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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.