Do you notice in your surroundings how totally new business, social, technological, economical, and financial paradigms are rising? And do you notice how old systems are having a harder and harder time keeping up? Do you witness in your daily life already how some online platforms have increased level of various errors; how credit cards have all kinds of functioning issues; how control, rules, and terms are getting stricter; how prices are going up hand in hand with offering sometimes less value for it than before?
Well, I do notice that in my life. I will not elaborate on my reasons why (it’s not the purpose of this blog) but I believe FIAT infrastructure raises a lot of gloomy concerns for the future. Also, have you thought about what would you do if one day, you suddenly can’t access your bank account or use your card? As we saw in recent events in some countries, bank accounts, cash flow, and payments could be so easily blocked or access restricted to simple citizens or businesses.
You can close your eyes and may say: “but it didn’t happen to me, it’s far, it’s in another country…”. Well, let me tell you: “if it happened somewhere, it may easily knock on your door tomorrow”. And to put it in an even more confronting perspective: “the way our banking system and money governance is set translates into you not really owning your money because the bank does!
Due to that, in this blog, I want to bring the alternative and the buzzword “cryptocurrency”. Why crypto and why now, I elaborate in this live stream with David Khan. Check it out!
My aim with this article is very practical. It’s tailored to people who already know they want to set up your crypto portfolio, but just keep postponing because they feel overwhelmed by the information on the internet, don’t know where to start and how to address that “elephant in the room”. I would love to save you a huge research time and give you a super-simplified basic structure, and vocabulary. So, you could have a trampoline to start and have a manual of consolidated information in one place to build from there yourself.
Also, important to mention that I am not a financial adviser or cryptocurrency expert. I share the information which I collected and translated through me from my own research, experience, and a few cryptocurrency experts’ consultations.
1. Let’s start from the beginning. What is a cryptocurrency, and how does it work?
I would recommend getting familiar with the psychology and foundational concept of this new financial paradigm if you didn’t do it yet. I list some helpful videos to start. It can still be a bit complicated if you are not a technical person, but try to grasp as much as you can. In all fairness, most people don’t know how our current FIAT financial system works either. And we are talking about a totally different concept from its core. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time. Also, allow yourself how deep you want to go in exploring it. Needless to say, it’s time to take ownership of this topic, it’s time to stop slavery, and it’s time to own your life.
It’s time to own your money!
Cryptocurrency explanation. A note: Not all Crypto-Currencies are meant to be used as a currency, there are other forms of blockchains or “crypto-currencies”, that were developed to do other functions than currency exchange such as Ethereum.
Explanation of the blockchain that cryptocurrency is built on and how it will change our economy?
Explanation of smart contracts (Ethereum, DeFi)
How Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies are set up, and how do they actually work?
2. Why the setup of your security is key!
When the banks are taking care of your money, they take care of your security too. You don’t even think about it, but there are huge resources behind the scenes put into this. I know this a bit from the back end due to working in a cybersecurity company back in the day.
With cryptocurrency – you are your own bank, so you have to set up your security department yourself. I know it’s the extra thing you may not know about, but believe me, spending time on it and educating yourself will pay off in the future.
“Cyber attacks have been rated the fifth top-rated risk in 2020 and become the new norm across public and private sectors. This risky industry continues to grow in 2022 as IoT cyberattacks alone are expected to double by 2025. Plus, the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risk Report states that the rate of detection (or prosecution) is as low as 0.05 percent in the U.S.” The source of this information and more about cybersecurity trends in 2022 you can find HERE.
Where to start?
Start with your everyday technology foundations if you didn’t do it yet: e-mail, enhanced password security, put 2FA (second-factor authentication) in place for your key matters, and leave all the companies which don’t have good security and privacy policies in place (de-google for example).
I elaborated on this topic in my other blog “Business platforms that enables your full sovereignty and data security”
I would recommend to set up a separate e-mail address you only use for crypto currencies and don’t use anywhere else. If you do, you expose yourself to vulnerability and can be hacked easier.
Also take into account the device you are going online with. Make sure your device has an updated anti-virus, firewall
Another important point is with regards to internet connection, most people have wifi at home, however many times you are on the go or travelling, never use a public wifi to do any important crypto related activities. In case you must use a public wifi make sure to invest in a reliable VPN (usually the free ones are not that reliable).
3. Think about the security of your “seed phrase”.
But what is a “seed phrase”? It is a summary of a few keywords that you may hear in the videos above and what you will encounter while addressing cryptocurrency in daily transactions. These are alternative words are like an IBAN number is to a bank account.
Now let’s look at some of the most common terms for crypto:
- Crypto tokens are a type of cryptocurrency that represents an asset or specific use and reside on their own blockchain.
- A public key is to cryptocurrency like an IBAN is to a bank account: the address on which you can receive money on a blockchain.
- The private key is what authorizes you to control funds attached to a public key and initiate transactions from that address. Don’t give your private key to anyone.
- Public and private keys are always created in pairs.
- A secret phrase is a human-readable master private key in the form of a sequence of words. It can contain an unlimited amount of public/private key pairs.
If a secret phrase/private key is lost, there is no way to retrieve it. There is no customer care to call, it’s absolutely your responsibility to take care of it. A lot of people lost cryptocurrency like that. So make sure you put enough attention to storing it securely.
A seed phrase, seed recovery phrase, or backup seed phrase is a list of words that store all the information needed to recover cryptocurrency funds on-chain. Wallet software will typically generate a seed phrase and instruct the user to write it down on paper. If the user’s computer breaks or their hard drive becomes corrupted, they can download the same wallet software again and use the paper backup to get their bitcoins back.
Here is the article with some suggestions on how to keep your recovery seed safely. Write it down on paper, and maybe store it in a few safe places in your house. Never take a picture, store it on a computer or icloud. These things can easily be tracked and hacked.
The next step is where to buy and where to keep your cryptocurrency.
4. Choose the exchange platform (centralized crypto management).
Exchanges are centralized platforms where you can buy and sell crypto.
Those platforms can also hold crypto for you but it’s not the safest place to leave your crypto there. That’s why it is also called “online wallet”. If something happens to those companies, your crypto is gone too. But the advantage is, you can always reach their customer care for help.
Some exchanges have credit card options, which can be a handy bridge between fiat currency and the crypto world in times of transition when you still need a foot in the FIAT world. But remember, ALL credit cards are operated by only 2 companies – Mastercard and Visa (even maestro is MasterCard). Cards are the most centralized form of payment. Most likely, cards will not exist in the future.
Some popular and strong exchanges at the moment (there are many of them. You can do some research and choose upon your liking):
- Crypto.com (Visa card option)
- Kraken Exchange
- Nexo (offer card options)
- Celsius network (offer card options)
- Blockfi (offer card options)
- Binance (Visa card option)
- Kucoin Exchange ( for exotic tokens and no KYC)
- FTX Pro (for exotic tokens, big launchpad)
5. Wallets (decentralized crypto management).
There are 3 big types of cryptocurrency wallets or in other words places where you keep your money safely:
- online (exchange platforms which we covered in the paragraph above),
- software (app),
- and hardware.
Each of these types of wallets has its own features, benefits, and shortcomings, and is thus going to be suitable for different types of people, too. Security-wise, paper wallets are seen as the best alternative, while convenience-wise, software and online ones should be your go-to options.
“Hot wallet” (apps)
A hot wallet is a cryptocurrency wallet that is always connected to the internet and a cryptocurrency network. “Hot wallets” are used to send and receive cryptocurrency, and they allow you to view how many tokens you have available to use. It’s good for day-to-day use.
A note: create a hot wallet on a second phone or an iPad without a sim card. Keep smaller amounts in your wallet, so you can trade or use it more easily than a hardware wallet.
Some recommended “hot wallets” (apps):
- Trust Wallet (only on phone) — This allows you to stake several coins to earn interest.
- Atomic Wallet (allows tokens)
- Exodus Wallet (phone and laptop)
- ZenGo (with a card, private key is your face ID)
- Monolith (ETH decentralised wallet with card option, although ETH fees are high at the moment)
- Muun (BTC only, supports lightning network (fast and cheap transactions in the BTC network)
- Bluewallet (BTC only)
“Cold wallets” (hardware)
As opposed to that, “cold wallets” are hardware devices that store your cryptos offline. Safety-wise, “cold wallets” are considered the best option – since they are always offline, you don’t need to worry about some sort of hacker stealing all of your cryptocurrency assets.
Recommended keeping big savings!
Some reliable “cold wallets”:
- Ledger Nano X and Ledger Nano S
- TREZOR T and TREZOR One
- Secure Wallet
- Cool S Wallet
Some extra security recommendations here:
- Make sure you buy your cold wallet directly from a reputable source, ideally the supplier. There’s no point in putting your crypto in a secure vault if someone else already has the keys.
- Don’t transfer from your Ledger straight to someone else, send it first to an Exchange (so it gets a bit lost in the transaction) or to a hot wallet, swap to a different token
- Or send it in a token that is not so traceable (Monero, Z-cash, Dash or a stable coin)
- Connect it through Metamask to trade ERC-20 or BNB
6. Which cryptocurrency to buy?
How many cryptocurrencies are there? Well, according to data from Statista, there are currently more than 9,900 in existence. New tokens are popping up all the time – each with a different use case and back story.
When it comes to how many cryptocurrencies will survive, it’s worth remembering that there’s a rather extensive graveyard of digital assets that are no longer active. Others were later outed as scams.
But also there are very high frequency, stable coins that are growing and solving important solutions in the world. Nobody knows what will survive and not, this is where your free will and what you stand for come into place. In the end, it’s all about trust and which tokens collectively will decide to put their trust in as the future exchange.
Well, let’s start with this thought – the top listed coins are there for a reason. But even more importantly, check what they stand for, and what you want to support, what your intuition, body, and instincts are telling. It’s the beginning of a new financial era and with all beginnings, it can be a bit messy and overwhelming till it finds its solid ground.
7. Portfolio tools
You will notice some wallets and exchanges allow some cryptocurrencies but not others, and in the end, you may have a feeling that your cryptocurrencies are a little all over the place…
I would recommend organizing it and having your overview of what cryptocurrencies you have, how much, and what is your overall financial situation with some portfolio management tools. Here is the list of some recently evaluated apps for that.
8. Other helpful links
Cryptocurrency Prices, Charts, and Crypto Market Cap | CoinGecko
Cryptocurrency Research Platform | Coin Market Capitalizations | Top 100 Cryptocurrencies | Coinpaprika
9. Crypto News
CoinDesk: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Crypto News and Price Data
Cointelegraph: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Crypto News & Price Indexes
10. Crypto Youtuber’s/influencers
*This overview is double-checked by cryptocurrency experts I know and trust.
If you find this information helpful, please buy me and my team a cup of coffee or send me some crypto when you set it up as a token of appreciation. I share all this for free because I deeply care that you are supported as much as possible in these times of huge foundational society changes.