Episode Two – ‘So what really is this crypto lark?’
Want to learn what Crypto, Blockchain and Bitcoin is? Well, so did I!
I was looking forward to getting rich quick, and making multiple millions of whatever currency I wanted and it was all going to be as easy as a quick stroll in the park. I did realise I would actually need to start finding out about this alien new world and learning what certain things actually were, and what certain terms actually meant, otherwise it really was going to be a car crash! So I set about it. I book marked a day in the diary to really sit down and learn. To scroll through the wonderful world of internet searches and wikipedia explanations, and to start to unravel a terrifyingly puzzling world. I decided to start with the basics (at least I made a decent start!);
- What is blockchain?
- What is cryptocurrency?
- What is Bitcoin?
- How did Bitcoin start?
- How does Bitcoin work?
- What is mining?
After a bit of keyboard poking, much head scratching and confused monitor stare-downs, I decided I needed to reduce the jargon and bring it down to layman terms – I am a tradesman after all. I acquired an old fashioned pen and pad of paper from a near defunct drawer in the office and started to come up with my own answers. Basically I whittled down most of the technical jargon and make it palatable for myself to understand. I am an average consumer, let’s not forget that. I do not understand computer science, coding or anything of a real technical computing nature. But I do have an understanding of how I like to understand things, simple! And a quick note for developers; from my point of view, if you are unable to explain something to a child then how are the mainstream going to adopt something? After all, humans DO NOT like change! Not everyone can, and will be able to read and/or write code, whereas we can tap a button on a phone screen, and we do like pretty icons!
With scratchy eyeballs and squared vision I realised I’d learnt a hell of a lot, I was ready to conquer the world. Coinbase here I come…
…’After all, humans DO NOT like change!…’
Armed with my new found, kindergarten level of knowledge, I felt ready to tackle the next task; buy me some Bitcoin! Thankfully after listening to the CRYPTO 101 all week I had gained some knowledge of a place called ‘Coinbase’. This was supposedly the place to go for Bitcoin virgins; so that’s where I headed. To my surprise I was greeted by a decent looking website, and some more mysterious coins?! Ethereum? Litecoin? What are these bad boys all about?! Obviously there’s Bitcoin but there’s more choice, oh dear this could get messy! I spent a few minutes poking around and I’ll be honest it’s a not a bad website. It looks exactly like a slick, well oiled, multi million dollar website should look like. It’s appealing to the eye, it looks like someone has thought;
‘Ok, so what do new people to this crypto market want? Yeah, that’s right, some more of exactly what they are used to already in a mainstream market. A good looking website that looks like it’s easy to navigate. Let’s not change anything to scare anyone off, especially by overcomplicating things, no, let’s keep it nice and simple. After all the Joe public LOVE simple!!’
Boom! That right there is A-grade, numero uno. First up, foremost, make it look good and keep it simple! Honestly, I know now that guys are looking to create Web 2.0 or whatever they call it, but trust me, it is really not blockchain/computer/nuclear/quantum/physic science! Please guys, just keep it simple!
Google; you tap the search button and away you go. Amazon; you look for what you want, and hey presto, you click it and buy it. Twitter; you type in what you’re looking for and, damn, scrolling is hard right?! Ebay, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Uber. They are all adopted by the masses, for one reason, they are easy to use! What happens when they change something? There’s uproar, because developers start meddling with things. Humans DO NOT like change! (remember?!) Making things overcomplicated and difficult to use is an idea/company killer. Before Google there was Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and various others but Google made it easiest and most convenient to search for something, that’s why it stuck!
Signing up to Coinbase was relatively easy, although I did have a bit of scepticism giving my details still not wholly believing in the security issues associated with crypto. I’m new and my trust levels are currently quite low until proven otherwise. I then tried adding my credit card to transfer a payment and basically choked on my brew at how much they wanted to charge me for automatically converting my Great British Pounds into Euros! I nearly gave up at that point, genuine! But I’d come too far, I was determined to see this through. I took a little trip to the good ole Youtube and found what I was after. A little workaround via an app called Revolut, I converted my GBP into Euros and transferred it across to Coinbase. The first of many, many codes found it’s way into my shiny new notebook and there I sat patiently waiting for my monies to find it’s way across cyber-space. Jeez, it took it’s time! I know patience is a virtue, but it was definitely sketchy having to wait 2 whole days for it to appear! With the money then safely in my newly established Coinbase account I headed back to Youtube and CRYPTO 101 to find out where to go next.
I did the usual GDAX set up and switch across from Coinbase, with again, a little help from Youtube (thank god for youtube, I’d barely be able to tie my own shoelaces in the morning!). GDAX however, is a different beast to Coinbase. It is 100% overwhelming to start with, and I had a near on epileptic fit the first time I sat there watching the numbers and lines moving about the screen like an army of bustling ants! I am not a trader of any kind, and I am extremely new to all this exchange lark so it really didn’t make any sense. I’d listened to CRYPTO 101 about ‘Maker and Taker’ fees – didn’t fully understand it but hey why not just give it a go. I didn’t have a clue whether anything was trading up or down that day but I did know basic rule #1; buy red, sell green! I’d worked out about the green and red lines and decided to get involved. Limit and Stop didn’t make a whole deal of sense either but I’d guessed Market was a my kind of level to start with. I’d transferred about £100 to play with, so I put that in and hey presto I’d bought me some Bitcoin. I must admit it was a good feeling, it had taken long enough to get to this point. And having some sort of ‘internet money’ made me feel like part of an exclusive community. I’d made my first move, I was officially a crypto investor. I now just had to work out how to transfer it back to relative safety and then it was all systems go, strapping on my seat belt and getting ready to ride this ship to the moon!
I’d had my first taste, I didn’t fully understand how much I had bought or what it was worth, but I was ready for some more. I transferred another few quid across and got to work filling other people’s bank accounts with my hard earned money. Slow down you fool, just slow down god dammit! I’d promised the missus only a couple of hundred quid. I’d doubled it, and it was only day 1. I was in the doghouse and I needed to get myself out. Sharpish!
If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please go back and check out my others. If you’ve already done that, never fear, I am looking to write a post every week, and get something posted at the weekends.
Next up; Episode Three – ‘Walk before you can run!‘
As ever, thanks for reading and happy trading folks!
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T – @DaveDustpan