bitcoin
[Photo by Aleksi Räisä on Unsplash]

Earlier this year, Kings Of Leon released an NFT version of their latest album and held a special auction on OpenSea. Understanding non-fungible tokens (NFTs) might’ve been a challenge for their less-tech savvy fans, but trying to bid on an NFT album with cryptocurrency must’ve felt like a hit to the head. These music fans aren’t alone in struggling to understand the cryptoverse. 

We already provided a primer on NFTs here for those still wrapping their heads around fungibility, and should your favorite band be next in line to release a tokenized album priced in crypto, here’s a guide on how to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin or one of the other 1,000 cryptocurrencies currently available. 

Disclaimer: Cryptokid901 holds cryptocurrencies and crypto-related stocks referenced in the editorial below. 

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Types of crypto

Bitcoin (BTC) is the cryptocurrency that introduced the blockchain and started the digital dollar craze, and its market cap topped a trillion dollars for several weeks in 2021. Ethereum (ETH), which is the currency of choice for many NFT art platforms such as SuperRare and Foundation, is the second biggest, with a market cap that’s stayed above a quarter trillion for most of the year. These are popular coins that even grandma might’ve heard about, but below are four random currencies that highlight the depth and diversity of the 1,000+ options now available. 

RevoltTOKEN (RVLT): The publicly traded Alternet Systems (ALYI) is an electric vehicle (EV) company whose ReVolt Electric Motorcycle has its sights on the African market. The Dallas-based company introduced RevoltTOKEN, which reportedly can be used to buy its EVs in the future. 

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Dogecoin: This dog-faced meme coin started out as a joke in 2013, but thanks in part to comments by Tesla billionaire Elon Musk, Dogecoin continues to gain traction and value. 

$ASS: This female-founded coin stands for Australian Safe Shepherd and features a canine mascot, but sexual innuendo involving its abbreviation led to early media attention. Yes, we’re talking another dog meme coin, but $ASS gets props for female leadership in a largely male-domianted DeFi scene. 

$POWER: Terry Crews utilized coin creator Roll to mint his own social currency, $POWER, which the actor says he started as a way to build a more personal connection with his fans. 

Click here for a list of currencies and their current market cap. 

Set up a crypto wallet

Before you buy cryptocurrency, you need a crypto “wallet” in which to store it. A wallet (e.g., MetaMask, Exodus) is a digital storage app, website or device that holds your cryptocurrency and provides digital signatures for authorized transactions. Certain wallets might specialize in specific currencies, and users are given a private key (or extended password) to unlock their wallets in order to spend or trade.

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Wallets typically have different funding requirements, which can include crypto-only deposits, bank transfers converted into crypto and even crypto purchased with credit cards. Many NFT art platforms and currency exchange sites (see below) help you set up a wallet when you sign up. 

Most people use a “hot wallet” to store their crypto, but click here to learn about more secure (and expensive) “cold wallets” for offline storage. 

Crypto exchanges

Several online brokers now exist for buying and selling crypto. Coinbase, which offers access to several different currencies, is arguably the most famous after a monster NASDAQ debut in mid-April and seemingly bullish buys from Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest. (CNBC produced this step-by-step guide on how to trade crypto on Coinbase.)

Kraken and Binance might not be on a major stock exchange, but they are major crypto exchanges that compete with Coinbase. Likewise, Robinhood provides access to seven better-known digital currencies, while other notable exchanges include Webull, eToro, SoFi, TradeStation and Crypto. Traditional firms such as TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab seem to be dipping their toes in the crypto waters, so don’t be surprised if they take the plunge in the near future. 

The risks

A popular DeFi meme says I’m not betting on crypto. I’m betting against the dollar. Either way, it’s still a bet. 

For all the people who made money speculating on crypto, others lost money, especially in May when Bitcoin saw massive five-figure price swings. Trading for crypto involves tremendous risk, and this editorial only provides information, not recommendations. If you want to treat crypto as a financial investment, please speak with a financial adviser first. 

Read more: NFT artist Indivisibility shares a brief history of Bitcoin crypto

For many early O.G. adopters, crypto wasn’t an investment in personal gain—it was an investment in a decentralized economy. Many still hold this view today, and the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology suggests their investment in a DeFi future might be paying dividends. 

For more, follow along on Twitter @cryptokid901.