In the summer of 2017, I decided to start investing in Crypto. Fast forward to now, and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Like everybody does I started from the ground up: I had no idea where to start and what to do next after each step. There was no all-in-one beginners learning guide in 2017, and I had to scrape together all the information I could, while stumbling on many trial and errors.
Fast forward to today, the same problem still exists. Yes everyone now knows there is this industry called "Crypto", but the information out there on YouTube and Google can be overwhelming and unorganized. People usually wanted to sell you some product or token. And even if the information isn't sponsored, it's usually super vague and only covers the most trending topics for the sake of getting views.
That's why I asked myself: If I were to start over again and learn Crypto Investing from scratch, how would I guide myself today?
With this goal in mind, I've put together the following step-by-step guide for a beginner to learn Crypto investing. The material are mainly curated from public resources on Google and YouTube. These material have all helped me in some part of my Crypto Investing career, and I want to share them with you in a Step-by-Step learning plan instead of reinventing the wheel.
Let's get started.
1: What is Bitcoin
The first thing you should learn in Crypto is to understand the fundamental properties of Bitcoin. 99Bitcoins has a super concise yet professional breakdown of the key benefits Bitcoin has over other currencies and assets. It's important to understand the concepts of decentralization, self-sovereignty (owning your money), and censorship resistance in order for you to truly get into the Crypto space.
2: How to buy your first Bitcoin
The next thing you should learn, is to take the easiest route to get yourself some Bitcoin. In my opinion, you should start with a easy to use Crypto app like Coinbase. MoneyZG has a super short tutorial that lets you buy your first Bitcoin in under 10 minutes.
Keep in mind that this is just for you to get your hands but it's not necessarily the best way to buy Crypto, so I would stick with a small amount like $100 to start. Also I recommend everyone to ALWAYS start with buying Bitcoin first as it's the most established coin and has the lowest risk.
3: How to use Cryptocurrency Wallets
Now that you have bought your first Crypto, it's time to learn how to keep it safe. We've all seen the crazy saga of FTX, so you need to understand that storing Cryptocurrency on any exchange app or website carries significant risk of losing your money.
When you store money on Coinbase, the company essentially has full control over your assets. Crypto exchanges are not like banks, they do not have the same levels of compliance and insurance requirements, and you should not store large amounts of funds on exchange for the long term.
This is why you should learn how to use Cryptocurrency Wallets next. They are the real way for a Crypto investor to protect their own money where nobody can take it away. Watch this tutorial from CryptoCasey that covers
- What is a Cryptocurrency Wallet
- How the public key and wallet address are like your bank account number
- How the private key and seed phrase are like your bank password and you should never give it away
- How to set up a simple crypto wallet on your phone
- How to transfer crypto from an exchange to your wallet
- Common safety precautions you need to know when using Cryptocurrency wallets
For beginners, I like to recommend using a Mobile wallet as a good middle ground between convenience and safety. My go-to picks are Trust Wallet and Coinbase Wallet. You already know how to use Coinbase Wallet from this tutorial, and setting up Trust Wallet has a very similar process.
4: How to use an Advanced Cryptocurrency Exchange like Binance
If you only wanted to buy Bitcoin and hold for the long term, you can stop here. However for the majority of Crypto Investors, they would like to get in the world of Altcoins and more advanced features.
The easiest way to start learning in by registering for an advanced crypto exchange like Binance. Binance is by far the biggest exchange in the world so it's always the first choice that I recommend.
In this tutorial by MoneyZG, you will learn about:
- How to deposit both Crypto and Fiat currency (dollars) to an exchange
- How to trade Crypto with more advanced features like market orders, limit orders, and stop-losses.
- How to read a basic candle chart to see the price history of any coin
These features are a must-know for all Crypto investors, even if you don't plan on doing any day-trading.
This is because:
- Advanced exchanges open up a much wider selection of coins for you
- Every crypto you encounter will have a price chart, and obviously you need to understand what the price history is as a baseline tool to see the investment potential
- Seeing a price chart moving live makes you appreciate that all Crypto coins are constantly moving up and down in price 24/7. And these prices always come from the buys and sells from exchanges which reflect on the charts. Just seeing a one-time price of Bitcoin on your Coinbase app is not an accurate representation of the real Crypto market. This will be highly useful when you go into the world of Altcoins.
- Understanding market orders, limit orders, and stop-losses is 100% required for all Crypto investors, as it allows you to execute trades based on your investment plan, instead of constantly checking the price every 5 minutes to see if you should buy or sell.
5: Learn to use the Earning products on Binance
The next step I would take is to learn about all the other earning products on Binance aside from trading. The main products are covered in this tutorial video by MoneyZG. Specifically, you should learn about:
- Low reward passive savings
- Staking BNB, ADA, DOT, ATOM, and other popular Cryptos
- Staking ETH in Ethereum 2.0, and how you can get a BETH token in exchange
- DeFi staking
- Liquid Swaps (providing liquidity on decentralized exchange)
These features are all popular investing products within the whole Crypto space. However the main difference is that these products are ran by Binance, so you get a all-in-one solution that is simple to use, and has the same security as the main Binance exchange.
Binance Earn may not have the best returns in comparison to the more advanced products that you can discover in the wider crypto space. However this is a good way to get familiar with these features first, so you know how they work and can find out which area you are more interested to explore in the future.
6: What is Ethereum and a Decentralized Application (dApp)?
Now that you have learned all the advanced features for a centralized exchange, it's time to really dive into the world of Crypto Investing, and that is with truly Decentralized Applications or dApps.
Decentralized Applications are pioneered by Ethereum, and by learning about dApps, you also learn the key differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum.
In short, Bitcoin is only good as a asset for you to trade, transact, and store. On the other hand, Ethereum can not only be used as a currency, but also functions like a world computer that is capable of running any application.
Sending and receiving $ETH is just one of those applications on the Ethereum network, but the true capability of Ethereum is limitless, as developers can program any type of application they want.
Watch this explainer video by Whiteboard Crypto about dApps and the 12 most common examples of them.
The main takeaway is to appreciate the power of dApps on Ethereum and other programmable blockchains. Also understand that all the investing products that we have seen so far on Coinbase and Binance, can be programmed into a decentralized application using Ethereum, which allows anyone in the world to use them without a central company controlling it.
7: Upgrading to a more secure and powerful wallet setup
Now that you are trying to get into the more advanced parts of Crypto Investing, you also need to upgrade your wallets. You might be wondering which Crypto wallet to choose. Here is my recommendation.
The setup I like to use consists of the following wallets:
- A mobile wallet for small transfer and on-the-go tasks. My go-to picks are Trust Wallet and Coinbase Wallet. You already know how to use Coinbase Wallet from the previous lesson, and setting up Trust Wallet has a very similar process.
- A MetaMask wallet for decentralized applications like DeFi, farming, and NFTs.
- A Ledger Nano X Hardware wallet to store large amounts of funds long term. Ledger also connects to MetaMask directly so you can still trade and use the coins on your ledger while keeping the same high security.
- A few paper backups and potentially a second Ledger hardware wallet to act as backup for the main ledger.
8: How to use MetaMask wallet and the most important security tips to know
The first step into the world of Ethereum and Decentralized applications, is to setup a MetaMask wallet.
I've made a full tutorial on this topic, check it out.
If you're new to this, only watching the first half for the setup tutorial is enough for now. In the second half, I go into more advanced usages like using the Decentralized Applcation Uniswap and security best practices. It's best for you to come back to this section later on.
9: How to set up a cold hardware wallet like Ledger and connect it to MetaMask
Next, I STRONGLY recommend for you to get a cold hardware wallet to pair with your MetaMask. The wallet I have been using for 5 years is the Ledger Nano X, and it's the one I recommend.
Although MetaMask is similar to a mobile wallet like Coinbase Wallet and Trust Wallet, the main difference is that MetaMask is much more powerful and lives directly in your browser. This means all the links you click on and websites you visit could potentially access your MetaMask wallet.
This is very different from the mobile wallets because you never really open the wallet apps unless you mean to send money. And by only including the beginner friendly features, mobile wallets are safer for a beginner than MetaMask.
BUT fear not, as you can make MetaMask much more secure by using a hardware wallet with it. This way, your MetaMask only acts as a portal to send coins and use Decentralized Applications, but your private key and funds are protected by the hardware wallet instead. So even if your browser or computer gets hacked, as long as you don't physically confirm the transactions on the ledger device, nobody can access your coins.
Watch this tutorial by Adam Venture for a full setup guide of Ledger Nano X.
The Crypto Rabbit hole
Now that you have all the basic skills and tools to invest in Crypto, you can choose to go into much more specialized areas within Crypto. In general, there are these categories:
- DeFi: Decentralized exchanges trading, farming, etc
- Altcoin Investing: Finding undervalued coins, finding new coins, etc
- Trading: Reading charts and determining each trade by potential risk vs reward, and setting entry, take profit, stop-loss targets, etc
- NFTs: Finding undervalued NFTs, finding new NFTs, etc
I will give you a first step into each category below:
Step into DeFi
10: How to use Uniswap
The first thing you should learn in the world of DeFi, is how to use the Uniswap Decentralized Exchange. Uniswap is a groundbreaking protocol that truly kickstarted the entire DeFi space.
On a centralized exchange like Binance, you have to work with Binance to get your token listed, and then someone has to constantly inject your token and the paired token like USDT onto the exchange, in order for everyone to be able to buy token from the exchange.
The main feature of Uniswap is it allows anyone to create a Crypto token and list it on the exchange to trade. There is no need for a central entity to approve it, and all the buying and selling activity can be handled by Liquidity Providers (LPs). Liquidity Providers and Traders have a win-win relationship, as traders directly pay trading fees to the liquidity providers instead of the exchange. This way, Uniswap truly runs as a decentralized exchange that sustains itself over the long run.
All DeFi applications today either integrate Uniswap or copy some of its features to make trading work.
Watch this tutorial video of MoneyZG
Step into Altcoin Investing
11: How to use CoinGecko
The first tool that you absolutely need to master is CoinGecko (or any similar tracker like CoinMarketCap).
These Altcoin Tracking sites include ALL of the available Altcoins in the market, and get updated everyday with the latest entries. They also rank each coin by their Market Cap, Trading Volume, Circulating Supply etc in order to give you a full picture of how popular the coin is.
Perhaps the most important part is that you can find all the exchanges that each Altcoin currently trades on. Binance and Coinbase are the largest exchanges in the world, and thus they cannot list every single Altcoin that may be too new or volatile for their users' best interest. Therefore just having one main exchange like Binance is not enough as most Altcoins have trade on other exchanges before making it onto the big platforms like Binance.
Fear not, as tracker sites like CoinGecko shows you all the exchanges that you can use to buy the coin you are interested in. It also ranks all exchanges by trust and trading activity, so you can get a sense of which exchanges are trustworthy.
You also don't need to fear about signing up to multiple exchanges, as they all have almost the identical user interface as Binance. All the features that you have learned before will be applicable. Don't be afraid to try new exchanges, it's highly common to for Crypto investors to have accounts on 5-10 exchanges.
Watch this tutorial for a complet guide on using CoinGecko
Step into Investing
12: Learn technical analysis and how to read charts
Regardless of whether you want to do day-trading, or only stick to long term investing, you should still know your way around a price chart.
This tutorial series by CryptoCred is how I first learned about charts and trading. Even if you don't plan to trade, I still highly recommend watching the first video about Candlestick Charts, and the second video about Risk Management.
The Candlestick Charts video is highly useful for all Crypto users, as you need to read a chart for every coin to understand what the current price is and at what price do you want to buy in. This is not only applicable on a short-term basis, but also extends to multiple months and years for a long term investor.
The risk management video is also equally useful and a must have tool. It gives you a detailed plan to control risk in not only trading but all crypto investing. You should always have a investing plan before taking on any position. The plan should be based on how volatile the asset is, what your expectations are for potential profit and the potential loss if your trade goes wrong.
Risk management is the NUMBER ONE skill which separates from a average speculator to a profitable investor.
Watch at least the first two videos of this tutorial series. If you want to try to get into real trading, you can continue to the rest of the series with more in-depth indicators and strategies.
Step into NFTs
13: How to use OpenSea to buy and sell NFTs
The last topic that I'd recommend every Crypto investor to learn, is the basics of NFTs. Regardless of whether you love or hate NFTs, you should still try to understand its technology and how the industry works.
We don't care about whether NFTs are just glorified jpegs or not, but as long as the technology powering NFTs is real, and there is interest for adoption and investment from the public, it is a sector that's worth paying attention to.
In this tutorial by MoneyZG, you will learn the basics of trading NFTs on the largest marketplace OpenSea. Try it out, buy and sell some NFTs that are worth $5 each, mint your own NFT to see the process. By the end of the tutorial, you will have enough knowledge to decide whether NFTs are for you or not.
Even if you never own another NFT again, the skills from trying it out can still benefit you in the other areas of Crypto investing, as you will ultimately stumble upon Crypto platforms that integrate NFTs or help solve problems in the NFT space.
That's it for this step-by-step guide to learn Crypto investing. If I were to teach myself about Crypto investing, these are the exact steps I would take to get an introduction to the space.
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