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 Binance which allow account creation from India or CEX.io which allow you to buy Bitcoin using a VISA or MasterCard.

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).

7) Sragy – Etherium, Etherium Classic, Ripple, Litecoin, Dash and IOTA (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!

 

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