So You Want To Get Into Cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin & Blockchain but Not Sure Where to Start? Try Here...
Over the past few years I have lost count how many times I’ve had to explain the words Bitcoin, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency to people.
It normally goes a little something like this….
Me: “Have you heard of Bitcoin?”
Other Person: “No.”
Me: Deep Sigh
3 hours later and I’m still talking and the person is looking at me normally with a confused look on their face.
The problem I have found is some people expect to sit down over a coffee (or a beer) and after 30 minutes walk away a Bitcoin Expert.
Sorry but it’s just not that simple. To get to where I am knowledge wise it has taken me years of learning, reading, working with different projects, taking part in community discussions, reading, attending meetups, reading, frequenting forums, chat rooms, asking questions, did I mention reading?
Blockchain is a complicated beast and it’s not something you are going to learn everything about overnight!
I have found a lot of people just want to know how they can make money and don’t care about learning the in’s and out’s. They just want to invest in some bitcoin or altcoin and sit on it until its worth load of money. If that’s you I suggest you read my other Quora post… Is there any service which would allow me to buy the top X cryptocurrencies in one click?
This is all well and good and I have made many of my friends quite a lot of money over the past year but I hate it when people just blindly invest! This is your money why risk it on what someone else has suggested when with a little bit of effort you can make your own informed decisions!
Its takes time and effort but those whiling to educate themselves and learn are able to make the most of all of the amazing opportunities offered by Blockchain and Cryptocurrency.
So anyway these are my tips for anyone new wanting to get involved in the world of Cryptocurrency.
LEARN THE LINGO - There’s no point trying to learn about blockchain if you don’t even know what some of the words mean! If you don’t know what each of the following words means or refers to put them in Google and start reading (you might have to put bitcoin in front of the word to get a relevant result)
Wallet (Paper, Hardware and Digital)
Address / Public Key
Transaction and Transaction ID
LEARN YOUR HISTORY - How can you expect to know where blockchain and crypto are heading without knowing it’s past? Learn where it all started, learn why it all started, learn about centralization (the thing blockchain is aiming to replace), learn about Satoshi Nakamoto (the illusive person/persons who invented Bitcoin), learn about the 10,000 bitcoin pizza!
LEARN WHAT A BLOCKCHAIN IS - Blockchain (also known as a Public Ledger) is the technology which is empowering this whole movement. Know your blockchain! Learn the basics of how a blockchain works. Also bear in mind there are different types of blockchain. Bitcoin was developed on the first type of blockchain but since then projects like Ethereum, Waves and Lisk (plus others) have developed their own blockchain technology based off the same principles but built differently with different features.
LEARN ABOUT ALTCOINS - So after Bitcoin took off people started to realize they could use Blockchain technology within their own projects and ideas. Hence the birth of Altcoins (Bitcoin Alternatives) at first they were just clones of Bitcoin made for storing and transacting value and didn’t do anything much more.
In recent years we have seen people take this technology to a whole new level using Blockchains is disrupt nearly every industry digital or not! We are now seeing the birth of the blockchain age with the development and release of completely new platforms, tools and systems which are more, secure, reliable, immutable, transparent, faster and cheaper then anything we’ve seen before!
A great website to see all of the different Altcoins is CoinMarketCap Learn what they are working on, their ideas and plans. Most project will have a whitepaper which should summarize the entire project.
There are companies out there building blockchain platforms for nearly every industry including;
Coffee (Yes coffee! See coffecoin)
The list goes on!…..
STUDY WHITEPAPERS - As I mentioned in my last point nearly all Altcoin projects will have a white paper. This is the greatest way to really get to know a project. If you are really interesting in knowing the project in-depth this is your best place to start.
JOIN THE COMMUNITIES - Crypto communities are full of trolls and people talking rubbish but they are also an absolute gold mine of up-to-the-minute information!
Bitcointalk Forum - I have been part of this forum since 2011 and over the years it has been my number 1 place for learning about crypto developments, new projects and general crypto discussions
Project Slack Channels - If you really want to get involved in a project join their slack channel. Here you really be able to live chat with other enthusiast and project team members. This is a place to get detailed information regards any question you might have
READ, READ and READ SOME MORE - Regularly check crypto news channels, Quora responses, blog posts, twitter, facebook and if you want to know anything GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND! Put it into Google and start reading! This is where you really become a winner and potentially and finally a blockchain expert! …taking the time to read and consume as much information as possible!
People ask me questions and expect me to explain stuff to them but I’m the one who has taken the time to understand it all, you just want a quick answer right?! A great example is with the recent Bitcoin Segwit Forking issues. Its a very complicated subject and has probably taken me upwards of 5 hours of reading countless articles, websites and documentation to really understand the topic and the implications (which I have started to write up into easier to read blog posts)
I hope this encourages you to put time into learning about Blockchains, Bitcoin and Crypto. Blockchain is going to completely change most industries over the next 5-10 years. It's crazy to see some of the ways people are starting to utilize the technology. We're still in such early days though! Who knows what it will be used for in 10 years time! It's like living in the 90's and trying to predict the launch of Facebook. We are still in the days of companies building the likes of Netscape, Napster and AOL when it comes to crypto.
If you have actually made the effort to read this entire blog post you are definitely on the right path to Blockchain Enlightenment and you are doing the right things. Keep going, keep reading and keep learning. Expect not to understand everything straight away and having to spend hours research particular topics but anytime invested into this area right now is time well spent! You will not regret it in a few years. If you now decide to move on, go back to posting rubbish on Facebook, spending your time watching Thug Life videos on Youtube and posting selfies to Intragram that’s your choice. But a choice a I guarantee you will regret soon enough.
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