Hype and increasing prices will undoubtedly attract new investors, HODLers, and gamblers. Regardless of how long you’ve been in crypto, below are a few pieces of information (or reminders) you should consider.
1. **We’re still early**. Cryptocurrency, including bitcoin, is still in its infancy. Because of this, we will continue to see headlines of hacks, exchange closures, big name investors coming into the space, major institutional adoption, and everything in between. Until crypto is regulated (for better or worse) and even after, there will be bad actors attempting to steal your cryptocurrencies. To that end, think twice when hearing about ‘deals’ or investments that seem too good to be true. They probably are.
2. **Protection**. I often see questions regarding the storage of cryptocurrencies. Not to oversimplify, but as a user, you have ~3 choices to store your cryptocurrency. In order of most secure to least secure:
1. **Cold Storage** – From wikipedia: **Cold storage** refers to storing **Bitcoins/Cryptos** offline and spending without the private keys controlling them ever being online. This resists theft by hackers and malware, and is often a necessary security precaution especially dealing with large amounts of **Bitcoin.**
If you aren’t comfortable manually storing your private key, physical hardware wallets are your best alternative. When possible, buy direct from the manufacturer to avoid any tampering to your new device.
2. **Hot Wallets** – From [investopedia](https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/hot-wallet.asp): The difference between a hot wallet and a cold wallet is that hot wallets are connected to the internet, while cold wallets are not.
Hot wallets can be installed onto your mobile device and/or your web browser. Similar to cold storage, these hot wallets will ‘store‘ your crypto and will be accessed to send/receive tokens, execute smart contracts, and conduct other transactions. There are many options to choose from, but MetaMask is as close to an industry standard as it comes, and the developer has recently implemented an ERC-20 token swap function. Again, download directly from the developer if you can.
3. **Exchanges** – Exchanges certainly have their own purpose, most notably as an on and off ramp for your fiat currency (e.g., US Dollar, etc). However, when you read headlines like “Bitcoin Hacked for 10 million dollars!” what they usually mean is, a centralized exchange that holds users’ cryptocurrencies was hacked and bitcoin was extracted from the exchange’s storage. For this reason, exchanges are considered to be less safe than your Hot Wallet and Cold storage alternatives.
3. **Don’t be greedy**. This is easier said than done, and many veteran traders have learned this the hard way — some still haven’t learned. When prices are only going up, you’re going to feel like a million bucks. **But things dont go up forever**. **Ever**. (Unless it’s the Fed’s balance sheet.. har har). Point being, it’s okay to take profits along the way up. I guarantee you’ll have an opportunity to re-buy those same tokens at a cheaper price, and you’ll enjoy them even more the second time around.
4. **Don’t spend more than you can afford**. Hopefully this goes without saying, but the crypto space is extremely volatile. It is not uncommon to lose your entire investment with just one wrong token/ICO/scam. To that end; just use your common sense. It sounds easy, but when you’re making money, sometimes it’s hard to see the cliff at the end of the road.
5. **Keep learning**. I joined the crypto space because I saw an opportunity to make money. It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve learned a lot more than I’ve gained (from a monetary perspective). What i didn’t expect to happen, was to open pandora’s box when it comes to what Bitcoin (specifically) aimed to solve. My thirst for knowledge only expanded when I learned of the opportunity space Ethereum was trying to fill. Compound that with the immutability of blockchain technology, DeFi, smart contracts, data oracles, (and the list goes on); now I’m completely hooked. It’s clear to me that blockchain will revolutionize the way we function on the global scale. But many are just now beginning to learn about bBitcoin, and we’re ahead of the curve. Which leads me back to point number 1; we’re still early.
Sorry for rambling on here; I’m sure more veteran HODLers have already X’d out of this post, which is fine. They likely don’t need this information as they have learned these same tips along their own journeys. But for newcomers to the space, I wish I had this foundational knowledge from the get go. Don’t be afraid to ask questions on this sub. With the recent implementation of MOON tokens (this is a whole ‘nother topic), I’ve personally noticed more downvotes than normal. But awareness and understanding is critical to adoption, so don’t be turned off if you don’t get an answer to your questions immediately. There is a wealth of knowledge scattered across the internet, and still a lot of smart people on reddit who are willing to help.