Did I miss something?
We here in the Midwest are always late to the party. We don’t start wearing the new trends until they have already waned in popularity on the Coasts. When we ask our Big City friends, What is that app you’re using? They give us the stink eye and explain it in elementary language. Clearly telling us by their body language that we are out of touch with what’s going on in the world.
The Blockchain Revolution
Bitcoin has been around since 2009, when the illusive Satoshi Nakamoto invented it. Nobody knows who he (or “she,” or “they”) is. If the author of Harry Potter couldn’t remain anonymous for long, I seriously doubt Satoshi Nakamoto can keep his mask much longer.
Anyway, As a result of his invention, a burgeoning industry was formed practically overnight. First, only the really nerdy kids in their mom’s basements messed with Bitcoin and variations of it. But it didn’t take long for other, more mainstream early adapters to catch wind of what was going on. Around 2013, a few smart, brave people were diving headfirst into the land of cryptocurrency. By 2015, more people were catching on, and experimenting with other ways in which blockchain technology could be used.
By 2018, Bitcoin and altcoins are all the rage. All the smart online people are saying, “Did you see how cryptocurrencies shot up over 1000% in value in 2017?” I feel like they are saying to me, “you stupid Midwesterner, you had your head in the sand again.” Hands on my hips, I refuse to miss out this amazing new trend.
Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)
Confession. I hated skinny jeans when they first came out. As a true Midwesterner, I thought, surely this fad is too ugly to stick around. I was one of the last women to catch on to the trend. But now cryptocurrency is the new trend in town. And it’s a trend that is based on the mind blowing super awesome blockchain technology, it’s a trend that I don’t want to miss out on.
These are dangerous waters, however. It’s called Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). When this happens, people act irrationally and throw money at businesses or investments that may not be sound choices, because they don’t want to take the time to do their due diligence. After all, if you hassle with investigating the people behind the curtains or the business finances, that takes time. You may miss the boat if you take too much time making sure that it’s a sound decision.
Reigning In Impulsiveness
Another confession. I’m impulsive. But after getting a degree from the School of Hard Knocks, I now know better than to cross the FOMO line. I need to be prudent about my decisions when it comes to blockchain technology. My heart is telling me to throw a chunk of change at it, because maybe I’ll hit big.
Calm down, Christina. Don’t bet the farm on it. What is important to remember with trends like this, is that you shouldn’t gamble more than you’re willing to lose. Call me a Midwesterner, go ahead. But that’s my final say on the matter.
Invest Small While You Learn
My strategy is to invest what I’d be willing to lose, it the bubble bursts, and learn as much as I can about blockchain technology and crypto currencies.
I want to understand what cryptocurrency is. How you invest in it. How you exchange coins. What are tokens? What are ICOs? How do you store coins? What are the storage options? How do you keep your coins safe from cyber thieves? What pushback to expect from the institutions that will defend traditional currencies in a fight to the death.
The Learning Process
The only people I have found to give comprehensive answers are nerdy tech people who don’t speak Midwestern language. It’s like having to learn a whole new dialect of English. I am YouTubing, podcasting, blogging and Googling in order to uncover the answers to these questions.
I have learned quite a bit so far, but not from one sole source. I have had to piece many bits of information together.
Learning Hands-On By Investing
I made my first investment into cryptocurrency, which has been the best learning experience of all. Through that exercise, I learned two things. Investing in cryptocurrency is not developed enough yet for the masses to invest in because it is too cumbersome and confusing to figure out. Which leads me to believe that maybe I’m not too late to the party.
However, I also learned that demand for cryptocurrency has exploded in recent months, which means tons of people are coming to the party even though the directions to the party are incredibly unclear. I don’t know what that means for the financial future of cryptocurrencies. It sounds like this is why many of the smart online people are saying that cryptocurrency is a bubble that will soon pop. For us crypto lovers, hopefully, it will just mean a correction, not a complete pop, burst and dissolution.
In fact, there were so many people who must have had the same thought as me, “hey I don’t want to miss out on the cryptocurrency party, I need to jump on board!” So many people were thinking this way, that a huge amount of new registers flooded the cryptocurrency exchanges. The exchanges were beyond capacity and most of them temporary cut off any new registrants. This also leads me to believe that perhaps I am too late to the party.
I will give you my findings in plain English, for any fellow Midwesterners who are interested in how to get started in cryptocurrency.
- You need to purchase cryptocurrency on an exchange. There are many exchanges that offer different brands of cryptocurrencies. You will be limited to the exchanges that are legal in your country, and that are accepting new registrants. These two constraints led me to register on Coinbase.com for my first purchase.
- Many of the cryptocurrencies require that you purchase them with other major cryptocurrencies. For example, to purchase IOTA, you may not be able to purchase them with USD. You will first have to convert your USD to Bitcoin or Ether on a site like coinbase.com, and then go to an exchange like binance.com and purchase the IOTA with your Bitcoin or Ether. Confusing, right?
- The biggest weakness and potential for somebody to steal your cryptocurrency is on the exchanges. So you don’t want the money you purchase on the exchange, but rather transfer it to a “soft” or “hard” wallet. This is the tech nerdy dialect I was talking about.
- You store your cryptocurrency in a “wallet”. There are different types of wallets. Soft wallets are apps on your computer that will store the cryptocurrency. And there isn’t one soft wallet that will store all types of cryptocurrency. You may need several of them. Or a hard wallet is a little device that looks like a jumpdrive (USB port) that has a fancy encryption process that you go through to move your money from the exchange to the hard wallet.
- Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile. If you get worried about how the S&P500 fluctuates, I don’t recommend you try your luck with crypto currencies. It’s a totally different ballgame. At least not yet. Wait until the crypto market stabilizes.
- Regulations are changing rapidly. The government (not only in the US, but worldwide) does not really know how to handle cryptocurrencies. Are they securities? Should they be taxed? How should they be taxed? What about the exchanges? And ICOs?
- Beware: there are a lot of scams out there in the blockchain technology space. Especially with ICOs and other phishing techniques. This is not a reflection on blockchain technology. It doesn’t mean that blockchain technology is fraudulent. It’s simply a few naughty smart people who are taking advantage of those of us with FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) but who don’t do our due diligence. They scam people into believing they operate on authentic blockchain technology, when they actually do not. Blockchain technology is designed to prevent fraud from happening. But the naughty smart people are ruining it by cheating people in the name of blockchain.
We Are Not Late To The Party
Investing is cryptocurrency is exciting. Understanding blockchain technology is important to me because I believe it will disrupt many industries and transform the way we do business. However, it is in the toddler stage. A two-year-old who can communicate with its parents better than what a newborn baby can, but yet is still a ton of work to take care of.
Like most people who go down the Blockchain Rabbit Hole and become obsessed with it, we talk about blockchain or cryptocurrency with nearly everyone we meet. I would say that most people I talk to, are severely skeptical of it, or have never heard of it at all. This may be because of where I live, though.
Regardless of what their opinion on the matter is, my parting words are always something to the effect of: “watch out, the blockchain revolution is coming!” (whether you like it or not, muahhahah).
No, I Didn’t Drink the Kool Aid
I’m the type of girl who still has bootcut jeans in my closet, just because I can’t bear parting with them. I will feel the same way about traditional (fiat) currency and financial institutions. I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of completely abandoning the old way of life in order to embrace cryptocurrency wholeheartedly.
I believe the next 5-15 years will be a transition time of integrating blockchain technology into our traditional world of finances and record keeping. The applications are endless. I don’t think the traditional methods or institutions will be eliminated, at least not anytime soon.
But the day is coming! The Blockchain Revolution is here! And by golly, I’m not going to be late to this party.