I have been dealing with the topic of “cryptocurrencies” for more than four years now and would like to share my experiences and impressions with you within the scope of this blog post. This article is primarily intended to help you get started in the complex field of cryptocurrency and increase your curiosity to learn more. What this won’t be about is recommendations or tips regarding promising investment opportunities. So, it’s kind of a step-by-step guide for crypto beginners.
People have been talking a lot about cryptocurrencies for quite some time now and more and more people are toying with the idea of investing in a cryptocurrency. However, for most people, getting started is so tedious and complex that they leave it alone again. In the meantime, one finds many articles, deals with statistics and forecasts or even follows one or the other influencer in the social networks. But to distinguish whether the information is right or wrong is very difficult in most cases. Therefore, the first important thing is to collect and structure the mass of information. The goal is to be able to form your own opinion based on your own information. How to start, which sources to use and which information is important, I have summarized for you here.
First, you should get an overview of available cryptocurrency projects to be able to decide which ones you might be most interested in and enthusiastic about. For this, I recommend the website coinmarketcap.com or cryptocompare.com, among others. These are free of charge, with no registration required, and therefore accessible to everyone. There are also numerous other websites, this is just my personal choice. Each website has its advantages and disadvantages and is differently convenient for everyone to use.
On Coinmarketcap you not only have a view of the crypto market in general (market and trading volume, bitcoin dominance, etc.) but also all projects and currencies with their current market value. The projects are sorted in descending order by market capitalization, i.e. the total value of the currency. In addition, you can find information about the current price, as well as the price history of the last 24 hours to 7 days. Circulating Supply describes the number of units of the currency that are in circulation. Following is a short guide on how to navigate coinmarketcap.com:
For more in-depth information, simply click on the project so that an overview opens. For a better illustration, an exemplary view of the Ethereum currency follows:
Based on the project description, it is already possible to gain a rough insight into the project. Innovations and important announcements can also be found under “News”. The price trend of the currency is particularly interesting. You should pay special attention to the high and low of the price, as well as to the development dynamics and speed.
Finally, you will find a list of the individual marketplaces where the respective currencies are traded, so that you are now also informed about investment opportunities.
This concludes the point on how you can get an overview of the cryptocurrency market and thus find interesting projects for yourself. The following post is about investing in a cryptocurrency. Thereby, open questions from the purchase possibilities of the cryptocurrency over storage up to the sale of it are treated.
Now that you’ve already read a bit about the approach, let’s talk about buying, storing, as well as selling the currencies. There are many different marketplaces where cryptocurrencies can be bought or sold. This does not exactly make it easier to get started. For the German or European user, I can recommend the marketplace Bitpanda.
Purchasing via Bitpanda
Bitpanda is based in Austria and is therefore also regulated under European law. To buy or sell cryptocurrencies on this marketplace, you have to authenticate yourself, mostly via video chat. Most people already know Videoident from opening their own online bank account or even from an online loan application.
The advantage of Bitpanda is first of all the variety of possible deposit methods ( e.g. bank transfer, credit card, instant transfer…). Moreover, Bitpanda only trades a smaller selection of cryptocurrencies, which makes it easier to choose for an investment. These currencies/projects are verified by Bitpanda before they are added to the marketplace. This way, you get some assurance that the project is genuine and not a scam.
Purchase via binance
Besides all the advantages, however, disadvantages are just as important to weigh. As already mentioned, only a small selection of currencies are traded there and the fees for buying or selling are comparatively high. If you want to have the possibility to trade even more currencies, another marketplace is recommended. I would recommend Binance. However, this marketplace is based in China and therefore does not fall under European regulation. Here you have a very large selection of crypto projects that can be traded. Furthermore, Binance has a UserFund. This means that if the marketplace is hacked and the currencies of individuals are stolen, Binance will give its users a refund from the UserFund. This case has also happened a few times in the past and Binance has refunded each user the full amount of the lost currencies. Thus, unlike other marketplaces, Binance provides additional security to users.
Storage of cryptocurrency
After purchasing currencies of a particular project, the question of saving or storing the coins arises.
Speicherung auf der Exchange
The easiest way is to store the purchased currency in your account on the marketplace. This is also the most insecure option. Unfortunately, this option brings a lot of risks with it, such as a hacker attack on the marketplace or even the sudden closure of it. very simple and comfortable
+ very simple and comfortable
– can be easily hacked
– depends on the profitability of the exchange
– Exchanges = not cybersecurity companies/ primarily focused on financial market
Storage in a software wallet
The next option is to use a software wallet (programmatic wallets). These are programs or websites with which you can store your currencies. This option offers more security than storing the currency on the marketplaces, but is still not the most secure method.
+ Money is not entrusted to an exchange
+ Key in your possession and can be stored locally
+ No additional hardware required
– Responsible for security of computer (defect of computer leads to loss in case of doubt)
– Experience shows that transaction fees are high
– A lot of memory for reconciliation with blockchain
Storage in a hardware wallet
Another option, is to use a so-called hardware wallet such as a USB based device from Ledger or Trezor. From experience, this option offers the highest security when it comes to storing cryptocurrencies. The last alternative is the use of a paper wallet. However, this is one of the most complex variants, which is why I will not go into detail in this article.
+ Most secure storage for cryptocurrency
+ Compatible with most cryptocurrencies
+ Easy to use
+ Independent of exchange and computer
– Initial use may require explanation
– Must be purchased
The exact purchasing process and storage on the Ledger Nano S with step-by-step instructions will be explained in more detail in the next post.
After past blog posts have already gone a lot into the theory surrounding cryptocurrency, this post now goes deeper into practice. This is a step by step guide to buying a cryptocurrency for the first time.
Once you have informed yourself in detail about the individual currencies and then decided on a portfolio, there are now a few steps to follow until you buy the currency. Which Exchanges you can use to buy, we had already presented in the blog post “Your start in cryptocurrency”. If you haven’t read that post yet, you can easily go to the link.
I initially decided to register on bitpanda.com. Bitpanda.com had offered me the highest level of convenience (view, navigation, free registration) and also, in terms of the range of cryptocurrencies available, was very well equipped. Of course, there are other exchanges as well, everyone should choose the one that offers them the most comfort. However, the approach to registration and purchase does not differ too much between the Exchanges, so I will use Bitpanda.com as an example here.
To get started with Bitpanda or other exchanges, you first need to register and create an account. The only prerequisite is that you are over 18 years old and have a budget that you can/want to invest. Once you have entered your email address and password, you will receive an email with the next steps. Please note that it can happen that the email dispatch can take up to 30 minutes and check here regularly also the spam folder.
After receiving the confirmation email, you have successfully created an account with Bitpanda or another exchange and theoretically now have the exchange as a functional wallet for purchasing cryptocurrency. What advantages and disadvantages the wallet directly on the exchange has and what alternatives there are for this, you are welcome to read through our blog post on the topic of “Buying and storing cryptocurrency”.
If you want to use the full limits and payment methods on Bitpanda, you now have to verify your person via a video-ident, as for example when opening an online banking account. The limits and available payment methods vary depending on the level of verification. Bitpanda distinguishes between “Light Verification” and “Verified”, which are reflected in the deposit and withdrawal methods. For example, with a “Light Verification” it is not possible to make deposits via online payment or even credit card.
Another important step besides verification, is the security of your account. Although Bitpanda contributes to the security of your account, you should not neglect your own security. In addition to a strong password, two-factor authentication (2FA) is recommended. If this is activated in your account, a numerical code is requested via the app in addition to your login data when you log in. For example, you can use the Google Authenticator app (or other providers such as Authy for IOS or Authenticator+ for Windows). All you have to do is install the app on your smartphone, activate 2FA in Bitpanda and scan the generated QR code with the app. This way, your account is stored in the app and it is no longer sufficient to crack your password to get into your Bitpanda account without authorization. For each login, a new and time-limited numerical code must also be stored.
If the 2FA is not enough for you as a security measure, you have the possibility on other exchanges, such as Binance.com, to activate an anti-phishing code and to create a payout whitelist. An anti-phishing code is a code that is generated to help identify and prevent phishing attempts from fake email addresses. With the withdrawal whitelist, you have the option to create a list of wallets. This way, the wallets to which you would potentially want to pay out are firmly defined. This way you prevent copy & paste errors and payout to any account is impossible. Unfortunately, these two features are not available on bitpanda.com.
Deposit on Exchange
Once you have created an account on an exchange, verified your identity and achieved a certain level of security, you can start purchasing the desired cryptocurrency. Before you can buy, you must first deposit money on the exchange. You can make the deposit via Sofortüberweisung, credit card, SEPA, giropay or also via the online payment providers Skrill or Neteller. Note that only SEPA is a fee-free option in Bitpanda. The amount you want to deposit is freely selectable, but at least 25 €. If you choose the SEPA option and have your account at a “classic” German bank, make sure that the foreign payment must be activated in your account – the Bitpanda account is located in Austria and the transfer may not work immediately. If the foreign payment is activated, it takes about 1-2 business days until the money is deposited to your Bitpanda account. From that moment, you will be able to buy cryptocurrency for your available budget.
To make the purchase, you need to go to the “Trade” section, where you can select “Buy”. In this section you can enter the amount for how much you want to buy. Please note that for each purchase of digital assets, a fee goes to the Exchange. The fees vary depending on the cryptocurrency and, in my opinion, are not marked in a completely transparent way. However, they will be specified to you when you make a purchase, so you can keep an eye on them. Another thing to keep in mind is that you cannot buy at the most current rate, which you have observed live in the course of the price. The rates for buying and selling, are only adjusted with a delay, so there can often be differences here. To be able to buy at a fairly stable rate with less risk, I recommend creating a “savings plan” in the respective exchange. This way you buy continuously at the average price and do not bear the risk of missing favorable peaks and buying too expensive. The disadvantage, of course, is that you don’t necessarily profit when the price drops.
Once you have bought your desired cryptocurrency, you have several options to proceed with it. If you’re interested, feel free to check out our next blog post!
In the context of this blog post, now we deal with the topic “Blockchain”. The Blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) called, very simply expressed, is nothing more than a database. In itself, this is not very innovative and not necessarily something new, you might think – but it’s not that simple.
What is a blockchain?
Blockchains are, as the name suggests, a chain of blocks. These blocks build on each other and contain information. The type and nature of the information depends on the respective blockchain. If a blockchain is used on the crypto market, the blocks contain, among other things, information with transaction data. To better understand the process in a blockchain, one can imagine the following scenario:
Why is blockchain relevant for the future?
In addition to the crypto market, the blockchain is also used in healthcare and insurance, marketing, but also in politics and many other areas. Here, the information contained can thus also include, for example, medical records, insurance data, election votes and many more. The core statement here is that the blockchain is particularly suitable for important and, above all, confidential information and can be used to carry out transactions. The reason is primarily due to the so-called “hashing”, which makes the Blockchain so secure. “Hashing” describes a process in which data is translated by algorithms into a fixed form, the hash. The result of hashing precludes the hash from being traced back to its source data, so the data is encrypted for anyone to see.
How does a blockchain work?
The blockchain is a new technology that makes it possible to store, process, share and manage any kind of information in a publicly viewable database. In a continuous list of records (called blocks), these are concatenated by means of cryptography. The beginning of any blockchain is made by the creation block or called the genesis block. All blocks build on each other and complement each other. The hash is determined from the hashes of the previous blocks. If the information in one of the blocks is thus changed, the hash changes automatically and the entire block chain would thus be interrupted. The following blocks would then have to be recalculated. To calculate and generate blocks, a network of active members is first required, who not only process their transactions via the network, but also provide their computing power to operate the electronic database. Various methods can be used to validate and generate new blocks. The most important of these are Proof of Work and Proof of Stake.
In Proof of Work (POW), the process is also called “mining”, where hash algorithms are split and solved. This refers to complicated cryptographic tasks that must be solved. The solution of these tasks is marked by a new block. The solution path in this case is the transaction, which can be carried out without errors. The so-called minors are rewarded for the solution. The disadvantage of this method is that an extremely large amount of computing power is required, which results in enormously high costs.
Unlike POW, the Proof of Stake – method (POS) counts, among other things, the ratio of coins used to the total amount. According to this criterion, the blockchain selects a validator that is allowed to generate a block. This is done more or less like a lottery, but without stakes, because the coins do not leave their wallets in that case. This method requires much less computing power than the proof of work method and requires an active community. In contrast to the POW, the cryptocurrency is created with POS, no longer through complicated computing tasks. This is referred to as staking. In this process, each participating user validates the transaction with his share, which is processed via the blockchain. The reward is paid out for the coins held.
Conclusion: Blockchain will play an important role in many areas in the future. The prerequisite for this is the further development of the technology and the methods as well as the education of potential stakeholders. Progressive implementation in companies and public authorities will only be possible when there is understanding and the topic is within everyone’s grasp. I hope that I have been able to make a small contribution to clarification in this post.