They are secure, anonymous, completely decentralized forms of money; no different than the dollar, Euro, Ruble or Peso. Well, there is a bit of a difference; the cryptocurrencies, unlike traditional, "fiat" money, are not controlled or managed by any third party individual, company/corporation, website or government; instead, cryptos are wholly controlled by each user; and the entire network simultaneously. Additionally, the complex encryption involved eliminates any possibility of hacking or fraud, as long as you follow the rules of the game.
But, what are those rules? What are the pitfalls and challenges of using crypto?
The first rule
The first rule of crypto is that we never, EVER, for any reason, keep our cryptos under someone else's control. We don't care how "reputable" a website, public wallet or exchange may be. ALWAYS keep your crypto in your own, personal, secure wallet where only YOU have access. And, remember; Mt. Gox was considered reputable; right up until the time everyone on the site lost their BTC from a "hack" (translated as the owner of the site stole everything) at least that's the theory anyway. So, no matter how good a reputation or recommendation, you NEVER give someone else control over your crypto for any longer than necessary to make an exchange or trade.
The second rule
That said, there are literally thousands of ways people will try to steal your crypto. So, the second rule is, well, exactly the same as # 1; Don't Trust Anyone. Period. There is no assurance the person you are talking to is who they claim to be. Unless you know someone personally, and you are positively sure of the situation
Beyond those basic rules for surviving your time in the cryptosphere; trying to navigate your way through the thousands of coins by individuals, groups, companies, and governments around the globe can be daunting. The key in this new age of complete transparency is COMMUNITY.
If you want to know; to REALLY KNOW a crypto token or coin; join in the community. Like any other online (or in person) group is littered with sales pitches and FUD galore; the difference is that EVERY crypto has a group behind it; and more importantly, a group supporting it; the users. Those people who buy, sell, trade and HODL any crypto coin or token, almost all, be more than happy to guide you through their coin from inception to use to future possibilities. Joining in these groups; not being in a hurry, and sticking to the basic rules of crypto safety is the way to avoid pitfalls in the cryptosphere.
Good luck in your journey; and, Happy HODLing!!!
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