Investing in the Crypto Currency market space can be a little daunting for the traditional investor, as investing directly in Crypto Currency (CC) requires using new tools and adopting some new concepts. So if you decide to dive into this market, you’ll want to have a very good idea of what to do and what to expect.
Buying and selling CC requires you to choose an exchange that deals in the products you want to buy and sell, be it Bitcoin, Litecoin or any of the 1300+ tokens in play. In previous editions we have briefly described the products and services available on some exchanges, to give you an idea of the different offers. There are many exchanges to choose from and they all do things in their own way. Look for the things you care about, for example:
– Deposit policies, methods and costs of each method
– Withdrawal policies and costs
– With which fiduciary currencies do they negotiate deposits and withdrawals
– Products they deal with such as crypto coins, gold, silver, etc
– Transaction costs
– Where is this Exchange based? (US/UK/South Korea/Japan…)
Be prepared for the Exchange setup procedure to be detailed and lengthy, as Exchanges generally want to know a lot about you. It is similar to creating a new bank account, as exchanges are brokers of value and want to make sure that you are who you say you are and that you are a trustworthy person to deal with. It seems that “trust” is earned over time, as exchanges usually only allow small amounts of investment to begin with.
Your Exchange will keep your CCs in storage. Many offer “cold storage”, which simply means that your coins are kept “offline” until you indicate that you want to do something with them. There is a lot of news about hacked Exchanges and a lot of stolen coins. Think of your coins as being in something like a bank account on the Exchange, but remember that your coins are digital only and all blockchain transactions are irreversible. Unlike your bank, these exchanges do not have deposit insurance, so be aware that hackers are always doing their best to get your Crypto coins and steal them. Exchanges generally offer password-protected accounts, and many offer two-factor authorization schemes, something to seriously consider to protect your account from hackers.
Since hackers love to take advantage of Exchanges and your account, we always recommend using a digital wallet for your coins. It’s relatively easy to move coins between your Exchange account and your wallet. Make sure you choose a wallet that handles all the coins you want to buy and sell. Your wallet is also the device you use to “spend” your coins with merchants that accept CC for payment. The two types of wallets are “hot” and “cold”. Hot wallets are very easy to use, but they leave your coins exposed to the Internet, but only on your computer, not on the Exchange server. Cold wallets use offline storage media such as specialized hardware memory sticks and simple hard copies. Using a cold wallet makes transactions more complicated, but is the most secure.
Your wallet contains the “private” key that authorizes all transactions you wish to initiate. You also have a “public” key that is shared across the network so that all users can identify your account when they engage in a transaction with you. When hackers get your private key, they can move your coins wherever they want and it’s irreversible.
Despite all the challenges and wild volatility, we are confident that the underlying blockchain technology is a game changer and will revolutionize the way transactions are conducted in the future.