Getting started in cryptocurrency and blockchain can feel like you are diving into the deep-end of endless information. With the high volume of information, it can be quite overwhelming when you first start out (just check Crypto Twitter). This is why I thought it would be helpful to put together “8 Tips for Starting Out in Crypto.” This is far from a comprehensive list. However, I wanted to share some insights that I had wished someone had told me when I first started on this journey.
- Read But Be Careful – Start With The Basics. The first thing to do is learn the basics of blockchain technology and bitcoin. That is where your jumping off point should be. Even in its infancy, there is endless amounts of educational material out there. Starting with the basics will eventually allow you to pursue what you find most interesting in the space. Get ready, crypto is a fun rabbit hole to go down. Read our Blockchain 101 material to get yourself up to speed.
- Follow Andreas Antonopoulos. Andreas is a widely-known and respected ‘bitcoin advocate,’ who has written a number of books and given countless speeches concerning bitcoin and blockchain. Andreas speaks in an easy to understand vernacular for beginners to engage and understand. He has a knack for exciting his audience and readers, and is a well-respected voice in the crypto-world. I highly recommend reading his ‘The Internet of Money’ books.
- Be careful with ‘Crypto Twitter.’ Crypto Twitter is the ultimate double-edged sword. It can be a great place for like-minded people to interact and share helpful/educational knowledge. However, it should be noted that there are also a lot of bad characters. Many of whom are acting purely out of their own self-interest. I would certainly shy away from users who are touting, commonly referred to as “pumping” or “shilling” certain coins. Particularly coins that you are not familiar. I have lost my share by believing news that I only heard on twitter. Be careful who you trust!
- More Than Investing. Admittedly, my crypto-interest was sparked by the financial side of cryptocurrencies. Even though that may end up being your focus, I would encourage you to learn as much as you can about the technical side as well. Trading can be fun and financially rewarding. However, learning about the underlying technology will not only make you sound well-versed when talking about the use case of XYZCoin. It might also help you make better financial decisions as well.
- Elevator Pitch. You will invariably bring it up, or you will undoubtedly be asked “What is Bitcoin?” – or some version of the question. People will want you to almost sell them on the idea of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. So get ready, be quick, and be simple. I would recommend using 3 or 4 key traits. “Bitcoin is a decentralized, open, trustless form of digital money.” They will likely follow-up asking what each of those mean. So, educate yourself on whatever traits you decide to use.
- Get a Hardware Wallet. Don’t keep all your crypto on exchanges or software wallets. You will hear the horror stories of exchange hacks. Security on the exchanges are getting better. However, one of the principles of crypto is that you get to control your money. The best way to do that is get a hardware wallet. The Ledger Nano is a simple and easy to use.
- Immerse Yourself. Blockchain is a landmark technological innovation. Its concept is so simple that it can be complex. The more you begin to learn, the more you learn you don’t know anything at all! Remember that ‘dive into the deep-end’ comment in the paragraph above? Well, you will begin to feel like you’re flailing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean once you get started. Immerse yourself (and we don’t mean scrolling Crypto Twitter endlessly) and get comfortable not knowing things. Challenge yourself.
- HODL. You’ll be happy you did.