On this page I’ve listed a few resources which I use to dabble with the cryptocurrency markets. In almost all cases, other service providers exist; and I cannot say that these are the best out there, only that I’ve found their services to be useful for me and am comfortable passing their details on to you.
In some cases, the service provider offers a small introduction fee to me for tell you about them. That always happens at no cost to you, but if you’re uncomfortable with it, no problem. Feel free to head directly to the site in question. Or any other you might prefer.
To be involved in the crypto game, the first thing you need is some bitcoin. Not necessarily a whole one – they’re quite expensive these days. You can start much smaller than that.
The site I have used to convert fiat currency (i.e. pounds sterling) to bitcoin is localbitcoins.com.
It’s a bit like ebay, in that each trader is ranked with a percentage score. I strongly recommend you work with a 99%+ trader, at least for the first few times you do this. You want to be confident that you’re dealing with a professional.
I use the bitbroker guys on localbitcoins, and have found them to be excellent.
The first time you do this you’ll probably be asked to prove you are who you say you are. Yes, it’s a faff. But it’s a one time faff which protects you down the line.
The process itself is fairly straightforward. The guy you’re buying from will give you bank details (if that’s the way you decide to pay, other options are available) and you send the money to that account. Once it’s received (usually close to instantaneously), the bitcoin is released to your localbitcoin.com account…
…and you’re in the game!
Once you have bitcoin, you may choose to hold it, or you may choose to trade it for another cryptocurrency. For storage there are any number of ‘wallets’. There are digital wallet accounts, physical (i.e. USB and the like) wallets, and offline paper wallets (which of course point to your online digital asset).
I store my bitcoin online at blockchain.info – and that’s worked as a good base for me to redirect funds to exchanges for trading purposes.
So now you have some bitcoin, you can think about getting other cryptocurrency. To do this, you need a bureau de change equivalent, called an exchange. There are lots of exchanges, and I’ve used a few different ones.
I started out at poloniex, flirted with a few others since, but have been using binance.com more recently. The reason for the switch is that there are more coin pairs on binance, and there also seems to be more liquidity, certainly for most of the pairs I’m interested in.
ETHEREUM FOR ICO’S
For those who might be attracted to the (much) more volatile waters of ICO’s – please read this post first – you will generally need to trade Ethereum (or Ether, ETH) for the tokens in the ICO / token sale.
Once you’ve exchanged bitcoin – or another – for ETH, you can store the latter at myetherwallet.com. The specific ICO you’re interested in will provide instructions regarding how to interact with myetherwallet.com to buy your tokens.
Please, please, PLEASE remember that this is extremely risky territory and you may lose some or indeed all of your investment in ICO’s. Do your due diligence. READ THIS POST for some general thoughts on ICO’s.
After a while you may find that you have bits and bobs of tokens and coins here and there. I did. So now I use a couple of sites to keep tabs on where I’m at.
Firstly, I use a site called coingecko.com, which has a dashboard to which I can add the coins I have, and track their performance.
And, more recently, I’ve started using coins.live to track my portfolio. It’s a very handy tool for knowing where you are at a given point in time.