Crypto Corner

Crypto Currencies have often been viewed as either flash in the pan irrelevant diversions that either won’t last or are unworthy of consideration.

With Btitcoin approaching $60,000.00, major financial houses like JP Morgan recommending cryptocurrencies to their clients and credit card companies exploring cryptocurrency options maybe its time for precious metals investors to take a second look.

In fact cryptocurrencies can work very synergistically with precious metals. There are even some precious metal back cryptocurrencies.

So I want to introduce my visitors here at to the world of the cryptocurrencies. I count myself among cryptocurrency beginners and as I’m learning will share with you what I’m learning.

The world of cryptocurrency investing is quite different from investing in precious metals.

You have to learn how things in the crypto world or you and your money will be parted in a flash.

One of the things you need to realize about the  cryptocurrency is that it is built on a decentralized  structure. For many those are just words thrown about by cryptocurrency proponent and the investor may not fully realize their importance to them. For millions of investors who have for years complained about the Fed, the various alphabet regulatory agencies, bullion banks, FDIC as needless complications that slow the market down and pervert market forces may find themselves longing for some regulation once they enter the wild west of cryptocurrencies.

Once you put your money into a crypto currency it is totally your responsibility there is no one to complain to if things don’t go the way you want them to. There is no government oversite agency that will come to rescue you whether if was your fault or you unfortunately put you cryptocurrencies into an exchange that was hacked. There are many examples of exchanges going all the way back to Mt. Gox that either was hacked or there was some management malfeasance where individual crypto investors lost 238 million dollars. There is one manufacturer of security wallets to protect your investment that says there was 6 billion of investors money that was lost to hackers and disappeared into the digital ether.

Investing in physical silver was the method of investing I preferred. You buy a quantity of silver at a good price, store it in a vault like Brinks and wait for it to appreciate. 

Cryptocurrencies have historically been very volatile, sometimes varying several hundred  percent in a day. 

Most exchanges will tell you the only currency they will assure is their so called “stablecoin” which is a cryptocurrency pegged to the dollar and designed to have less volatility. Stablecoins are generally  used as the fiat currency “on ramp” to the cryptocurrency trading world.  Many exchanges have their own  stablecoin to provide this fiat currency on ramp. What you do, once you have set up an account with the cryptocurrency exchange you want is to deposit some US Dollars into your account. Once you do that you can start trading the value of the dollars you deposited into the cryptocurrency of your choice.

  I don’t want you to get the impression it is stable and has none.The exchange between your dollars and the stablecoin varies slightly throughout the day.

The second thing you need to realize in the crypto world almost everything comes with fees. You newed to find the safest way to invest that will both meet your needs and minimize fees.

For instance when I was first setting up methods of payment I wanted to minimize the danger to my funds. So I established a separate bank account with minimum funds and got a debt card for it since most crypto concerns don’t accept credit cards or 
Paypal. Why you ask? That goes back to the point I made earlier. You are on your own with a decentralized purchase that can’t be reversed. The exchange doesn’t want to be stuck with a payment you can reverse when your crypto dollar is already committed and no longer retrievable.

But the debit card idea didn’t work out because they wanted fifty cents in fees on a  $1o deposit. For larger amounts the same percentage in fees held.

I started with a debit card because I was committing a specific dollar amount of my funds.

My second attempt was using an ACH transfer. I was a little more nervous about that because I needed to  give the exchange more of my banking information.

Incredibly some of the exchanges wanted the username and password to my bank account. That would have allowed them to access all of my bank accounts in addition to the one with limited funds that I set up for my crypto exploration. I didn’t want that. As the bank manager said that would be like giving away the keys to all your accounts.

With study and exploration I found a crypto exchange that had a very good reputation, no hacks, stood behind their customers on the one hack that did occur and had low fees.

Fees are important once you get started because they can range from less than a percent to over 15 percent. That’s a sizable bite out of your investing dollar.

So now that I’ve laid out the groundwork and explained some of the rules of the crypto world in the next Crypto Corner post I’ll go into some specific recommendations.

One of my first would be a hardware wallet so you can protect your coins securely.

As experienced crypto investors say Not Your Keys – Not Your Coins.  So if all your coins are being held at the Crypto Exchange your coins are in danger. The best I’ve found is:

Trezor Model T

Two hardware experts set a challenge for themselves to hack into the two leading wallets Ledger and Trezor. They were able to hack the Ledger but even they came away saying they were impressed by the steps Trezor took to protect the users security. It took these two experts 3 months to hack the Trezor with as they said equipment, perseverence and skill.

There are  less expensive choices and I’ll cover those in the next post. Even those less expensive hardware wallets by Ledger and Trezor provide a high degree of security. They had to have physical access to the hardware wallets to accomplish their hack so that is why it is vitally important that you only by the hardware wallet directly from the manufacturer. There have been reports that some people purchased their wallets on Amazon. The package appeared still sealed with the manufacture’s holographic sticker. But actually a third party seller had hacked the device letting the nefarious theif lie un wait until the purchaser loaded the hardware wallet with his hard earned crypto currency and drained it of all funds in an instant.

Never buy your hardware wallet on ebay. One unsuthepecting victim lost $34, 000.00 and the chances of him getting it back are slim to nonexistant. What the third party seller had done was to insert his seed phrase in the setup process, waited until the purchaser loaded  it up with his cryptocurrency, then used the seed phrase to drain the wallet of all funds.

I am generally a very frugal person. The difference between the least expensive model from Ledger and Trezor is about $100 and with that much at stake I thought I should choose the most secure model that offers additional security.

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