Currencies and tokens
Actually, cryptos come in two flavors; currencies and tokens. Currencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, Doge, Bitcoin Cash and their brethren, are intended to be used just like any other form of money. The other aspect of cryptos is the Tokens. These are not meant to be used as money. Instead, tokens are unique investment opportunities, similar to Wall St. stocks; each representing a portion of a crypto company, project, and idea.
The first thing you need when entering the cryptosphere is a wallet. As most people start with Bitcoin; you will want that wallet first. Blockchain.io is an excellent, secure wallet for beginners. BitPay offers a wallet app that is just as easy to use. Both Blockchain and Bitpay offer multiple currency wallets. Blockchain provides BTC, ETH, and BCH; while BitPay offers BTC and BCH. So, with one or both of these, you are ready to proceed.
To actually get into trading, you will need a bit of currency. While the larger, centralized exchanges are popular; I prefer to stick to the original use of cryptos and remain as decentralized as possible; following crypto rule #1 - We Never, Ever, For Any Reason, Place Our Crypto onto a Platform That Takes Control Of Our Money Out Of Our Hands. Keeping that rule in mind; smaller, direct exchanges like ShapeShift and Changelly are my preferred method of obtaining and trading cryptocurrencies (and some tokens).
Once you have your first few pieces of Bitcoin, you are ready to start trading. Now, the Tokens are the intended target in Crypto Trading. As most tokens are built upon the ETH network (taking advantage of the ETH Smart Contract system) you will want to get a solid, secure ETH setup. The gold standard is MyEtherWallet. This is where you get your own dedicated ETH wallet (using your Blockchain wallet as backup). Once you have this, open Chrome and get the MetaMask Plugin; giving you a secure app to connect to your MyEtherWallet for flawless use.
Now you're all set. But WAIT!!!! Don't just jump in until you know what you want to buy.
Your own work to do
AmaZix is one of my favorite Crypto Promotional companies. They are staffed with some of the finest minds in the industry. So, it is usually a good bet that, whoever they are promoting, is going to show potential. But, as with anything financial, you have got to do your own work here.
Let's say your passion is football. Well, there's a rather interesting, user-interactive football crypto project called eFL. Or, you are simply passionate about cryptos becoming mainstream. So, you'd want a project that merges crypto and fiat (traditional cash). SALTLending and BANKEX are two of my favorites. Maybe the TV show "Wisdom of the Crowd" got you hyped about Artificial Intelligence. Well, SharpeCapital is a project you should check out.
Regardless of your passion; when you find a crypto project/token that interests you; it's time to do your homework. So, you read the project website, Reddit threads, and BitCoinTalk ANN thread. You use Google to look up terms you don't understand. And really get to know the source material. Then you read the White Paper (or Abstract) of the project. This document tells you EVERYTHING about a crypto project. From the technicalities of the code, the intent of the inventors, how to use a token, the team members; everything.
Once you've read and researched all of that, you're still interested. So, you jump back onto EtherDelta and buy 1, 10, 100 or 10,000 of the token you've chosen. Now you're in the game. (Don't forget to remove your tokens and store them in MetaMask or another ERC20 capable ETH wallet for security.)
H O D L
Oh, one last bit of advice before you embark on this journey. The crypto market is still relatively new. We have seen huge swings in the values of the main currencies over the past few months (Q4 2017- Q1 2018). If you are going to join in the fun you will have to understand that those swings are mere growth pains as the fiat world, as well as the governments, is adjusting to the idea and technicalities of crypto being integrated into society. While crypto will one day become a payment option at your local corner store; we haven't quite reached that point yet. So, if the price dips overnight; HODL away and wait; the value WILL return to that level; and above.
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