Where to begin…
Two weeks ago I didn't know much about crypto, but definitely knew about bitcoin. For myself it was a subject often pushed aside, but now it's time to understand the basics the very least. I did what everyone does, went to Google and wow, there is a tonne of spam around in regards to crypto. I had a little shop around for reputable sources at the start and ended up just going with Coinbase, they sucked me in with some good marketing.
I discovered the basics was to:
- get a secure wallet with a login,
- have the ability to buy bitcoin and convert to other coins,
- have the ability to cash out if I needed.
So let's get started :)
First Step Is Get A Wallet
To get started I had to verify a Coinbase wallet.
Coinbase holds specific currencies and not all alt coins. I ended up opening a few wallets that hold different currencies. This is probably good to not be holding all my eggs in one basket.
I like Coinbase because it allows me to change from one currency to another without any fees.
Earning Some Play Money
Coinbase has an Earn feature where you can make a few dollars to get you started on how a transaction process works.
Check out my article on Medium to learn how to earn free crypto on coinbase.
Once you’re comfortable you can deposit a small amount. Coinbase has a limit of $250 AUD per week.
During my research I read a lot about exchanges like Changelly, and to be honest, I’ve never used them. Most wallets allow you to change currencies directly in the wallet, with Coinbase taking a 0% fee for changing from one to another.
The only exchange I've used is Blocktrade to convert Eth into Steem to publish this article.
Security For Wallets
One thing I discovered all (most) places offer is setting up Google Authenticator. It’s a 2FA app where you’ll need to enter the 6 digit code you’re given to login to your wallets. This will keep everything fairly safe from random login attacks.
Monitoring Your Portfolio
Once I had some crypto in all different wallets, I wanted to monitor how much in total I have as the markets fluctuated. I discovered CoinMarketCap on Android. The website in general is really helpful to use but the app has a portfolio section where you can manually enter the amount of coins you have and it calculates all the values in your currency.
What Are All The Different Currencies?
Yeah good question. I found I had to read a lot of information about what currencies are for what purpose. I spent a lot of time in CoinMarketCap but reading what currencies are for, whether they’re minable and what wallets can hold that currency.
Crypto Coin Types:
- Payment Currencies
- Blockchain Economies
- Private Coins
- Utility Tokens
Payment Currencies are your common coins like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin. These are coins that are used for payments, like paying your bills and cashing out.
Blockchain Economies are platforms taking crypto to the next level and integrating it into Dapps. You can also create your own token and make your own cryptocurrency. Common blockchain economies you’ll hear about are Ethereum, EOS and Tron.
Private Coins scatter amounts in the blockchain so only the sender and receiver know the actual amount transferred. This keeps the transaction essentially private.
Utility Tokens are mainly used within platforms and are part of a blockchain economy. The most common utility token to date is BAT.
Stablecoins are coins pegged to a countries economy, this keep the price around the same price with minimal fluations. This allows traders to hold a value in their portfolio.
I Have Crypto, Now What?
After doing some research and buying some crypto, I realised how volatile the market is and how much money you can lose quite easily, so I decided to look into what else crypto is good for and how I can grow my portfolio.
Re-Invest Into Mining
This is not something that will be too profitable, in fact you might even lose money during this task.
Build A Rig with GPU’s
There are a lot of ways to start mining and the most common is to build a rig and start mining yourself. Mining Ethereum can still be profitable with 110% return if you have cheap electricity. You can build a mining rig fairly cheap.
Cloud Mining Contracts
Another way is cloud mining contracts, but be careful here there are a tonne of scams out there. I’ve listed some reputable cloud mining platforms below.
https://mining.bitcoin.com/: Contact based and contracts are currently available. You can calculate your profits on the website but beware the fees included in mining. Your contract earnings may go down over time as the pricing and competition levels escalate.
https://www.genesis-mining.com/: Contract based and contracts are mostly unavailable. These guys have mixed reviews on Reddit. They are a legitimate platform though but I don’t see how most of their contracts are profitable. They sometimes offer alt coin mining, and I would see the potential when mining and the alt coin gains value.
https://hashflare.io/: One of the most popular cloud mining platforms and always out of contracts. There are lots of youtube videos reviewing this platform.
If the community knows more that aren't scam platforms, I'd like to hear about them.
Get Into Trading
Looks like quite a lot of people like to grow their portfolio and generate a small side income with trading. This would be great if you’re in finance or working from home.
Trading is not really my thing, I’m not that into the finance industry, more interested into the development side of the blockchain and how that may take effect in how society functions as digital currencies grow.
The most popular trading platform I’ve seen with the lowest fees is Binance.
I am hoping the Steemit Community will chime in on this and post some good alternatives
When doing any kind of online trading I’d recommend only spending what can afford to lose. If you stay indoors for a month or two and just put the money in crypto when prices are down you’ll build up a nice little portfolio and can trade freely within Coinbase.
Disclaimer: Don’t take this as financial advice. Any serious financial advice should be consulted with a business consultant or accountant.
Creating A Cryptocurrency
So far I’ve covered a fair bit on what I’ve learned, but there is always more.
Surely there must be a way I can build my own utility token or create my own coin, there are so many of them around and would be a great little experiment to see how it works.
I always hear of people building their own tokens from the Ethereum blockchain. I learned that these are called Smart Contracts and can really be deployed by anyone.
What I’m going to be creating here is a ERC20 Token on the Ropsten Network which is a testing network and no real money is involved.
Smart Contracts can be deployed as they are, where you can distribute the token yourself to wallet holders. The next level up is to make your own ICO where you can put your token on the market and people can mine them.
Recently I built a website for my partner and this has given me the idea to build a “loyalty token” where people can create their own wallet on the Ropsten Network using Metamask and my partner can send “loyalty credits” to each client. Since it's on the testing network it's not real money.
Let’s get started...
Can I Create My Own Crypto Token?
Just for fun, I wanted to see how tokens work on the ethereum network and how I can create my own to test how it all works.
This is what I have done…
Download metamask.io and add the Chrome plugin. Android version also available. This is important as you’ll be creating the wallet for distributing tokens, and clients will need it to create a wallet for receiving loyalty tokens.
Official Plugin - https://metamask.io/
Android Early Access - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.metamask&hl=en
What Are Smart Contracts for ERC20?
A smart contract is really a chunk of code that creates your token and assigns an owner. There is a lot more to it than that when creating an ICO, but this is the bare bones of it and we’re just creating a token on the test network anyway.
How I Deployed PKFT on Ropsten Network
First thing I had to do was watch a youtube video to see someone else run through the process to speed things up a bit. Most of the videos I discovered were rubbish, and one was even being done by a kid… So below is the only video even worth watching about creating an ERC Token.
To breakdown what MrSotko CryptoCurrency is talking about on a top level:
- Create a MEW (MyEtherWallet) or you can use MetaMask. MrSokto is using MEW and I’ll be using MetaMask.
- Go to metamask.io and download the plugin for your browser.
Open the following pages in your browser to get ready.
- https://github.com/bitfwdcommunity/Issue-your-own-ERC20-token (Contract Code)
- https://remix.ethereum.org/ (Contract Compiler)
- https://faucet.metamask.io/ (Test Ether)
I used the sample contract above and modified it to create my own token on the Ropsten Test Network. I declared an owner and deployed the contract via MyEtherWallet.
During the remix process, make sure you compile pragma solidity ^0.4.24; with the same compiler version on commit selected from the compiler above. Don’t use nightly builds.
Once you’ve compiled the code, you should have no errors and just some warnings. If no warning then even better! This means our code would be fine to deploy into the ethereum network.
There are a few more steps involved, but watch the video on how to do this, they explain it really well or you can check out the article from the readme.file of the contract in github. https://medium.com/bitfwd/how-to-issue-your-own-token-on-ethereum-in-less-than-20-minutes-ac1f8f022793
Sending and receiving tokens are on the test network and hold no value.
Can I Make A Coin With Value?
You would follow the process above but you’ll be deploying the contract in the myether network and you’ll need to pay some ether. I haven't done it but I can see the potential.
I found this https://contracts.mywish.io/ platform where you can deploy a contract with ease on the Ethereum or EOS network, plus a few others.
But yes, you can deploy a smart contract and create an ICO to put your token on the market. There is a tonne of work involved where you will need to develop a whitepaper, get some lawyers and build an investment strategy. You would think of an ICO with a smart contract as a way to generate interest for investors.
What Can A Smart Contract Be Used For?
The can be used to run Decentralized Apps, commonly known as dapps.
As far as I am aware, this is still an area being developed so if you’re into trying to solve problems on the web, then you should become a developer!
In the meantime check out https://rekmarks.github.io/dapp-grapher/ and the tutorial below where to developer talks about his creation and at the ends admits there are some flaws and he’s still trying to work out bugs on the platform, however has uploaded it to github under an open source license.
Any Dapp sites I can use now?
Yes, I've found that using Coinbase Wallet you're able to view dapp sites trusted by others. There are a few games to play and even cryptokitties, a collection of virtual cats you can buy with ether. The website you're reading this article on is part of this dapp community with steemconnect, steemwallet and so on.
I’m Using Wordpress, Can I Do Anything?
Short answer, yes.
There is a small group of developers that are trying to make this happen, although it’s a bit buggy. I have played with this myself and it is fairly easy to set up, however, you can see it’s clear they’re trying to capture people on putting together contracts and setting everything up for you.
Check out https://ethereumico.io/ and play around with their plugins available.
If you want to allow people to create user accounts and login with metamask, check out https://gitlab.com/losnappas/ethpress on GitLab or download the plugin form the wordpress respiratory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ethpress/
Will Crypto Replace Real World Money?
In the two weeks I’ve buried myself into this subject I am no expert by any means. If you want just an outsiders view then I would say no, I don't think crypto will replace fiat currencies.
I see crypto currencies fitting into the following:
- Replacement of Joint Bank/Invest Accounts with MultiSig Wallets
- Replacement of “pre-paid credit cards” with VISA moving into BTC VISA Cards like BitPay
- Disposable income storage "pocket money" for kids with all schools adopting payments
- Everyday transactions (possibly replace EFT over time)
- Travelling Abroad (Easy identity verification and BTC payments international)
I would hope that in the near future we can be using fiat currencies only to pay bills, taking out loans and wages for tax. Everything else like your coffee in the morning to the sneaky cheeseburger in the afternoon can be done via crypto. All gaming can be done via crypto and hopefully soon all journalistic paywalls can be done via crypto. This would make my life a bit easier.
Obviously I'm not a finance person, more like an observer, but at the end of that entire journey I've ended up here on Steemit. This is my first article on Steemit Network so I'm not sure what to expect here.
Anyway that’s all I have for now.