Let’s talk about Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies as if I’m just your friend, or neighbor…not like an expert with big words. First, what is bitcoin and cryptocurrency?
In short, it’s tomorrow’s way of doing typical transactions. Have you ever wanted to send money to Mexico, but didn’t want to head down to the Western Union office and pay a $50 fee…instead, wouldn’t you like to press a button on your phone and the money is instantly sent for 5 pennies? Have you ever wanted to buy an item privately online without anyone knowing? Bitcoin can do it anonymously. Have you ever been mad that the government keeps printing money with no end in sight? Bitcoin has a fixed amount and it’s mathematically impossible to create more. These reasons are what got me intrigued about cryptocurrencies.
So where do you start?
Most begin with Coinbase as a first step. It’s an online Cryptocurrency bank/store and made in the USA! You can buy, sell, or just hold your crypto there. More specifically, they have four main options: Bitcoin, Etherium, Bitcoin Cash, and Litcoin. Here’s some info on each of the four coins:
Bitcoin (BTC): The mother of all coins. Most known worldwide. Only 21 million will ever be in existence. Traditionally held by conservatives, and people who don’t trust the government. But, fees are a little high (approx $30 a transaction right now) but they are working on getting them down in the future. One BIG plus is it’s decentralization (no one person is in charge of bitcoin….rather, math is in charge. So it’s impossible to hack). Nobody knows who created bitcoin, nobody reigns over bitcoin, and that’s what makes it different than the rest.
Etherium (ETH): Second most known coin at the moment, and carries a lot of potential for growth because of its ease in companies/apps building their infrastructure on it. Cheaper transaction fees currently, but there is no hard cap on how many coins are produced…so they can just make more, like the government does with dollars. Traditionally held by liberals, and progressives. Most conservatives don’t like it, primarily because it’s not decentralized, so it’s easier to control and/or manipulate by those in charge.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH): An offshoot of Bitcoin when people early on wanted different mathematical rules. Some would say the Bitcoin Cash people wanted quick/cheap transactions at the expense of long term foundational infrastructure. There is a massive distrust (if not hatred) between those holding Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash.
Litecoin (LTC): Cheaper, but the creator of this coin dumped all his holdings…so that can tell you where it may be headed.
So, you log on to Coinbase, set up an account and you can buy any of the four coins. Your are ready to begin!
Before I forget!
Transactions are NOT REVERSIBLE! If you send or receive cryptocurrency and one little number of the address is off or wrong, you will lose the money in the transaction. It cannot be recovered. Oh, and do your own research. This is risky stuff! I’m just giving you my thoughts, but don’t be naive and just trust me…look around and do your due diligence!
What’s the next step?
Well, if you like the main coins from Coinbase, and you want to take it to the next level…try some alternative coins known as alt-coins such as Dash, Ripple, Monero, Cardano, Tron, etc but they must be held outside of Coinbase at the moment. Alt-coins are just spin-offs of bitcoin and each serve a slightly different purpose. Many can be held on Trezor or Ledger which are known as a “hard wallets” because they are held offline on a USB type device. You only connect to the computer when doing the actual transactions. This is much safer than Coinbase because you hold your own password (24 random words) as a hard copy in your possession so it can’t be hacked online. Coinbase on the other hand, holds your password (24 random words) for you, so if somebody hacks Coinbase and takes your passwords…they could take your money. Btw, here’s a good website to check real time prices: Crypto Prices
Lastly (and most importantly):
What makes Cryptocurrencies so important for the future is what is known as it’s BLOCKCHAIN technology. That is, think of every transaction as a link in a chain. This transaction is understood by thousands of computers and they mathematically agree on the transaction. It cannot be un-linked, it can only continue to add more links as more transactions are made. But, the links are made by people with cryptocurrency addresses…not by the names of people. So everyone can see your transaction, but nobody knows it’s you who made it. The rules of math allow for constant checks and balances, where nobody can deny you because of prejudices, or racial injustice, and no government can make your “link” any more or less important. In fact, you don’t need government at all…they can’t stop it. You won’t need a bank ever again, for this is a parallel financial system…banks will become irrelevant. You are your own bank. You don’t need permission, you can’t get charged overdraft fees, and you don’t have to wait for the bank to open. It’s like the freedom of the internet, but now with money. And your bitcoin today will be mathematically more valuable in the future because there are only 21 million bitcoin, but 7 billion people. It’s first come, first serve on this new internet of money.
P.S. If you don’t trust the internet exchanges like Coinbase, my son sells crypto on Ebay
Here’s his page if you are wary of Coinbase or Trezor, but you’ll still need to set up an address which might be a bit confusing: CALEB’S EBAY PAGE
There you have it! Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies made easy! If you have any advice or questions, just add a comment and share.