From Birkins to Bitcoins - a beginner's guide to cryptocurrency

Where do I begin? What’s a Bitcoin? How do I buy these coins? What do I do with them after? Is this all legit? Isn’t crypto a bubble or a scam? What’s with all these exchanges?

Our takeaways from the session held on 22nd April 2021, with Sandra Wu, Founding Partner Skyvision Capital and Adena Lavin, Founder LBK Capital on getting started in the crypto space.

It's been estimated that only 10 to 15 percent of the people currently investing in Bitcoin are female. To help our GJWHF$ Community navigate different asset classes, Sandra and Adena shared their compelling stories on why crypto continues to be a significant part of their investment portfolios. They have shared these key takeaways and considerations for getting started on your crypto journey. Above all, Do Your Own Research (DYOR)!

Crypto has changed the way we view, use and create money.

  • Cryptocurrencies use digital signatures to ensure every transaction is valid and that there is transparency in recordkeeping through an immutable ledger. This is where blockchain technology comes into play, making the data tamper-proof and all fresh blocks are chained together in chronological order. With blockchain, the information is not stored on a single server, but on all the computers on a network – a decentralized ledger.

  • This contrasts to the fiat money, which relies on a middle man to facilitate the trade, where legal tender is backed or created by an institution or central government via centralized control.

Before buying cryptocurrency, Do Your Own Research (DYOR):

1. Understand the differences in exchanges to choose your preferred platform:

  • Centralised Exchanges: A centralized exchange is where a trusted third party runs the exchange to facilitate the trade in a safer and more secure manner. Due to this, it is the preferred and generally recommended platform for beginners in their crypto journey.

Examples: Binance, Kraken, Coinbase

  • Decentralised exchanges: these are peer to peer networks built on types of blockchain networks available, operating without a central authority. Users can swap their tokens for other tokens at market determined rates.

Examples: uniswap, pancakeswap.

  • Please bear in mind, each exchange has different fees and different fee structures. You should explore these features before determining which exchange to trade on, and how you are able to fund your account. For example, not all accounts will accept fiat deposits, and may require you to convert your fiat into USDT through an OTC service.

2. Stay safe!

  • It is highly recommended to keep your holdings safe by buying a physical cold wallet (brands include Ledger or Trezor). A cold wallet is not connected to the internet and is therefore less vulnerable to hacks and theft. A hot wallet by contrast is used for access to your funds via the internet. There is no reason to keep non-traded assets on an exchange.

  • Use a secure password – your secret pass phrase should be stored safely - print it out, write it down, store in a secure place! And should not be saved on any cloud-based platform.

3. Consider your crypto investment strategy:

  • This includes determining your portfolio splits, profit taking and payout.

  • Consider what you are comfortable with - How active do you want to be with your portfolio? Are you going to trade it daily, weekly, monthly? Are you going to trade it at all? Will it be a long hold? Will you have different accounts for long vs short holds? These are the types of questions to ask yourself.

Lastly, ask for help and join a community that will provide you with support:

  • Twitter and Telegram are good starting points if you want to hear what’s buzzing in the Crypto community.

  • You can also check tools such as Coinmarketcap (CMC), to identify market trends and have an overview of the industry.

  • There are also some great free resources and trainings such as Bitpanda Academy, Princeton Bitcoin & Cryptocurrencies Technology, Coinpedia Education and The Block.

  • Here's a useful beginner's guide to Crypto Lingo.

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