certainly the most popular form, it’s not the only cryptocurrency on the market. Here are some concrete steps to take before you make your first investment:
- Decide on your currency. From Bitcoin to Ethereum to Litecoin, to the more than 1,550 cryptocurrencies currently listed at CoinMarketCap, there are a range of currency options available. Research your options and decide if you’d like to go with the coolest kid on the block, or if you want to put your money on a fresh, new up and coming currency, so you can ride the rise.
- Create a cryptocurrency wallet. “Wallets” are like bank accounts for cryptocurrency. A wallet is not a place where bitcoins are stored though–those transactions exist on that single, shared digital ledger–but instead, it’s more like a secure doorway in which you can enter to conduct your transaction. Wallets are currency specific and will contain a long, unique identifying address, almost like a unique website link. How do you get a wallet? By signing up on a cryptocurrency exchange.
- Create an account on an exchange platform. Different exchange platforms offer access to different types of currency wallets. Coinbase is one of the most popular exchanges for Bitcoin, however no matter which exchange you choose, it’s important to research the safety and security offered, as well as explore the ease of access and interface.
Once you’ve followed these steps, it’s easy to make your first purchase and get started with crypto! As a final note, many exchanges offer processing times that are lengthier than typical bank accounts, so be prepared for some transactions to take several days, if not a week, so plan to stay the course with your purchase and recognize that just because its digital, you won’t find an easy CTRL+ALT+DELETE action in the world of digital currency, no matter what the market does.