I began a journey this path month into the strange and confusing world of cryptocurrency. I am a disabled Army veteran and I survive on my once a month check to get me by. I am getting tired of being completely broke by the end of every month, so I made a hard choice this last month to branch out into an unknown world. Unknown to me at least.
I invested in a few platforms that had worked for me in the past, but then I started watching some new trends about this stuff called cryptocurrency. Of course, the first type of currency I began researching is the ever-popular Bitcoin. At this point I am pretty sure even most small investors have heard of this crypto. Now, before I actually decided to invest any real money into crypto, I needed to do my due diligence and educate myself, so that I had at least a moderate understanding of what it was and the risks involved.
As I delved into this new world of digital "investments," the only thought I had was bordering on regret. I regret that I had not seen or wanted to see this opportunity a lot sooner in my life. I wish I had bought into this world ten years ago when the popularity was still very low. I am getting ahead of myself though.
The most basic way to explain what a crypto is, is a digital currency that resides within a bank without borders. Instead of private, public, federal banks, or credit unions, these currencies on bought/sold/traded within a blockchain of accounts. This blockchain is a public ledger that allows any account holder to monitor, as well as approve or disapprove transfers. When I first read about the public ledger, it caught me off guard. My natural reaction was that I did not want anyone to see my transactions or anything close, however, the way they see the transactions are not by person, but simply by account number.
The first step to this journey is create a wallet, which is simply a private place to store your digital currency. There are paper version of these wallets that you can print from your computer and store. Those paper ones are a little more advanced, but the account numbers are viewed and scanned via the QR code. After you create a new wallet, there are two addresses you need to be aware of and what to do with them. The one address is the public one, and this is the one you do not have to keep secret. Currency can only be sent to that account and not withdrawn, so there is no security risk there. Now the second address is quite the opposite. Your private key, as it is known, is one that you never want to display anywhere online. It is what you need to withdraw any currency from your private wallet to send through your public one. Both of these keys are comprised of a string of characters ranging from numbers to letters and some special, but they are randomly generated and are always unique.
Now that you have your account set up, it is time to find it. You could simply exchange your type of currency for the tokens or crypto, or you can go a slower route and do what is called mining.
Mining is where these currencies are generated. Instead of physically mining like you would have done during the gold rush era, you use your personal computer or a special "mining rig" to run a program. This program mines the coins at a certain hash rate. The hash is basically the smallest part of the type of currency you are mining and over time you will mine a complete coin or many parts of one. Some of these rigs are not cheap to set up, but there is a belief that it is the most efficient way to obtain these currencies. The whole goal of mining is to mine more coin than you will spend in the increase in your power bill every month or week.
Now once you are ready to purchase some crypto or trade is where the blockchain becomes vital. As you purchase X-number of crypto, the transaction is viewed by the entire blockchain and becomes a part of the public ledger. It must then go into a pending status to be voted on by a majority vote from the others that view the ledger. That sounds like a long process, but at this point it is almost instantaneous. This provides the security of using the system against itself. Once your trade is approved, you are now off and running.
I currently do not have a ton of money invested, as I am still getting my feet wet and weighing what options are the best for me personally.
Please keep in mind that I am simply attempting to create content based on my personal experience. My hope is to simply inspire anyone to better their lives and financial status. I do have some formal training and education in the finance world, but it is no where near expert or professional levels.
Thank you for reading; send me a message with questions or criticisms you may have. If this article becomes widely read, I will continue to write about this journey.
Live every moment like it was on purpose.