First off, let's go over some basics.
Here's a quick summary of the Crypto Market:
According to Coin Market Cap (screenshot above), there are 810 cryptocurriences in the market as of this posting (up from 700 just a few months ago)
As of this posting, those cryptocurriences make up an $83 BILLION dollar cryptocurrency market (down from a high of over $120 BILLION in early June 2017)
About 70% (or $59 BILLION) of that market cap is held in Bitcoin ($38.9 BILLION) and Ethereum ($19.3 BILLION)
Most cryptocurrencies are based on a decentralized network that is founded on blockchain technology (a digital ledger that keeps track of every event and transaction)...a copy-cat of the Bitcoin model
Increasingly, new coins are being created on the Etheruem Network, so they are essentially piggy-backing off of a robust platform that is being leveraged and stressed.
Every new coin claims to be the latest and greatest technology, infrastructure, and savior to the world's biggest problems. Some are simply worthless...but get lots of funding anyways.
OK. Now that we have the fundamentals of cryptocurrencies down, here is all you need to know about trading:
According to this site (screenshot above) there are 45 active exchanges (not including "banks" like Coinbase or Coinbase's internal exchange GDAX) that are trading over 383,000 Bitcoin in a 24 hour period
Of those 45, there are only 29 that have any volume at all, and the top 10 account for over 350,000 Bitcoins of the total traded volume
There are 38 inactive exchanges that are either scams or no longer in operation
There are probably a lot more exchanges, because they seem to pop up as fast as alt coins, but you shouldn't mess with them.
Now that we have established what cryptocurriences are and how to trade them, here is what you really need to know before you invest your money.
Without question, the most popular (and credible) broker is Coinbase since it has been credited as first of it's kind. Other's have become more reputable, but Coinbase still takes the cake.
With all of that established, here is the simple guide to buying, selling and owning Cryptocurrency:
Identify the amount of money that you are comfortable losing through this invest. As the riskiest and most volatile asset out there, Cryptocurrency is not for the faint of heart.
Create an account with Coinbase
Buy whatever coin Coinbase is offering. I call this the "Rule of Coinbase". Currently, the only coins they offer are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
I don't think it matters how you allocate your investment. Obviously, you can't buy as much Bitcoin as you can Ethereum or Litecoin for the same amount of money. So if you are one who like to hold "a lot" for the amount of money you have, then buy Litecoin or Ethereum.
Sit on your investment for at least 3-5 years.
If you have made some money and are a little more comfortable with the idea of trading, open up an account at Poloniex or one of the other "Big 4" and dabble in trading. How and what you trade is a discussion for another article.
So there you have it. If you follow the Rule of Coinbase and you sit on your investments long term, then you are likely to profit.
If you waffle back and forth and think short term, then please donate your money to a food bank because it will be better spent there.
DISCLAIMER: This is not investing advice and there are never any guarantees with any type of investments, especially cryptocurrencies. Buy, trade, and HODL at your own risk.