Month: May 2019

How To Spend Bitcoin Online: 5 Best Places (2020)

In this post, I am going to cover how to spend bitcoin online and the five best places to do so in 2019. Not only am I going to show you how to spend bitcoin online, but more importantly, WHERE to spend bitcoin online. If you have never made a bitcoin transaction before, please review my earlier post that explains how to do this. As mass adoption starts snowballing, and we’ve already seen evidence of this by way of Whole Foods, and other major retailers coming on board to to accept cryptocurrency as payment, people are starting to look at where they can send their bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

I believe a fundamental component of making this global adoption happen quicker is letting people see how useful and easy it is to actually SPEND it as a currency. This is a life changing tool and is very easy to obtain for free, if you’re already shopping at these places and more using the Free Life Info App, and you can accumulate bitcoin AND get a discount at these retailers we will discuss below, but also thousands more. I will leave the in-depth review of this free bitcoin tool, HERE. Let’s get right into it!

 

DOWNLOAD THE FREE LIFE INFO APP HERE

 

#1 HOW TO SPEND BITCOIN ONLINE AT PURSE.IO (AMAZON ON TOP OF BITCOIN)

 

People always ask me, “Does Amazon accept bitcoin?” The short answer is yes and no. Amazon does not accept it directly, but there are a few chrome extensions where you can earn bitcoin and spend bitcoin in very small amounts by doing this via the Lightning Network, but that is still in it’s infancy. There is a much better way to get what you want on Amazon, AND you can also save up to 33% off the price.

How do you do this? It’s called Purse.io. This website I have used personally during the holiday season 2018 for several items, and it works great! How it works is when you visit the site, it looks very similar to amazon and it’s built on top of Amazon’s platform, but it has one key difference. You can pay in bitcoin!

This means that it IS Amazon, but it just looks different, as it’s a platform built on top of Amazon. The point of this is so that you can spend bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies for payment, and it pairs you up with an individual who has amazon store credit or gift cards, and wants to order these things on your behalf, and send them directly to you.

Of course, you have to verify and approve everything arrives and is acceptable to you first. At this point, you can release the bitcoin payment once you are satisfied with your order. It’s a really elegant solution that matches up people who want to convert their amazon credit to receive bitcoin in return and you get a discount for doing this. Pretty slick, and highly recommended.

 

CLICK HERE FOR FREE 5$ IN BITCOIN ON YOUR FIRST ORDER

 

#2 HOW TO SPEND BITCOIN ONLINE AT CHEAPAIR.COM

 

how to spend bitcoin online

Cheapair.com is a discounted airline affiliate site that helps you find the cheapest flights from all the top airlines and is built on top of major search engines like Trivago and Expedia. The difference is, this finds the cheapest flights and let’s you pay in bitcoin directly to book your flight. This is really exciting and allows you to check out using a QR code you can scan with your phone, or you can just simply copy and paste your bitcoin address in the dropdown menu at checkout. You can also sign up for fare trackers and it will notify you when your flight lands in your price zone if you’re not ready to book now.

Overall, I’ve only booked 2 flights myself here, but it was a good experience. I have been living off bitcoin for over 2 years now and it’s required creative ways to find how to get to where you need to go without trying to pay any exchange fees, and this was brought to my attention. I highly recommend if you are the type of person that likes to shop for the cheapest price and bargain hunt when looking for trips and flights.

 

#3 HOW TO SPEND BITCOIN AT OVERSTOCK.COM

 

Overstock.com is a large online retailer, similar to Amazon, but specializes in mainly home goods like furniture, decor, and larger items for very cheap. I believe they also offer a 2% additional discount when checking out with bitcoin.

You probably have heard of this website and perhaps even ordered something from here, but you probably didn’t know they accepted bitcoin for payment. They do this directly and it’s very easy to scan the QR code at checkout with your smartphone or with your bitcoin wallet address directly copying and pasting as well.

They frequently have holiday sales and other coupons and promotions you can use on top of the discounts of using bitcoin as well. I actually bought a rug a few years back from them using bitcoin and it was very simple to use and I had no issues.

This was one of the first major retailers to start accepting crypto, as the company’s founder Patrick Byrne has been a long time supporter of bitcoin. I personally like to support companies that allow you to pay in bitcoin as opposed to the ones that don’t, but that’s just me. I like to support the cause and businesses that do as well.

 

#4 HOW TO SPEND BITCOIN AT EXPRESSVPN

 

This is KEY when dealing with bitcoin. When spending bitcoin online and also trading or investing bitcoin online, it is imperative that you are not tracked and using a VPN is key in doing this. I use Express VPN when dealing with any online bitcoin transaction, especially when doing trading on exchanges, like Binance or Coinbase. Luckily, you can also buy Express VPN with bitcoin as well and it’s crucial to protect your anonymity when doing this. VPN’s are also useful when doing typical web browsing and not wanting to be tracked with what and where you spend your time online.

Additionally, you will be able to use this to access other popular streamers and websites that put limits on your IP address, such as Amazon and Netflix, without having to pay them more. You may not know but some major websites track your information from your IP address and sell that information to advertisers.

Have you ever been talking about something privately, and then when you look at your Facebook feed or Instagram feed and you see an ad for what you were just talking about? Very creepy, but very real. The ExpressVPN not only allows you to use this on your iPhone and Android, but it works on multiple devices at the same time, for each device in your home.

My favorite part of course (not to beat a dead horse) is the fact that you can get a free 30 day trial and test it out and the use BITCOIN to pay for it. Super cool.

 

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR EXPRESS VPN FREE 30-DAY TRIAL

 

#5 HOW TO SPEND BITCOIN AT EXPEDIA.COM

 

This one is probably my second favorite source as almost everyone has heard of Expedia.com for travel. At some point in our lives, we probably have researched vacations or even bought flights and hotel packages from this site, and for good reason. This site has a wealth of information and provides tons of value, including tons of reviews from people that have already taken a specific vacation and they incentivize people to do this.

For me, I like the fact that they take bitcoin. I always check Cheapair.com and this site before I book any trip, because I want to support the bitcoin ecosystem by contributing to the network and transactions.

Needless to say, Expedia is very much considered a trusted authority site and the fact that they are one of the only travels sites accepting bitcoin for payment. I don’t have to do much selling here, but you can also receive a discount by using the Life Info App link above and make sure to check out the article  that gives an in-depth of that review on how to start earning your own bitcoin, for free.

CONCLUSION

 

All in all, these are the top 5 places I spend my bitcoin online, there are tons of other sites you can spend your bitcoin at, and I will leave a link with a MAP right here. It is my belief that the more we start seeing everyday stores that people use on a regular basis, and that includes gas stations and grocery stores, the more we will not only see the price and value of bitcoin go up, but it will be a free and sovereign way to manage your finances. The above video outlines what we covered here, and I will link other related videos to that as well for more crypto knowledge and value for you.

 

What are you favorite places to spend bitcoin online? Are there more retailers that I missed above? Let me know in the comments!

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

Top 3 Altcoins To Invest In 2020

In this post, I am going to go over the top 3 altcoins to invest in 2019. You may be wondering, “Why would I be interested in altcoins when bitcoin is the king of crypto?” What is the best cryptocurrency to invest in now? Although it’s a fair question and bitcoin has dominated the market cap and literally created the cryptocurrency industry, there is plenty of development and utility with specific altcoins that bitcoin does not address. Additionally, the way most people accumulate bitcoin is by investing or trading in altcoins to then convert the gains back into bitcoin.

Although I have been trading and investing for several years now, there are a few specific altcoins that are paving their way to success with innovation and are what I consider “trend setters” in the industry and offer some unique value and are not just another bitcoin clone. Let’s get right to it below.

I also am now offering a FREE E-BOOK that goes in depth to explain the best 5 ways secure your cryptocurrency. it’s loaded with secret knowledge and goodies that is not included in the blog, so check it out, it’s free, so you have nothing to lose!

 

5 BEST WAYS TO SECURE YOUR CRYPTOCURRENCY – EBOOK

Top 3 Altcoins To Invest In 2019

 

#1 HOLOCHAIN (HOT)

 

Holochain or (HOT) is an interesting product and platform that is light years ahead of the competition ins creating a truly decentralized internet. They have physical hardware products called HoloPort and is designed as a dedicated server that helps support the network. I am going to list the official details for this here. Why is this different?

Other projects that promise the same thing do not even have a working product and is has collected a plethora or money via an ICO, but have yet to deliver what they promise. HOLO does not have this problem, as they are already expanding and have physical products and a functioning product that works!

From a trading and investing standpoint, On Binance, when you compare the trading pair of BTC/HOT, there is a lot of upside. At the time of this writing, the price is only 25 satoshis which is very undervalued, but additionally, I got in pretty early at around 8 satoshis so it’s been a fairly nice gain so far.

In the video below, it displays the trading chart and where the best entry points are and what the potentials are for this product this year as they are ramping up for massive comp’any growth. This is a very interesting project and even at the current price, it is definitely worth looking into and getting a nice entry before the bull run that we are in starts really ramping up.

All in all, Holochain is a very solid project with new and interesting tech that uses it’s token to fuel the network and expand the ability to deliver value, by utilizing empty or unused disk space and RAM that is currently on your machine. This does not affect your current performance as you are able to allocate as much of the space as you want, and it lets you earn passive income in the form of the HOT token and you will also be strengthening and supporting the network. Most people have tons of unused resources on their machines and this is a good way to put it to work for you.

 

CLICK HERE TO START INVESTING IN (HOT) ON BINANCE NOW

 

#2 TEZOS (XTZ)

 

In my opinion, Tezos is the new and improved evolution of Ethereum. It is a new platform for decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts. Here are a few key points that make it different:

 

1.) On-Chain Governance – The Tezos protocol offers a formal process through which stakeholders can efficiently govern the protocol and implement future innovations. This is democracy at it’s finest. It also helps avoid controversial “Hard Forks” as we’ve seen in the past with Bitcoin (BTC) to Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and then Bitcoin Cash (BCH) into Bitcoin SV (BSV). This has a detrimental effect on the network and causes a lot of confusion, contention, and tribalism.

2.) Security – This blockchain was designed to facilitate formal verification, which helps secure smart contracts and avoid buggy code. This has been a HUGE problem with Ethereum over the years as noted in the infamous “DAO Hack“, which again proved that their protocol was not immutable and caused yet another hard fork that brought forth Ethereum Classic into existence.

3.) Liquid Proof of Stake – This is a unique consensus proof-of-stake algorithm which gives every stakeholder the opportunity to participate in the validation of transactions on the network and be rewarded for doing so. Whether you are big or small, you have a vote. This is unlike the current mining pools that we have in place where the person with the most hashing power and hardware wins the block reward, and essentially dictate the rules of the network.

I tend to think that the tech behind each blockchain is what brings it’s value. Whether or not the price is currently up or down on these coins, I believe as the masses start to see the value these innovators bring to the table, the money will follow. If you don’t recall, it took over a year of price discovery before Ethereum finally found it’s place in the market. All this to summarize that I am very interested to see where these both end up in terms of price and user adoption over the course of this year.

One thing I would like to note is that Ledger Nano S hardware wallet now supports Tezos for cold storage baking. This means you can participate in verifying transactions on the Tezos network and keep your private keys online, WHILE simultaneously making passive income in block rewards.

 

CLICK HERE TO START BAKING TEZOS WITH LEDGER NANO S

 

#3 ZCASH (ZEC)

 

top 3 altcoins to invest in 2019

Zcash has been one of my favorite cryptocurrencies, ever since it was announced in 2014. Privacy has been a major staple in the cryptocurrency industry and this project has some unique technology as described below that sets it apart from other privacy based coins on the altcoins list

Zcash has a proprietary privacy protocol attached to it. This is extremely attractive, as one of the key selling points of cryptocurrency to begin with was anonymous, uncensorable transactions. This is money as it was intended to be. I should be able to transact with anyone in the world, and not only NOT have it tracked, but keep it between me and the other consenting party. They use a method called zk-SNARKs.

This is an acronym for “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument Of Knowledge”. What does this actually mean? It essentially means that “Zero-Knowledge” proofs allow one party (prover) to prove to another (verifier) that a statement is true. It allows you to verify a transaction is relevant and true without knowing its origin.

Some people view this as potentially scary, because it allows money launderers or criminals to transact in a more private way. Well, my theory is this, criminals will always find a way to do what they want and transact privately. Valuable tools should not be banned or discredited because there is a potentially negative outcome.

There is an equally positive outcome. Privacy is an unalienable right to all humans and we should all expect it and understand our rights to it. To me, that makes this coin very very powerful and very much worth exploring, especially as it is considered an “Original”. Some similar example coins that came after are Monero and Zcoin.

 

CLICK HERE TO BUY THE LEDGER NANO S FOR SAFE OFFLINE STORAGE

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2O0nWV1W14

CONCLUSION

 

There are many reasons I chose the above altcoins in the massive list of thousands of alternatives. As I mentioned above, these ones have the best overall fundamentals and upside in terms of risk/reward in terms of investment in my opinion. Some of these coins, like Zcash, have already been through a major market cycle before, so it is fairly seasoned, but Tezos and Holochain are fairly new and have yet to “survive” a new market cycle.

I still believe that overall, these have the best overall potential returns and create ways of making passive income, while allowing you to HODL offline as well. I have included the recommended hardware wallet that will support all of these coins, the only coin that does not have a native app (currently) is HOT, but it can be held or integrated with MyEtherWallet, while this is being developed.

 

What do you think? Are there better coins to invest in this year? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

CryptoSteel Review: Indestructible Or Not? (2020)

In this CryptoSteel Review, I am going to cover a few things that you may not see on any other reviews. This mainly consists of the quality of the product and if you have any other options out there to consider for an indestructible recovery seed backup. As a promoter of hardware wallets and complete offline cold-storage solutions, this was a no-brainer for me to try out for myself.

After all, I had recently met with a friend who was moving and found that his recovery seed was destroyed because it was in a toiletry bag and some shampoo leaked and removed the ink and made his backup completely worthless.

It was after he told me about this that I was really glad I already had my CryptoSteel in place and I felt relieved knowing that if my house burnt down or it got flooded, etc… That my precious seed words would not be lost or otherwise inaccessible. I do not wish that fate on anyone, because he had a size-able number of crypto attached to that recovery seed, but that was before any of these devices existed.

I also recently published my FREE E-BOOK that explains the what the five best ways to secure your cryptocurrency are. Give it a free download HERE.

In the next section, I am going to go over, what this product does, who it’s primarily for, and how it compares to some of the other options out there. Stay tuned for the full article!

 

WHAT DOES THIS PRODUCT DO?

 

This product is designed for having a backup to your backup, essentially. When you setup any cryptocurrency wallet or bitcoin wallet (hot or cold), you will be prompted to enter in a 12-24 word recovery seed phrase. This is to protect your private keys and to restore your coins to a new wallet in the event that your hardware wallet proves to be lost, destroyed, or otherwise inoperable.

It comes with several little tiles that contain letters and a metal plate for your to slide them in to form the words. This process can be tedious, but it’s worth it to have peace of mind. It took me about 30-40 minutes to input my entire 24 word recovery phrase as the tiles are tiny and some are mis-shaped and not the same size. That’s the bad part.

Assuming that I don’t need to do this again for any other seed phrases, it’s really not that bad. The good news is it comes with enough tiles to have 2 two full phrases if needed, so you have backups for redundancy, or can fashion another device to use it with if you happened to have an additional plate.

It’s fairly simple to use once you find the tiles you need, but for me it was kind of reminiscent of getting an Ikea table and opening it to an 86 page instruction book and over 500 pieces that needed to be assembled. Sure, that is exaggerating but it can be a tad overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing.

 

WHO IS IT FOR?

 

This device is for every single cryptocurrency or bitcoin wallet holder that has enough cryptocurrency that they cannot afford to lose. Unfortunately, paper just doesn’t cut it and even if you laminate it, it still wont be protected if there is a fire or any other type of destructive force, even if it happens to survive water damage.

As cryptocurrency is the wave of the future, it is extremely likely that almost every single person on the planet is going to have a bitcoin wallet at some point in their lifetime, and some people have many (myself included). It is only smart that if you are going to be self-sovereign with your finances, that you find a way to be responsible and have a back-up for the worst case scenario. There is no 1-800 number to call and complain to if you lose your “secret code words” to recover your bitcoin or other crypto.

Because it’s relatively cheap and most companies now even bundle it with hardware wallets, like Trezor, you can save money and have a backup and a hardware wallet for about $200, which is a small price to pay to protect your wealth and investment. It’s an entry level device and is one I would recommend if you currently hold more than $200 worth of cryptocurrency or you plan to in the future. This is a no brainer.

It’s also nice that it has a hole big enough to stick a padlock in there to lock out potentially nosey intruders, nice security touch!

 

HOW DOES CRYPTOSTEEL COMPARE TO THE COMPETITORS?

 

This is an entry level device and it absolutely gets the job done. I have found and tested this myself by having it sit in water overnight, and even used a blow torch to see if I could burn it to the point where I couldn’t make out the letters and it’s rock solid. It does everything as advertised and currently comes in multiples versions, depending on how much of a maximalist you are. For instance, the Cryptosteel Hex, features a unique way to secure just the private key without any seeds.

cryptosteel

 

“Featuring just the right character combo to keep things “necessary and sufficient,” the Cryptosteel Hex allows users to store raw cryptocurrency private keys with no third-party involvement.

The set contains one double-sided Cryptosteel stainless steel cold-storage wallet and over 285 tiles optimised for hexadecimal passkeys. These include uppercase letters, numbers and the lowercase x.

If you’re a less-is-more pragmatist – here is all you need and nothing you don’t.”

 

This is rarely used, but it’s nice to know they have several other options, instead of just the standard mnemonic phrases that come with standard bitcoin wallets.

The premium level recovery seed backup wallet that competes with CryptoSteel is called the CryptoTag. This device allows for a different method of actually using a hammer to imprint your seed phrase directly onto the device and is made with much nicer quality titanium and has a cleaner look and finish.

This is NOT targeted for your average cryptocurrency user and is designed for the more seasoned and upper class investor. It is a fantastic device, but at $199, it is more than double what the Cryptosteel offers and essentially does the same thing. It also has a much nicer presentation, and an entirely different user experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmEINI08g3U

 

CONCLUSION

 

In the end, you can’t go wrong with this device. It solves a proven problem and it is trusted and cheaper than the current competitor or CryptoTag. If you have the means, I would strongly recommend getting a CryptoTag, as it is a MUCH nicer version of this product, but hey, we all can’t necessarily afford that level of a premium product.

Someone asked me, “Can’t I just forego the hardware wallet and just get the CryptoSteel? After all, if my mobile wallet gets hacked, I can just use this seed to restore it to a new mobile wallet”. Here’s why that’s a bad idea. Sure, you could do that, and if your hot wallet does get hacked, it’s not very likely that you will be in a place where you can quickly access your CryptoSteel, setup a new wallet, and go through the full recovery process on a BIP39 compatible wallet before the “hacker” already transfers it to its own wallet with backup recovery.

It’s a smarter and better practice to have both, a hardware wallet AND a backup recovery seed device, whether it be CryptoSteel for the average consumer or the CryptoTag for the consumer that wants a higher end device that has a nicer feel and user experience. This will make it easier to have both devices stored in separate secure locations for when you need it most. That way, you never have to have the thought of your “Hot” wallet being hacked and rushing to your secure location when/if that scenario happens. Just my two satoshis…

 

Buy CryptoSteel Starting At $79 From Their Official Site

 

What do you think? Do you think CryptoSteel is a good device for Recovery Seed Backup? Sound off below in the comments!

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

Craig S. Wright Gets Patent On Bitcoin White Paper And Code: Here’s Why It Doesn’t Matter

“Craig S. Wright Gets Patent On Bitcoin White Paper And Code” … This is what I read when I got out of the shower and I thought to myself. “How is this possible?” The code is open source, you can’t hold a patent on it. It turns out I am right and you cannot do that. This is an insane attempt to “prove” to the world that he is something that he is not.

As I learned after I read this, anyone can register for a patent, and in order to dispute it, you have to fight it in court. To clarify, the U.S. patent office does NOT recognize Craig S. Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto. This just means that he registers a file to be recognized as Satoshi (since no one else has before). You can read that article here.

patent on bitcoin

 

PATENT ON BITCOIN -BREAKING NEWS: 5/21/19

 

Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed creator of bitcoin, has filed registrations with the U.S. Copyright Office supporting his claims of authorship over the original bitcoin code and the Satoshi white paper.

The registrations, which are visible here and here, pertain specifically to “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” and “Bitcoin,” meaning the original 2009 code.

To be clear, registration does not imply ownership nor is this an official patent. The copyright process allows anyone to register anything in an effort to prepare, say, for lawsuits associated to ownership.

Computer code and white papers can be copyrighted insofar as they are considered literary works and, as the copyright office writes: “In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.”

In other words you, the reader, could register this post and I would have to fight you in court to contest it.

Jerry Brito, executive director at advocacy group Coin Center, tweeted:

“Jerry [email protected]

Registering a copyright is just filing a form. The Copyright Office does not investigate the validity of the claim; they just register it. Unfortunately there is no official way to challenge a registration. If there are competing claims, the Office will just register all of them.

Neeraj K. [email protected]

Craig Wright filed a copyright registration for the Bitcoin whitepaper

WHAT’S THE VERDICT?

 

“People register things for a reason. They want to exploit it and they want the credit for it,” said David H. Faux, Esq., an intellectual property attorney in New York City. “Someone dishonest would register the Bitcoin white paper to put it on his website and get speaking engagements. But at some point it would catch up with him.”

“The market takes care of itself,” said Faux.

When asked for comment noted Wright critic Jameson Lopp said “LOL.”

 

UPDATE – WRIGHT WROTE:

“BTC is not bitcoin. Bitcoin is set in stone and does not change. Where there is a protocol change, there is developer control which is the exact opposite of what bitcoin is about. BTC is passing off as Bitcoin. It is an air drop copy that has been designed to slowly alter the protocol allowing the system to be anonymized to such an extent that criminal activity can happen. The goal is to create a system that allows people to commit crimes, extort money, have automated ransomware and worse. This is not the goal of Bitcoin.”

CONCLUSION

 

In the end, I don’t think anyone is going to recognize Craig as Satoshi, regardless of this filing. There is absolutely NO way that Satoshi would go through these measures to “prove” who he is, mainly because he came from out of nowhere, and then provided the world with a ton of value, and then disappeared. This was no accident. He created one of the most powerful, open source tools the world has ever seen and made it impossible for people to find him.

He believed in liberty,freedom, and democratizing power by undermining the the world governments and banks. Satoshi would never try to use these powers against the community it developed from the beginning. This is just a slap in the face to all the believers and early adopters who nurtured and cultivated this technology from the very beginning.

 

Do you think that Craig is Satoshi? Sound off below!

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

4 Best Monero Wallets To Store Your (XMR) Offline (2020)

In this article, I am going to go over the 4 best monero wallets to store your Monero (XMR) offline in (2019). As an advocate for privacy, I strongly believe in the value proposition of this coin. Monero is a unique flavor of privacy and being able to have coins on a blockchain, while still remaining completely anonymous and untraceable. This coin has been in and around the top 10 market cap for the past several years and is currently hovering around number twelve at the time of this writing. best monero wallet

The problem we’ve had for a while is the fact that if you wanted to store your Monero on your own desktop wallet, you needed to know how to use a command line and we did not have a GUI (graphical user interface) wallet for the longest time. Those days are now over as there has been added support for desktop, mobile, and now hardware wallets.

I am going to discuss below the 4 best wallet options for using and storing your Monero offline (and one online option, due to the fact the wallet has a fantastic user experience). I have been highly cautious of keeping my Monero (until recently) on any wallets off of the exchange, due to the fact that it was extremely cumbersome and not very easy to manage in an easy way. Luckily you can now use XMR in your day-to-day transactions as well as securely store them offline. Below are the list of wallets that I have personally used an recommend. Let’s get to it!

 

#1 LEDGER NANO S

The Nano S is the first hardware wallet to support this coin in being able to keep your private keys offline. When dealing with Ledger Live, it requires you to download the app and then you can use the official desktop wallet from Monero’s website to link it with to manage your funds via graphical user interface. This will ensure that your private keys never leave the device (safest way) yet you can manage balances and authorize transactions from the official wallet when the device is present.

Keep in mind, this will require you to setup a node. What does that mean? It means it will download the entire blockchain onto your computer and index it properly for you to operate the wallet and contribute to the blockchain verification. This does not mean you will “mine” Monero, but it will require your hard drive to stay up to date with the latest version and blocks of the current blockchain.

This is a downside, however, nothing is safer than keeping your private keys offline, so make sure you have enough room on your computer for this task to run and operate. I also wrote a recent article with how this works with Tezos as well, as the process is similar, but still easier than this.

The steps to do this are listed Below:

  1. Download the Monero wallet for your platform.
  2. Extract the package you’ve just downloaded.
  3. Open the monero-gui-v0.14 folder.
  4. (optional) Move the monero-wallet-gui file to your applications folder.
  5. Launch the Monero wallet by opening monero-wallet-gui.
      On Windows: Click Allow access so the firewall does not block the Monero wallet.
  6. Choose your language.

Set up with Ledger Nano S

  1. Unlock your Ledger Nano S and open the Monero app.
  2. Click Create a new wallet from hardware device in the Monero wallet.
  3. Enter a wallet name.
  4. Enter 1720000 in the restore height field, then enter 3:100 in the subaddress lookahead field.
  5. On your Ledger device, choose whether to export the private view key to your computer:
    • Approving view key export enables your computer to identify your transactions. However, if your computer is compromised, your transaction privacy might be at risk.
    • Rejecting view key export optimizes privacy protection since the view key remains secure on your Ledger device. However, identifying your transactions will be slower.
  6.  You may have to press the device button twice, then wait for your addresses to be generated.
  7. Enter and confirm an optional password. Then continue to the next page.
  8. Choose an option for the Daemon settings:
    • Start a node to download and validate the full blockchain. This offers the optimal level of privacy and contributes to the strength of the Monero network. This requires at least 60 GB of disk space, and initial synchronization may take several days.
      >> Select the first option and leave the rest blank.
    • Connect to a remote node to immediately use the wallet and preserve your computer resources. However, you will not benefit from the optimum level of privacy, nor will you contribute to the strength of the Monero network.
      >> Tick Connect to a remote node, choose a remote node and enter its Hostname and Port.
    • Start a local node, but use a remote one while your local node synchronizes.
      >> Tick Start a node and also choose a remote node and enter its Hostname and Port.

#2 LEDGER NANO X (Best Monero Wallet)

 

This is the newest iteration of the Ledger hardware wallet and is designed to handle over 100 apps on the device at once, as opposed to the current limit of about 2-4 apps on the Nano S (it depends on the apps you use). You can also manage this wirelessly via bluetooth and the new iOS mobile app for Ledger Live that was recently released.

The same rules and steps apply above, however, once you install the desktop wallet and sync it up, you will be able to manage your Monero from the mobile app and send and receive transactions wirelessly, which is powerful if you use this as an actual currency, as most enthusiasts do.

The device is now currently $119 and is shipping at the end of May 2019, as it will be caught up with it’s inventory by then. I look forward to doing a review for this device in the very near future.

 

#3 TREZOR MODEL T

 

The Trezor Model T is a slick device and has some unique security features enabled on the device, including PIN verification on the device itself instead of the web application that is required by it’s predecessor. This device only has one caveat at the moment. Even though the firmware does technically support Monero at this time, there is no GUI to access or manage it, like you can with the Ledger devices above.

So how do you access it? I hope you know how to work the command line, as there are a few lines of code required to generate a wallet and start using it. The link above goes into those commands, but I do not recommend it for new or novice users, as it can get a bit technical.

The good news is, there has been word on their github page that there is currently work on a GUI wallet to be integrated with the Trezor Model T. This is serious progress, as the only other hardware wallets that currently support this is Ledger, and it would be lovely to have a native application built out for this coin.

That would be a HUGE advantage to whichever company can pull this off, but it requires intense collaboration and cooperation from the Monero camp to get this done. I am looking forward to see who get this done first, because I will dedicate a specific article to this, as I think it deserves it.

 

#4 (BONUS) EDGE WALLET

 

Now, the reason I included this as a bonus, is because this is technically not an offline solution. However, Edge is an amazing mobile and wallet that has an beautiful graphical user interface and supports Monero in an easy and convenient way. This is noteworthy, because I am not aware of any other mobile wallets that do this, and that means if there are any that exist, they are probably not that reputable.

At any rate, There are some screen shots listed here to show you how the user flow works and how this is probably your best solution for sending/receiving Monero in a very easy way.

It should also give your comfort that your private keys will be encrypted on your mobile device, so even if Edge servers do get hacked for any reason, your keys are safe on your mobile device, where only you have access to them. This is one of the more “secure” mobile or hot wallets on the market.

I keep some of my every day spending crypto on this wallet as it feels very robust and safe, but again I cannot stress this enough, nothing beats a hardware wallet in terms of security, and I only typically keep a small amount of crypto on a hot wallet like this at any given time.

 

CONCLUSION

 

So what’s the best Monero wallet? All in all, these are the best solutions for securing your Monero offline (and one “hot wallet” option as well). I highly recommend using a hardware wallet for all of your crypto storage solutions and I strongly recommend reading my free e-book, where I go in depth and provide you the 5 best ways to secure your cryptocurrency. It is absolutely free, so click the orange button at the top of the site to get your free download.

As mentioned above, I have a soft spot for privacy-focused coins and Monero is absolutely one of my favorites. Depending on your technical aptitude, you may just want to use a Ledger listed above, and I will update this article as time goes on with any relevant updates and changes as they develop. Thanks again for reading!

 

What do you think are the best ways to store your Monero offline? How do you store yours? Sound off below in the comments!

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

How To Store Your Tezos (XTZ) On The Ledger Nano S (2020)

In this article, I will tell you how to store your Tezos on the Ledger Nano S. As an investor in Tezos since the ICO, I have really studied what makes this a true market differentiator. This has a true consensus and a self-amending ledger, which is really powerful.

This means that no matter what, there will not be a “fork” of the network and will not have to worry about a network split. The downside is, you cannot split off and have people follow you and start a new version of this blockchain. What is built here will be verified by a true democracy and will always stay in tact. However, people will always have the power to leave if they do not like it.

I believe the that being able to contribute to secure a POS blockchain that will allow EVERYONE to participate is very interesting and also pretty powerful. I think they have cracked the code and this may very well become the platform that people will build new dApps on, as it is more scalable than Ethereum in this way.

No matter your use case, if you are going to participate in Tezos it is wise to store your keys securely. The absolute best solution for securely storing Tezos is to use a hardware wallet.

.When you use a hardware wallet such as the Ledger Nano S, the private keys used to access your tokens never leave the device. Ledger hardware wallet owners can manage their tezzies using the Tezos Wallet application within Ledger Live. With Tezos Wallet, you can:

 

  1. Store your Tezos securely
  2. Transfer Tezos to others via secure transaction
  3. Delegate your Tezos for use in baking and voting

 

This guide provides a step-by-step guide on how to install Tezos Wallet on your Ledger Nano S and create a wallet with three different Tezos wallet providers: Galleon, Magnum Wallet, and TezBox. Although you technically have 3 options to do this, I recommend using TezBox as it’s the easiest one to use in my opinion. The user interface is very easy to use and I highly recommend it for baking.

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

 

To secure Tezos with a Ledger Nano S, you will need:

  • An initialized Ledger Nano S with the latest firmware installed — currently 1.5.5 (as of May 2019)
  • Ledger Live installed on your machine and ready to use

That’s it!

 

How To Store Your Tezos: INSTALLING TEZOS WALLET THROUGH LEDGER LIVE

Image result for tezos ledger live

To install Tezos Wallet on your Ledger Nano S:

  1. Open Manager in Ledger Live using the Manager button in the left sidebar.
  2. Connect your Ledger Nano S and unlock it using your PIN.
  3. Your Ledger Nano S will prompt you to Allow Ledger Manager? To connect, press the right button on your Ledger device.
  4. Find Tezos Wallet in the app catalog, either by searching for ‘Tezos Wallet’ or scrolling through the available apps.
  5. Click Install on Tezos Wallet’s icon to install the application. Your hardware wallet will display Processing… and Ledger Live will show an installation window.This may take up to 1-2 minutes. Successful installation will be confirmed in Ledger Live when complete.

 

CREATING A WALLET

 

Now that you have Tezos Wallet installed on your Ledger Nano S, you are ready to create a wallet. There are several wallet great providers you can use! Below are the steps to get started with three of them: Galleon, Magnum Wallet, and TezBox.

 

GALLEON (LEAST RECOMMENDED)

 

  1. Visit Galleon’s Website, where you can download a version of the wallet for Windows, MacOS, or Linux.
  2. Open Galleon. You’ll be asked to choose a language, and agree to their Terms of Service.
  3. Connect Galleon to your Ledger device. Plug your Ledger device into your computer, enter your PIN, and open Tezos Wallet. Then, select Connect with Ledger in Galleon.
  4. Create Your Wallet. After clicking Connect with Ledger, Galleon will wait for you to confirm this action on your hardware wallet. This is done by clicking the top-right button on your Ledger device with the green checkmark. Your Ledger device’s screen should alternate between Provide Public Key? and the Public Key Hash you will be using to create your wallet in Galleon. Press the right button on your Ledger device to create it!

You’re Done! For more information on how to use Galleon, see their tutorials!

 

MAGNUM WALLET (MODERATELY RECOMMENDED)

 

  1. Visit Magnum Wallet’s Website using a U2F compatible browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Brave. Click Create Wallet to visit their wallet website, where you should click Create a New Wallet to get started.
  2. Create a Password. Magnum Wallet will prompt you to create a password for securing your funds. Once you have entered and confirmed your password, click Next.
  3. Link your Ledger Nano S. After you have created a password, you’ll be brought to Magnum Wallet’s main dashboard, which gives you information of on all the tokens supported. In the top left, click to Link Your Device (outlined in green below).

A modal (pop-up) will appear over the screen with the option to import a wallet. In this case, we want to create a new wallet. Select Create at the top of the modal. Select the token you’d like to create a wallet for (Tezos), that you’d like to Link Hardware Wallet, and that the device you’re using is a Ledger Nano S. Your screen should now look like this:

Click Create to make your wallet!

  1. Verify your address. Now, you’ll be prompted on your Ledger device to Provide Public Key?. You’ll also be shown the Public Key Hash of your wallet. Press the right button on your Ledger Nano S to verify your address and continue.

You’re done! You’ll now be at your wallet’s dashboard within Magnum Wallet, where you can send and receive Tezos or delegate them to a baker!

 

TEZBOX (MOST RECOMMENDED)

 

You can download TezBox for Mac or Windows, use their Chrome Plugin, or use their wallet in the browser! We’ll demonstrate the in-browser application in this guide.

  1. Visit the Tezbox Web Wallet using a U2F (Universal two-factor) compatible browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. Here, you’ll be greeted with the option to create a wallet, restore one, or link TezBox to a hardware wallet. Click Link your TezBox.
  2. Link your Ledger device to TezBox by clicking Link TexBox in the as seen in the user interface below.

how to store your tezos

  1. Verify your address. On your Ledger device, you will be prompted to Provide Public Key? and the screen will also show the Public Key Hash with which you are creating the wallet. Press the right button on your hardware wallet to verify. TezBox will confirm a successful linking after this step.
  2. Create a Password. Next, you’ll be asked to create a password to secure your wallet. Enter and re-enter a password, then choose Encrypt Wallet.

That’s It! After entering a password, you’ll be on your wallet’s page, where you can send and delegate Tezos.

 

CONCLUSION

 

As of the time of this writing, only the Ledger Nano S is the only hardware wallet that supports offline Tezos and not even the Ledger Nano X works at this time. It should be noted that there is no “native” app for Tezos via Ledger Live. What does that mean? It essentially means that you are required to use one of the above 3rd party wallets in order to properly secure your Tezos and manage your balances, send, receive, and the ability to manage baking and delegation.

So why would you go through these steps? Because you control the private keys and that is what is important. When a hardware wallet starts supporting this functionality natively, it will have a huge edge over the competition (I’m looking at you KeepKey). Additionally, there has been an influx of more exchanges getting hacked, with no signs of stopping. It is CRUCIAL, that you always maintain control of your private keys at all times. When you send them to an exchange, you technically do not own them anymore, until they decide to send them back to you.

Bottomline: If you own any Tezos, or plan on acquiring any in the near future, I would strongly recommend that you get a Ledger Nano S. At the time of this writing it is only $59, which is the cheapest hardware wallet of the primary market leaders. Tezos is sure to move it’s way into the top 10 market cap very soon and I expect the price to do something similar to what Ethereum did in 2017.

 

CLICK HERE TO BUY A LEDGER NANO S FROM THEIR OFFICIAL SITE

 

What do you think? Would you keep your Tezos keys on a Hot Wallet? Please let me know below in the comments!

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

ShapeShift’s Brand New Platform – Review (2020)

In this article, I will review Shapeshift’s brand new platform! I’ve always been a fan of ShapeShift, and in fact, Erik Voorhees is one of the inspiring figures that helped get me into the crypto space to begin with, as we share a lot of the same fundamental philosophies on freedom and liberty. That’s why I was thrilled and honored when I was asked to join the private beta to test out the new platform, especially since I have a KeepKey and I use it frequently to manage my crypto on a regular basis.

It did not disappoint.

 

**Keep in mind that this is currently in BETA, and is not finalized in terms of design, complete look and feel, or full functionality**

 

This is a complete overhaul that includes all of their services including: Instant Trades, Real-Time Market Data via CoinCap, In-App Crypto Purchases, and KeepKey Integration. That last part is of particular interest to me because I’ve wanted to find a way to execute purchases and trades while having my KeepKey connected, while ensuring that my private keys are protected throughout the entire process.

This is a very important detail, especially if you want to make purchases online with that extra protection and also ensure that my private keys are never compromised in a trade. This truly is the ultimate non-custodial hardware wallet solution. Here’s a few screenshots and user flows based on my experience using this web app.

When first gaining access to beta.shapeshift.com, you will be asked to register for a trading account (if you haven’t already), so that you can seamlessly use the trade feature in the dashboard when your KeepKey is connected. Second, you will plug in your KeepKey and it will notice you will need a new firmware update to “Pair” your KeepKey to the new platform.

This will require a few steps of plugging in the device and unplugging it a few times to confirm this upgrade. Additionally, it will pull up the random number generator here so you can enter the PIN that is listed on the device screen to sync and authenticate your device and session.

This where the fun begins.

 

Shapeshift Beta

 

(PRO-TIP: You can view all of your transaction history, assets, current prices of assets and contents of your KeepKey WITHOUT having it plugged in. This can provide you a quick snapshot of where everything stands, even if your device is not present)

 

As you can see below, this a very clean, simple, and easy to user interface. You have all the key information at a glance that you need to manage your portfolio. It show’s your asset allocations, any losses or gains of your combined assets in real time, and the most recent transaction history below the chart. In the top right, it will show if your device is synced and connected, and will show your current fiat value of each individual asset if you drill down, or the combined asset value as a whole. At a glance, this is the information most people need to decide what action they need to take next.

 

ASSETS

The assets you see here are just a handful of the assets that are supported. If you would like to see the full asset support list, click here. At the top, you will see the 2 assets I have been using to test this software in order from the most USD value, to the least on my KeepKey at the time. The assets that you see below that are greyed out will show you what’s supported and available for you to receive on your KeepKey when ready. Each asset breaks down the charts over time in terms of price and you have a toggle view with the balance. Pretty slick.

 

TRADE

The trade feature is super easy to use and automatically calculates any minimums or fees needed in order to execute a trade, almost instantly. One thing I will point out is that some assets that are supported on the KeepKey itself, may not be available to trade via the ShapeShift platform, like SPANK for example.

If your particular coin is not showing in the drop down menu when swapping assets, it simply means it’s not supported on the ShapeShift trade engine. Another key feature is that all trades are executed on the KeepKey device directly, so you don’t have to risk exposing your private keys while they are in transit. This is a mix of the classic ShapeShift trade engine, but is simplified and integrates with your hardware wallet very seamlessly.

 

PURCHASE

This is done via a new feature they have been testing out with a button “Buy Crypto $” at the top, next to “Send” and “Receive”. This is facilitated through Wyre, which is a 3rd party platform that you can purchase crypto with your bank account or credit card. I have not tried this feature yet, but I plan to shortly. This is just another great design decision where you have a platform with both on and off-ramp needed for users or all levels.

As you can see in the screenshot, you can buy Bitcoin, Ether, or DAI to get started and you will have an array of options to trade with directly on the platform once you’ve completed this process. Now, you can easily receive any amount of crypto with any of the supported assets on this list directly to your KeepKey (or without) that you have at another address. You also can receive any amount to the platform and once you connect the KeepKey, your private keys will automatically be transferred onto your device, and will update the dashboard when it syncs.

One thing that really makes this trading platform special is the fact that you are not restricted to trading pairs. for instance, when you are wanting to trade multiple coins and you’re on Binance for example, you need to first get BTC, then from there you can trade into any altcoin they support. Here, if you have a supported coin, you can directly swap it for another and not have to default back to BTC in order to pull the trigger. That’s a game changer for me.

 

STABLE COINS (EASTER EGG)

shapeshift

This was a pleasant surprise to find that assets are able to be converted into various stable coins directly in the system. This is especially helpful if you are trying to lock in profits on a recent trade and have it stand idle until you either decide to invest your profits into another asset or simply wait for another trade.

Unlike the Ledger Nano S that only lets you hold a handful of apps on your device at one time, this allows you to have any assets private keys on a single device at any given time. As seen above, they also feature DAI (Ethereum’s Stable Coin) as well that is a very welcome addition to the stable coin list.

Below are some caveats and things that will hopefully be added over time. I am already thrilled by how my beta experience has been so far and I know that it will only continue to get better and better.

 

[One Caveat: You cannot complete any trades unless your device is there to sign and confirm the transaction.]

 

WISH LIST:

  • It would be nice to facilitate a trade from the ShapeShift mobile app to lock in a trade price on the go and then sync the private keys when I logged in via the web app
  • Support multiple browsers: Currently the WebUSB function in the beta only supports Chrome as a browser. I hope they widen this to Firefox (No pun intended), and hopefully Brave soon. I understand they do not currently support WebUSB yet, but the request has been put in.
  • Allow me to view my balance with “Satoshis” instead of fiat. At very least you should be able to toggle between the denominations and should support us looking at pricing in those terms.
  • The ability to label certain accounts on transactions. For instance, if I receive a transaction from another exchange or wallet to my KeepKey as in coming transaction, it would be nice to customize and label the transaction for my records. (i.e. savings/day-to-day spending/groceries, etc….)

At this point, these are just nice-to-have’s and with that said, this is just the first iteration of the beta. I am sure there are many new features and integrations planned for the future to make this even better, but that takes time and developer resources to properly implement them.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE KEEPKEY DIRECTLY FROM SHAPESHIFT!

 

CONCLUSION:

 

I don’t think I’ve been this excited when using my hardware wallet, since I first discovered them in 2016. There is no doubt that I have a new favorite user experience and I plan on helping improve this process in any way that I can to help inform people the best and easiest way to manage their portfolio and private keys.

 

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE ACCESS TO THE NEW SHAPESHIFT

 

You will be BLOWN away.

 

(PRO-TIP: Once you sign up via my link, you will get your own referral link. If you refer 5 people via your link and they sign up for a ShapeShift account, you will be given a code for a FREE KeepKey, in case you don’t already have one.)

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

KeepKey Vs. Trezor Vs. Ledger: Which One Should I Buy? (2020)

In this review, I will go over all 3 primary hardware wallets and see the show down of KeepKey Vs. Trezor Vs. Ledger. People always ask me when they realize they need to start taking their private key security seriously is “Which hardware wallet should I buy?“ This questions has been presented to me hundreds, if not thousands of time, and there is no one real “clear” answer.

It ultimately depends on which coins you want to store and how you want to access them. Do you plan on trading your coins often? Are you simply just trying to “buy and hold” for several months and several years, like a set and forget situation? Are you planning on using the wallet to “bake” or use to contribute to the blockchain on proof-of-stake (POS) networks?

While these are all valid questions, I personally have all 3 wallets and use them regularly. Why? Well, aside from being in the industry, and needing to stay up to date on these devices and their features and capabilities, the main reason is to diversify. What do I mean by this?

Well, if you have (or plan to have) significant holdings, it is smart not to have all of your coins or private keys on one wallet, just in case. Now I’ve created a free e-book that explains how to avoid this which you can get for free HERE, but ultimately if you are in the market for a wallet for the first time, I will tell you the wallet I like to use the best right now in May of 2019.

 

KeepKey VS. Trezor VS. Ledger

 

Stay tuned below for the final result, but I go over some pros and cons of each device below. They all are very secure and safe to use, but it really just comes down to preference and really how often you decide to interact with the device. Let’s get right to it!

 

#1 TREZOR

There are two versions of Trezor: Trezor One and Trezor Model T. The former is the entry level device that came out 2013 and has since received regular firmware upgrades enhancing it’s security and adding new software support for native and 3rd party applications for new coins. In 2018, they released their 2nd-gen product called the “Model T“.

The latter is a larger device with touch screen and is operated by a “Beta” wallet that supports over 1,000 coins between it’s native applications and 3rd party integration. Most recently, they added NATIVE support (which is a huge upgrade in my opinion) for Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). This means it is connected to its unique application that was custom designed by Trezor to manage your ETH accounts directly in the app. Previously, any ETH or ERC-20 based token required to use a 3rd party wallet, which was annoying and cumbersome.

I understand there is a lot of development work that goes into creating and managing any native app, but Ledger and Trezor already had native support for this, (as they should) considering it’s been in the top 3 coins by market cap consistently for years.

Trezor Model T however, is a massive upgrade and adds not only native support for multiple coins, but has added security in the form of a PIN entered in on the touch screen of the device instead of the web app used on the web application. This upgraded device was used for several new features including a password manager and multiple additional security options and ease of use for recovery options on the device itself. Very powerful.  Below is the overall feeling I have about the device(s) and the overall team behind them. 3 best cryptocurrency cold storage solutions

Bottomline: They have upgraded some basic functionality, which is good, and to their credit they have added support for some coins that really need it, such as Monero and Tether. This is of course when their team collaborates and helps build a supported wallet to tie into their code base. They have been building a foundation for the future and that is going to work in their favor as soon as each coin’s respective development team decides to catch up.

 

Newest Notable Coins Added:

-Binance Coin (BNB)    

-Monero (XMR)

-Cardano (ADA)

-Ravencoin (RVN)

-Tether (USDT) *Stable coin*

 

 

#2 KEEPKEY

keepkey

Keepkey has always been a favorite of mine, as it’s a solid design and very sleek and stable frame that just feels good when you hold it in your hands. Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty. For years, Keepkey only supported: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Namecoin, Dogecoin, and Dash.

For a hardware wallet that needs to compete in this market place, that needed a serious upgrade. Luckily, they have been making some AMAZING changes and not only added a ton of ERC-20 Support, but more importantly, they are revamping their entire platform to have one fluid, seamless application that integrates all of their core services (See my previous post for details on this).

This is extremely powerful, and a decision that I believe will catapult them ahead of the competition. They are currently in a closed beta, and it is expected that they will be releasing this later in 2019. Stay tuned for news on this.

Bottomline: Keep an eye out for the newest upgrades and the new platform that is coming soon. I hope to gain access to the private beta soon, and if given access, I will ask permission to write a review for your guys. *UPDATE* I have gained access to the beta and have tested it thoroughly, please see below.

 

Newest Notable Coins Added:

-Basic Attention Token (BAT)

-DigixDAO (DGD)

-Augur (REP)

-Polymath (POLY)

-TrueUSD (TUSD) *Stable coin*

 

#3 LEDGER

Ledger is considered “The most recommended hardware wallet” on the market. The simple reason for this is because it’s cheap (low barrier to entry) and they have been working on upgrading their infrastructure and recently released Ledger Live, which is their new desktop (and iOS) application for managing all of your coins. This is much better than their previous solution of using a chrome extension to access the UI, but Ledger Live is not without it’s quirks.

Overall, the UI is pretty clean and is pretty straight forward in terms of first time setup and detects your device when it’s plugged into the USB port and asks you to authenticate to view the app. The one thing most people don’t understand is the Ledger Nano S has very little RAM, so even though they advertise that it supports over 1,100 coins, you can only have approximately 3 or 4 coin apps installed at once on your device.

You will want to make sure you choose your coins wisely and perhaps get multiple devices if you want to diversify and/or use a 3rd party wallet as mentioned above to manage more coins on the same device.

This however, does not apply to the new Ledger Nano X. In addition to the new design and being able to manage this wirelessly via bluetooth, you can manage your coins anywhere on an iPhone or Android effortlessly. You also can support up to 10x the amount of apps or “coins” to be supported on the same device at once. This is huge if you want to diversify and be able to hold more than 3 or 4 at a time. The device is approximately $119 right now and it should be available to the public within the next 7 days. Very exciting.

Bottomline: It’s not perfect, but it has made some good improvements over the last year and is continually updating it’s coin support. I will list below some of the coins that are supported on Ledger currently that are not yet available on other platforms, which brings it’s edge.

I will say the best advantage (for me, anyways) that Ledger has going for itself right now is the fact you can “bake” Tezos on your hardware wallet directly, and no other hardware wallet on the market currently supports that. As a firm believer in that project and the fact I can participate in the network, while keeping my private keys offline is a HUGE plus.

 

Newest Notable Coins Added:

-Ripple (XRP)

-EOS (EOS)    

-Tezos (XTZ)

-QTUM (QTUM)

-USD Coin (USDC) *Stable coin*

 

KEEPKEY VS. TREZOR VS. LEDGER CONCLUSION: WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU BUY?

 

As I mentioned above, there is no definitive “correct” answer, as each person’s needs may differ. Now that I have that disclaimer out of the way, I will provide my personal recommendation if you are a first time hardware wallet buyer and you only need one to start out with. I will say this was NOT an easy decision, but here is what I would recommend to my mother or personal friend who is looking to secure their cryptocurrency in an easy to use way. I would recommend getting a KEEPKEY. KeepKey Vs. Trezor Vs. Ledger

Why is this my answer? Well, as I updated above, I was invited to participate in their private beta (In depth review on that coming shortly) and I was blown away. ShapeShift (the company that bought KeepKey) has revamped their entire interface. This is extremely noteworthy because before, you had to download multiple applications, and chrome extensions to manage your private keys and it was not the best user experience. This has all changed.

Their new platform that will be coming out very soon and is by far the easiest to use and best hardware wallet experience I have seen yet. Not only can you easily trade coins while keeping your private keys on the device the entire time, managing your portfolio has never been easier. At the time of this writing, it is only $79, and while it is not the cheapest device, it is certainly the highest quality, and best user experience I have seen yet on their new platform.

As far I know, they have plenty of new coins and features in the pipeline, and it is so easy to use, even my grandma could use it and wouldn’t have to explain much. It really is the first plug and play hardware wallet experience I have used (and I’ve used them all). Again, it’s hard to give visualization of my experience, but with my upcoming review, you will see some screenshots and see what I’m talking about.

Overall, it has proven to be the easiest way (so far) to manage my funds safely, and the ONLY way to trade assets without handing my private keys over to an exchange or any other type of wallet or custodian. I highly recommend this hardware wallet if you are making your first purchase and trust me, you won’t regret it.

 

CLICK HERE TO BUY THE KEEPKEY HARDWARE WALLET DIRECTLY FROM THEIR WEBSITE!

 

What do you think? Would you have chosen something different? Please let me know below in the comments!

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

Nordstrom And Whole Foods To Accept Cryptocurrency Payments Directly

Nordstrom

Nordstrom and Whole Foods to accept cryptocurrency payments directly. It has come.  The first big announcement coming from Consensus this week in New York, and it’s a big one. One of the newest payment processors called Flexa has launched and is partnered with Gemini, which is a large bitcoin exchange based out of New York and is underpinned by it’s own ERC-20 token called Flexacoin. 

How does it work? You pay for your items using Flexa’s app, Spedn, which generates a QR code that you scan at the checkout register. The merchant receives immediate payment in dollars, and the equivalent amount of cryptocurrency is debited from your cryptocurrency wallet in the Spedn app.

Whole Foods, which is owned by the e-commerce behemoth, is now accepting bitcoin as a payment method. The mind-blowing development was made possible thanks to a deal between payments startup Flexa and Gemini, the latter of which is the crypto exchange launched by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.

Users only need to download an app dubbed Spedn and can make everyday purchases using cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ether, Bitcoin Cash, and Gemini Dollar (GUSD). Considering that GUSD is the stablecoin of the Winklevoss’ Gemini exchange, it’s not surprising that it’s being supported as well. GUSD should will introduce some stability into crypto payments given its peg to the U.S. dollar and the volatile nature of the bitcoin price. As crypto investors have come to expect, there are no hidden fees or markups, so consumers will be incentivized to use the app.

Everyone knows that Nordstrom and Whole Foods customers are already “being green” given that the grocery no longer uses plastic bags. Wait till shoppers outside of the crypto community learn about bitcoin.

 

AMAZON’S MARKETPLACE COULD BE NEXT

Earlier this week, it was rumored that Amazon’s competitor eBay would stop using paypal and start accepting crypto payment directly on the site, and will facilitate payouts to sellers via that method as well. This is a key move as this is a large eCommerce retailer that does millions of transactions each month have found a way to implement a safer, faster, and cheaper payment system.

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have been mum about this secret but now that it’s out of the bag, there’s nothing stopping wide-scale adoption of bitcoin.

The Flexa/Gemini/retailer partnerships are really a reflection of the best of both worlds. The technology builds on existing payments infrastructure that’s used to accept digital payments such as Apple Pay, for instance. All the retailers must do is tweak their scanners to identify payments from the Spedn app. Customers are already familiar with tap-and-go with their mobile device, so there’s nothing new for them to do. There are no additional hoops for the cashier to jump through that might slow down the line. As for the merchant, they can either accept to take the payment in crypto or convert it into fiat money.

For the crypto ecosystem, the announcement is what everyone has been waiting for. It means that if Whole Foods can accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, theoretically Amazon’s entire marketplace can integrate the infrastructure to do the same, seemingly with Flexa. In the U.S., Amazon Prime customers reportedly dole out an average of $1,300 per year on the e-commerce marketplace vs. $700 for non-members.

In addition to Whole Foods, the initiative extends to other merchants including Crate and Barrel and high-end retailer Nordstrom. The Flexa network is comprised of more than 30,000 stores and finally thrusting crypto into the spotlight for micro-purchases such as a cup of coffee, pizza, or electronics.

WHY THIS IS GOOD AND BAD

 

This will require people becoming aware of this change. This is amazing news, but there is always a learning curve when people start to adopt a new method of payment. People have been using only cash and credit card essentially for the last 60 years and it will take a an older generation and a newer generation to find ways to change their spending habits. That is the Bad.

Here is the good. With new innovation, comes new possibilities. Why would merchants want to start accepting crypto? First off, there are no chargebacks. It was reported that merchants can be charged upwards of $300 per chargeback when accepting credit cards. With cryptocurrency, the charges are irreversible. That’s not to say that you will not be dealing with customer service and/or returns in your business, but this is a HUGE advantage for no longer having to deal with credit card disputes.

Additionally, the fees to accept credit cards are typically anywhere from 2-5% per transaction, plus a $0.39 cent fee each time you accept a credit card. That’s absurd. As more and more awareness of this alternative, mixed with consumer confidence and adoption of spending cryptocurrencies on a consistent basis, the credit card companies and banks will hopefully soon be a thing of the past. Soon, it will almost be as antiquated as paying with a check.

 

THERE IS STILL A BETTER ALTERNATIVE TO THIS!

 

What if you could EARN cryptocurrency by shopping at these stores already? You can. I recently wrote an article on the new Life Info App that allows you to connect your bank account or credit card and use a shopping app that essentially allows you to create an instant electronic gift card, and save anywhere from 2-10% off on any purchase you make at thousands of retailers (including Nordstrom and Whole Foods).

How does this work? When you download the free app, you can use online or in person purchases on thousands of stores and brands and save on each purchase. The money that you save on each transaction is accumulated in the wallet and can be converted directly into Bitcoin! You can also convert it into several other altcoins that are supported by Coinbase as that is how you convert your savings directly.

This is a GREAT way to dip your toe into the cryptocurrency world, WHILE saving money at these stores you are already spending money at anyways, you may as well get free Bitcoin to do so.

If you refer to my review link I mentioned above, there are some demo videos that explain the entire process and it’s super easy to use. To me, this is a great bridge to get people familiar with the process. Additionally, you can then send your newly acquired bitcoin to the Spedn app, if you so choose. Please use my link here to get your free download and check it out.

 

***GET YOUR FREE LIFE INFO APP DOWNLOAD HERE***

 

Conclusion

 

All in all, this is very positive news for the cryptocurrency world, and this is a large first step in bringing the utility of cryptocurrency into the real world and offering people a BETTER alternative to our failed legacy financial system. Any tool that helps people transition from the inflationary dollar to the sound hard money of bitcoin, is something I support. The easier it becomes and the lower the barrier to entry is, we will begin to see MASSIVE droves of people start to transition from fiat to crypto. 

 

What do you think? Is there a better way for us to start gaining mass adoption and utility for crypto payments? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

How To Invest In And Trade Cryptocurrencies (Beginner’s Guide)

In this article, I will go over how to invest in and trade cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency is a hot topic these days, especially with volume and steam picking on on price this week picking up over $7,000 per bitcoin. How many times have we heard stories of people becoming overnight millionaires and, at the same time, stories of people who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars hoping to make a quick buck?

So, if you are looking to invest in crypto in a safe manner, then this guide is for you. The purpose of this guide is to help educate individuals as much as possible and to reduce speculation in the market.

 

HOW TO INVEST IN CRYPTOCURRENCIES BASICS:

 

The very fact that you are reading this guide shows us that you are interested in investing in cryptocurrencies. These immutable and exchangeable cryptographic token promise to become a hard and non-manipulatable money for the whole world. Their advocates see a future in which Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies will substitute Euro, Dollar and so on and create the first free and hard world currency.

Besides what was already said, there are three major good reasons to invest in cryptocurrencies.

First, because you want to hedge your net-worth against the fall of the Dollar, which is assumed by many people to inevitably happen at some time. Second, because you support the social vision behind cryptocurrencies – that of a free and hard money for the whole world. Third, because you understand and like the technology behind it.

However, there are also very bad reasons to invest in cryptocurrencies. Many people fall victim to the hype surrounding every cryptocurrency-bubble. There is always somebody captured by FOMO (fear of missing out), buying massively in at the peak of a bubble, just in hope to make quick money, while not understanding cryptocurrencies at all. That’s a bad reason. Don’t do this. Learn before you invest. Early stage investors in Bitcoin and Ethereum made millions of dollars in pure profits.

In a one-year time span from December 2016 to December 2017, Bitcoin went from $750 to a staggering $20,000! This means that anybody who invested $10,000 in December 2016, would get back a mind-numbing $133,333 in exactly 365 days. In fact, the total market cap of cryptocurrencies went all the way u pto an astounding $500 billion (half a trillion) by end of 2017.

Stories like that flooded the internet and more and more people joined the crypto hype to get a slice of that crypto pie. However, as more and more speculators flooded the market, the inevitable happened.

The market took a huge dip.

With Bitcoin taking a dip, all the other currencies took a dip, and lots of people lost their entire life savings.

In this guide, we are going to show you how you can educate yourself to make an intelligent investment. Having said that, let’s start with our first lesson.

 

BE OK WITH TAKING RISKS

 

Because the volatility of cryptocurrencies  exceeds that of any other investment class, they are not a normal investment. Plus, there is always the risk that your country may outlaw cryptocurrency trading and exchange. If that’s the case, then you should make your peace with not liquidating your crypto assets, or hold them on a hardware wallet until you can use them for transactions.

So, the important takeaway here is to only risk as much money as you can afford. Like Wence Casares, CEO of Xapo, sums it up in an AMA on bitcoin.com:

“I always tell them [my family] that the second most stupid thing they could do right now is to own an amount of bitcoins they cannot afford to lose and the most stupid thing they could do would be to not own any. “

 

DON’T FORGET: THERE ARE OTHER COINS

 

Up until late 2016 Bitcoin was the cryptocurrency, and there was not much besides it. If you wanted to invest in the success of cryptocurrencies, you bought Bitcoin. Period. Other cryptocurrencies – called “Altcoins” – have just been penny stocks on shady online-markets, mostly used to keep miner’s GPUs working, pump the price and dump the coins.

However, this has changed. While Bitcoin is still the dominant cryptocurrency, in 2017 it’s share of the whole crypto-market rapidly fell from 90 to around 40 percent, and it sits around 50% as of September 2018.

There are several reasons for that. While Bitcoin remains the undisputed king of cryptocurrencies, many people have questioned its future utility. Firstly, there were new and exciting cryptocurrencies coming out secondly, Bitcoin was suffering from severe performance issues and it looked like the Bitcoin community were nowhere near to solving this problem. The block-size issue, in particular, was a huge bone of contention in the community, which ultimately led to the creation of bitcoin cash and the splitting up of the community.

So, the question is, what coins can you potentially invest in?

Well, for that you will go to coinmarketcap.com.

This website lists down cryptocurrencies in decreasing order of market cap. Market cap means the value of all token available. It is not a perfect metric, but likely the best we have to recognize the value of a cryptocurrency.

This is the reason why coinmarketcap is a useful tool to have in your hand.

 

WHAT IS THE UTILITY THAT THE COIN IS BRINGING INTO THE SYSTEM? DOES IT “NEED” TO EXIST?

 

So, you have gone through the market caps and decided on the bunch of coins that you wanted to invest in? Awesome job. However, this is where the real work begins.

The first thing that you need to do is to read their whitepapers. Now, we understand that reading PDFs may not be the most exciting of things, however, you absolutely have to put in the work beforehand before you reap any sort of benefits.

Reading the whitepaper itself will give you two tremendous benefits:

  • Firstly, you will be more knowledgeable about the coin itself and learn about the utility that it is bringing into the ecosystem.
  • Secondly, a poorly written whitepaper is often a good sign of knowing whether a project is worth investing or not. If the team itself can’t simply explain the true utility of their token, then it is probably not worth investing into.

A white paper is the bread and butter of any and all ICOs. According to Wikipedia. “A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body’s philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.” how to invest in and trade cryptocurrencies

In simpler terms, a white paper can tell potential investors everything they need to know about the project. This is the reason why an ICO which doesn’t have a whitepaper should simply be looked over.

Another thing that most ICOs realize is that majority investors simply won’t bother to read through the whitepaper. This is the reason why they simply outsource their whitepapers to cheap freelance writers who end up creating proper works of art. “Art” is being used extremely liberally here of course. Checkout this gem of a whitepaper by “Arbitrage Crypto Trader”.

Here is an extract from the whitepaper:

“However, the arbitration did not die definitively. He again in favor, thanks to the appearance of cryptocurrency. All of us see that right now quotations bitkoyna on different stock exchanges differ from each other by 1-5%. And for some of the Altocums, the difference can sometimes be as high as 50%.”

It’s ok, don’t bother making sense of it.

A well-crafted whitepaper can define a generation. Just look at what Bitcoin’s whitepaper has done to this era. An ICO which doesn’t bother putting in any effort shouldn’t be given any attention.

Having said that, after you read a decently written whitepaper, there are some decisions that you will need to make.

 

1ST CHECK: THE VALUE THAT THE PROJECT IS BRINGING IN

 

Firstly, check the project to see whether the coin is bringing in any real utility into the ecosystem. The perfect example of this is Ethereum. There is a reason why it took of so fast, think of the sheer value that it was bringing in. For the first time, developers around the world had a platform which they could use to build their own dapps on a blockchain.

Along with that, keep in mind of the issues that cryptoworld is desperately looking to solve, mainly: privacy, scalability, and interoperability. A good way to go about your investing is to find the projects which are specifically working on solving the aforementioned problems. Here are some of the projects that are looking to solve each of the three aforementioned problems:

 

2ND CHECK: DOES THE PROJECT NEED TOKENS?

 

So, how do you make sure that you are getting good quality tokens?

You inspect the project and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this project need to be on the blockchain?
  • Does this project need to have tokens?

If the answer for any of those happens to be “No”, then those projects don’t need a token and those projects are doing an ICO simply to raise money. There is a way to find out the true utility of the token.

 

DEEP DIVE: WHAT ROLES THAT A TOKEN CAN TAKE UP:

 

Right

By taking possession of a particular token, the holder gets a certain amount of rights within the ecosystem. Eg. by having DAO coins in your possession, you could have had voting rights inside the DAO to decide which projects get funding and which don’t.

Value Exchange

The tokens create an internal economic system within the confines of the project itself. The tokens can help the buyers and sellers trade value within the ecosystem. This helps people gain rewards upon completion of particular tasks. This creation and maintenance of individual, internal economies are one of the most important tasks of Tokens.

Toll

It can also act as a toll gateway in order for you to use certain functionalities of a particular system. Eg. in Golem, you need to have GNT (golem tokens) to gain access to the benefits of the Golem supercomputer.

Function

The token can also enable the holders to enrich the user experience inside the confines of the particular environment. Eg. In Brave (a web browser), holders of BAT (tokens used in Brave) will get the rights to enrich customer experience by using their tokens to add advertisements or other attention based services on the Brave platform.

Currency

Can be used as a store of value which can be used to conduct transactions both inside and outside the given ecosystem.

Earnings

Helps in an equitable distribution of profits or other related financial benefits among investors in a particular project.

So, how does this all help in token utility?

If you want to maximize the amount of utility that your token can provide then you need to tick off more than one of these properties. The more properties you can tick off, the more utility and value your token brings into your ecosystem. If the role of your tokens cannot be clearly explained, or if it doesn’t really tick off more than one of the roles given above, then your token doesn’t have any utility and you can do without it.

Now, why shouldn’t you take useless tokens with little to no utility?

For that, we need to understand the concept of token velocity. Token velocity is an indication of how much people respect the value of that particular token. If people hold on to a token, then it has low velocity. However, if people quickly sell that token for BTC, ETH, or Fiat then that token has high velocity.

If you were to define Token Velocity in strictly mathematical terms, then it would look like this:

Token Velocity = Total Transactional Volume / Average Network Value.

If we were to flip the formula then:

Average Network Value = Total Transactional Volume / Token Velocity.

Now, that leads to two conclusions:

  • More the token velocity, less the average network value.
  • More the transactional volume, more the token velocity.

This is the reason why, you should work for a project whose tokens actually have some utility and gives their users a reason to hold on to them.

Alright, so now that you know what kinds of coins you should invest in, we will now teach you how to look for obvious signs of scams.

 

LOOK OUT FOR OBVIOUS SCAMS

Good coins have a transparent technical vision, an active development team, and a vivid, enthusiastic community. Bad coins are in transparent, promote fuzzy technical advantages without explaining how to reach them, and have a community which is mostly focused on getting rich quick. Maybe the worst kind of cryptocurrencies are the MLM coins, for example, Bitconnect. We will talk more about Bitconnect in a bit. However, what are some of the more obvious signs of scams?

 

#1 THE TEAM

 

It really goes without saying that the success of a project is directly related to the credibility of the team. Let’s put it like this, if you are investing your money into a company, wouldn’t you want to know that the company is in good hands and that your money is going to be appreciated considerably?

Let’s look at one of the most successful projects of all time, OmiseGO. Not only do they have an incredible team, they also count people like Vitalik Buterin and Lightning Network Creator Joseph Poon among their advisors as well. So it is no wonder that they had no trouble getting their funds and their investors are now enjoying a healthy return as well.

Obviously, most of the time it won’t be this obvious to know whether the team is actually garbage or not. In cases like that, you should adopt a more hands on approach.

First, search for the names of the team members on Google. Most of the time they should have a LinkedIn profile. Do a quick search and learn more about the team members. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have they been involved in any successful ICO venture before?
  • Have they been involved in a well-reputed company (Google, Deloitte, etc.)?
  • Have they been recommended or endorsed by well known people?

It doesn’t matter if you come across as stalkerish. You must put in this work so that you don’t end up wasting your time and resources later.

Secondly, you should search for the images of the team members on Google. The reasons for this, is again, twofold.

  • Firstly, you want to make sure that you are not getting “catfished”. Meaning, they are not putting up photos of random celebrities or stock photos on their team site.
  • Secondly, the person maybe using the same photo on different websites and projects. So it will give you a good idea about whether the person actually exists or not and, if they do, what the are involved with.

 

#2 PYRAMID SCHEME RESEMBLANCE

According to Wikipedia, “A pyramid scheme (commonly known as pyramid scams) is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services. As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes quickly impossible, and most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal.”

An ICO that promises “guaranteed returns” on their investment is a scam. Any crypto investor worth their salt will tell you that will tell you that there are no guarantees in the crypto world.

One of the most infamous examples of this is Bitconnect. Let’s take a look at their website and promises.

If you see anything like that in a website, then don’t bother taking any of their bounties. Simple as that.

You don’t want to end up with tokens like these:

 

#3 INACTIVE GITHUB REPOSITORY

 

An active GitHub repository is a good indicator to show how seriously development has been going on in the project.

 

BUYING BITCOIN…WITHOUT BUYING THEM

While some years ago it was a real Odyssey to buy cryptocurrencies, today you have a full scope of options.

Let’s begin with buying Bitcoin. That’s the easiest part. Some people want to invest in Bitcoin without having the trouble of storing them.

All these investment products have in common that they enable investors to bet on Bitcoin’s price without actually buying Bitcoin. While most cryptocurrency-fans think that this takes away the whole fun and sense of it, for many people it is the easiest way to invest in Bitcoin’s success. You can use the investment channels you already are used to, and if something goes wrong, you have your certificate and someone to take to the court.

Currently, no such investment product exists which covers more cryptocurrencies. But there are some in progress, both in the USA and in Europe.

 

BUYING CRYPTOCURRENCIES: THE TWO KINDS OF EXCHANGES

 

The exchange serves one of the most critical functions in the crypto ecosystem. It basically acts as a portal between the Fiat world and the crypto world. There are usually two types of exchanges:

  • Fiat to Crypto.
  • Crypto to Crypto.

 

FIAT TO CRYPTO

Fiat to Crypto exchanges helps you buy Cryptocurrencies in exchange for Fiat money. Coinbase is a perfect example of this kind of exchange. Coinbase helps you buy BTC, BCH, LTC, and ETH in exchange for Fiat currency.

 

CRYPTO TO CRYPTO

 

Then we have the Crypto to Crypto exchanges. These exchanges help you exchange certain cryptos like BTC, ETH, BCH etc. for other cryptocurrencies. Binance is a fine example of a crypto-to-crypto exchange.

While they do offer pretty valuable services, the problem is that they are all centralized, which makes them vulnerable. This is an extremely risky proposition when you consider the sheer amount of money that these exchanges deal with each and every single day.

When it comes to buying crypto from these exchange themselves, it is really not that complicated.

  • First, open up an account at the exchange
  • You then verify your identity – this is required due to Anti-Money-Laundering (AML”) rules in most jurisdictions
  • Fund your account with Dollar or Euro or whatever paper money you use. On some exchanges, like Bitcoin.de, you don’t need to fund your account, but trade directly with other users.

The question, what exchange to use depends mostly where you live. It’s alway better to use an exchange physically close to you. If it is located in the same jurisdiction like you, you have the best chances to get money legally back if some bad things happen. If no exchange is located in your jurisdiction, it is better to use exchanges based in stable countries with a good legal system.

Another factor to decide which exchange you use is some coins you want to buy and your patience. If you want to acquire large sums of Bitcoins quickly, you need to use one of the major exchanges which provide enough liquidity. If you only want to buy small amounts of coins and if you are not in a hurry, you can try to buy them on small exchanges. If your order gets filled, you most likely will get better prices than on big exchanges. Check out the best crypto exchange.

 

IS THERE A GOOD TIME TO BUY?

There is no general rule when to buy cryptocurrencies. Usually it is not a good idea to buy in at the peak of a bubble, and usually, it is also not a good idea to buy it when it is crashing. Never catch a falling knife, as the trader’s wisdom says. Best time might be when the price is stable at a relatively low level.

The art of trading is to decide when a crypto is in bubble mode and when it reached the bottom after falling. What is easy to say in retrospective is a hard question in the present, which can never be answered with absolute certainty. Sometimes a coin starts to raise, and after it passes a mark, where everybody thinks this must be the peak of a bubble, the real rally just begins.

For example, many people did not buy Bitcoin at $1,000 or Ether at $100, because it seemed to be crazily expensive. But some month later these prices appear to have been a good moment to start.

There is only two advice about timing we can give. First, don’t compare crypto bubbles with traditional financial bubbles. 10 percent up is not a bubble but can be daily volatility. 100 percent up can be a bubble, but often it is just the start of it. 1,000 percent might be a bubble usually, but there is no guarantee that it pops.

Second, take some time to watch. Don’t buy in, because there was a dip. There might be another. And don’t buy in, because you fear that it will explode tomorrow. Watch it, get yourself informed, buy it, when you think the timing is good. And, maybe most important: don’t be a weak hand. Don’t sell too early. Hold. The monetary revolution has just started.

 

HOW TO STORE CRYPTOCURRENCIES?

Alright, so you bought your cryptocurrencies, where exactly should you store them? Well first and foremost…

Keep them off the Exchange!

There is absolutely no way that you should keep your coins in an exchange. There is a long history of hacks and bankruptcies in cryptocurrency markets, most famous the hack of Mt. Gox, which sucked up hundreds of millions of customer’s Dollars.

You need a hardware wallet. You can get one buy going to the top of the page under “Crypto Hardware Wallets” and see what we recommend in the drop down menu.

 

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH TAXES?

 

Disclaimer: We are no tax bureau nor tax consultants. If you have issues with taxes, and if large sums are at stake, you better ask your local tax consultant.

Right now there are only a few tax consultants who know how to deal with cryptocurrencies. But it can be safely assumed that the number is growing quickly and that cryptocurrencies will soon be a standard issue for tax experts like securities, shares, ETFs and real estates are.

All we can provide here is an overview of the typical issues with cryptocurrencies and taxes..

 

No Free Lunch

 

Nothing is for sure, except death and taxes. The same goes on with cryptocurrencies. If you earn money by investing in cryptocurrencies, you likely have to pay taxes. Like it is with everything else.

How you need to tax cryptocurrency investment returns is up to your national tax jurisdiction.

 

The Good News …

 

There is some good news about the topic of cryptocurrencies and taxes. First, in nearly every country of the world cryptocurrencies are VAT exempt. Like with every financial product you don’t need to pay VAT when selling Bitcoin. There have been some ideas of tax authorities in Poland, Estonia, Germany, Australia and Sweden to demand VAT on crypto sales, but after the European Court smashed this down in an important decision, VAT for Bitcoins seems to have become a non-topic.

Another good news is that in some jurisdictions you have to pay nearly no taxes. Amazingly Germany, a country usually known for very high tax rates, has become a tax haven for cryptocurrencies. Like the USA and many other countries, Germany considers Bitcoin not a financial product, but a property. This means that if you earn money by trading it, you don’t pay a flat tax for financial income – which is 25 percent, for example for bank account interest – but you have to tax the profit of buying and selling cryptocurrencies like income.

It’s more as you sold your house than a security.

You bought 10 Bitcoins for 1,000 Euro and sold them for 2,000? Your taxable income increased by 10,000 Euro.

You bought one bitcoin for 100 Euro and ordered a 10-Euro-pizza when the price was 1,000 Euro? Your income increased by 9 Euro. In most cases, the tax rate for this is higher than for financial gains.

However, there is a loophole. If you hold your coins for more than 1 year, you don’t need to pay taxes at all when you sell it. This rule was added to dis-incentivize day trading of other properties and stabilize prices by incentivizing holders. For cryptocurrencies it made Germany, and also the Netherlands, which apply the same rules, to tax havens. Some countries might have similar rules. In doubt, your tax advisor can help you out.

One problem the one year rule poses is that you need to prove that you hold the crypto for this timeframe. Usually, exchanges can help you with prints of your trade history. Also, you can use the public blockchain as a proof of storage. In most cryptocurrencies, it is transparent when coins are received and spent by a particular address. But not in all. For example, Monero uses Ring Signatures and Confidential Transactions, which are great tools to maintain anonymity. But the downside is that they make it more or less impossible to prove that you hold coins more than one year. Maybe you take this into account when selecting coins for your portfolio.

 

The Bad News …

.

If you use a good exchange and keep track of your trades, taxing Bitcoin is possible, but also a pain in the ass. You need to calculate every single profit, not just from trading, but also from using Bitcoins to pay for things.

But that’s just the beginning. Things become really a complicated nightmare if it comes to Altcoins. For the tax authorities, an Altcoin counts like Bitcoin. In most countries, this means it is not a financial product, but a property. If you buy it with Bitcoin and sell it for Bitcoin, you have to tax the difference, but not in Bitcoin, but in Dollar or you national paper money. This means, you not only need to keep track of all your Altcoin trades, but you also need to take into account the price of Bitcoin when buying and selling.

Obviously, this makes things extremely complicated. You can have a bad trade, resulting in getting less Bitcoin back than you invested, but being still, in theory, accountable to taxes, when the price of Bitcoin did soar between your trades. So you lost money in trading but have to pay taxes for it.

At this moment you should accept the fact that cryptocurrencies are something new and that you are no expert in dealing with your financial authorities. Go for a tax consultant, educate him or her about cryptocurrencies and look forward to talking with confused financial authority officials.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

This is an introduction to investing and trading in cryptocurrencies. Even though this was a lot of information, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to follow what trade setup’s I use and what I follow, please follow my YouTube Channel for more insight into this. I am not a financial advisor and you should consult a professional when dealing with these matters, as a disclaimer, but this is valid and helpful information I followed when I got started and understanding this new industry. Good luck on your journey!

What do you think? Is there something you recommend for people getting started? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

Trezor One Review: Is The Original Still The Best?

In this article, I will dive deep in the Trezor One Review: Is the original still the best? Trezor One is the original hardware wallet. What does that mean exactly? This was the first physical manifestation of the “hardware wallet” for bitcoin offline security and was introduced to us from Satoshi Labs in 2014. This device is a small, trapezoid shaped device with a small OLED screen and 2 mechanical buttons which are used for confirming or denying transactions.

is there a hardware wallet that can store all the top cryptocurrencies?

This is also used for generating your recovery seed during your first time setup, but we will address that a little later. This concept when it arrived in 2014, served a HUGE need in the market as at the time, most people mainly used a paper wallet for protecting their private keys and keeping them offline. This is still used today, but is used as a one way method, and is not ideal for making transactions or managing your portfolio. Not to mention, if anyone got a hold of that piece of paper, they could easily scan the QR code and steal your coins.

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

 

The Trezor One comes with: 2 recovery seed cards, a lanyard/wrist loop, 4 stickers, USB cable, and the device itself. The device is very small and has two mechanical buttons on the front of the device below the screen. It is powered on only when connected to a computer.

When you setup and initialize the device for the first time, you need to visit wallet.trezor.io on your chrome browser and click on “Trezor One”. This will pop up a screen where it show the security tabs on the box for you to inspect the device, before opening the box. This box is self destructive and is meant to have clear visibility to see if it’s been tampered with in any way.

Once you have done this, you will finally be prompted to “Continue To Wallet”. This is where the “bridge” comes in. What’s the bridge you ask? This is a small file download that is required for you to download and install to manage your device. It connects the web application to the device itself and validates the firmware.

 

WHAT COINS ARE SUPPORTED ON TREZOR ONE?

Image result for trezor one coins supported

As of this writing, there are approximately 9 native applications that can be used directly in the web app, and about 1,000 coins supported via 3rd party wallets like Mycelium and MyEtherWallet. The native apps that Trezor One supports is as follows:

-Bitcoin (BTC)

-Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

-Litecoin (LTC)

-Dash (DASH)

-Zcash (ZEC)

-Doge Coin (DOGE)

-Bitcoin Gold (BTG)

-Digibyte (DGB)

-Vertcoin (VTC)

 

The list of all the other coins that are supported on the Trezor Model T or 3rd Party Wallets can be found here – https://trezor.io/coins/

To me, this is the weakest point of this wallet is the native application support. They have invested a lot of time and developer resources to developing their “Beta” wallet, which is currently only supporting the Trezor Model T, which is Trezor’s 2nd generation device. In my opinion, the Trezor One is a decent entry level device, but I would not expect a growth of new coins being supported in the future.

The current price for this device is 69 EUR, which is approx $77 USD at the time of this writing.

 

CLICK HERE TO BUY THE TREZOR ONE FROM TREZOR’S OFFICIAL SITE

 

HOW TO SET UP THE DEVICE: FIRMWARE PROCESS

When the device is first shipped, it comes with NO firmware currently installed. This is a unique security measure that Satoshi Labs has employed to ensure that no MIM attacks or corrupt firmware was planted in the device during transit. When you setup the device and install the bridge, it will check the device is genuine and runs a check to insure the firmware (signed by Satoshi Labs) can properly be installed.

This process is seamless and once it’s installed, it will prompt you to create a 4-8 digit PIN that is shown on the device in random way using what’s known as an RNG (Random Number Generator).

Next, you will setup the 24 word recovery seed phrase which will walk you through each word (in order) shown on the device screen and will prompt you to write it down on the provided seed cards in the box. Once you write it down, it will walk you through confirming, and then it will test you and ask you, for instance…”What is word #17?”. You will then be required to choose the correct word. Once this is completed on 4 random words, you can confirm and the device will be initialized and ready to use  the web application and make your first transaction.

 

CLICK HERE TO BUY THE TREZOR ONE FROM TREZOR’S OFFICIAL SITE

 

TREZOR SECURITY

What’s really unique about Trezor’s design is that there is no “username” or “password” for accessing the device. If someone walks up to your computer and see’s the dashboard, nothing can be done without physical access to the device to authorize a transaction.

In addition to the above, you can setup an optional “passphrase” or a 25th seed word so that if for any reason someone has access to your recovery seed, they still cannot steal your coins unless they also have your passphrase as well. If you decide to use this, DO NOT write it down anywhere and memorize this particular passphrase for extra protection. Image result for trezor one firmware

They also use a process to validate firmware and authenticate your device where you private keys are stored called “Secure Boot MCU”. This process requires the bridge to verify that your device is genuine and signed by Satoshi Labs. This is unique and offers a security check every time you boot up the device to ensure you are properly connected to the correct location when accessing the web app. If something goes array, your device will throw an error warning and let you know not to trust the device if for any reason the bridge cannot connect to the proper web app.

 

TREZOR VS. LEDGER (MY EXPERIENCE)

The two devices that I find are most used, especially for people who are new to hardware wallets, is the Trezor One or the Ledger Nano S. Let me first say they are both fantastic devices and serve a similar purpose. First off, they are both considered entry level devices and are built for the user that is not looking to store a lot of coins at once using the apps they each provide.

For instance, if you only want to store only Bitcoin and Ethereum, both devices would work, but only Ledger would have both of those work using native apps. Here are some questions you will want to ask yourself when deciding,

 

What coins am I planning to store on the hardware wallet?

What is my budget for getting started?

Do I plan to use any 3rd party wallets or just the basic apps that come with the device?

 

In terms of trust and reputation, I would lean towards the Trezor One, as it’s tried and true and is the original hardware wallet. The web app it uses can also be accessed from any computer, whereas the Ledger Nano S would require to download a desktop application to use it.

Final Thoughts On Both: Unless you plan on storing Ripple (XRP) or Tezos (XTZ), I would go with Trezor, as it’s easier to use on any computer, even if that computer is infected with malware, safely.

 

CLICK HERE TO BUY THE TREZOR ONE FROM TREZOR’S OFFICIAL SITE

 

CONCLUSION: BOTTOMLINE

 

PROS:

Trezor One has a clean and functional web app that allows for customization and password management in the web app for all passwords to be encrypted from any other site as well.

– The device is cheap and really easy to setup. This is perfect if you plan on using the device on multiple computers or if you plan to use it for travel or you plan to use public computers.

– Has the extra security feature for the “Passphrase” which is a unique security measure that is not employed with the Ledger Nano S.

– The screen is large enough to display the full address when verifying and confirming transactions, unlike the Ledger Nano S.

 

CONS:

 

– Does not support some popular coins like Ripple (XRP) or Tezos (XTZ). It also does not use a native application for primary coins, like Ethereum (ETH).

– Is not the cheapest entry level device. You can still get a Ledger Nano S for only $59 if you’re getting started and you are very price conscious.

-You will need to upgrade to the Trezor Model T if you plan to use a lot of the newer coins that are being rolled out or coins that previously did not have hardware wallet support.

 

CLICK HERE TO BUY THE TREZOR ONE FROM TREZOR’S OFFICIAL SITE

 

What do you think? Is there a better wallet you recommend for people getting started? Let me know in the comments below!

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

Ledger Nano S Review: 7 Things You Need To Know Before You Buy (2020)

In this article, I will go into depth of the Ledger Nano S Review: 7 things you need to know before you buy it. The Ledger Nano S was the first (but definitely not the last) hardware wallet I ever bought, and the experience actually led me to create this website as I started learning more and more about crypto security. ledger nano s review

It was the second hardware wallet that came on the scene after the Trezor One device and implemented a new security structure and a new form factor to try and compete directly with the only trusted hardware wallet at the time.

When the Ledger Nano S started picking up momentum, it was because they started adding altcoin support at a rapid pace. This was exponential as Trezor only supported native apps for Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin by the time that Ledger had over 20 native apps for alt coin support with hundreds of new coins that were already in development.

This was a HUGE deal at the time, and only picked up steam as the 2017 bull run started and people began accumulating a wide array of altcoins for speculative investment. Today, the other competitors have caught up pretty well for the same level of support, but the Ledger Nano S still has an edge for certain coins that are supported, and that is a HUGE reason that I use this device on a semi-weekly basis to this day. There has been lots of progress and development on the device itself, the massive altcoin support, and the introduction of Ledger Live. Lets check it out below!

 

WHAT IS A HARDWARE WALLET AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?

 

For those who are new to the cryptocurrency landscape, you may have heard that you need a hardware wallet. But, why? Well, when you receive your first bitcoin, whether it be in a mobile, desktop, or web wallet, you have the public key (your bitcoin address) and the private key (the secret key required to control (send/receive) your bitcoin. your PRIVATE KEY is the MOST important piece of this process, because without the private key, you do not own or have control of the coins in your wallet.

When you have your private keys connected to a “Hot Wallet” or a wallet that is directly connected to the internet, you run the risk of them being hacked or compromised. This is where hardware wallets come in. These are known as “Cold Wallets” or “Cold Storage” and has your private keys stored securely offline, so they are impervious to attack or compromise.

When becoming your own bank, this is a vital part of properly managing and securing your cryptocurrency. Hot wallets are good for everyday spending and ease of use (much like a fiat wallet you keep in your back pocket), but it is NOT ideal for longer term storage.

ledger nano

The Ledger Nano S is a very compact, sleek, and secure device that allows you to store over 1,100 cryptocurrencies at the time of this writing. This is crucial as more altcoins gain acceptance and you need a wide portfolio to protect longer term. Ledger takes their security very seriously and for good reason. There have been a number of exchange hacks and reports of people losing or having their wallets hacked by nefarious individuals throughout history. This is why having this device is so crucial.

Ledger Nano S is a device that is upgraded frequently with new features and firmware upgrades to ensure that it has the latest security protections and new assets being added every single month. Not to mention, it is currently the cheapest among the 3 best-known hardware wallet companies, starting at only $59 USD!

 

LEDGER NANO S REVIEW: HOW IS THE SECURITY?

 

The Ledger Nano S has an A-grade security setup which sets it apart from the competition. It uses a secure element which holds and stores the private keys in a separate and secure environment from the rest of the operating system. This ensures that if for any reason the rest of the device is somehow compromised, you precious private keys are safe.

It also supports the standards BIP-39 protocol that requires you to setup a recovery seed phrase of 24 words during the initial setup, that allows you to restore your coins to any other wallet in the event you have broken, lost, or somehow cannot gain access to the device itself, so you have a fail safe.

 

(PRO-TIP: If you lose, rip, tear, get wet, or otherwise destroy your recovery seed, you are in serious trouble. I would recommend obtaining a CryptoSteel device as a metal backup for your recovery phrase that protects you against a fire, flood, earthquake, or your brand new puppy. This is STRONGLY recommended if there is ANY amount of cryptocurrency you would be financially damaged by losing. This is a literal metal vault for your backup system) 

 

Additionally, they have a proprietary operating system known as BOLOS (Blockchain Open Ledger Operating System) that allows developers certain access to develop applications and a framework for them to add support for a wide spectrum of coins and stacks for scaling up. It is built with security in mind and to work comprehensively with the secure element by ensuring there is a smooth delivery of sensitive data when making a transaction using the Ledger Nano S.

In my opinion, this is one of the most secure devices out there, as it has built in several security checks for every action taken on the device, and if those checks have not been successfully executed, it will not move on to the next phase, making it even more secure. To me, this extra attention of securing my private keys provides me peace of mind even with an entry level device.

 

WHAT MAKES THE LEDGER NANO S DIFFERENT THAN TREZOR OR KEEPKEY?

 

I get this question a lot, as I use all three of these devices on a regular basis. Not only is this device the smallest of the bunch, it is the only one that has a built in screen protector in the form of a polished aluminum cover for ensuring the OLED display avoid scuffs and scratches during transit. The smaller form factor is an advantage and a disadvantage. The disadvantage to me if not being able to see the full address in one place when verifying a transaction.

It does end up scrolling to reveal the full address, but that can be difficult if you are trying to verify letter for letter for confirmation. The advantage would be it’s very discreet and transportable. It slips easily into your pocket, or your keychain if you’re so inclined. But, the largest notable difference is the specific coin support you can’t get anywhere else on a hardware wallet.

As a HUGE advocate for privacy coins, I tend to favor these and accumulate them for personal investment and also private transactions, and as a result, I need a secure place to store them. To their credit, the other hardware wallets are working towards supporting these coins, but Ledger already has support for 2 of my favorite coins, Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC).

Ledger also supports Zcoin (XZC) and a few others as well. These are support by Ledger Live (which I will go over in a minute), which is the native dashboard for managing native applications for these coins which is very convenient.

Additionally, this is the only hardware wallet (currently) that supports Tezos (XTZ), which has a very bright future in my opinion. Tezos is a POS coin that has a new unique blockchain consensus that rivals Ethereum on a number of levels, and I personally believe will be a top 10 coin very very soon.

Not only that, when using Tezos you can “Stake” your coins while holding your private keys while ON the Ledger Nano S. This is HUGE, and is a main reason I use Ledger Nano S, since I like to participate in this process personally. No other hardware wallet has even announces plans for this kind of native support for this at the moment, which gives Ledger a massive edge over the other two in my opinion.

 

LEDGER NANO S DESIGN

 

I will keep this section short and sweet, as I addressed above, this is a sleek and compact device, which make its very stable and durable. It has a small OLED screen and 2 physical buttons. This is used for navigating apps, verifying your pin to access to the device, confirming a transaction, and generating the recovery seed words upon first time setup.

When entering in your PIN on the device, the right button will function as the “Up” arrow, and the left button the “Down” arrow for scrolling through your selections, then pressing both at the same time will confirm your selection, so it’s pretty intuitive. It has a one port which is micro USB that connects to a cable to a standards USB port that can be used on a MAC or PC.

 

CLICK HERE TO BUY THE LEDGER NANO S

 

LEDGER LIVE – IS THE UPDATE WORTH IT?

 

This was a MASSIVE upgrade from the chrome apps they were utilizing before. This new desktop app is very clean and seamless. They also have a new mobile app designed for use for the next generation product the Ledger Nano X (We will go over that in a future review) for wireless management. However, the desktop app is very clean and easy to navigate. The first thing once you connect and authenticate your device is a dashboard if you had already have an existing device, showing you your balances and charts on a single screen.

You can see your accounts on the left hand side, and you also see the “Ledger Manager” which is where you add and remove apps. When you perform any firmware upgrades, it requires you to delete the apps on your device (don’t worry your coins are safe) and you re-install them after it is done.

When you first plug in and install the app on your desktop, it will ask you if you want to setup a new device or if you have a device that is already setup and then have you authenticate with the PIN. It will then check for any updates or firmware upgrades that are necessary for you to view your account. Once you have access, it’s pretty easy to manage everything overall, and they have even introduced a way to “Buy Crypto” from such partners as “Coinmama” where you can purchase directly with a debit or credit card, and “Coinbase“, which you can do they same and also use your bank account directly via ACH.

There is also a pricing history dashboard built right in, thanks to an integration with “Kraken” and “Bitfinex“. This allows you to see trends and historical data, which may help you decide at-a-glance what you would like to do for managing your next transaction. Once you install an App, you can create multiple accounts and label them if need be, for managing and organizing your portfolio. The only one complaint I have with it, is if you do use a 3rd party wallet, like “MyEtherWallet“, you have to leave the app and manage your funds on a 3rd party site. Overall, all the native apps work beautifully, and they are adding new coins and assets all the time.

CONCLUSION – BOTTOMLINE

 

PROS:

-Very easy to setup if you have never used a hardware wallet before, you just need to download the desktop app from Ledger’s website and follow the prompts once you connect it for the first time.

-It’s the cheapest hardware wallet as of this writing at $59.00 USD. If you are just getting started and you only need a few coins to hold at once, this is easily the best intro wallet to keep your private keys stored offline.

-It has the widest range of native apps and newest coins being added all the time and being supported. You can click HERE to view their roadmap to see if your favorite coin is currently in development of being added to the platform.

-It is currently the only hardware wallet that natively supports Tezos (XTZ) and Monero (XMR) if you’re a fan of those coins and other privacy coins in general.

 

CONS:

-The screen is small and if you’re verifying your transaction address using the small screen, you have to wait for it to scroll, and then verify quickly the characters match before you can authorize the transaction. This is not ideal for a quick at a glance process to ensure the address you’re sending to on the app, matches what shows on your device (VERY IMPORTANT).

– You can really only hold 3 or 4 apps on the device at once. I originally only kept 3 apps on the device, as those were the only coins I needed to add at the time. However, when I went to add a 4th, it told me I needed to remove an existing app to make room. The RAM or space is on the device is very limited, so it’s good if you have only 2-3 coins you want to manage at once.

-They require you go through the process of removing and uninstalling all apps and then going in and reinstalling them for EVERY firmware update. This is tedious and really obnoxious for the serious hardware wallet user. I understand you need to have backups and be careful with every upgrade but c’mon, this is the only device I have this issue with.

As you can see, overall this a is a very solid entry level wallet with top notch security. I recommend if you are a brand new hardware wallet user and you are just dipping your toe into this large pond, this is your best bet. It has a clean, easy to follow interface and you can get started at the cheapest price of only $59.00 to start.

If you do not plan on holding MANY different coins at once on the same wallet, this is the wallet for you. Now, you can use 3rd party wallets to integrate it with, but that’s an entirely different learning curve. If you want to hold 3-5 coins to start and get it done simply and effortlessly, this is where I personally started and I recommend you start.

 

PURCHASE LEDGER NANO S FROM LEDGER’S OFFICIAL SITE

 

What do you think? Is there a better wallet you recommend for people getting started? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

Massive Bitcoin Stash of 40,000; Bitcoin Whale Moves $229 Million For Only 57 Cents

Massive Bitcoin Stash of 40,000; Bitcoin Whale Moves $229 Million For Only 57 Cents. As reported on May 1st, 2019, a bitcoin whale has moved over 40,000 BTC or over ($212 million) moved from one address (bc1q9sh6544xls87x7skjzyfhkty4wq7z76vn7qzq9) to another (bc1q5shngj24323nsrmxv99st02na6srekfctt30ch).

There are some theories floating around on Twitter as to who the whale is. Some people have speculated on Twitter that the whale is Bitcointalk user “Loaded” who is a well-known poster on the forum. Loaded is as well-known for his posts on the forum as he is for his stash of 40,000 BTC.

Further theories floated around on the forum itself that it was Loaded who made the transaction — although the user has not confirmed or denied that they made the transaction.

It should be noted that the Bitcoin in the address shows a pattern of moving from one address to the next for no apparent reason according to the transaction history on Blockchain.com.

Another thing to note is the first three characters of the address. ‘bc1’ means that the address is using the segregated witness (SegWit) protocol that currently accounts for 40% of all Bitcoin transactions according to transactionfee.info. bitcoin whale

Segwit is a protocol that was introduced on the 23rd of August to make Bitcoin transactions faster and cheaper.

The amount of money used to move the $229,000 million was only 57 cents according to the data. Bitcoinist reported earlier, Bitcoin fees are often mismatched with how much the user should actually be paying. This mistake, according to researchers, was due to the fact that consumer wallets appear to incorrectly estimate the required fee.

Although the 40,000 Bitcoin transaction is no small amount, it pales in comparison to the transaction that occurred on the 10th of January this year.

A total of 130,004 BTC  ($742,972,860.00) was sent to the following address. (385cR5DM96n1HvBDMzLHPYcw89fZAXULJP). To date, this remains as the second largest bitcoin transaction ever, with the largest being 500,000 BTC which occurred on November 16, 2011.

 

BITCOIN STASH: BITCOIN WHALES ACCUMULATE

 

The bitcoin whales in the market seem to be going through a period of accumulation. In fact, 100 of the largest bitcoin wallet addresses accumulated 150,000 extra bitcoin.

One news site Bitcoinist did the math on this accumulation and deduced that they came from wallets holding less than 1,000 and 10,000 BTC. So the ‘rich’ are getting richer — many of which belong to exchanges — while the less-informed crypto speculators continue dropping bags.

 

WHY THIS BITCOIN WHALE MATTERS

 

Consider this for a moment. If you were to go to a bank and you were a high profile client and wanted to make a large transfer such as this anonymous bitcoin holder made, firstly, you would need to make an appointment. Secondly, you would need to go in person during standard business hours and shake hands and meet with certain individuals and make pleasantries before you could actually conduct your business. In other words, it’s an ordeal before the transaction has even begun.

After the charade and process of meeting and greeting, you then need explain your situation. Why are you sending this amount of money? Where are you sending this money? Which bank is receiving this money? Can we record or report this transaction and your explanation to the IRS directly, or do you already have a notarized letter from a CPA? Can we see two forms or ID?

…This is just the beginning of a series of questions you might encounter when trying to move your money from location A to location B when dealing with a bank. This is all before you are actually “authorized” to move your own money.

When you’re dealing in bitcoin, you don’t need permission, you don’t need to submit ID, you don’t need to wait 7-10 business days. It happens virtually instantly with the click of a button. Understand how powerful this is. Not even the most powerful and connected of business men can bypass the security and tracking that goes on with a bank and dealing with “regulation” of the legacy financial system. Additionally, consider the banking “fees” they would impose (after they’ve approved you to move your money after vetting not only yourself, but the recipient) for moving that sum of money.

As an example, international wire transfers at Fidelity charge upwards of 3% of the total transaction amount to wire this amount. For those of you who do not want to do the math, that is $6,780,000.00 as a fee to move this money. With bitcoin, this person did it with 2 quarters and a few pennies worth of fees.

That is why this is the future. I see this technology as inevitable for the entire world to adopt, because the bankers are far too greedy. Additionally, they see no problem with what they charge and why they do it. They will continue to blow bitcoin off as a valuable means of exchanging value, but as you can see above, it’s happening and it’s very possible.

 

FIRST STEP TO BECOMING YOUR OWN BANK

 

Part of becoming your own bank is first understanding the risks and responsibilities that goes with self-sovereignty. This is an amazing gift, but should be take very seriously and with the utmost care and responsibility. There is no 1-800 number to complain to when you mistype an address or you make a mistake. There is no one that can reverse a charge, or give you a refund. This is an irreversable, yet incorruptable form of dealing with money.

I do not say this to scare you, yet rather to implore you to double check everything you do and engage in the proper research when learning about making cryptocurrency transactions. The website you are on offers a myriad of valuable information ranging from beginners to experts in the space and provides a wealth of information, as well as tools to assist you in your crypto journey.

If you are new (or advanced), I recommend obtaining a hardware wallet to store your private keys offline, safely and securely to ensure that you are not risking your life’s work. The best one with the easiest to use interface that I’ve been recently using a lot is called “KeepKey“. This device has been around for several years now and is considered a widely used and respected device. I use it personally almost every day. Additionally, I have been testing their brand new unified platform that is currently in beta and it is BY FAR the easiest to use hardware wallet experience I have used.

It is extremely impressive and I can’t wait for all of you to see it. In the meantime, their existing platform is still very intuitive and user friendly, but the upgrade that is coming definitely a game changer. For more information on this device and to purchase directly from the KeepKey’s Official Website.

 

What do you think? Is this the first evidence in a shift in global finance to bring cryptocurrency mainstream? Sound off below!

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

What are STO’s? [Security Token Offerings] (Beginner’s Guide)

What are STO’s? The massive rise of ICOs throughout 2017 and early 2018 was unprecedented and brought about an entirely new method for raising enormous sums of funding in mere minutes. However, the sheer volume of ICOs that turned out to be scams, didn’t deliver on their promises, or ran out of funding before releasing a product led to the precipitous decline of the ICO in the latter half of 2018.

The power of blockchain-based tokens to create more flexible financial assets and instruments did not dissipate though. Decentralized finance (DeFi) is on the rise, with financial instruments from collateralized debt platforms to decentralized prediction markets materializing left and right.

One of the primary focuses of a DeFi landscape is the transition of conventional financial securities into digital tokens on a blockchain.

Commonly referred to as ‘security tokens,’ these assets are securities representing equity or debt with a digital wrapper around them — designed to provide a suite of advantages and flexibility to the assets.

Following in the footsteps of the ICO, the ‘Security Token Offering’ (STO) has garnered widespread attention as an ecosystem of investors, service providers, exchanges, and more jostle for position in a blossoming market. Security tokens have some intriguing prospects, and the STO presents a valuable tool for companies to issue digital assets on the blockchain.

 

WHAT IS A SECURITY?

A traditional financial security is a fungible instrument that holds value and can represent either debt or equity.

Securities as equity can represent ownership in a company (stock), where owners can profit from capital gains on the asset or even receive dividends payments in specific cases. Equity security holders can either be in public or private companies, and owners are usually entitled to some form of ownership in the company.

Securities representing debt is a representation of borrowed money, which must be paid back and is subject to various loan conditions. There are numerous types of debt securities including:

  • Government bonds
  • Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs)
  • Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (CMOs)
  • Corporate Bonds
  • Certificate of Deposits

Debt security holders are typically authorized to receive interest payments on the principal loan amount, and they can be backed by several means — including collateralized and non-collateralized.

Securities play a significant role in finance and are more relevant to STOs in their ability to be leveraged for raising funding. Companies can raise enormous sums via Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) of equity when they go public, and governments can even issue municipal bonds to raise funds.

Public securities are traded on major stock exchanges and can be transferred between investors on secondary markets as assets.

 

SECURITY TOKENS AND SECURITY TOKEN OFFERINGS (STO’S)

Common misconceptions around security tokens are that they are different from securities. Although they exist on a blockchain, they are ostensibly securities, subject to the same regulations and case law precedence as traditional securities.

However, security tokens offer some unique advantages — particularly in improving secondary market liquidity, reduced compliance costs, automating trade restrictions, providing fractional ownership, and enabling asset interoperability.

STOs have opened an opportunity for businesses to raise funds by issuing digital security tokens to investors in a regulatory-compliant manner. The advantages exist for both the investor and the issuer, while also providing much better assurances against fraud compared to an ICO. Issuers can come from a variety of areas, including commercial real estate, venture capital firms, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

There is discussion around the semantics of what constitutes a ‘security token’ or a ‘tokenized security,’ but for all intents and purposes, STOs in this context focus on the launching of new security tokens and not tokenizing existing financial assets.

One of the most straightforward and beneficial applications of an STO is with an SME looking to raise funding when they cannot tap into commercial banking services. Parallel with the rise of other DeFi services, SMEs can access open financial services — issuing security tokens for investors to obtain on the blockchain. This has important consequences for lowering barriers to access for retail investors and concurrently providing powerful financial services to SMEs in local and regional areas where they have historically been limited in their financial capacities.

Additionally, SMEs issuing security tokens offer an excellent example for highlighting the multiple participants required in the security token ecosystem.

 

WHO PARTICIPATES IN THE SECURITY TOKEN ECOSYSTEM?

If an SME (i.e., Company A) wishes to issue security tokens representing equity in their company, they can do so with the help of multiple market participants including:

 

  • Issuance Platforms
  • Exchanges
  • Custodians
  • Broker-Dealers
  • Legal/Compliance

 

Company A can formally issue their security token to investors via an issuance platform. Well-known issuance platforms include Polymath and Harbor, which are integrated with service providers like custodians, broker-dealers, and legal/compliance entities to facilitate a secure and regulatory-compliant process.

Developers for issuance platforms also work on standardized token interfaces (i.e., ST-20 for Polymath and R-Token for Harbor) that hard-code regulatory parameters into token contracts such as explicit trading restrictions. Standardized token interfaces for security tokens also enable interoperability of assets, which has positive downstream effects in secondary market liquidity and reduced friction in token trading.

Custodians are popular for storing digital tokens in secure cold-storage –, particularly with institutions. BitGo is one of the most established digital asset custodians, and custodians often partner with exchanges or issuance platforms.

Exchanges exist for investors to trade security tokens, enabling better access to capital, enhanced secondary liquidity, and democratized investor access to securities. tZero is a high-profile exchange that recently went live, backed by Overstock. Company A’s security tokens can trade on exchanges like tZero where investors undergo KYC/AML verification. Some exchanges can even operate as issuance platforms as well.

As an SME, Company A’s security tokens can be offered to retail investors who are largely precluded from SME investment opportunities due to various barriers of entry. However, democratizing such access to security tokens can help SMEs raise funding from local communities, providing a compelling boon for small enterprises and assisting in the growth of local businesses.

Open financial frameworks like Mt. Pelerin even seek to provide SME marketplaces for entities like Company A to tap into broad, open financial services on the blockchain.

Other applications of security tokens — which are already underway today — include commercial real estate investments funds (i.e., REITs) that reduce high investment minimums and even enable concepts like fractionalized ownership to emerge. Harbor has already hosted an STO for a South Carolina residential building with a significantly reduced investment minimum compared to typical rates.

 

STOS VS ICOS

what are sto's

Overall, STOs eliminate instances of fraud with ICOs and offer legitimate securities to a wider range of investors with better efficiency, interoperability, and liquidity than conventional securities. STOs are backed by actual assets while ICOs were primarily predicated on ‘utility tokens,’ with no underlying collateral and were not protected by securities law.

STOs also offer advantages over IPOs. They are cheaper and can encompass a much broader range of assets — such as fractionalized ownership in high-value art pieces or investment funds. Banking and brokerage fees are also drastically reduced via automation with launching an STO compared to an IPO.

It is important to note that although STOs fall under securities laws in the U.S., there are legal nuances to the launching of security tokens as they are based on a novel technology. Several countries outside the U.S. have also already banned STOs — including China and South Korea.

In the U.S., investors are pumping vast sums of money into the security token landscape as the role for participants in the young ecosystem continues to actualize. Evaluating which markets emerge as the most popular in the early stages of security tokens should reveal which sectors STOs afford the best advantages. Both SMEs and REITs are clearcut applications of STOs, but there are numerous other opportunities available for the issuance of security tokens that are practical, cheaper, and regulatory compliant.

 

WHAT ARE STO’s – CONCLUSION

 

ICOs were a novel concept, fueling crazy speculation of altcoins during their prominence at the end of 2017, but the industry has become more discerning since then. As ICOs have faltered, security tokens have emerged as a prudent use case of blockchain technology at the convergence of conventional financial instruments and digital assets.

DeFi is on the rise, and security tokens are poised to play an integral part in the broader transition to an open financial system.

 

What do you think of STO’s? Do you think they are here to stay? Let me know in the comments!

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

Proof Of Work Vs. Proof Of Stake | How Does It Work? (Beginner’s Guide)

What is Proof Of Work Vs. Proof Of Stake | How Does It Work? If you spend enough time in the crypto-community and you’ll witness debates over Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS).  Fans of PoW will argue that it’s the transaction system Satoshi Nakamoto had in mind for cryptocurrencies. Those in favor of PoS, on the other hand, will argue that mining is outdated, inefficient, and insecure compared to staking.

So you might be wondering, what’s the difference, is one actually better than the other, and why is it better?  Well like most things here at Bitcoin Lockup, I am not here to give you my unsolicited opinions, but we are here to give you some objective information that might help you determine for yourself which proof has best proven its worth.

 

Proof Of Work Vs. Proof Of Stake | How Does It Work?

 

PROOF OF WORK

 

When Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin in 2008, he envisioned a currency that would rely on a trustless and distributed consensus system.  This would allow Bitcoin to be decentralized both in technological and financial terms. For instance, when you transact money through a trusted system, a third-party (think banks, credit/debit cards, PayPal) handles these transactions in terms of debit and credit.  If Mark sends Sally $100 dollars, the institution will debit Mark’s account $100 dollars and credit Sally with $100. All of the money is handled by and within the third party, so none of the transacted funds belong to either Mark nor Sally until they are withdrawn from the system.

 

Image result for proof of work

Bitcoin differs from traditional financial hubs by being trustless.  This is not to say you can’t trust Bitcoin and blockchain with your money.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Bitcoin’s trustless nature allows for a peer-to-peer exchange without the need for a third-party mediator.

The traditional mediators are replaced with miners, and these miners work on behalf of Bitcoin holders to see that transaction are successfully processed.  In order to see that these transactions are approved, miners commit their computer’s processing power to solve the encrypted algorithms within each transaction.  This is what we mean by Proof of Work.

Under a Proof of Work system, miners compete to verify that all the transactions within the candidate block (the block currently being built) are legitimate.  To do this, they must solve the encrypted puzzles that verify the integrity of the transacted coins. The first miner to solve these puzzles receives an amount of the transacted currency, also known as a block reward.  Once the problem is solved, the transactions create a block that is stored as a public ledger on the blockchain, and the miner announces the solution to the entire network.

As you can see, PoW is dictated by competition and computational output.  Imagine an international math competition wherein a previously unsolved proof (the block) is given to the competitors (the miners).  Whoever solves this proof first is awarded a prize (block reward), and the solved proof is then posted on the internet for all to see (the block being established in the blockchain).

 

PROOF OF STAKE

 

Proof of Stake differs entirely from Proof of Work.  Instead of building blocks through work output, the creator of a block is determined by their share, or stake, in a currency.

Under this system, forgers (the PoS equivalent of a miner) are chosen to build blocks based on their stake in a currency and the age of that stake within the blockchain’s network.  For instance, let’s say you hold 500,000 Cardano.  First of all, allow me to hypothetically congratulate you on your fat stacks. Getting back to the example, under the Proof of Stake system, you’d be more likely to create the candidate block than someone with 100,000 ADA. Image result for proof of stake

To go even further, if you had been holding your 500,000 ADA in the same address for a year, you’d be more likely to generate the next block than someone who also has 500,000 ADA but who has been holding it in a network address for half a year.

To give you another analogy, imagine if your odds to win the lottery increased based on a) how much money you put into it and b) how long you had been buying tickets.  Now, you won’t make millions of dollars by staking your favorite PoS currency, but you can make some nice passive income on top of your investment gains.

It’s important to note that, for a stake to be chosen, it must be held on an address within the coin’s network.  So if you were holding Cardano like in the above example, you would need to store it in Cardano’s core wallet. There are also no block rewards in the PoS system.  Seeing as there’s no work-centric incentive to outcompete other miners, forgers are only awarded transaction fees.

There’s also a marked difference between Delegated Proof of Stake and regular Proof of Stake, but that’s for another article at another date.

 

 

PoW Coins:

Bitcoin

Ethereum

Litecoin

Monero

 

PoW/PoS Hybrids:

Dash

Stratis

HShare

Pivx

 

PoS Coins:

Cardano

OmiseGo

QTUM

Tezos

 

KEY DIFFERENCES AND TAKEAWAYS

Proof Of Work Vs. Proof Of Stake

Proponents of PoW will tell you it allows crypto to more effectively function as a currency.  The PoS model, they argue, incentivizes users to stake their coins for extended periods of time, thereby making them inactive.

PoS fans, however, will defend their system’s overall superiority.  For starters, it solves the problem of energy consumption that Bitcoin has created.  As more transactions and users are added to Bitcoin’s network, more computing power will be needed to accommodate growth.   The more computing power that is added to the network, the more the hashrate increases in difficulty. With more difficulty comes an increase in the amount of work a computer must generate to generate blocks, and this increased output leads to greater energy consumption.

 Bitcoin’s growth and mining difficulty are exponentially tied to energy consumption, and critics see this as an unsolvable issue under the PoW model. It’s the reason that Bitcoin’s network alone consumes more energy than 159 countries.

Proof of Stake also defends against 51% attacks on the blockchain.  As we’ve seen with the recent Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin civil war, disproportionate mining power can lead to de facto centralization of a blockchain’s network.  In order to control a majority of a PoS blockchain, a validator would have to own 51% or more of that crypto’s overall supply. So in order for someone to attack Cardano’s blockchain, for instance, they would have to $609,286,157.643 worth of Cardano to do so.  I really don’t see that happening.

Both PoS and PoW have their ups and downs, and I’ll be excited to see how the market responds to coins that utilize either system or a hybrid of both.  One last thing to keep in mind for PoW, however, is that once all a currency’s coins are minted and circulated, block rewards will cease to exist. This may incentivize PoW coins to update to a PoS model, but only time will tell.

Still don’t have cold storage for your private keys? click HERE for the Ledger Nano S to hold all of the PoW and PoS coins discussed above!

 

What do you think? Do you think PoS will overtake PoW in popularity? Sound off below!

 

Cheers,

 

The Crypto Renegade

 

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.

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