In my quest to further understand blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies I have noticed several beginner guides floating around, yet very few are that accurate, or they want you to pay for them. There is a lot of mud of information to sift through and without a financial or technical background, it can absolutely be overwhelming.

While I will not recommend specifically which coins or blockchain projects to invest in, I am going to show you exactly how to research and educate yourself so that you can make an informed decision based upon your circumstances. 

If any of you reading this have anything to contribute, feel free to comment below as I will be continuously updating this article as the blockchain continues to evolve.

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Educational Sources:

First and foremost upon entering the realm of cryptocurrencies, one should read the whitepaper that started it all: 

Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System

This was written by an unknown entity that goes by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. This entity was heavily involved in the early development of Bitcoin, however, no one has heard from “him” since the end of 2012. 

Moving forward the most critical aspect of understanding the cryptocurrency movement is blockchain technology. This is what is going to change everything; cryptocurrencies are merely the children – the aftermath of this tech. Look at how the internet after the Dot Com boom evolved the infrastructure of our species. The blockchain is that next technology that is beginning to have an impact in every industry. 

Related Article: Blockchain Technology is the Solution to Internet Censorship

YouTube Channels:

  • DataDash: One of the better channels in my opinion: “DataDash is a one-stop shop for all things related to cryptocurrencies, data analytics & science, and spotting global trends through cutting-edge analysis.” It really is just that – the guy is spot on.

Every cryptocurrency trader watches DataDash. 

  • Crypto Investor: Very accurate and in-depth videos that are easy for anyone to understand. Also, one of the few researchers that has noticed the Bitfinex and Tether connection
  • Crypto Tips: Her videos are well researched, easy to understand and to the point; most of them being only a few minutes in length.

Websites (Forums):

  • Coinscalender: Great resource to track ICO’s. 
  • Coinmarketcap: Tracks the analytics of virtually every coin in real time (even exchange volume, for those who like to research).
  • Bravenewcoin: Very well written and thoroughly researched cryptocurrency articles. 
  • Cryptocurrencyinvestingnews: This site produces numerous articles daily and is a great resource for attempting to keep up with breaking topics. 
  • Store of value: Well researched cryptocurrency blog. 
  • Laura Shin, Forbes Senior Editor: She is by far one of the more talented writers in the blockchain community.
  • DK – Medium blog writer: Provides some well researched technical analysis.
  • BambouClub – Medium blog writer: His “Ten Rules for Trading Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Other Crypto” is a must-read. 
  • Hackernoon: A great overall resource for all things technology. 

Getting Started (Wallets and Exchanges):

Disclosure: Despite the proof of identity requirements, exchanges and wallets do not provide the same protections banks do.

There is often no or limited insurance for your account if the exchange goes out of business or is robbed by hackers, such as was the case with the infamous failed exchange Mt Gox.

Due to Bitcoin’s lack of legal status, many authorities do not know how to appropriately handle theft. Some larger exchanges have replaced customer funds after a theft from the exchange itself, but at this stage, they are not legally obliged to do so.

Every country has different options as far as what wallets and exchanges you can use. 

For a complete list of countries and which wallets/exchanges are best used, visit here.

Coinmarketcap is also a great resource (especially research purposes) for tracking volume per exchange. 

Each and every coin may also have their own unique wallet that pertains to them, such as NEO and Ethereum

Related NEO article: (must read) Investor Warning: Major NEO Redflags

Related article: Best Ethereum Wallet (2018 Update) – 5 Options Reviewed

While there are numerous wallets and exchanges that have their pros and cons depending on where you live, I am going to cover what works for me as a US citizen. 

  • Open an account with Coinbase. Coinbase allows you to fund your account with your bank, credit card, or PayPal into the 3 major cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin (rumored soon to have Bitcoin Cash). From there, you can transfer to an exchange of your choice.

∗ Make sure that when transferring, the two connecting addresses are the same coin. For example, use a Bitcoin address (Coinbase) to transfer to a Bitcoin address (exchange). 

Both addresses need to be the same coin. If you try to for example to transfer your Bitcoin to an Ethereum address, you will lose your Bitcoin. 

Recommended Article: How to Avoid Paying Coinbase Fees!

  • Exchanges to use: Bittrex, GDAX (owned by Coinbase), Poloniex, Kraken, and Gemini

Read this article for an in-depth explanation of each exchange.  

I would avoid Bitfinex

Storing Your Cryptocurrency

Coinbase is a great platform to get money from your bank and into trading cryptocurrency, however, I would not store the bulk of your cryptocurrency on Coinbase or any exchange. They should simply be used to trade.

Hardware Storage:

Hardware wallets are not free and can cost anywhere from $50 – $100 plus shipping. The two most effective hardware wallets I have researched are:

  1. TREZOR
  2. Ledger Nano

Paper Wallet (Cold Storage):

Considered to be one of the safest types of wallet, paper wallets are an offline cold storage method for saving your cryptocurrency.  It includes printing out your public and private keys on a piece of paper which you then store and save in a secure place. The keys are printed in the form of QR codes which you can scan in the future for all your transactions. All you need to worry about is the piece of paper. 

Recommended Paper Wallets: 

Extreme Cold Storage:

This method of storage is for those who are tech savvy, do not trust USB connection vulnerabilities, and have a lot of cryptocurrency. This method is also not intended for those who wish to use their cryptocurrency, as this makes it difficult to access. 

To learn more, continue reading: Extreme Cold Storage: A Fortress of Solitude for Bitcoins

Multi-Signature Wallets:

These types of wallets are ideal for groups of people that need access, or to eliminate human error, as more than one signature holder is required to access the wallet. BitPay is one of the more popular multi-signature wallet platforms. 

The Ultimate Trading Tactic

I am of course referring to Algorithmic trading. This is after all, the digital age. 

It sounds complicated – utilizing your very own algorithm to maximize trading potential, just like Wall Street, but it is actually quite simple. 

Related Article: (a guide I’ve written on algorithmic trading): How to Make Big Money Trading Cryptocurrencies

In Summary

Hopefully, this guide has enough information to get you well on your way to becoming a cryptocurrency expert. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment below. 

One of the most important pieces of advice I can offer is to absorb all of this with an open mind. There is a lot of deception at play here, we are dealing with the possible transition of monetary power from centralized banks to possibly the people.

Do not believe anything unless you can research it yourself. 

… and always remember: the second you think you know something, you stop learning. 

Recommended Article: (title is misleading) How To Tell If Someone Is Truly Smart Or Just Average