HOW TO GET IN­VOLVED

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Science -

There are two ba­sic ways of get­ting in­volved in cryp­tocur­rency: as a means of pay­ing for stuff, and as an in­vest­ment. But how­ever you do it, you need to pro­ceed with care. Cryp­tocur­ren­cies ex­ist only elec­tron­i­cally, mak­ing them tar­gets for a global network of so­phis­ti­cated dig­i­tal scam­mers, thieves and hack­ers. And as the whole idea of cryp­tocur­rency is to of­fer an al­ter­na­tive to of­fi­cial money, if some­thing goes wrong you won’t be able to run to your bank for help. If you’re still un­de­terred, then here’s what to do…

GET A DIG­I­TAL WAL­LET

This is where you keep your cur­rency, al­low­ing you to send or re­ceive pay­ments from your com­puter or smart­phone.

Dig­i­tal wal­lets in­clude se­cu­rity fea­tures de­signed to keep your cur­rency safe.

One of the most pop­u­lar and well-re­garded wal­lets is op­er­ated by Blockchain.info in Lux­em­bourg.

AC­TI­VATE THE SE­CU­RITY MEA­SURES

Once you’ve reg­is­tered your wal­let, you’ll need to se­cure your ac­count to pre­vent the con­tents of your wal­let be­ing hi­jacked or blocked by hack­ers. To do this, you’ll need a unique Wal­let ID and ex­tremely strong ac­cess pass­words that have to be stored off­line. The two-step ver­i­fi­ca­tion in­volves your mo­bile phone, among other fea­tures.

CON­VERT YOUR CASH INTO CRYP­TOCUR­RENCY

This in­volves find­ing a so-called bro­ker. This is essen­tially a bureau de change, where in­stead of buy­ing hol­i­day money you’re buy­ing cryp­tocur­rency. There are many to choose from, and sites like Bit­tyBot pro­vide price com­par­isons. Mak­ing the right choice de­pends on many fac­tors and can be in­tim­i­dat­ing.

BUY STUFF, OR HOARD AND HOPE

A grow­ing num­ber of re­tail­ers now ac­cept cryp­tocur­rency as pay­ment, though the black mar­ket still of­fers the most op­por­tu­ni­ties. But in­creas­ingly peo­ple are view­ing cryp­tocur­rency like gold: some­thing to be bought and kept in the hope its value goes up. The huge swings in value can, how­ever, make in­vest­ing in cryp­tocur­rency a ter­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

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