Understand blockchain – You don’t need to understand the technical complexities, but a basic understanding will help you respond to news and announcements that may help you predict future price movements. It is essentially a continuously growing list of secure records (blocks). Cryptography secures the interactions and then stores them publicly. They serve as a public ledger, cutting out intermediaries such as banks.
EDIT: #10 Bonus (Suggested by @kerstenwirth ) — always check the ticker symbol. Ticker symbols are not universal, and may vary from exchange to exchange in rare cases. Those cases, though, can come back to bite you. For example, Bitcoin Cash trades on some exchanges as BCH, while it trades on others as BCC. BCC is also the ticker symbol for BitConnect, which was recently outted as a Ponzi Scheme. If you bought BCC under the impression was Bitcoin Cash, you would’ve lost a lot of money.
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).
If you’re new to cryptocurrency, you were probably sucked into this rabbit hole for one of three reasons: You heard about the hype regarding Bitcoin, Litecoin or another very popular coin and you wanted to be one of the first adopters of a potentially world-changing piece of technology. You saw the returns that people were getting from cryptocurrencies and heard…
Don’t zoom in too much on the price trends of the moment; don’t sweat the small things. It’s easy to zoom in and get stressed when Litecoin goes from $220 to $213 (or something like that). However, these little movements only matter if you are day trading large amounts of coin relative to your total investable funds. Zoom out a bit and look at trends over larger periods of time. Don’t think of that $213 relative only to $220, think of it relative to the $100 Litecoin was at a few months back, the $400 it was at after that, and the $100 it was at just a little while ago. From that perspective, a fluctuation between $220 and $213 is nearly insignificant. I will rarely make trades on timeframes shorter than 2hr candles, and I generally am looking at 6 hr and 1 day candles, because I value my sanity and am focused on the long term trajectory of crypto. That only changes in very specific instances and with purpose. If you zoom in too much, you lose sight of overarching trends (many of which are actually stronger indicators of what is actually happening).
On top of that, the cryptocurrency market travels at lightspeed compared to other markets. New coins enter the market on a daily basis (in 2016, there were about 550 different coins, today there are about 1,500), and each one has news every day. I’m not doubting your ability to consume and analyze news, but that level of information bombardment will always be more effectively consumed as a group. In these communities, you’ll see members link news and relevant articles about coins you’ve invested in and coins you’ve never heard of. The community will definitely expand your knowledge much faster than doing it all yourself.
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.