On cryptocurrency mining: As noted, one way to invest in cryptocurrency is via cryptocurrency mining. That is a valid way to start investing if say you love computer gaming and need a new rig and want to invest in small amounts of cryptocurrency while maybe making back some of the cost of the rig (and maybe even breaking even) but that is an entirely different subject. The average investor will want to trade USD for cryptocurrency on an exchange and avoid the complexities and investments of mining. In all cases, unless you already have a good rig with a great graphics card, you’ll need to put down USD upfront anyway.
Dollar cost averaging one’s purchases of Bitcoin reduces risk in sudden changes. This reduces the sting of or sudden pricing changes, reducing reliance on a single point of entry. By increasing your Bitcoin investment over time, you reduce the desire to buy or sell often. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the long run is that Bitcoin is here to stay (knock on wood). Stick to your gut, but don’t ignore others.
Backed by trusted investors and used by millions of customers globally, Coinbase is one of the most popular and well-known brokers and trading platforms in the world. The Coinbase platform makes it easy to securely buy, use, store and trade digital currency. Users can purchase bitcoins, Ether and now Litecoin from Coinbase through a digital wallet available on Android & iPhone or through trading with other users on the company’s Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) subsidiary. GDAX currently operates in the US, Europe, UK, Canada, Australia, and Singapore. GDAX does not currently charge any transfer fees for moving funds between your Coinbase account and GDAX account. For now, the selection of tradable currencies will, however, depend on the country you live in. Check out the Coinbase FAQ and GDAX FAQ
Coinbase/GDAX will want more personal information than you’ll feel comfortable giving them; there is no way around this. The more information you give them, ID, Bank account, credit card, etc., the higher your limit and the less restricted your account will be. Don’t let this scare you off from becoming a cryptocurrency investor. Every other exchange user went through this process; you have to also. Since you have to trust someone, Coinbase/GDAX is a good bet.
As was mentioned above, there are two ways to examine investment in Altcoins – vs Bitcoin and vs the US dollar. This is a common mistake amongst those who missed the Bitcoin train, and are looking to cash in on the other altcoins. Those investors have to examine the investment dollar-wise, since they exchange US dollars or out FIAT in order to buy crypto (instead of buying with the Bitcoins they already have).
There are some people who believe that Bitcoin is the only blockchain based protocol which has value and that all others will fail. These people are known as Bitcoin maximalists and their belief is based on economics, specifically Austrian economics, and that the technology which is great for Bitcoin is not useful for anything else. I am more open minded and believe that there are other applications of the technology which will create sustainable ecosystems but I could be proved wrong here. It is important to spend time doing your own research and building up your own view on where the technology may be used.
You might be familiar with traditional investment funds. These are pools of investor capital managed by a team of professional investors. These specialists use a range of strategies, including the ones we’ve talked about, to earn returns on all of the capital within the fund. Investors in the pool benefit from having access to the skills of the professional traders, while the traders benefit from having much more capital to trade with. It’s a win-win.
If you are doing any active trading, set stop losses. For any coins not in your medium or long-term holds, always set stop losses. This is important for several reasons — the most obvious is mitigating your losses. But more importantly, you force yourself to decide on a point of acceptable loss, and because you now have a reference point, you are able to measure your effectiveness to keep or adjust for future trades. Sometimes, during a market dip, altcoins can plummet, and stop losses can lead to profitability by automatically selling for fiat that you can use to re-enter at lower prices.