Easy Step by Step Guide to Getting Started with Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies

The most important thing to remember when it comes to cryptocurrencies is that they give you full power and control of your money. However, with great power, comes great responsibility.

There is no helpdesk if you mess up.

So a good rule is to always start with very small transactions.

  • Send $2 worth of your coins from one wallet to a friend and have them send it back.
  • But $5 worth of BTC on an exchange to get familiar with the system and order entering.

Step 1 – Get a Wallet

The reason this is step one is that you have to order a wallet and it will take anywhere from a few days to a couple months (the companies can’t keep up with demand right now).

I recommend the Ledger Nano S. That’s the one I use and I like it because it’s easy to use and holds a few coins.

The absolute safest is to order from the Ledger site directly: Ledger Nano S Cryptocurrency hardware wallet.

The reason to order directly is that you don’t want to take any risk that your wallet has been tampered with – which might allow someone to steal your coins.

The only other source I would trust is Amazon, which has the advantage of getting the wallets quicker than from Ledger.

 Ledger Nano S

Step 2 – Get Started on An Exchange

Option One – Coinbase

Coinbase is where almost everyone starts. The main advantage is you can get set up quickly and they allow you to buy Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum with a credit card.

My personal invite page for my friends, where you can claim $10 of free Bitcoin!

Coinbase is the world’s most popular way to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

The main disadvantage is they make you start with very small amounts and building up to larger amounts can take weeks. The other disadvantage, for Canadians, is that it doesn’t allow funding via wire transfers, and it doesn’t allow withdrawals to Canadian dollars (or any other type of fiat money).

Option Two – QuadrigaCX

Especially for Canadians, is the exchange that I use. The advantages are:

  • Pricing of Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum in Canadian dollars
  • Easy ways to move funds into your account from your bank or Interact card
  • Easy to sell your coins to Canadian dollars and transfer back to your regular bank account. Once you’ve made your fortune, you may want to spend a bit of it 😉

Visit: QuadrigaCX and click the big red Register Now button to start the signup process.

You’ll need to validate your identity and go through several hoops to have access to all functionality. Step by step.

Once your account has been approved, the next step is to add funds. Beside the little Canadian flag, click the little orange downward facing arrow and select “Fund Account.”

This will take you a page that lists all the current funding options. You’ll need to decide which one suits your needs the best. I’d avoid the “voucher” option – it just seems like a crazy method. But the others are solid.

Notice the fees, as they can be quite high in some cases. Also, notice how long they take. With the price of Bitcoin going up rapidly sometimes, it may be worth a higher fee to get your funds in quicker.

Click the “Select” button next to your method and follow the instructions.

How to Buy Bitcoin on QuadrigaCX

Click the “Trade” tab and select the market (coin) with the little icon in the top right corner.

Note: QuadrigaCX uses “X?T” for Bitcoin.

buying bitcoin on Quadrigacx

Then all you have to do is enter the amount you want to buy and your price and click the green “BUY” button.

Remember my suggestion to start with a micro amount to make sure you get it right.

Setup your Hardware Wallet

Once you have some coins, we want to follow the crypto best practice of not storing coins on an exchange (exchanges are targets for hackers) and the whole point of cryptocurrencies is to control your own money – which we cannot do if we have to trust an exchange.

If you have to leave them on the exchange while you wait for your wallet to arrive, it will be okay. But no longer than necessary.

The following video shows clearly how to set up your Ledger Nano S

Move your Bitcoin to your Wallet

(Note: If you’ve bought something that isn’t Bitcoin or Ethereum, then you’ll have to verify that the Ledger can store them. Currently, it will store Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and many altcoins, but not all of them, so check to be sure before you send any other coins to this wallet.)

Now that your wallet is set up, let’s get your coins off of Coinbase or QuadrigaCX (or any other exchange where you bought them).

Go to the coin you have purchased and select “Withdraw”

move coins off of exchange and onto your walllet

Put in your amount. I recommend the minimum for your first attempt. If you make a mistake, you’ll likely not recover it, so this first one will be a test.

Enter your wallet address. IMPORTANT: each coin has a different wallet address. If you sent Bitcoin to an Ethereum or Litecoin address, you will likely lose your coins.

Double check everything. If possible, copy and paste the address, or use the barcode to avoid typos. Check it again and press send.

Confirm the Funds are In your Wallet

Verify that the funds arrived in your wallet. This can take some time, it can be anywhere from 2 minutes to 12 hours depending on the coin and the congestion on the network.

Some exchanges also take several hours to process a withdrawal, so don’t panic. If it’s more than 24 hours, you probably made mistake somewhere, you can open a support ticket with the exchange to get help figuring out the problem.

Congratulations, you’re now part of the crypto financial revolution.

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