Everyone’s favourite new hot-topic is Cryptocurrency. Seems like on average, every third conversation I have or overhear is Crypto-related. My journey with cryptocurrency began around the start of September 2017, so I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert, but what I can do is, understand, buy, trade, use a number of digital wallets, transact, interact with the blockchain, setup Full Nodes, and mine.
Getting Your Head Around It
This has obviously piqued the interest of every internet-capable generation out there; but, what are they?
Bitcoins [BTC], and its forks (Bitcoin Gold [BCG] or Bitcoin Cash [BCH]), Ethereum [ETH], Litecoin [LTC], and most recently with critical acclaim: Ripple [XRP] are all forms of digital tokenised payment systems that work much like your traditional bank does. That is to say that none of the assests are tangible, rather just a number followed by decimal numbers. Typically 18 for the majority of crypto with a notable exception in Bitcoin with it’s 8 Decimal places. That’s pretty much it on the surface of it.
If you’re looking for something to get you started in owning your own crypto currencies, but you’ve watched every explainer video on YouTube and are still no closer to understanding what the laundry list of glossary-worthy terms like:
- Hash Rate,
- Gas Price,
- Transaction Fees,
- Public / Private keys,
- Smart Contracts,
- Gwei, etc
…are then, well, I’m not really going to go in depth on them at all unless its safety or functionally critical.
There are already a fantastic array of explainers out there for delving deeper. No – I want to get you armed with enough knowledge to go out into the new world order of crypto with the confidence to do it safely and not end up being that guy in the forum saying things like:
“I know that this is a stupid question, but I sent Ethereum to a Contract Address, even though it told me many times not to do exactly that; can I get my money back?…”
The nay-sayers will say that its “not real money”, but currency can take any form and even a child has an understanding of the value of a possession and what it would take to trade for it.
How are the digital coins displayed as a balance on a screen any different from your traditional bank account balance? The numbers are valuable because businesses or people are willing to accept the money in payment for goods or services. My self-awarded degree in economics honestly just pays for itself.
Let’s Get Going Already!
What I want to share with you certainly isn’t the only way into the Crypto markets, not by a long shot. But it is the way that I got started and it’s working well for me so far. I feel safe making purchases, and I’ve taken everything full-circle. That is to say that I’ve had fiat [read: traditional] currency leave my Luddite account in exchange for crypto, then have gone on to do some trading with those tokens, and then re-sold them for £GBP and had that, now increased, GBP re-deposited in my account and used for beer-tokens in a actual physical shop.