Here’s some advice before buying Bitcoin and investing in altcoins

In the previous post I wrote about the various cryptocurrency exchanges in India and how to buy Bitcoin using Koinex and BuyUcoin. But before you start buying, I figured I would share some advice based on all that I have learnt so far. This isn’t all my own discoveries but is based on everything I learned from listening to others and reading about the world of cryptocurrency trading.

Cryptocurrency trading is so new to India and for that matter, the rest of the world, so there are high risks involved. Although some sentences in this post may be relevant to India, most of it applies to crypto trading in general.

So my first piece of advice is:

1) Only invest amounts that you are willing to lose

There isn’t any regulation regarding cryptocurrencies in India (yet). RBI has only sent out advisories but have not said Bitcoin and altcoins (alternative coins) are illegal. Even if the Indian government says Bitcoin is illegal, then all they can do is declare that Bitcoin and altcoins cannot be used as a legal form of tender. That is, using Bitcoin to pay for stuff. The government can try to shut down Indian exchanges (like China did) but they cannot stop Indians from trading on international exchanges like Quoinex that allows account creating and linking of Indian bank accounts. It’s beyond our government’s control.

Many governments around the world are only now considering regulations for cryptocurrency. So we can never tell which way the legalities around cryptocurrencies will go. Japan has legalized Bitcoin so if they can do it, many other nations will follow in time.

Since there is growing mainstream attention given to popular cyrptocurrencies like Bitcoin, there are a lot of new players coming in to trade. Not all of them would have done their research. Most people only assume Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency in the market. When in reality there are over a thousand! An uninformed investor would just read headlines about how much Bitcoin is rising in value and simply buy based on prices and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Surges like when Bitcoin went from $8,000 to $11,000 in just a few days was followed by a sudden crash from $11,000 to $9,000 in one day. If a new buyer bought Bitcoin at a high but sees older investors selling Bitcoins to book some profits, that can lead to a price dip. But to an uninformed investor, seeing price drops of $11k to $9k can cause panic, which leads to even more selling and trying to get out before their losses get worse.

Cyrptocurrency trading is very new for many (myself included), and so prices right now are highly volatile. I have seen Etherium go from Rs 25000 the day I bought a fraction, rise to a peak of Rs. 38000 and then drop back to Rs. 29000 in just a matter of 3 weeks. It’s back up now but the point I’m trying to make is, don’t make huge bets and invest large sums of money on day one itself. Start small and then watch price movements daily, then make larger bets once you have gotten the hang of things.

2) Be patient — don’t let FOMO get to you

Fear of missing out is exactly what is driving so many to rush and buy Bitcoin. People often ask, is it too late to invest in cyrptoocurrencies? Well, yes and no. If you wanted to buy Bitcoin at dirt cheap prices, then you should bought thousands back in 2009 when Bitcoin was launched.

https://fortunedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/btc_value.png
If you bought a thousand Bitcoins between 2009 and 2012, you would be a multi-millionaire by now

Most people who bought Bitcoin back in the early years sold their holdings in 2013 when prices skyrocketed — and then Bitcoin prices crashed. And then a new bunch of investors came in and continued trading. But the early investors are still a tiny fraction of what the current investor base is and will be in 2018. They reaped the rewards of buying Bitcoin cheap. Now Bitcoin is well over $17,000 (as of this writing). It’s now expensive to buy one BTC. Of course, you can but tiny fractions like 0.001 BTC. Even if you buy Bitcoin now, the way it’s going, prices will continue to rise well into 2018. So you may make good gains, it just won’t as big as the ones who bought Bitcoin months or years before you did.

Which is why it’s important to diversify your cryptocurrency portfolio. There are many other coins out there that are newer and cheaper than Bitcoin. If you feel you missed the boat on Bitcoin, don’t worry — you aren’t the only one. Millions like us exist. Instead of spending huge sums of money buying a fraction of Bitcoin, you could make greater returns in the future if you invested that money in cheaper cryptocurrencies that show great future growth potential.

Even if you see prices going up right now, don’t worry too much. Price corrections happen often. Follow websites like coinmarketcap.com and see the charts by week, month or by year. You will see that every crypto coin in the market has seen rise and fall in prices every so often.

Lastly, be patient when it comes to gains as well. If you are expecting massive growth across all altcoins in a span of days just because Bitcoin saw unbelievable rallies these past few weeks, then you’re not going to see that. Some may take months or years to reach even a fraction of value Bitcoin currently has. But that’s doesn’t mean investing in them now isn’t going to pay off. You just have to be patient.

3) Do your own research

I cannot stress this piece of advice enough. Most people just see Bitcoin and the headlines about crazy price rises without understanding what Bitcoin is, what Blockchain is and why the heck are people making deal about cryptocurrencies.

As mentioned already, there are so many other cryptocoins you could be investing in besides Bitcoin. But it is important to understand what makes each crypto currency coin or token valuable. There are enough resources online on YouTube, articles and the even whitepapers on all the official websites of the various cyrptocurrencies to go through and understand what sets one coin apart from the other.

For starters, read this beginners guide on cyrptocurrencies. Then visit coinmarketcap.com to see all the cyrtopcurrencies currently available. See any altcoin you like? Then visit the coin’s website and see if you can understand what they are trying to do. Not every cryptocoin is the same. Some were created as means of digital currency, many are just tokens companies put out to raise funds for their project or business (like holding shares in their company). Some projects sound great but many are not-so-great and some are downright scams. Look up YouTube for videos on each coin to hear what people are saying about it.

This guy is my favourite YouTuber on cryptocurrencies: DataDash. He doesn’t push any coins. All he does is educate and inform people to do their own research. Others I watch are: David Hay, Boxmining and The Crypto Lark. Never stick to only the opinion of one YouTuber or one news source. Get as many viewpoints as possible.

There are some YouTubers who push certain coins but you realize they are only doing so because they hold huge reserves of the coin and are probably trying to manipulate prices by using their viewer base to get more people to buy the same coin.

Subscribe to cyrptocurrency news outlets for daily newsletters delivered to your email inbox. I like CoinTelegraph.com. Websites like CoinMarketCal.com give updates on every coin project backed by community submissions.

If you are on reddit, visit www.reddit.com/r/CryptoCurrency daily for news, updates, warnings, and humour from the world of cryptocurrencies. Each cryptocoin has their own sub-reddit. Like https://www.reddit.com/r/ArkEcosystem/ for Ark , https://www.reddit.com/r/NEO/ for NEO and so on. Whichever coin you invest in, I would advice you to follow that sub-reddit and follow the coin’s official social media pages so that you know about any new announcement — good or bad — which can affect prices.

It is important to do your own research because if you do, then you yourself become confident in the long-term value of a coin-backed project. This way you won’t panic even if prices dip sometimes. You will only see a dip as an opportunity to invest in a coin and not give up on the whole concept of digital currency.

4. Every cryptocoin and ICO is not genuine

Wherever there is an opportunity to make money, be it online or offline, there are scammers. It’s not new. So don’t be surprised to learn that there are disingenuous people using cryptocurrencies to make a quick buck and run away. There are cryptocoins that have been nothing but pump-and-dump schemes. There have been ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) where the promoters hype their coin, hold a chunk of it themselves, then see people buy in, trade and raise the value in a short span of time. The promoters then sell their share of the coins en masse, cash out and disappear. The remaining holders are then left with a coin of no value since there was no real project backing it for any future news or progress.

So beware of ‘scamcoins‘ and read this to find out how you can avoid falling for such potential scams.

5. Be prepared to sign up to various exchanges

You won’t find one single coin exchange that offers every cyrptocoin in the market. For example, in India, ZebPay and Unocoin only offer Bitcoin as of now. Koinex and BuyUcoin offers Bitcoin along with other altcoins. Even BuyUcoin which offers around 30 altcoins still does not have many others altcoins you maybe interested in buying. In time, all these service providers may offer more coins to trade but by then the value of those altcoins may have shot up.

So my advice is to register and complete the KYC process at all these exchanges now itself. This way your accounts are ready for trading as soon as a coin launches on those platforms. And in the exchanges you actively trade in, if you can afford it, load extra mounts of cash and keep it ready. You never know when a jump in prices may occur. If you have enough money in your wallet, then you can buy a coin immediately before prices rise up too much.

6. You will have buy some Bitcoin anyway

The one big problem with investing in altcoins is that it’s hard to find websites that offer them. So how does one go about acquiring them? Well, you could use services like Changelly, ShapeShift or exchanges like Binance. But since those websites don’t allow any form of bank account linking, you have to first buy Bitcoin, then transfer them to those websites and then use the transferred Bitcoin to buy the altcoin you want. Not the most efficient process when compared to buying them using cash/money loaded to your wallet at an exchange.

You will lose some BTC in transfer fees but alas, that’s the only way to acquire some altcoins before they, one day, make their appearance on Indian exchanges. But this isn’t limited to just India. The largest coin exchange in the world is US-based Coinbase but even they only offer Bitcoin, Etherium and Litecoin. So lot’s of American investors end up having to sign up at Kraken or Bittrex to buy some other altcoin. It’s a pain but it’s the way it is right now.

In fact it doesn’t end there. If you hold large sums of any coin, it’s always safer to take them out of your exchange wallets (due to cyberattacks) and transfer to a mobile wallet or desktop wallet. Problem is, again, there is no one wallet that supports all the coins. So you will end up installing multiple wallets for each coin. I predict it’s going to be a long while until we have a safe and secure way of unifying all our investment holdings.

7. Diversify your portfolio

As the saying goes, “Don’t Put All your Eggs in One Basket”. It’s particularly true when it comes to making financial investments. It’s good to invest some money in fixed deposits, insurance schemes, real estate, stock markets and such. This advice is particularly true even when it comes to investing in cryptocurrencies. Don’t invest all your money in one coin like Bitcoin. Spread it around and invest a little bit into a few good altcoins to start off with. This way, when one coin is down, the others are up and you lessen your overall losses. After you invest in a few coins, keep an eye on their daily price movements and project announcements. This should help you gauge which coins to buy more of as you get better at investing in cryptocurrencies.

Thus far nothing I have invested in has lost me any money but overall I’m seeing good gains because the gains are coming from coins I never thought I’d see perform so well (as of this writing, it’s Litecoin). But who knows, there may be a crash around the corner. But that won’t make me give up on cryptocurrencies.

I have read up and researched enough to know that a lot of cryptocurrencies are pretty cool and some coin projects are backed by technologies that show great future potential. If you learn a lot and not make investments purely based on prices, then you would be as confident investing in cryptocurrencies.

If after reading all this you are ready to invest, and if you are in India, here are the exchanges you may sign up for:

1) ZebPay (use referral code REF17052340 and get Rs. 100 worth of Bitcoin for your first buy or sell) – ZebPay is a mobile app only service. Claims to be the most downloaded Bitcoin trading & wallet app in India. They only sell Bitcoin (as of this writing).

2) Unocoin (referral link gets you a little Bitcoin when you sign up) – Web-based and mobile-app. Currently the second biggest bitcoin trading app in India. They only sell Bitcoin (as of this writing).

3) Coinome – Launched by the company Bill Desk, one of India’s largest payment gateway service providers. Coinome offer Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin (as of this writing).

4) Koinex (referral link) – Offers Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple and Etherium (as of this writing).

5) BuyUcoin (referral link) – Offers more than 20 altcoins besides Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple and Etherium (as of this writing).

6) CoinDelta – Offers Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Etherium, Omise Go and Qtum (as of this writing).

EDIT: Due to an overwhelming increase in a new sign-ups and things like IT inspections of coin exchanges, apparently some exchanges have temporarily halted new registrations. So if you are unable to sign up on one, try another exchange.

If you enjoyed reading this and found it useful, please like this post and share it on social media. Happy trading!

 

How to buy cryptocurrency coins like Bitcoin in India using Koinex and BuyUcoin

I’ve been trading in cryptocurrency coins for a few weeks now so I thought I’d write this initial guide for people figuring out how to buy Bitcoin in India. Mind you, Koinex and BuyUcoin are not the only platforms out there. If it’s only Bitcoin you want, more popular are services likes:

ZebPay (use referral code REF17052340 and get Rs. 100 worth of Bitcoin for your first buy or sell) – ZebPay is a mobile app only service. Claims to be the most downloaded Bitcoin trading & wallet app in India.

Unocoin (referral link gets you a little Bitcoin when you sign up) – Web-based and mobile-app. Currently the second biggest bitcoin trading app.

Coinome – Recently launched by the company Bill Desk, one of India’s largest payment gateway service providers. Their website and platform look pretty good and operates better than Unocoin in my opinion. Edit: Coinome now offers Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

Indian bitcoin altcoin websites
Expect more services offering buying & selling of crypto currencies

There are others like Coinsecure.in, Spragy, CoinDelta, Flitpay (app only) and Remitano, but I just don’t know how good they are. A lot of them are new and I expect more such websites and apps will launch in 2018 as the popularity of Bitcoin in the mainstream news grows. I preferred to do most of my trading in Koinex because aside from Bitcoin, they allow for buying of Etherium (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as well. BuyUcoin allows for many more altcoins (alternative coins — basically anything besides Bitcoin), see the full list here. It was important to me that I diversify my cryptocurrency investments since I’ve already missed the boat on Bitcoin. It’s just way too expensive to own any significant chunk now.

NOTE: Koinex and BuyUcoin do not have mobile apps. Be careful, there are fake apps under Koinex’s name on the Google Play store. Do not download them. Theft and hacking of coin exchanges is fairly common and hackers/thieves do it to steal Bitcoins & other coins of value.

No matter which trading platform you choose, do your research and check the Facebook pages and app store reviews for each service. See if people are complaining about anything and what the issues are. Also — and this very important — check the price at which Bitcoin is being sold on these platforms. Koinex is a peer-to-peer exchange so the prices being traded are based on what the users on Koinex are willing to buy or sell at. Check the buy and sell prices on ZebPay, Unocoin, BuyUcoin and the like. Those websites even have a huge price gap between buy and sell prices for Bitcoins.

Remitano bull sell price difference
See the price gap between the Buy and Sell rates on Remitano

Since Koinex is an exchange, you are buying and selling based on prices being quoted in the trades with other Koinex users. As supposed to ZebPay, Unocoin and BuyUcoin where you can simply state the quantity or value of Bitcoins you want to buy and get it.

Getting started with Koinex and BuyUcoin

First you need to register with these websites. Registration is entirely free on all of them. These websites make money from transaction fees. The registration process for all the above named websites includes a KYC (Know Your Customer) verification. This includes uploading a scanned or photo images of your Aadhaar card, PAN card and id proof (passport, license, etc.). The KYC verification took me a day or two on Koinex, Unocoin and BuyUcoin but as the popularity of Bitcoin grows, coin exchanges the world over have been dealing with a massive surge in users signing up and this has resulted in delayed processing of KYC. Once your profile has been verified, you then then need to enter your bank details as you can load your Koinex or BuyUcoin wallet with Indian rupees using a bank transfer. So it could take nearly a week after registration for you to begin trading on these cryptocurrency exchanges.

Okay, now about transferring money. I have to bring this up since I see a lot of people complaining on the FB pages of all the coin exchanges about delays in seeing the money they transferred to Koinex’s or BuyUcoin’s bank account (and other trading platforms too). The process works like this:

  1. You have to transfer money via online bank transfer to Koinex or BuyUcoin’s bank account via NEFT or IMPS. Koinex andBuyUcoin have mentioned their bank account details on their website. Likewise with the other coin trading platforms.
  2. After your make a bank transfer, you then need to create a ‘Deposit Request’ in Koinex or BuyUcoin and mention the reference number of the successful bank transfer transaction.

I’m going to use my experience with Citibank to explain this. When I made bank transfers from my Citibank account to Koinex’s Kotak Mahindra Bank account and BuyUcoin’s Central Bank of India, Citibank generated a reference number consisting of only number. I immediately created a deposit request on Koinex and BuyUcoin. When you create a deposit request, you have to enter the reference number. The reference number you get that is all numeric is not the reference number you have to enter in the deposit request on Koinex and BuyUcoin. After the transfer is successful, Citibank (or any other bank, if you opted for SMS updates), sends me an SMS like this:

02/12/2017 EFT TO UTR#CITIN17860374010- -IBLOCK TECHNOLOGIES PVT LTD -CA -36XX4XXX27 -CENTRAL BANK OF INDIA -GHAZIABAD -HAPUR Ref No :- 0811833818 10,000.00

CITIN17860374010 is the UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) number you have to enter. So my advice is NOT to create a deposit request immediately after you make the bank transfer. Wait until you get the SMS or email confirmation (you can check your online bank account for the confirmation too) once the transfer is successful. Then create the deposit request on Koinex, Uncoin, BuyUcoin and so on using the UTR number. That’s the correct reference number you need to enter in the deposit request along with the amount you transferred. Once the correct reference number has been added to the deposit request, the money should appear in your INR wallet shortly after.

Now you can begin trading.

How to buy Bitcoin on Koinex

After signing in, select Bitcoin from the drop down as seen in the screenshot below:

Select Bitcoin Koinex
To buy any of the coins Koinex offers to trade, you need to first select it from the drop down

In the TRADE section, enter the quantity of Bitcoin you wish to buy. You can put in any quantity you wish to buy and wait if someone is willing to sell the exact quantity you want for the price at which you are offering. Or you can simply put in a quantity that you see someone is selling for.

Enter price quantity Bitcoin Koinex
I only put Rs. 5 lakhs as a example. Nobody is going to sell their precious Bitcoin for Rs. 5 lakhs when the market rate has crossed Rs. 10 lakhs 🙂 For a quicker sale, you have to enter the lowest ask price. So that’s Rs. 10,410 you will be spending to buy 0.001 Bitcoins

You can still offer a lower rate than what is listed as the ‘Last Traded Price’. The trade request may still go through. It’s just that you may have to wait until someone offers to buy at that lower price or the overall trading price of Bitcoin falls.

Buy sell Koinex trade

By the way, Koinex will levy a small transaction fee and all taxes for the purchase or sale when placing a trade request.

Buying Ripple on Koinex
For example, if I were to buy 200 Ripple for Rs. 18 per Ripple, including their fee, I would have to pay Rs. 3609.

For list of Koinex’s fees, see this page.

How to buy Bitcoin on BuyUcoin

BuyUcoin is not a peer-to-peer exchange. Like ZebPay and Unocoin, you can straight up buy & sell how much ever Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency they offer. After signing in to your account and once your wallet has INR loaded, click the BUY SELL from the top bar. Bitcoin is shown as default.

Buyucoin buy Bitcoin
Select the coin you want to buy from the drop down

One downside with BuyUcoin is that they have set a minimum buy and sell amount. For now it says: ‘Min btc buy amount is 0.0015’.

Buyucoin how to buy Bitcoin
When buying, you have to quote the INR amount you wish to spend and it will show how much BTC that gets you. When selling BTC you own, you can enter the quantity of BTC you wish to sell.

If the buy goes through, you will see the amount you spent deducted from your wallet and the BTC you earned.

How to buy ARK Buyucoin India
The process is the same for other coins and tokens

One downside with BuyUcoin is that there is a huge gap between their Buy and Sell prices. It’s not the best website out there for cyptocurrencies but if you want to invest in altcoins, you don’t have much choice among the current Indian offerings. I feel BuyUcoin is buying altcoins from international exchanges and then re-selling them in India. Who knows, I could be wrong.

Regardless of which platform you use, be careful when spending money and buying or selling. Bitcoin prices are highly volatile right now and the price rises are often followed by a crash. So if you think you missed out on buying at a “low” price, don’t worry, I’ve seen prices fluctuate so much that I feel I shouldn’t feel bad on missing out. I’ve bought Ripple at Rs. 17 and Rs. 18 and then a few weeks later at Rs. 16. I bought my first Bitcoin at Rs. 5,80,000 (I only bought 0.01 then). Since then Bitcoin has been on a wild ride as you already know. Most cryptocurrency experts I follow predict a price correction but just don’t expect Bitcoin lose that much value anytime soon.

Before investing, I suggest reading this article: Here’s some advice before buying Bitcoin and altcoins.

If you found this post to be useful, please click Like and feel free to share this post on social media. You may also sign up to the various trading platforms I linked to using my referral links/codes.

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