As the hype around digital currency and blockchain continues to grow, governments, businesses and individuals from across the globe start to grab hold of their share of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. With its decentralised governance, rising value and ease of use, it causes everyday consumers to ask the question: ‘Should I own cryptocurrency?’
Fortunately, until there is a final legal shift in all jurisdictions, cryptocurrency remains uncertain. This enables individuals to dedicate time to researching the perks, risks and process. We list down five key steps to becoming a cryptocurrency owner:
Establish why you want to buy
As the world becomes dynamic and at times unstable, there is a need for proper ownership, control and safety of our assets. As a consumer, we sought after effortless experiences – this is no different when it comes to financially transacting. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin offer users the opportunity to be their own bank, i.e. be independent of rates and timings governed by someone else. With all the added benefits, it makes us realise that a focus on cryptocurrency is a focus on digital prosperity.
Decide on your cryptocurrency
Up until 2016 Bitcoin was the only valuable cryptocurrency to consider. However, in 2017 Bitcoin’s share in the crypto-market dropped from 90 to around 40 percent. With Ethereum and Litecoin playing on key differentiators from Bitcoin, users have ample choice when selecting a cryptocurrency. Many users opt for currencies with high daily volumes on coinmarketapp.com (which reflects their wide use and acceptance), while others prefer certain currencies because of their different functionality. For example, Dash and PIVX are often chosen over Bitcoin because of their instant transmission time. Bitcoin remains the cryptocurrency of choice when getting started. With its easy setup and wide use all over the world, Bitcoin is currently the easiest cryptocurrency to navigate.
Setup your digital wallet
Before buying a cryptocurrency, you need an e-wallet, which requires downloading a software that can receive, store and send coins. As most buying happens on an exchange, users prefer to transfer cryptocurrencies to their own possession in an effort to avoid hacking. The number of e-wallet options available depends on the type of cryptocurrency you chose. For Bitcoin, there are numerous types of wallets for every device. A popular alternative to Bitcoin’s options are Electrum, which is also available for every device.
Find an exchange you are comfortable with
For your initial setup, we recommend sticking to major exchanges like Kraken, BitFinex, and BitStamp, who list popular Altcoins (Bitcoin alternatives) such as Litecoin, Ethereum, Monero, and Ripple. Location also plays an important role when selecting an exchange. In most cases, it remains best to use an exchange physically close to you. If this is not possible, choose an exchange located in a stable country with a sound legal system.
Start using your coins!
Currently, there are a variety of companies worldwide that accept cryptocurrencies as a valid medium of exchange. Whether you’re looking to buy or donate, global companies such as Microsoft, Shopify, Expedia, Wikipedia and Tesla now accept major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
With cryptocurrencies a topic of interest for individuals and companies across industries and countries, it is uncertain whether they have the ability to change the way we interact on a daily basis. For right now, as a cryptocurrency owner, you’ll soon familiarise yourself with the concepts, processes and overall benefits it offers to users seeking long-term financial security, freedom and prosperity.