The universe of crypto may seem like a black hole for those that do not understand it – it’s highly complex, and due to all the rumors and speculations about it, it feels like nobody fully understands what it is and how it works. This couldn’t be further from the truth, though, as cryptocurrencies have been around for long enough to prove not only that they are here to stay (Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, has been around since early 2009), but also to have successfully demonstrated that they are a viable alternative to traditional currencies (FIAT), and that they may very well be the future of currencies.
Cryptocurrencies offer several key benefits over FIAT currencies:
- Speed – cryptocurrency transactions are processed significantly faster than FIAT transactions, regardless of the transacted amount. For example, while you may have to wait for several days for a six-figure FIAT transaction to go through (3-5 working days is a standard in bank transactions), a crypto transaction will be processed within minutes, and can take up to hours, in exceptional cases.
- Fees – when using FIAT currencies, the transaction may go through several banks, and undergo several currency exchanges before it reaches its destination, operations which all have fees. With crypto, the transaction goes directly from point A to point B, with only a small network fee in place.
- Security – cryptocurrencies get transacted over decentralized networks (commonly known as blockchains), so every transaction gets stored on multiple devices, thus assuring transparency and security – there is no single point of failure which can be exploited by bad actors.
- Stability – unlike FIAT currencies, which vary from one country or region to another, cryptocurrencies are universal, meaning that they do not fall under political or geographical control, and are not affected by regional political or economic issues – your crypto coins have the same value in every corner of the world.
Excited about crypto now? You should be!
There are multiple cryptocurrencies out there, and while some of them have extra features that make them unique, all of them share common operating principles: funds are stored into accounts known as wallets, and are being transferred over networks known as blockchains. Crypto exchanges also play a vital part in this universe, as they are the accessible portals between the FIAT world and the crypto world.
We’ll go over the process of getting started with Bitcoin, as it’s the most popular crypto out there, but most of the steps apply to other currencies as well, since their operating principle is also similar.
Step 1 – Get a crypto wallet.
Bitcoin wallets come in all shapes and sizes, so it may seem a bit daunting to find just the right one. We won’t go into the technical aspects of wallets right now, as we will cover those in a future article, so we will just present to you the most convenient option: web wallets.
Web wallets are operated and stored by a website, and offer you several convenient features – easy signup and use, access to the blockchain, and convenient access to exchange services to fund your wallet.
Blockchain.com and Coinbase.com are the best places to get a web wallet, and they both offer exchange services. Setting up an account on either of these platforms is a simple and straightforward process. Make sure you secure your account properly by using a strong password and setting up 2-factor authentication.
Step 2 – Get some funds.
Once your wallet is all set, it’s time to top it up. Both Blockchain.com and Coinbase.com offer on-site purchase options, so you can use credit cards or bank transfers to deposit FIAT money and exchange it for crypto.
Alternatively, you can check out this portal to find out more funding options such as other exchange sites, Bitcoin ATMs, or peer-to-peer options.
One important aspect to keep in mind is coin denominations – one Bitcoin is worth approximately $9750 (at the time of writing), so if you’re depositing $200, you’ll be getting 0.02 Bitcoins, whereas if you are to deposit $200 and buy Ethereum, you would get 0.94 Ethereum, as one Ethereum is worth approximately $213.7 (at the time of writing). You will not always buy full coin amounts, so get familiar with the fractions.
Step 3 – Start using crypto.
Once you have your wallet and funds in it, using crypto is easier than you think! Whenever you need to pay for something, or send funds to someone, they will provide you with a wallet address of their own, to which you will need to send the funds to. Simply click on “send” or “transfer” within your wallet and you’ll be prompted to enter the amount you wish to send, and the recipient’s wallet address – fill in that info, confirm, and voila – you’ve just made your transaction.
When it comes to receiving funds, you will need to provide the sender with your own wallet address, which you will find within your wallet, and they will be able to send funds your way – simple, right?
As you can see, using crypto is not rocket science; sure, there is a learning curve involved, but nothing overly complicated, and the fast transactions, low fees, and overall convenience of using crypto make it worth the time and effort. Be part of the future, start using crypto today!