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With cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in the recent news, a naive fascination has developed in many of us. Seeking a little more information, we may wade through a few technically wordy YouTube videos, or click on a link promising us riches by investing in an ICO or a lending platform. We hear about those who got into Bitcoin several years ago who are now wealthy, and a pang of envy resonates. We get news of hacked exchanges with the culprits running away with personal information or millions in crypto. Subsequently, more often than not, we shrug our shoulders over the potential risk and required technical know-how needed and move on from participating. Besides, it all might disappear in the blink of an eye.

In a nutshell, cryptocurrency is not a get-rich-quick scheme. The thousands of coins that make up the cryptocurrency community are developed and maintained by people, and people are flawed. That doesn't mean there aren't dedicated, selfless individuals behind their coin who are out for the betterment of society. There are. It's simply that one must be aware of the basic instincts of human nature, and avoid, or at least minimize the risks with how that behavior may play out.

Enough with the warnings.

There's another side to cryptocurrencies that can be a fun and enlightening endeavor. Casually collecting fractions of some of the "coins" into an offline "wallet" is an interesting way to learn about and participate in the rising and falling market, without risking critical savings. What lies ahead is some general information, rather than an instructive step-by-step process to test the waters.

What you need to get started:

1. Research resources, such as,, and others
  Knowledge is the best defense against the unknown. Spend some time learning about some of the top cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ripple.
2. A wallet, preferably an offline type
  You'll need to set up an online wallet to buy and sell on an exchange, such as at,,, or others. Once you've purchased crypto, you may want to transfer it to an offline wallet, such as, which you'd set up on your computer.
3. Tieing a bank account to your wallet for purchasing and selling cryptocurrency
  Setting up your bank account for purchasing on an exchange is necessary, for the most part, in order to easily purchase crypto as well as transferring your cash back to your account once you sell your crypto. You may want to set up a seperate savings account to transfer to and from, if you feel concerned about unathorized access. Only play with money that you're willing to lose, as cryptocurrencies are volatile.
4. Deposit funds, buy crytocurrency, transfer to offline wallet
  Some currencies may need to be purchased with Bitcoin or Ethereum, so these two cryptocurrencies should be a priority before moving funds into any of the others. Transferring crypto into an offline wallet protects you from hacking attacks on exchanges.
5. Be aware of your government laws and tax consequences regarding cryptocurrency
  Some governments have strict laws against purchasing cryptocurrencies, so to avoid possible expensive headaches, study up. Also, the IRS in the U.S. is keeping a sharp eye open for crypto-generated wealth. If things take off, consider 30% of your income to be a benevolent gift to your government through the Internal Revenue Service.
6. Hold, monitor and enjoy the ride
  Monitoring your crypto on, for example an Exodus wallet can be exciting to watch. Avoid emotional reaction. Remember, the successful investors buy low and sell high...the rest of us do the opposite.
7. Keep careful track of your user names, passwords, and access phrases.
  Do not take photos of password screenshots, send the data in email, copy them to the icloud, or put the information in a safety deposit box. It's still risky. You should handwrite the information into two booklets, placing each in a different safe place.
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