These are what allow us to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. There are a handful of popular crypto exchanges, some of them have advantages over others. For example, some exchanges don’t allow us to deposit and withdraw using fiat currency like the U.S. dollar and euro; others aren’t available in certain countries. In this guide we will focus on two very popular exchanges, GDAX and Poloniex. GDAX gives us the ability to use our fiat currency to buy Bitcoin. Poloniex does not, but does give us a wide array of altcoins to trade. There, we’ll be using major coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum to buy the altcoins, and vice versa. Other popular exchanges such as Kraken and Bittrex offer even more coins.
BTC remains the undisputed lynchpin of the whole crypto industry as its market cap comprises a staggering 43 percent of the whole digital currency market. Regulators around the globe have put BTC under increased scrutiny as official from the majority of nations are trying to devise strategies on how to regulate bitcoin along with other cryptocurrencies. Even though bitcoin has endured a rough 2018 so far, having plummeted over 60 percent since its December heights, it remains the most feasible option for crypto investors, according to Mr. Smith.
A beginner might prefer to trade cryptocurrency stocks on the stock market (GBTC is a trust that owns Bitcoin and sells shares of it; trading this avoids you having to trade cryptocurrency directly). The main Bitcoin stock here in 2018 is GBTC. Be aware that GBTC trades at a premium (meaning bitcoins are cheaper than buying shares of the GBTC trust), which isn’t ideal. Also, cryptocurrency trading is a 24-hour market, where the traditional stock market is not. Learn more about the GBTC Bitcoin Trust and the related pros and cons before you invest.
Payment Methods – What payment methods are available on the exchange? Credit & debit card? wire transfer? PayPal? If an exchange has limited payment options then it may not be convenient for you to use it. Remember that purchasing cryptocurrencies with a credit card will always require identity verification and come with a premium price as there is a higher risk of fraud and higher transaction and processing fees. Purchasing cryptocurrency via wire transfer will take significantly longer as it takes time for banks to process.
When you are choosing the crypto exchange, look at and compare cryptocurrency platform fees, among other things. Using some crypto exchanges you will pay a percentage of each deal, using other ones you will pay for income and outcome transactions. You need to pick what fits you more. For example, Bitfinex charges Maker 0.1% and Taker 0.2% in fees based on the volume. Kraken charges Maker 0.16% and Taker 0.26%. European BitBay charges both types at 0.43%. You can see and compare fees schedules here.
If somehow, you’ve only heard of one cryptocurrency, it’s probably Bitcoin. It is the biggest cryptocurrency — it currently has a 40%i share in the total cryptocurrency market cap! It is the oldest cryptocurrency and it still dominates in the market. So, if Bitcoin continues to increase like it did in 2017, then investing in Bitcoin might be a good idea for 2018.
How often will you buy or sell? Some people want to be day traders, but we’ve shown that holding could be the best bet. The general rule of thumb is that the longer of a time horizon you plan on holding for the less risk you incur. This rule carries over into the realm of cryptocurrency from stock investing. However, here may be times to simply cut and run. Declines due to unforeseen structural issues are an indicator to cut losses and sell out.
I think the simplest place to buy, sell, and store coins is Coinbase (and our tutorial below will help you get set up with that), but you can only buy, sell, and store Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash on Coinbase. If you are serious about trading cryptocurrency, you’ll need another exchange like Coinbase’s GDAX, Bittrex, Binance, or Kraken (and you’ll likely want to find a wallet to store your coins in). See a top 5 list of cryptocurrency exchanges and the Best Bitcoin Exchanges ranked (those above are my picks).
Remember, cryptocurrency is volatile! There is always the chance that the market will crash. Cryptocurrency isn’t a centrally controlled and regulated fiat currency. Even though blockchain is connected with a feeling of security for most people, a 2-factor authentication is used, if you lose a coin or someone cheats you, there is still nothing you can do about it.
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Another very common mistake beginners make is spending all their trading money in one go. If you find a good entry, you should buy in with a percentage of your funds (50% - 60%) and hold the rest to see whether your entry works. This way, even if a coin drops following your purchase, you can average it down by buying more at the dip. Similarly, if the uptrend continues, you can always buy more, and even though this approach reduces your profit margins, it secures your position and prevents you from being all-in on a trade that goes south.
Never put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify. While the potential to earn more is increased with the amount of money you invest into a coin, the potential to lose more is also magnified. Another way to think about it is to look at the cryptocurrency market as a whole; if you believe that this is just the beginning, then more than likely the entire market cap of cryptocurrencies will increase. What are the chances that this market cap increase will be entirely driven by one coin vs. being driven by many coins? The best way to safely capture the overall growth of cryptocurrency is to diversify and reap the benefits of growth from multiple coins. Also, fun fact — Between January 2016 and January 2018, Corgicoin has increased by 60,000x, and Verge has increased by 13,000x. During the same period, Bitcoin has increased by 34x. While you would have gotten impressive gains from Bitcoin, expanding into other coins could have landed you potentially larger ones.