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.

As well as buying crypto using fiat currency, a centralized exchange is somewhere you can store funds and exchange the likes of Bitcoin for other coins and tokens. Examples include Coinbase, Kraken and Binance. Although there is less risk that your funds will disappear if you forget a password or your private key, it’s important to go with reputable providers who have high security standards. That’s because there have been cases where millions of dollars have disappeared from these exchanges overnight through hacking.

On the other side of the coin, decentralized exchanges (DEX) remove the middleman – meaning trading is automated and peer to peer. They include IDEX, Waves, Bitshares, and OasisDEX. Unlike their centralized counterparts, there is more of an emphasis on privacy here, allowing you to take further steps to protect your identity. The “trustless environment” on these platforms is driven by smart contracts. Although you retain 100 percent control of your cash through your own personal wallet, losing your private keys could make your funds irretrievable.
On the contrary, bitcoin has been widely used for international payments and is way more efficient compared to traditional cross-border remittance. According to Mr. Smith, “They use Western Union, traditional banks; It is slow and it is expensive. And there are people that can stop you from sending that money, whether that’s good or bad. With bitcoin, I can send money. It’s fast. It’s cheap. And frankly, no one can stop me.“
Only invest what you can lose. During the recent crash in January 2018, hobby-investors got burned. Reports of frustration and losses came at the cost of broken monitors, smashed laptops, and heavy monetary losses. While the rules are in more particular order of importance, it’s safe to assume that this is the most important rule, the rule to rule the rules. As soon as your money is converted into cryptocurrency, consider it lost forever. There is absolutely no guarantee you can get it back. Losses don’t simply come from dips in the market; extraordinary factors such as hacks, bugs, and government regulation can mean you’ll never see any of your money again. If you are investing money you can’t afford to lose, you need to take a step back and re-evaluate your current financial situation, because what you’re about to do is an act of desperation. This includes: using credit cards, taking out mortgages, applying for loans, or selling everything and traveling the world (as glamorous as that sounds).
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