PancakeSwap has been in the DeFi space for a while now. They are the first of their kind on Binance Smart Chain and are a low-cost, efficient way to start wrapping your head around farming and staking.

First we need to go over a couple terms so you know what they mean. You can see on the left there are “Farms” and “Pools”. Farming refer to combining two assets like CAKE & BNB in a smart contract and receiving Liquidity Pool or LP tokens in order to provide liquidity to the protocol and receive tokens for doing so. In the case of PancakeSwap, the user earns CAKE for providing liquidity.

In this article we will cover staking and farming will be talked about in a future article. Of course, you’ll need the CAKE token to make all this happen so if you don’t know how to get CAKE you need to take a step back from this article to figure out how to do that first. We recommend using Binance exchange, or if you already have BSC tokens you can use PancakeSwap’s “Trade” page to swap to CAKE.

Staking refers to providing liquidity to the protocol using one token. In order to do this you need to click on “Pools” in the sidebar. PancakeSwap calls them Syrup Pools and this page is where all the single-asset staking happens.

In the top right you’ll see a button that says “Connect”. This is how you interact with the platform and once selected, you’ll have to connect your digital crypto wallet. We suggest using MetaMask and have covered how to set this up in an earlier article.

Connect your wallet and make sure Binance Smart Chain is the network you’re hooked into. Once connected, choose which Syrup Pool you want to provide liquidity to. You’ll see several options however for this tutorial we’ll use the “Auto CAKE” pool.

Auto CAKE compounds your rewards for you so you don’t have to. Manual CAKE does not and in order to benefit from compounding interest you have to click “Collect” in order to harvest your tokens and then compound them yourself by adding them back to the pool.

Enable whichever pool you’ve decided on — PancakeSwap also offers the opportunity to earn other tokens by adding your CAKE tokens to other pools.

You’ll need to confirm the actions once choosing “Enable” and the wallet plugin will popup. The “Enable” button will be replaced with the word “Stake”. Click this button and input the amount of CAKE you want to stake, choose “Confirm” and again you’ll be asked to confirm the actions.

Choosing the Auto CAKE pool won’t require your to collect your earning as it does this automatically for you. If you choose a different pool, you’ll need to collect your tokens manually.

Adding or removing tokens is easy. Simply click either “+” or “-” and follow the prompts. Please take note that there is a fee for unstaking in the first 72 hours when choosing the Auto CAKE pool.

Once you’ve completed all these steps you’ll start seeing the tokens rolling in. That’s it, you’re done. Now sit back and enjoy the passive income!

Remember there are always risks in DeFi and only use what you can afford to use — this means no lunch or rent money is to be used for crypto. Be smart and enjoy this exciting new space.

Last time we talked about a few different blockchains to keep an eye on. Today we’ll go over a few more.

Waves Tech

First on our list, and in no particular order is Waves. This project is based in Russia and was once the fastest blockchain on the block. Being a hybrid proof-of-stake protocol, transaction speeds were quick, usually settling within a few seconds.

Waves also helped usher in a wave of DeFi products like stablecoins and staking and yield mechanisms. They held an ICO in 2016 and raised over $16m at the time. Since then they’ve really held their own and continued to push the space in order promote decentralized technologies.

The blockchain has smart contracts, staking opportunities and a growing community of developers building on top it. While a bit of an “OG” in the crypto space, these guys deserve a shout out.

Fantom Opera

Fantom is permissionless blockchain built to be compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). It’s a fairly new blockchain however they’ve made inroads into some unique and lucrative markets that should see the network grow over time.

Anyone use to using the Ethereum network will have no issues navigating and sending transactions on Fantom. It’s widely considered as having huge amount of potential in the race of decentralized protocols that cater to consumers needing small transaction costs and quick confirmation times.

Similar to Binance Smart Chain, Fantom has the advantage in that it’s truly decentralized versus BSC. As mentioned in an earlier article, BSC is controlled by a handful of centralized nodes where Fantom’s claim to fame is it’s truly decentralized.

Solana

Solana is currently the fastest blockchain in the world with the protocol being able to handle over 50,000 transactions per second. Founded in 2017, Solana is a mixed proof-of-history and proof-of-stake protocol designed for high throughput, or in other words — a lot of transactions.

As a matter of fact, the speed of the blockchain is so fast that it’s been a popular choice among game developers. One such game is called Star Atlas and is set to launch next year. The game will combine various technologies like staking, farming, NFTs and smart contracts and allows players to profit and earn income.

Solana is another great blockchain for people who like fast confirmation times and cheap transactions… but that should be everyone, right?

We’ll continue to see these blockchains take on more bandwidth and network effect as people start to understand the depth of these technologies. Though some of these concepts seem difficult to wrap your head around, they will prove to be extremely valuable as we progress and look to improve on tech.

Anyone who’s been in crypto for any length of time will tell you that security is of the utmost importance. Due to being decentralized, users of cryptocurrencies have to prioritize privacy and security themselves as the traditional support systems we’re used to in centralized systems, like banking and credit cards, don’t exist. We’re responsible for our own wealth within a decentralized system and there’s no customer support center we can call if we get hacked or stolen from. If we don’t properly secure our assets then we’re doing ourselves a major disservice.

In this episode, we’re going to talk about the options available to you as a crypto user in order to properly protect ourselves and secure our assets for the future.

Paper/Cold Wallets

These are one of the first and most common ways people secure their assets. It’s a way to securely store crypto offline. Bitaddress is one such way and for long term storage these paper wallets are great options.

Move your mouse or type characters to activate the paper wallet.

These “cold” wallet options are among the safest however come with their own drawbacks for anyone looking to actively trade on a regular basis. If you’re planning to day trade or spend your crypto then these paper wallets aren’t the best option however if you’re long on crypto and want to just “hodl” then these offline wallet are the way to go.

Hardware Wallets

These hardware wallets have really become the standard within the blockchain space. Companies like Ledger and Trezor are both economical and secure options. These devices store your cryptocurrencies offline while also offering the ability to interact with your assets through third party plugins like MetaMask.

A Ledger comes with a 24 word passphrase and for less than $100 you can have a secure, offline option that still gives you flexibility. These aren’t the only two options that play within the hardware space, there’s more than half a dozen options to choose from.

Online/Hot Wallets

Online wallets, or mobile apps that secure crypto are convenient for consumers however add extra layers of risk by opening the door for phishing attacks. These can come from texts, social media platforms, emails or third-party messaging platforms. Wallets hosted by providers are considered the option that carries the most risk. You’re essentially letting a private company store your private keys on their servers. This is a big no-no in crypto land and thus should be the last option you choose to store your cryptocurrency.

These options are good for users who are moving smaller amounts of crypto and shouldn’t be considered the best options for long term storage. Apps like Exodus and Mycelium and popular online wallet options.

Helpful Tips

Backup your passphrase — this is SUPER important but a general rule to security is don’t have a central point of failure. In other words, don’t just have one copy of your passphrase because if you lose it you won’t be able to access your crypto.

Protect your assets for the long term — what happens to your crypto if something happens to you? Do you have a contingency plan so someone can access your assets if need be? Most people don’t think about this but you need to have a solution so that if you memorize your passphrase then die in a freak interpretive-dance routine, someone can still access the crypto.

Avoid sharing the key — this goes against what I said in the previous tip however as a general rule it’s best NOT to share your key. If you do, maybe you want to encrypt it further so that only you and your “backup buddy” know how to access the coins if necessary.

Avoid one central point of failure — don’t take a picture of your passphrase, any digital copy of it puts you at a higher risk of getting hacked. Don’t just keep your passphrase in your house. What if your house burns down? — your passphrase and crypto are as good as gone. Safety deposit boxes or vaults are popular choices for protecting your backed up passphrases.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you give it some good thought. Only you can properly protect yourself so preparing for different scenarios are going to not only secure your assets but give you peace of mind.

In this article, we’re going to talk about different blockchains within the crypto space. This will be the first article in a series about blockchains.

Bitcoin — the birth of something new

We can’t talk about blockchains without first talking about bitcoin. This was the first blockchain and is now considered the biggest and most powerful decentralized network the world has ever seen.

In a way, the invention of the blockchain created a weird modern day gold rush. Instead of using a pick axe and a shovel to dig gold out of the ground, you plug in some computers and pull money from the electricity — sounds simple, right?

What first started as an experiment, has now become something a lot of people weren’t sure was even possible. Bitcoin has yet to really go mainstream but the steps we’ve been seeing certainly paint a pretty picture.

Over the years, blockchains have evolved and grown to offer new and innovative products. None of this would have been possible without the first blockchain coming into existence over a decade ago. The creation of the world’s first cryptocurrency also brought a new wave of financial freedom, of which we still haven’t fully envisioned yet.

Take a simple, modern day example. Huge tech companies like Uber and Airbnb really only found market fit a couple decades after the internet had been created. Technically speaking, we had the infrastructure and technology to make it happen in the 90’s, however it wasn’t until 20 years later were they actually a thing.

I believe the same can be said with regard to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. We’ll have innovations in the future that will blow the top off these industries and unleash monetary wealth and freedom for all who are willing to put in the work to discover and take advantage of it.

While bitcoin’s proof-of-work (PoW) mining is out of the question for most of us, new innovations in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology have opened the pandora’s box of new financial products available at the fingertips of anyone with an internet connection and a device.

Ethereum — ushering in a new wave

I think it’s fair to say Ethereum and its ever-growing ecosystem deserves the next mention. Ethereum ushered in the term “DeFi”. This term itself means Decentralized Finance and really emcopasses a plethora of financial strategies, products and instruments that run on a protocol.

The development of smart contracts really leveled up the blockchain and showed the world what the tip of the crypto-iceberg really looked like. We’re now only starting to get into the nitty-gritty, to see what this technology can do but without Ethereum and the development of smart contracts, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

The foresight and understanding of these technologies allowed the creator of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin to envision the applications within his grasp. We owe a lot of modern day DeFi concepts to the creation of the Ethereum network and thus another reason it’s deserving of this second mention.

Binance Smart Chain — Look ma low fees

While Ethereum is the mother of smart contracts, Binance Smart Chain is the long-lost relative who shows up at the family reunion claiming rightful heir to the throne.

This blockchain was brought to life by one of the largest crypto exchanges on the planet, Binance. Their strategy was simple, let’s centralize decentralized tech and beat them on price. The brainchild behind Binance, Changpeng Zhao or as most people know him “CZ”, played into consumers’ habits. He realized that most people care about convenience and speed, and less about security and privacy.

By replicating what Ethereum had created, he could improve on consumers’ experience by making everything run faster, more efficiently, and at a fraction of the cost. By making the network centralized and running only a couple of dozen nodes, their organization could essentially capture a large market segment by offering a solution for something most within the space we’re very familiar with, high transaction fees.

Regular crypto junkies flocked to Binance Smart Chain and it wasn’t long until there were more transactions done on BSC than on the Ethereum network. It took Binance about a year and a half to do what Ethereum did in five years. Mind you, Ethereum was a first-mover so the comparison doesn’t hold that much water however the network effect Binance was able to accomplish within such a short time frame was impressive.

Unique Active Wallet by Protocol — ETH, BSC, MATIC

We managed to cover a few different blockchains for you to keep your eye on. In a future article, we’ll go over a few others like Fantom, Solana and Waves and discuss why it might be worth exploring some of these.

The seasoned advice and tips I received that everyone should get before trading cryptocurrencies. In this article, I’ll cover setting up a wallet and getting your hard-earned Canadian Dollars converted to cryptocurrency. Next week, I’ll get into the fun stuff like staking and farming!

Before May 2021, I hadn’t personally dived into crypto investments. I say “personally” because I have to know a fair amount about crypto, blockchain, and DeFi for my job at EastCode. I could talk the talk and could go punch for punch with the folks we were developing for, but I had never traded crypto. In May 2021, I took the plunge and had a very unfair introduction to the world of trading cryptocurrency.

It was unfair because my colleagues at EastCode walked me through the entire process step-by-step. I ended up with my own multi-chain wallet that wasn’t part of some centralized exchange, paid very little in transaction fees, and was able to start staking and yield farming within a day.

After talking to some of my friends who were trying to start into crypto and ended up on centralized, non-custodial mobiles (e.g. WealthSimple), I wanted to pass on the tools and knowledge imparted to me by people who have been involved in the space for years to give folks more options.

Standard fun legal disclaimer: This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment or financial advice. Invest at your own risk. Both EastCode and I are not responsible for the consequences of following any advice in this article.

MetaMask Logo
MetaMask — the king of online crypto wallets.

First question! Where the hell do I store my crypto?

The answer is short but sweet. For most chains, use a wallet called MetaMask for small amounts of crypto. It has a great extension for Chrome and the iOS app is pretty good too. Since we do a lot of work on Solana, I decided to grab a bit of $SOL through Solong Wallet also. For larger amounts, hardware wallets make sense. Our resident hardware wallet expert, Vaughn, is going to write an article about that in the future.

What to do:

What not to do:

Fantom Opera Blockchain Logo
Fantom Opera is a super cool blockchain. There are a lot of fun projects — it’s a great network to support.

Second question! I have a wallet now, how the hell do I buy Crypto?

Fair question. I met yet another unfair advantage on this one. My colleagues sold me stablecoins (cryptocurrency pegged to the value of the US Dollar) in exchange for some cash and e-transfers of my hard-earned Canadian Dollars.

The other options that I’d recommend in the great white north are Shakepay and PayTrie. Disclaimer: We haven’t personally tested PayTrie but the next time I need to load more than $100 CAD into my MetaMask wallet, I’ll be going through them because of their low fees and because I can go directly to Binance Smart Chain and avoid the high transaction fees on Ethereum.

Step by Step:

  1. Create an account on Shakepay or PayTrie. Verify your identity if need be.
  2. Send CAD to your account and convert it to the currency of your choice. For Shakepay, I recommend Ethereum. For PayTrie, I recommend BUSD for Binance Smart Chain.
  3. If you’re set on Ethereum, just send it straight to your MetaMask wallet and get started. I love Fantom Opera and dabble in Binance Smart Chain, so I use the centralized exchange, Binance, to exchange one token for another. You can also use a bridge that swaps between networks — whatever is better for your situation and we’ll write more on that in a future article. In my case, once my funds are in the Binance Exchange, I convert them to my currency of choice such as $FTM.
  4. With my currency of choice in hand ($FTM in this example), I send the funds to my MetaMask address and start having fun!

Okay big deal, now I have cryptocurrencies. Yeah, I get it… it’s not super interesting. Free airdrops (free currency), new projects, yield farming, and staking — that’s what gets me excited. I’ll be writing about all that good stuff in a future article! Stay tuned for Part 2!

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