Bitcoin is the catch-all buzzword when it comes to most people talking about digital assets, and perhaps it deserves to be. It was the first one out of the gate to make huge headway in a new asset class. However, just as a copy is a copy and Xerox is a company that makes copy machines, though many people say, “make a Xerox,” we need to separate Bitcoin from being the all-encompassing digital asset.
Entry into this era of digital assets is a matter of timing, and that timing is left to you, the individual investor. My style of investing prefers to wait until investment vehicles, security, and regulatory actions are in place or close to becoming in place. It is a game of wait and see, hopefully having intelligently deduced what the final result will be that satisfies my objective.
I have been watching the regulatory environment, filed any crypto holdings or trades I had with my tax returns (because the IRS requires it), and heard from my bank that they “do not typically release funds to Coinbase.” Though they do eventually release the funds.
The average investor that wants to get in the digital asset market before the possible onslaught of major banking firms open the doors can look inside the United States.
For starters, Coinbase (San Francisco, CA), Uphold (Headquartered in Charleston, SC), Evercoin (Silicon Valley), and Bittrex (Seattle, WA) are US based firms that provide different investment vehicles and options for the digital asset investor.
A major digital currency exchange that allows for the deposit of $USD (fiat) from your bank account to a USD account within the Coinbase platform, or directly purchase Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC). The platform has been in the news recently as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Wall Street have been gearing up for the digital asset revolution.
Uphold (Welcome to Uphold. The Internet of Money)
Feels more like a brick and mortar institution, in my opinion, for the digital currency space. To me, that is comforting. Here, you can buy and sell over 30 different assets that you can hold, exchange, or sell around the world. Currencies available for bank transfers include: US Dollar ($), Euro (€), British Pound (£), and Chinese Yuan (¥).
Uphold has also achieved the distinction of supplying a Cryptionary (like a dictionary) for users to facilitate an understanding of the language and buzzwords in the digital asset environment. This is an excellent tool and I suggest that you look at it to better familiarize yourself with the industry.
An exchange. Here, you can exchange currencies from one to another. For example, you want to exchange Litecoin from your Coinbase account to XRP that you hold in a digital or hard wallet, you can do it through Evercoin. Select the amount of one coin that you want to exchange for another and the application automatically sets the amount of the other coin you will receive. The exchange rate already includes all fees, so what you see is what you get. Very easy to use.
Has the look and feel of a professional trading platform and may be a bit scary for newcomers to the digital asset investment world. They are based in Seattle, WA and was founded by previous Microsoft security professionals. They host a massive number of cryptocurrencies with over 190 available.
Wallets: Hot and Cold
Hot wallets store your crypto on an internet enabled device. You also have the option of storing your assets directly on the exchange you are using, and should research the level of security, past breaches, and insurance coverage provided should a hack occur.
Cold wallets store your crypto offline. Currently, this is arguably the most secure way to store your digital assets. There are different manufactures of these devices and each device may NOT store the different digital assets that you are interested in purchasing. DO YOUR RESEARCH to learn which cold wallet will perform for your investment needs.
Think of it like this:
HOT WALLET= connected to the internet (MultiBit, Armory (desktop wallets) MyCelium, CoPay (mobile wallets)
COLD WALLET= NOT connected to the internet (Trezor, Keepkey, Ledger Nano S)
All of the examples above; the exchanges, platforms, apps, and wallets have different user features, fees and account set up requirements. Be prepared to offer your personal identifying information in order the financial and banking regulatory rules be adhered to. These verifications vary from a copy of your driver’s license, to possibly more if you are a big investor. Do your own research and understand the risks associated, the assets you are interested in, and other details such as purchase and withdraw limits.
This post is meant to wrap your head around entering the digital asset investing world. There are many questions and regulations that need to be ironed out, and time will establish the system. My point is this; I believe that the digital asset is here to stay and where it took Amazon 20 years to reach its share price, the digital asset world will move more quickly. Technology and the digital world has become not only comfortable and familiar, but necessary. This is the next extension of the digital evolution.
I am not a financial advisor and you should perform your own research, due diligence, and obey tax and regulatory laws.
NOTE: As the domain name of this site suggests, the content my blog posts are opinion and not investment advice of any kind. Do your own research before making any decisions to invest (or not to invest). I am not a financial advisor. I am simply sharing information I gather from across the web, news, and media outlets and drawing my own possible conclusions.
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