Here are some helpful things I have learned over the years in Cryptocurrency, and my personal opinions on some techniques that might be helpful to new people. Disclaimer, this is not financial advice. This is also focused on investing or "hodling" rather than trading, for day trading seek out technical analysis experts and try to learn a lot before you even start.
Investing “HODLING” vs Day Trading
I have done both, extensively, and found investing or “hodling” to be much easier and safer. Fact: Statistically about 80% of day traders lose money, and while insane crypto bull markets change those odds, truth is, in the long run, most traders actually lose money rather than make it. There are very few that are successful doing this over the long run, and they are the best of the best, or perhaps some are cheating and manipulating markets, regardless, the odds are against you trading unless you have some edge.
What Cryptocurrencies to start with?
You start with Bitcoin, that is pretty much required. Coinbase is the best option in the USA for new people, right now, as it is insured and works much like a centralized crypto bank that people are used to. Coinbase does have Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, and those are actually three of the currencies that are good to start with anyway. There is nothing wrong whatsoever with getting all three of these, but timing matters, and try to buy when the price is low and not when everyone is celebrating how much they just went up. Also, make sure to just trade on trusted exchanges, if you trade person to person you need an escrow or a reliable system, not recommended for people starting out at all.
How much should I invest?
That depends entirely on your situation. What myself and everyone else has been saying for years and years holds true, only invest what you are willing to lose. In fact, personally, I suggest a small amount and consider it already spent, lost, gone. Do not take out loans or risk making your situation worse as there are no guarantees whatsoever.
Beyond the cryptos already on Coinbase, how do you know if a project is any good to invest or “hodl?”
First off, check Github, if nobody has made any commits or pushed any code for several years the project generally is considered a dead project, a shitcoin, worthless, or hoping for some community takeover for devs that will likely never come. So I suggest first simply googling the project name, ticker, and “GitHub,” and then just check to see if they are working on something. Anyone can make promises, actually building it is a different story.
Next, do another Google search, or Bing, whatever you like, with the project name, ticker, and “Bitcointalk” - If there is no thread at all, most veterans consider it a scam. Some consider even moderated threads a scam, but that is debatable, regardless, if the thread is moderated understand negative comments could be deleted so I suggest much more research into projects with moderated threads. Assuming you have found the thread, READ IT, or at least skim through it some and read the first and last few pages. If there are only a couple pages that means there might not be much interest. If there are hundreds of pages, there is a lot of interest.
Ok, so let’s say you have checked Github, there are people there and the project is active, there is a Bitcointalk thread with lots of pages. Grats, you have now avoided the (roughly) 92% of dead projects on Coinmarketcap and you are now focused on the 8% that have a chance. Community takeovers of dead coins can happen of course, but those almost always fail and are mostly about the earlier investors escaping and leaving the mess with new suckers.
The more time you spend the more you will know, and of course, also check the Website, join their Discord, or Slack, Telegram, and find out more. (Note: If you join any Slack of popularity expect lots of scams and private messages that are scams, especially about Myetherwallet, those scams are in most slacks now. Many crypto projects have moved away from Slack because of this, but not all)
The very top market cap coins and tokens are more about stores of value than getting rich.
Yes, Bitcoin was amazing to buy at a few dollars, Ethereum was just over a dollar in the past, but that time is over. These projects could rise more and I consider them a bit safer in a very dangerous market, but I look at these more as nebulous stores of value as they have already gained massively popularity and market share. It takes massive amounts of new money to move the price up on these, and all those people are also considering cheaper options for more profit, so when people say some coin is going to beat Bitcoin, they are most likely just wrong or naive.
Never ever go all in, stay diversified
Every time I see some new person saying they are “going all in,” I cringe and think of all the times I have seen people say that, like with the Zetacoin, Bitconnect, and countless other scams in the past. There are rare occasions where that might work out, say Ethereum early on, but if it does not you can lose everything. Projects do get delisted, teams quit, buyers vanish. This happens, being diversified means even if you make a mistake, and you will, you are still not wiped out.
Do not store your cryptocurrencies on exchanges.
Now, if you have a very small amount you are willing to lose this does not matter, but if you are storing cryptos on an exchange, you are trusting them. They are not insured in almost all cases, they have disclaimers so they are not responsible for anything, and they can be hacked, they are often in far off countries and you have no legal protection at all. They can have internal theft, or even engage in fraud or could be shut down by their local governments. Short version, it is a risk, so if you are serious about this you will have to learn how to set up wallets, have a secure system, and literally be your own bank, as that is the entire point of cryptocurrencies.
Once you are past the phase of just using Coinbase (or something like it) to store crypto and use actual wallets, test them first.
In fact, you should test wallets before even buying a crypto, make sure the wallets work, it syncs up, there are active nodes. Some exchanges have cryptos on them you cannot even move as they are so outdated and dead. If you test the wallets first, and that means buy a few coins or fractions of them, send them to the wallet, then back to the exchange, if you can do that it should be safe to store in the wallets.
https://bitcoin.org/en/ (I suggest starting with Bitcoin for your first real wallet)
Always encrypt wallets, and use Linux if you are technically adept, OSX is the next best option as it is more secure than Windows, or at least it is targeted less, and if you must use Windows use Window 10 fully updated and make sure to modify the security settings first.
In conclusion, I suggest patience and just taking your time, be patient and learn. There is no rush, especially if we are in a bear or a flat market, use that time to research as it is likely bullishness will return, be ready for it and use the time now to get ready. Thanks, and good luck!