New to Crypto? Here’s Everything You Need to Get Started
If you’re completely new to crypto, knowing when to begin can feel daunting. There are so many cryptos, exchanges, and wallets to choose from and so many different ways of entering the industry. Don’t worry: we were all newbs once, and while many of us had to learn through trial and error, you don’t need to go it alone.
Armed with a comprehensive guide such as this one, you’ll possess the fundamental information you require to safely make your first foray into crypto. While there’s much more to learn than can be contained in any one guide, the following information addresses the basics. Read it, apply it, and you’ll be well on your way to successfully navigating the cryptocurrency industry.
This guide covers:
- Wallet selection
- Wallet funding
- Security tips
- Further learning
In other words, everything you need to go from complete beginner to intermediate crypto user. Ultimately, the best way to learn any skill is through application: theory alone can only carry you so far. So read these words and then put them into practice, fast-tracking your mastery of the knowledge contained therein. Are you ready? Then let’s begin.
Crypto Wallet Selection
The best thing about blockchain technology is that it allows you to store your wealth in a manner that prevents any third party from accessing it. When held in a non-custodial wallet, crypto cannot be seized, censored, or frozen. It’s also highly portable, since cryptocurrency is digital and not constrained by borders or boundaries. Anywhere in the world you can physically travel, your crypto can travel with you.
Since a wallet is the foundation of everything else you might want to do in crypto such as trade, collect NFTs, or earn yield on your assets, it makes sense to start there. While some wallets do little more than provide a secure means of storing your cryptocurrency, others allow a lot more thanks to integrated features that elevate the wallet into more of a super app that can do everything.
Kresus, for example, provides a non-custodial wallet that’s designed to simplify the process of entering the industry, securing your crypto, and then discovering more about the many opportunities web3 has to offer. If you’re a crypto beginner, it’s a good choice, particularly because its onboarding process is much easier than that of comparable wallets. Other crypto wallets that are highly rated include Trust Wallet, Exodus, and Phantom.
Securing Your Wallet
After installing your wallet, be it as a mobile app, web extension, or desktop application, your next step is to secure it. With most non-custodial wallets, such as Trust, this requires noting down a 12- or 24-word “seed phrase,” also known as a mnemonic phrase. Comprising a series of seemingly random words, this phrase is used to control access to your wallet and should not be shared with anyone. Provided you keep this phrase in a safe place, you will always be able to access your wallet – even if you accidentally uninstall the wallet app or lose the device itself.
Unfortunately, some crypto beginners struggle to get their heads around the concept of a seed phrase, while others fail to securely note it down, resulting in a fatal loss of funds when they come to retrieve it. It’s all too easy to lose the scrap of paper it was recorded on, or worse still to store it in the cloud or as a smartphone app, only for the device to later be compromised and an attacker to access the phrase.
The solution to this problem is to select a non-custodial wallet that doesn’t require a seed phrase: some of the newer web3 wallets have devised ways to achieve this, Kresus among them. It has eliminated the risk of user error causing permanent loss of access. Instead of the seed phrase, the wallet can be secured using social login such as Google or Apple ID, bolstered by a secondary layer of security.
Funding Your Wallet
Now you’ve got your wallet created and properly secured, your next step will be to fund it with cryptocurrency. If you’re looking to purchase NFTs, for example, or trade tokens, you’ll need crypto both to cover the purchase itself and to pay the blockchain transaction fees, also known as “gas.” Think of your wallet as being like a car: it can take you places, but you won’t get far without gas to fuel it.
The best non-custodial wallets include an integrated fiat onramp. This allows you to purchase crypto directly within the wallet app using a credit or debit card. It’s the quickest and easiest way to buy your first crypto. If the wallet you have selected doesn’t have this capability, or if you wish to purchase larger amounts of crypto, you’re better off using a cryptocurrency exchange. There, you can purchase any crypto you like and then withdraw it to your personal wallet.
Choosing a Cryptocurrency Exchange
There are many cryptocurrency exchanges to choose from, with some of the most popular including Binance, OKX, and Bybit. You’ll be required to complete verification when signing up for an exchange, which usually takes around 15 minutes and requires uploading your ID and a selfie. Provided you are willing to undertake this process, a crypto exchange account can be useful for a number of reasons.
Crypto exchanges make it easy to buy hundreds of different cryptocurrencies and often provide other features too such as staking and access to token sales. They can additionally be used as a bridge between different blockchains. You can deposit an asset that is native to one network such as ETH (Ethereum) for example and withdraw the same or a different asset to another blockchain such as SOL (Solana).
After purchasing the cryptocurrency you desire, you can withdraw it to your non-custodial wallet by entering the wallet address. Note that some cryptocurrencies are particular to a specific blockchain network. The exchange should alert you if you are trying to withdraw crypto to an unsupported wallet type, but double check: if you make a mistake, it can’t be undone.
Security Tips and Further Learning
If you’re new to crypto, a few basic security tips will help you avoid the most common pitfalls that users are prone to making. Firstly, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. If you read a tweet or receive a social media message informing you that you have won cryptocurrency or earned an airdrop, there’s a high chance it’s a scam. Don’t click links you have not verified. Similarly, don’t click the top search result in Google for a crypto project you’re seeking: scammers sometimes snag the top spot and create a lookalike website that will steal your funds.
Crypto may be new to you, but the principles you have applied in other areas of your life hold true here: if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Never share your private wallet key or seed phrase with anyone, and beware of DMs from individuals claiming to be “tech support” or to represent an exchange. Finally, it’s possible to lose money in crypto without being hacked by making poor investment decisions. Exercise caution when trading risky assets such as memecoins and be skeptical of anyone promising that a token will generate “100x profits.”
To further expand your crypto knowledge, here are some additional resources worth checking:
Good luck and remember, no one becomes an expert overnight. Take your time, start off with small amounts of crypto, and as your confidence improves, you can work your way up from there. By exhibiting patience and a willingness to learn, you’ve already got an advantage over most crypto beginners. Maintain that mindset even as your knowledge grows and you’ll get the most out of crypto, whether you’re seeking profit, pleasure or a little bit of both.
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