By definition, cryptocurrencies are an encrypted decentralized form of digital currencies that individuals transfer to one another. These currencies are not exactly tangible, plus they only exist in the electronic form. Overall, it is a digital asset that exists as data and will remain as such. This article gives you a full overview on trading cryptocurrency.
They give people the ability to send money in a similar way that one may send an email. Moreover, there are lower transaction times in comparison to a bank. Alongside this are minimal fees, no credit cards, and no middleman involvement.
Cryptocurrency utilizes an innovative piece of technology for its bookkeeping process. This innovation is ‘blockchain’, a public system across a network made up of people that have the same coin. Those with the same currency possesses a copy of the ledger and its transactions, which effectively creates a trustful community. Each cryptocurrency is individually identifiable and one can program them by drawing from complex digital code.
One cannot deny the impact that cryptocurrencies have had on the public. When it comes to finances, this creation has made the full transition to becoming a digital product. In this time of technological advancements where certain products are becoming more digital, this should come as no surprise.
There are many who want to learn more about crypto. On top of that, those who show interest must have – or should have – some basic knowledge of trading. The more global adoption of cryptocurrency picks up, the more new players there are who want to enter the market. To do that, they need to properly understand how to trade crypto.
This guide will function as an educational tool for those people.
Factors to watch for
Before we begin, we must first establish some factors you should watch for while you are crypto trading.
The cryptocurrency market can change very fast. With the birth of many new cryptocurrencies comes the disappearance of others. The primary aspect that draws people to cryptocurrency is the idea of protection against the deprecation of their national currency. Retail stores are starting to accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and several others as a form of payment. Furthermore, people in countries like Japan are starting to use it more frequently because the government officially approves it.
In the beginning, the darknet marketplace was where Bitcoin garnered the most acceptance. However, that acceptance and adoption are now happening at the hands of legitimate brick and mortar, as well as online businesses. With more businesses employing it as a form of payment, banks are beginning to notice the new product’s potential to change the world of finances. Not only that, but it could divert partial financial control from governments and banks.
There are a wide variety of factors that result in the price of cryptocurrencies going up or down. For instance, similar to Forex, higher demand means that the price will be higher as well. In addition, the purchase of the coin by way of traders purchasing purely on speculation can affect the demand. Therefore, it can affect the price, too.
Reports discussing the gradual development of the currency have an effect on the overall price of digital currency. This is especially the case for Bitcoin. For example, national regulators in China have made negative comments about it, particularly during the past few years. In 2013, China made an announcement stating that financial institutions must distance themselves from Bitcoin. The result of this was a huge drop in the coin by roughly $300. Their initial concern and reason for the ban derive from the belief that it could meddle with conventional currency policy information.
In 2014, the price of Bitcoin would drop yet again because Bitcoin exchanges ceased to receive deposits from banks. In 2017, there were rumors of China’s central bank implementing regulatory action concerning the digital coin exchanges. This would account for a majority of the trading volume pertaining to Bitcoin.
There were several occurrences of other troubles beyond the ones mentioned. In 2014, there was a major hack attack that was said to clear the screen, putting the Bitcoin exchange offline. During this period of time, until things went back to normal, there was a noticeable 23% drop in Bitcoin’s price. Several influencers have the ability to seriously affect the price of digital currency in an abrupt manner.
All in all, regardless of the occasional problem, the crypto market cap is exceeding $60 Billion. This is partly because people are gradually learning about what exactly cryptocurrencies are. Moreover, they consider cryptocurrency as an investment vehicle; in that, they will include in their investment portfolio.
How to trade
The traditional method of cryptocurrency trading is to first set up a Bitcoin wallet. Following this, you will purchase a number of bitcoins using a tangible currency. Finally, you exchange these bitcoins on a cryptocurrency exchange site for altcoins of your choice.
That, as you can easily guess, is the concise version of this tutorial.
The basics are established, but now we must dive deeper into the process. We will start with the section concerning fiat currency.
1 – Fiat to Crypto
So, how can one go about investing their money? The portals that connect the real world to those that reside in all things crypto are ‘exchanges’. The exchanges that exist are plentiful, so there are many to choose from. However, before you make that decision, there are certain things you need to be on the lookout for.
- Validity: This, above all else, is the most important thing to check for. You have to make sure that the exchange is readily available in your area. An example of this would be that Coinbase – one of the largest and most popular exchanges – isn’t available in India and Indonesia. It’s crucial that you’re absolutely sure that what you are committing to is accessible in your neck of the woods.
- Reputation: This is something that is equally as important as validity. It’s important that you check up on the reputation of the exchange. Are those who use it happy with the services? Has it been subject to any recent hackings? How is its security? Are there any complaints concerning the services? Two platforms that are good sources for checking this are Twitter and Reddit.
- Exchange rates: No two exchanges are exactly the same. The same can be said for their exchange rates. Different exchanges have their own exchange rates, which evidently may vary. You should do some research on a handful of exchanges and see what their rates are.
- Safety: It’s important that you select exchanges that require some sort of ID verification from you. Admittedly, this process may take some time, but they are comparatively much safer and more secure than anonymous exchanges. In the end, it is your money, so it’s completely up to you. Though, with that in mind, you should definitely take that extra step to preserve its overall security.
The creation of an account
It’s important to note that from this point onward, we will be using Coinbase as a demonstration. This primarily due to it being one of the more recognizable crypto exchange platforms.
Anyway, signing up for a Coinbase account is a relatively simple procedure. First and foremost, you must go to the main page of Coinbase.com. There, you will find the “Get Started” option, which you will click on. A “Create Your Account” page will then pop up on your screen. Because you are creating a personal account, you will choose to create an “Individual” account instead of a “Business” one.
The breakdown is basic, with you simply putting in the following pieces of information:
- First Name
- Last Name
From here, you have to agree to their Terms and Conditions and, of course, prove that you aren’t a robot. Now you officially have an account.
Account Addition & Security
At this point in the process, you will have to deal with security matters and account addition. To properly carry this out, you will have to do the following:
- Phone validation: Phone verification is a vital component in giving your account a 2-step verification process. The first thing you have to do is enter your phone number. After this, you will receive a text message containing a verification code. All you have to do is put in that code and you are done.
- Adding a method of payment: You can conduct Coinbase payments by way of bank account, debit card, and wire transfer. If you wish to fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of these methods, refer to this table:
- “Buy” and “Sell” are indicative of buying and selling Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum. “Deposit” and “Withdraw” represent depositing and withdrawing credit within your Coinbase account. If you’re unsure of what to do to manage your payment methods, the Coinbase help guide will show you. It’s important to note that Coinbase no longer accepts credit cards.
- Identity authentication: The final step requires you to verify your identity. Coinbase is a regulated company, so they need to be flexible with KYC (Know Your Client)/AML (Anti-Money Laundering) regulations. You have to verify your identity before you can use your debit card to buy anything. Overall, it is a fairly straightforward procedure.
Once all of this is complete, you can start trading. Below is a chart that shows the coins you can purchase on Coinbase:
2 – Crypto storage
If you recall from the earlier concise explanation, one of the first things – and indeed one of the most important things – you need is a wallet. It is a handy tool that will ensure the safety and security of your cryptocurrency. Additionally, it saves both your private key and public address, which assists you in storing, sending, and receiving cryptocurrencies. For contextual purposes, we will provide a brief rundown on what a public key and private address are.
- Private Key: The private key is what grants you the ability to access your money and send it. Its security framework aids in the protection of the user against thefts and any unlawful access to funds.
- Public Address: This is the address where other people will send you money.
One thing to remember about public addresses is that it’s what you will give to others for sending money to you. With this, they will know exactly where to send it.
When it comes down to it, a private key is basically a type of “ticket” that allows users to spend their coins. Therefore, it’s crucial that you keep it in a secure place and not give it out to anyone. The private key is for you and no one else. Should you give it to strangers, then they will wind up having access to your money.
With this clarification out of the way, we can continue forward with the meat of this section. When it comes to wallets, they all fall into these two categories:
- Hot Storage
- Cold Storage
Hot vs. Cold
There is a strong distinction between these two storage types. Obviously the names “hot” and “cold” lend themselves to apparent differences, but there is more to it than that.
‘Hot storage’ is data that requires immediate access. Ideal use for hot storage is if the information in storage is critical for business. What’s more, this is information that you cannot wait for when you inevitably need it.
To acquire the fast data access that hot data storage requires, the common storage place for it is hybrid or tiered storage environments. Basically, the hotter the service, the more it will likely use the latest drives and fastest transport protocols. Furthermore, its location will either be near to the client or in multiple regions.
‘Cold’ data tends to experience less access and does not require fast access to hotter data. This includes data that is no longer in active use. Additionally, it may not be sought after for a period of time; months, years, decades, or heck, maybe ever.
Examples of suitable cold storage data include…
- …old projects
- …records in need of preservation for financial, legal, HR, or other business record keeping requirements
- …pretty much anything else that is of value, but is not needed anytime soon
From here, we will break down the essentials of both hot wallets and cold wallets. The pros, the cons, and what exactly the wallets are.
Hot: Pros & Cons
The pros of a hot wallet are the following:
- It will give you instantaneous and easy access to your funds.
- You will get easy support in an array of devices.
- It is incredibly user-friendly and the ideal tool for beginners.
The cons of a hot wallet are the following:
- It is susceptible to hacks and other forms of cybercrime.
- If the keys are not carefully backed up, then any damage to the device will affect the wallet as well.
- The device that your hot wallet resides on (like your laptop or phone) is completely vulnerable to physical robbery.
Hot: Desktop and Mobile wallets
Desktop and mobile wallets are both garnering a lot of popularity. Desktop wallets provide users with more security than exchange wallets (which we will go over next). The process of setting them up is actually very simple. All you have to do is download the client on your laptop/desktop and that’s it. One platform that offers an excellent desktop wallet to store Bitcoins is MultiBit.
There is, however, one notable issue with desktop wallets. Out of all the options, they are not the most flexible. Look at it this way: you can’t access your desktop wallets from any other desktop beyond the one that it’s downloaded in.
For this reason, users who desire flexibility find mobile wallets to be a very convenient option. Setting them up is about as easy as downloading an app onto your phone. One of the more popular mobile wallets for both Android and iOS is MyCelium.
The main problem with these wallets ties into their storage. Because you store them in a device that connects to the Internet, they are completely vulnerable to viruses and hacks.
Hot: Exchange wallets
This is arguably the easiest wallet that one could ever conceive. As a matter of fact, by creating a Coinbase account, you have also been creating an exchange wallet.
It’s obvious that are plenty of advantages to using this wallet. It automatically links to your account and provides you with quick and easy access for trading. Be that as it may, this also makes you susceptible to an array of attacks. It is important to keep in mind that exchanges are a frequent target for hackers. It would be wise to not keep most of your cryptos in exchange wallets. Instead, keep only the amount that you need for trading.
Hot: Multisignature wallets
The basic idea behind multi-signature wallets is that they are essentially safes that you can only open with multiple keys. A majority of the ICOs utilize multi-sig wallets as a way to collect and store their funds. Here are two notable reasons as to why someone may use a multi-sig wallet:
- They protect users from corruption: It is not uncommon to hear about ICOs receiving millions of dollars in their crowd sale. It’s entirely – and frighteningly – possible for these developers to take the money as their own and flee. In situations similar to these, the more cautious move would be to accept funds in a multi-sig wallet. In this sense, all the money and power does not rest on the shoulders of one person.
- There is more security and assertion: Seeing as how the funds reside in a multisig wallet, they will automatically be more secure. This is because they no longer rely on the whims of a single person. Additionally, if someone is sending their money to a multisig wallet address, then they will take comfort in the fact that their funds are not subject to mishandling.
To demonstrate how it works, we will use BitGo as an example.
- BitGo distributes a total of 3 private keys. One will be for the company, one for the user, and the third will be a backup.
- Conducting a transaction would require using 2 of the 3 private keys.
- In the event of a hacker getting their hands on one of these keys, they will be unable to do anything without one more key.
Cold: Pros & Cons
As you may have gathered, while hot wallets give great accessibility, one cannot deny that they are pretty unsafe. Therefore, it is more reasonable when trading cryptocurency to save most of your funds in a cold storage wallet. A cold wallet is completely cut off from the internet. This means that it will automatically keep the funds safe from hackers and viruses.
The pros of a cold wallet are the following:
- It is considered more safe from hackers and viruses of any kind.
- It provides the ideal place to store and HODL your coins for a long period of time.
The cons of a cold wallet are the following:
- It is remarkably impractical for daily transaction executions.
- It is not necessarily fit for beginners.
- On the whole, it is still quite vulnerable to human negligence.
Cold: Hardware wallets
Hardware wallets are physical devices whose core purpose is to provide security for crypto coins. The primary feature is that these wallets have to share a connection with your device. Whether it be a computer, phone, or tablet, the wallet must connect to them before you can spend the coins.
Probably the most common type of hardware wallet is the USB style. The primary advocate of this particular form is the French company, Ledger. The main reasoning behind the growing popularity of hardware wallets is that they provide the storage and security capabilities of a cold wallet. At the same time, they make transactions both incredibly simple and clear-cut. In essence, it works around and nullifies the most prominent disadvantage of cold wallets.
The advantages and disadvantages of hardware wallets
The pros of hardware wallets are the following:
- It’s a cold wallet, so your private key will be in safe hands. The keys reside in an area of a microcontroller that’s under protection. Moreover, it is not transferable beyond the device.
- They have a sleek design and carrying them around is easy.
- Transactions are exceedingly simple. All you need to do is plug in the wallet and follow the instructions in order to conduct your transactions. The wallets’ UI interface has the benefit of being user-friendly.
- Their design and functionality are safe and secure.
- They have the capability of storing several addresses that you can send your funds to.
- The wallet has pin code protection. Should it happen to fall in the wrong hands, they will be unable to access your funds. The wallet will immediately shut down after entering the wrong pin code three times. If there is a shutdown, don’t worry. You will be able to recover your funds by way of following the details of restoration.
The cons of hardware wallets are the following:
- Not too long ago, there was a discovery by Ledger of a design flaw that made the wallet potentially defenseless. Fortunately, Ledger has since addressed the issue.
- They are technically physical objects. This essentially means that it is susceptible to damage and someone can easily steal them.
- They are not exactly flexible regarding cryptocurrency storage. Trezor has the capacity to store 10 kinds of coins, whereas Ledger stores roughly 23.
- You have to trust that the company building your hardware wallet is ethical. For that matter, you have to trust that they will not attempt to tamper with the wallet’s design. Overall, it asks for you to place trust in an environment that could be wholly trustless.
Ledger Nano S
Ledger is a company that has given the crypto-community arguably one of the easiest, sleekest, and most popular hardware wallets. They have the capability of saving all your data inside a single smartcard, thus protecting it from hackers. To use it, all you have to do is plug it into your laptop. You then connect it to one of these interfaces:
- The Ledger Wallet (you can download this from Chrome extension)
- Green Address
The amount of coins that this wallet supports is extensive. Such coins include Bitcoin, DASH, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, Zcash, NEO, and Litecoin, among many others.
If you’re looking for a wallet that is the best regarding security, Ledger Nano S is the one for you.
Based in Prague, Trezor is a company that makes one of the simplest to use hardware wallets ever. It is exceptionally easy to use and the design is incredibly sleek and light. Because of this, its impressive portability allows you to carry it anywhere with you. It is compatible with the systems of Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Using it is straightforward, with you simply plugging it in your laptop and connecting it with one of these interfaces:
- My Trezor
Cold: Paper wallets
To some, a paper wallet is a totally unsafe – perhaps out-of-date – method of cryptocurrency storage. To others, it is the safest way to store your cryptocurrency. The latter is an unpopular opinion, but to be fair, there is some merit to that argument.
The core idea of a paper wallet is about as straightforward as it can get. You set up a wallet offline while following certain instructions, Following this, you then print out both the private and public keys onto a piece of paper. Moreover, the printing of the keys will be in the form of a QR code. You can scan this code as a way to obtain full access to your funds.
When it comes down to it, the answer to the question “Do you need a paper wallet?” depends entirely on your intent. Furthermore, it depends on the consistency in which you use it.
No, you don’t need a paper wallet if you plan to use your funds in a frequent manner. Paper wallets will become a major pain if you use them in that way. For this specific case, it is for the best to get a hardware wallet.
However, if you plan on storing your funds for a long time, then you should use a paper wallet.
So, you want to go forward with making a paper wallet? Then you’re going to need the right interface. Walletgenerator provides you with an easy one to work on. Not only that, but they also give you the option of creating multiple paper wallets and support 197 different currencies. A handful of the major ones that they support are the following:
- Bitcoin Cash
As soon as you have made your wallet, you will receive a page with two QR codes. One has a label beside it that says “Share” and the other has one that says “Secret.” You can print out this page and store it in a safe place. Make sure that your printer is not connected to the Wi-Fi when you do so. This will guarantee an additional layer of security.
Do you want a paper wallet that supports Ethereum and Ethereum-based tokens? If so, MyEtherWallet is the best and most ideal option for you. According to their website:
“MyEtherWallet (our friends call us MEW) is a free, client-side interface helping you interact with the Ethereum blockchain. Our easy-to-use, open-source platform allows you to generate wallets, interact with smart contracts, and so much more.”
After you create the MyEtherWallet, you will – like with Walletgenerator – receive a page consisting of two QR codes. One has a label that says “Your address” and the other has one that says “Your private key.” Below the QR codes, these two labels each have their own alphanumeric code.
Again, like before, you can print this out and keep it somewhere safe. To reiterate, make sure that your printer has no Wi-Fi connection.
Cold storage wallet restoration
When all is said and done, there will come a time when you want to bring your cryptocurrency back out of cold storage. To do this, you will have to import the private key into an applicable online wallet. Pretty much any wallet that supports the import of private keys will work. On the whole, the procedure is simple and basically instinctive for a majority of wallets.
It’s important to note that the following steps correlate with utilizing the Bitcoin Unlimited wallet:
- Open the client and click on the “Help” option.
- Select the “Debug” window and then click on the “Console” tab.
- Type “importprivkey<private key>” in the field, but replace <private key> with your private key. After this, remove all quotation marks.
- Click “Enter.”
This process will effectively import all of the data from your paper wallet straight to your online desktop client. Be that as it may, remember that doing so means that your funds are now vulnerable to hot wallet dangers.
3 – Crypto to Crypto
We have covered an extensive amount of subjects pertaining to trading cryptocurrency. Fiat to crypto, wallets, storage, all of them are vital components of the main topic. Now, we will dive into what is essentially the meat of the process of trading cryptocurrency.
To elaborate, we will discuss where we can utilize our crypto in order to trade and purchase other cryptos.
To properly demonstrate this, we will have to create an account in another exchange. This exchange will be Binance, which enables crypto-to-crypto trading. A large number of exchanges that exist will only allow you to buy using Bitcoin and nothing else.
Binance is the top crypto-exchange in the world and that is why we are going to be using it as a reference. However, feel free to use any other exchange if that makes you more comfortable.
Signing up on Binance
The first thing you have to do is go to Binance.com and click on “Register.” Doing so will bring you to a page asking for your email and referral ID, and you will have to create a password. Next, you have to prove that you are human and doing so will require you to solve a puzzle. It is not overly complex – if at all – so there is no need to worry.
After you do this, an email will be sent to you. All you have to do is click on it and it will redirect you to Binance. It is at this point that you will have to go through the Safety Risk Notice. It will give you a list of precautions, including that you visit Binance.com to prevent phishing attacks and that you don’t make phone calls to anyone claiming to be a Binance Support Representative.
Following this, you will finally be redirected to your Binance dashboard.
Trading on Binance
Binance has the title of being one of the best crypto-exchanges in the world for good reason. Its interface has a simple structure is very easy to use. Not only that, but it also has its own local tokens. They go by the name BNB (Binance Coin). BNB gives you the ability to pay for the following at discounted rates:
- Trading commissions (fees that you have to pay in order to trade on the platform)
- Withdrawal fees
- Commission lists
By employing the use of BNB, you will get a 50% discount on the first year. This will gradually decline as time goes by.
Aside from Binance, there are a few other exchanges that you can check out. However, it would be a wise idea for you to do some research on them before you even consider registering.
General trading cryptocurrency tips
The fundamental rule in trading is “buy low, sell high.” It refers to a pattern of cryptocurrencies whose prices shift in between certain price points.
Whatever your capital size may be, you will be able to find a digital currency that matches your trading needs. Being up to date on digital currency news is crucial and it can help you choose a cryptocurrency that’s suitable.
There are two major factors you need to take into consideration before you start trading your cryptocurrency of choice. One is fundamental analysis and the other is technical analysis.
Technical analysis consists of similar research that is done with any and all other financial assets. Fundamental analysis takes into account the sensitivity of the cryptocurrency markets. Specifically, the fact that they can be subject to manipulation by industry leaders for their own advantage.
If you want more details about the difference between the two, read “A Guide to Technical Analysis: Differences between Fundamental Vs. Technical.”
Platforms where you can trade crypto
By now, you probably have a better understanding of trading cryptocurrency than you did when you started reading this article. With this knowledge, you are ready to spread your wings and look for places where you can trade crypto. Here is a list of some of these platforms.
- Coinbase: Coinbase, as you may recall, is one of the most recognizable and popular exchanges in the world. It is very suitable for beginners and it permits you to buy your crypto using USD.
- Binance: This exchange has been gone over at length, but it’s worth mentioning it again. Changpeng “CZ” Zhao leads this Malta-based crypto exchange. It provides up to 200 crypto trading pairs. At the risk of sounding repetitive, Binance is currently the most popular crypto exchange in the world.
- Bittrex: This exchange is based out of the US and has been operating since 2013. It is a platform that provides top of the line security. Moreover, it is a good platform to use if you want to start crypto-to-crypto trading.
- BitMEX: If you are a trader with solid experience, then this platform is for you. It is run by an array of professional algo-traders, developers, and economists. Furthermore, it is probably one of the most active exchanges you will find in the field.
- Bitfinex: Originating in 2012, the location of Bitfinex’s headquarters is in Hong Kong. It contains a wide variety of crypto and it also offers trading pairs in USD, EUR, and GBP.
- Blockgeeks: This platform provides a no-hassle space where you can purchase several types of crypto with just your credit card. These include Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, and Litecoin.
An additional helpful tool for traders is Coinmarketcap.com. It’s useful for those who want insight into the status and general well-being of various cryptocurrencies. The purpose of the website is to rank all the cryptocurrencies and does so by drawing from the market cap. This is indicative of what its overall value is.
The graph is made up of seven columns. From left to right, they are the name of the cryptocurrency, the market cap, the price, the volume within the last 24 hours, the circulating supply, the change within the last 24 hours, and the price graph within the past week. The column with the price graph gives you an indication of how that coin has been performing. This, above all else, perfectly encapsulates the benefit of this website as a trading tool.
Learning about trading cryptocurrency is a crucial part of the whole experience of working with crypto. It’s important to understand the process, whether it be the basics or every single facet. Hopefully, this guide will have provided you with the insight you need.