How I Got Started in Cryptocurrency

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cryptocurrencyAbout eight months ago I took a weekend seminar class on trading options in the stock market.  I saw the potential, and overall, the class gave me hope that I could, one day, make enough money to pay off my student loans.  For years, that has been my goal.  I got a Master’s degree in 2012, so I have a mountain of student loan debt. 

As I’ve learned about options trading and practicing in the “paper money” market, I’ve seen a lot online about trading cryptocurrency and making money on those trades.  I’m already headlong into the theory and practice of options trading, so about two weeks ago I thought why not take a class on cryptocurrency and learn more about it.

Holy cow!

Going into my class on Udemy on cryptocurrency, the only knowledge I had of it was listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast where he interviewed someone named Nick Szabo.  I didn’t understand a lot about cryptocurrency, but I understood more of the technical details about the blockchain and being a Bitcoin miner.  I actually looked up what it would take for me to be a Bitcoin miner, but after a lot of research decided I did not want to do that.  Hmmm …. I might regret that decision a little bit right now. 

The Udemy class I took from Suppoman was called Cryptocurrency Investment Course 2017: Fund Your Retirement.  Catchy title and it hit home for me because I can’t retire until I pay off my student loans.  You see the nasty cycle here.  I have to tell you that this course rocked my world!  First, I realized that all the options trading education I had would really pay off in cryptocurrency.  While complex spreads like the Iron Condor are not doable in cryptocurrency trading, the basics of fundamental analysis of a coin, looking at the charts for a coin, knowing the news about a coin and putting it all into perspective with world events are a great big part of finding Altcoins to buy and sell.  Using those tools, I can decide to buy an Altcoin to hold for the long term or pump and dump for a profit (hopefully). 



The other fantastic thing about trading in cryptocurrency is that the barrier to entry is much, much smaller.  With options trading, you want a minimum of $5000 to start, and you have to pass an options trading test and hope that the platform gives you the go-ahead to trade options fully and not just do covered calls.  With cryptocurrency, the general idea is not to put in more money than you can afford to lose and go into it knowing it’s a volatile market, but you can start with a cryptocurrency wallet and $25 to buy some Bitcoin. 

Even before I finished my first cryptocurrency class with Suppoman, I signed up for a few wallets, and I signed up for an account on three maybe four exchanges so I could trade in cryptocurrency.  I was only going to sign up for one wallet and one exchange, but I got frustrated.  Here’s why. 

The most popular online wallet out there is called Coinbase.  They have an online site and a phone app.  There are a lot of wallets out there, but Coinbase is one of the few that lets you use US Dollars (or whatever your FIAT currency is) to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin.  Many of the other wallets out there are only places to store your Bitcoin, but if you don’t have any Bitcoin (like I didn’t), you don’t have any way to use dollars to get Bitcoin.  Coinbase does both.  BUT ….

And this is a huge BUT…

If you look at the Twitter feed for Coinbase Support, you’ll wonder how they are even in business.  Seriously!  The tweets they get would make me want to crawl under a rock and never come out.  And I was almost one of those Tweeters because I spent seven days trying to get my Coinbase account verified.  Most cryptocurrency exchanges and online wallets want you to verify your identity to use their service.  So you have to have a picture of the front and back of your state or government issued ID ready to go, and you have to prove you live at your address, AND you have to submit a webcam photo of yourself.

Here’s where I ran into trouble: I use a VPN at home.  Now Coinbase was having problems with the ID verification and had been for days, and if you look at their support website today, they might still have a notice posted that they are having trouble.  The maximum you can try to verify your ID is 24 times a day, and then you time out for 24 hours.  At first, as my web-based ID verification kept failing, I thought, “well, I’ll try to do it on the phone,” but that also failed.  I noticed though that I had the best results when I tried to do the ID verification on my phone when I wasn’t at home.  It didn’t fail right away; it took about two hours for it to fail.  I considered that progress. 

That’s what got me thinking that I needed to turn off the VPN on my home computer and try again.  BUT I also got to thinking that maybe it would help if my on-the-fly webcam photo for my ID verification included me AND my photo ID.  So I held up my photo ID, took the webcam photo and about 30 minutes later, my ID was verified, and I could use my bank account and my US Dollars to buy Bitcoin.  Woot!

And that’s where I’m at right now.  I have an account on a couple of cryptocurrency exchanges, namely Bittrex and Kraken, where I can use the Bitcoin I have to buy other cryptocurrencies.  With research tools like Coinigy, Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook groups on cryptocurrency I can research new, early coins and find out what coins people think are up-and-coming.  Then I can spend a little Bitcoin and buy some of those altcoins and see what happens. 

I love that I can do all this with a starting balance of $75 and I love the community.  I’m going to write another post on this in a few days after I make a few Altcoin purchases. 

I’ll let you know how it goes, in the meantime, if you’re struggling with Coinbase … don’t give up. 


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