Nicholas A. Beaird

General Manager at Westwind Air Service

Cryptocurrencies for beginners: Part 1

Photo by Freddie Collins on Unsplash

Smart Resources for your Crypto journey — The Foundation

In summary, this series is going to be tailored around the basics of cryptocurrency. Where to start and where to go from there. I will guide you to the what, how, where, when, and why. The intended audience I am writing to are individuals who have yet to step into the cryptocurrency space and wish to do so but haven’t because of uncertainty or fear, or individuals who have recently done so and am still unsure who to trust and where to go for information. My goal is to point you in the direction that I only wish someone had pointed me in last year. This is not going to be a series on where you should invest your money or if you follow this you will become rich. I am writing this because I see a lot of naive newcomers making mistakes simply out of haste and also looking back I wish I would have jumped into it differently so that I could have saved time, energy, and money. Without any further ado, let us begin.

I believe it is imperative, to begin with learning the history and fundamentals of Blockchain, Bitcoin, and Ethereum. We begin doing this in three ways: through reading literature, taking online courses and videos, and lastly following established leaders and current news. First things first I want to share some reading material that will benefit you as much as it did me. It may be your first instinct to hit YouTube, cut to the chase, watch some popular, or non-popular, individual tell you everything you need to know in a 30-second definitive video but pump the breaks. This isn’t a game or a trendy menial fad, This is groundbreaking technology and if you haven’t explored your motives for why you are entering this space in the first place now might be a good time. Be patient and take the time to truly understand Blockchain, Bitcoin, Ethereum and smart contracts and how these innovations will change society as we know it. I promise later on you will thank me for this. Besides, would you go out and invest in the stock market without knowing anything about the stocks, the market, the history, and that companies plans for the future? Would you invest money into a startup without knowing the team behind it, what problems they are trying to solve, or how their product is going to add value to its adopters? The answer is no, or at least it should be, so don’t jump into cryptocurrency without, at a bare minimum, grasping the technology behind it, how it will impact us, and what the intention is for the future. Let’s start with some basic reading material.

Literature

Bitcoin — The Ultimate Guide to the World of Bitcoin by Ikuya Takashima a must read for begginners. Ikuya starts with a historical lens on the birth of bitcoin and moves into all of the foundational building blocks of Bitcoin, Blockchain, Mining, Decentralization, Peer-To-Peer ideology, Proof-of-work (PoW), and many other must know terminology and processes. This book will also provide some brief explanations on alt-coins with a few examples, how to acquire and where to store digital currencies, and finishes with the risk and advice on investing in digital currencies.

Ethereum — The Definitive Guide to Investing in Ethereum & Blockchain Cryptocurrency by Artemis Caro is another fantastic option and personally my favorite. Artemis starts with a historical perspective on Ethereum as well just as Ikuya did with Bitcoin. He spends a good amount of time explaining Blockchain Technology and the differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum and a magnificent job he does. From analogies to the actually writing Artemis breaks down a technical subject and teaches it in a simple, straightforward manner. He continues with the dissection of Ether, smart contracts, Proof-of-Work vs. Proof-of-Stake, dApps built on Ethereum, Solidity, and the future of Ethereum. Highly recommend this book for your shelf.

Cryptocurrency: Blockchain, Bitcoin & Ethereum: The Definitive Guide to Investing in the Cryptocurrency Revolution (The Future of Money) by Artemis Caro. After reading his book on Ethereum I came across this trilogy and decided to order it as well via Kindle. Artemis, as mentioned above, does an incredible job breaking down complicated subjects and so I jumped back into his writings on all of these subjects and enjoyed them thoroughly.

By now you will have read some of the same subjects repeatedly in different contexts and this will help you moving forward. Two books on my shelf that I haven’t had the time to read yet that were personally recommended to me are The Age of Cryptocurrency — How Bitcoin and Digital Currency are challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna and Micheal Casey and Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper. I am sure there are multitudes of other great literature on the subject and I encourage you to explore those options as well. If you already have and you want to recommend them, please leave a comment about them down below. Next, we’ll discuss some of the lessons that I cannot recommend enough.

Online Courses

George Levy is someone you should know, for the reason pertaining to the course shown above but also to follow along in your journey. He is the Chief Learning Office at Blockchain Institute of Technology (BIT), and a certified instructor on Blockchain, Bitcoin, and Cryptocurrency. He is a leading professional in this space and definitely someone you will want to learn from. This course was worth more than $15.00 and most of my takeaways were from watching digital illustrations of how the blockchains work, especially lectures on SHA256 Hash Demonstrations as shown below.

Example Demos from https://anders.com/blockchain/hash.html

If you have not read about block hashes or how they work in a blockchain then I am sure the photos above will look like jibberish to you and that is okay for now. Later on, it will be essential if you want to understand the security behind blockchain. Once you begin to learn about these I suggest visiting Anders.com so that you can try the demos out for yourself to visually grasp how hashes work in a blockchain. In George’s class, you will learn a great deal about bitcoin, the blockchain, mining, how and where to purchase digital currency, cryptography, and even forks and the upcoming SegWit. I am by nature a learner through reading as opposed to listening or watching so for anyone who learns optimally by seeing something happen, this is for you. Throughout this course you will also get the opportunity to complete quizzes in between lectures which is excellent for validating your understanding of each subject. Once I had finished the course I even messaged George to ask him a few in-depth questions and he not only answered them but pointed me in the right direction to learn more on those matters.

Leaders and News

Twitter:

George Levy — As mentioned above is a leader in this space so click his name and follow his twitter account or any other channel to which he frequents

Vitalik Buterin — If you have not heard of Vitalik, you will shortly. The genius behind Etherium. Follow him on Twitter and turn on your notifications.

Roger Ver — Also commonly referred to as Bitcoin Jesus, Roger was one of the initial investors in Bitcoin and has since founded and been apart of multiple startups in the industry.

John McAfee — Rather controversial or not, you can always trust that John McAfee will add his two sense into Bitcoin and the crypto space. With his extensive record in cybersecurity as the founder of antivirus software McAfee, his input is worth listening to.

Bitcoin Twitter — Twitter, notifications, do it.

Websites:

CoinDesk — Get yourself familiar with this website as a leader on BlockChain

Bitcoin Magazine — One of the official leading websites on bitcoin and crypto news.

YouTube:

Andreas Antonopoulos — “Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a technologist and serial entrepreneur who has become one of the most well-known and well-respected figures in bitcoin. He is the author of two books: “Mastering Bitcoin”, published by O’Reilly Media and considered the best technical guide to bitcoin and “The Internet of Money”, a book about why bitcoin matters.”

Kamal Glover — For non-biased news and updates from all public news networks and relevant individuals discussing Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies follow Kamal Glover on YouTube.

Ameer Rosic — Is another big contributor and investor in the cryptocurrency space.

DataDash — by Nicholas Merten is a good channel to stay up to date with breaking alt-coins, trading tips, ICO reviews and more.

CryptoPortfolio — Will provide you with excellent tips and trends on investing in the crypto space, creating your portfolio, and upcoming ICO reviews and comparisons.

There are a plethora of individuals, YouTube channels, and websites to follow that I couldn’t possibly fit them in here. This will more than get you started with some of the leading pioneers in this space and from there I am sure you will go on to find more.

Wrapping up — If you are interested in learning more about Bitcoin, Blockchain, and other cryptocurrencies, do it right. Spend the time and money on educating yourself and so that you can understand how the fundamentals work. This will help immensely as you step into the crypto space and invest even more of your time, energy, and most likely hard earned money.

Cryptocurrencies for beginners: Part 2

11/03/17

In my next article, I will be discussing digital wallets, how to understand them, and how to keep your cryptocurrency safe. These are wallets that I have personally used so that I can speak from experience. Here I will be explaining myself some of the major concerns and uncertainties users face when first learning about eWallets and how to properly use them. I will review some of the best mobile apps available to monitor your digital currencies and their continuous fluctuation, plus the exchanges where you can exchange your Bitcoin for alt-coins, or vice versa. Thank you for reading this and I truly hope it will point some newcomers in the right direction. I do not claim to be creating some definitive guide, but rather the best tools I picked up along the way. Feel free to comment and add your thoughts, tools, and information that helped you during your journey into the crypto world.

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