As a beginner, it's crucial to approach with caution, understanding that while crypto offers fun opportunities, it also carries inherent risks such as price volatility, security concerns, and regulatory uncertainties, making it essential to educate yourself thoroughly before diving in.



What a crypto exchange is

In the world of cryptocurrencies, one of the most important things to an investor is having the ability to buy or trade coins at any time. Whether it be the chance to strike it big on a coin or the opportunity to buy and sell whenever you please, there needs to be a service that allows this to happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is the job of an exchange. An exchange is a place where financial instruments like stocks or commodities are traded. In the traditional financial markets, some examples of exchanges are the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. Because of the trading that occurs 24/7 in crypto, there need to be places where investors can go anytime of the day, with the certainty their requests will be taken care of. On an exchange, you can either buy crypto with fiat currency or convert coins from one to the other - a feature unique to the world of cryptocurrencies. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of coins that are currently on the market. Due to the rapid pace that coins are created and traded, not all of them will be available on any given exchange - coingecko is a good place to check which exchange each coin is traded on. Some examples of centralised crypto exchanges are Coinbase, Binance, FTX and Kraken. While all of these are fairly similar, there are advantages and disadvantages inherent to each one. This is primarily due to the rambunctious nature of the crypto markets, as certain investing styles are more suitable to different exchanges. For example, Bybit offers leverage trading, while Coinbase offers both a simple buy/sell interface, as well as market and limit orders. While centralised exchanges might be best for most users, there are also decentralised exchanges for those who wish to dive a little bit deeper into crypto. Some examples of these are Uniswap, Sushiswap and 1inch.

How to register on an exchange

In the year 2022, there are a variety of cryptocurrency exchanges to trade on. You could embrace the wild side and trade on a decentralized exchange like Uniswap or Sushiswap - or you could stick with the simpler route and head over to a centralized exchange (CEX). If it’s your first time doing this, it can be pretty tricky. Crypto is still an uncharted space in a lot of ways, so it’s important to feel comfortable before putting your money in the line. For starters, let’s head over to a CEX like Binance or Coinbase. For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume you’re in the United States. If you haven’t done this before, you’ll need to gather up some information to assist you in the process. Because Binance and other major exchanges adhere to KYC (know your customer) rules, you’ll need some form of identification card to verify your identity. After this, you’ll need to type in your email or phone number and perform two-factor authentication (2FA). Binance will send you a message to confirm it’s you trying to access their platform - you’re dealing with money after all, you wouldn’t want someone else claiming they’re you! Next, create a username and password - and write this down somewhere safe! If you get signed out of your account with no way to get back in, this can be a long and difficult process. If you’re able to, save the info on your computer so you don’t need to log back in everytime. Sometimes, an exchange might take a few days to verify your identity. You might need to give them a social security number (possibly only the last 4 digits) or a piece of paperwork to prove you’re a citizen. After this, you’re free to trade! While most exchanges have similar processes for onboarding new users, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for when it’s time to start trading. Most will continue to require 2FA to ensure you aren’t being hacked, so always have access to your email or message app. Feel free to explore and see what every exchange has to offer - the possibilities are endless.

How to set up and use a VPN for crypto trading

Because the cryptocurrency markets are still so new, many of these assets aren’t able to be traded just anywhere. In the United States, for instance, those who wish to trade must use the US versions of exchanges like Binance and FTX due to legal reasons. Since crypto assets aren’t registered securities, there are often loopholes to jump through for US users to even engage with them. For the crypto-native, a virtual private network (VPN) is something you need in your toolbox. Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re Alice who lives in New York. One of your Twitter followers recently told you about an exciting new cryptocurrency, and you’re excited to purchase it. You eagerly hop onto FTX US, only to realize it isn’t available. What are you to do? Instead of missing the opportunity to buy the next Bitcoin, you decide a VPN is the best choice of action. Essentially, a VPN disguises your IP address (the series of digits that displays where your device is being used) in order to make it appear that you’re somewhere you aren’t. Some popular VPNs are Nord, Express and Proton - all of which can provide you with different levels of accessibility and anonymity. While using a VPN, you can choose to appear as if you’re actually using the internet from Europe or Asia! As long as the location you choose allows for free trading of all cryptocurrencies, you’re good to go. While this is just one simple example of a loophole, many use VPNs to access novel DeFi protocols that aren’t often available in the US. Typically, the process is as easy as creating an account on the VPN site, downloading the software (most quality VPNs cost money), choosing your location and running the software. It’s as easy as that. Maybe one day the US will allow for increased exposure to all crypto assets, but until then, those who wish to trade freely must jump through loopholes like this. VPNs are legal in the US, but sites have the right to block your access to them if they find out you’re using a VPN. There are more ways to avoid this from happening, but these basic steps will help you get on the right track.

What Bitcoin is

Back in 2008, the Bitcoin whitepaper was penned by the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. Since then, Bitcoin has become a cultural zeitgeist and climbed its way to over $50,000. But what is Bitcoin, and how does it work? Bitcoin is digital money that was created as a solution for peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions - a decentralized solution with no middlemen, bank fees and waiting for funds. Bitcoin is backed by the blockchain, which is a term that describes an immutable public database holding the history of every Bitcoin transaction - forever. If one wished, they could go through the blockchain and view the very first transaction that used Bitcoin, although this might take a long time to find. Since Bitcoin’s inception, its price has risen a tremendous amount, mainly due to speculation on cryptocurrency exchanges. However, more recently investors have decided Bitcoin can serve as a digital store of value, similar to how gold is a store of value for many nations. As this information has spread, more investors have taken a liking to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a whole, something early adopters might have never imagined. While Bitcoin was first hailed as a P2P solution, many have run with this store of value thesis and consider it to be the digital gold. Bitcoin was the very first cryptocurrency, and many have tried and failed to replicate its success. While there is only one true Bitcoin on the market - 21 million, to be exact - Bitcoin has led the way for thousands of other coins to come after it. The entire cryptocurrency market cap is over $2.5 trillion, all thanks to Bitcoin.

What Eth is

Ethereum is a blockchain that utilizes Proof of stake (PoS) algorithms to validate transactions. Created in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum was made out of a need for decentralization. Buterin had found himself feeling disgusted by the evils of centralized entities, and wanted to create something after connecting to the idea of Bitcoin. Many refer to the cryptocurrency as Ethereum, yet the proper name is ‘Ether’ as the network is named Ethereum and Ether powers the network. Ethereum can be viewed as a decentralized network of computers that run the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) - the engine behind the whole Ethereum network. While Bitcoin is seen as a digital store of value similar to gold, Ether is a token that provides utility to users. To approve transactions and interact with the Ethereum network, users must spend Ether to pay for fees, which keep the machine churning. There are a variety of actions users can take on the network, thanks to smart contracts - blockchain programs that perform a series of actions. As the cryptocurrency ecosystem has grown, so has the number of users. Ethereum processes over a million transactions a day - the most of any blockchain. Due to the increasing number of users, alternative Layer 1 blockchains have popped up, hoping to capture Ethereum’s vast market share. As the competition has heated up, Ethereum developers have been working on a solution known as Ethereum 2.0. This series of changes seeks to “fix” the high fees and free up space for more transactions to go through, therefore resulting in a positive experience for users. Ethereum aims to be the money of the internet, providing a decentralized solution for a world overrun with centralization and toxic monetary policy.

Basic overview of crypto currency history

In 2008, the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin whitepaper to the public. Since this important day in cryptocurrency history, Bitcoin has risen to prices as high as $69,000 dollars, reaching a market capitalization over $1 trillion. How did crypto get to this point, and how far has the space come since these humble beginnings? Bitcoin was created to serve as a solution for the problem of peer-to-peer (p2p) transactions, and quickly caught on amongst Cypherpunks and avid believers in digital currency. Bitcoin’s innovation came through the novel blockchain technology, which allowed for a verifiable record of all user transactions involving Bitcoin. As the years went on, the cryptocurrency space saw other coins pop up like Litecoin and Monero, in addition to a multitude of failed projects and exchanges. While many failed, some like Binance were able to cement a place in the wild world of crypto, remaining one of the largest centralized exchanges in the space to this day. It wasn’t until 2014 when crypto saw a decent competitor to Bitcoin come along. The Ethereum ICO raised around $20 million, and quickly grew in popularity due to the innovative Proof-of-Stake (PoS) technology backing it. As more caught on to the innovations possible with blockchain technology, more coins utilizing PoS were created, ultimately driving more users and speculators to the space. Since then, Ethereum has risen to become the second largest coin by market capitalization behind Bitcoin, sitting at around $400 billion at the time of writing this. Crypto has experienced two previous market cycles in its relatively short history, and is currently in what many believe to be its third bull run. The total market capitalization has risen to over $2.5 trillion, and is currently around $2.3 trillion. Many major institutions from the world of traditional finance have caught on to crypto, and it seems as if more hop into the space with each passing month. As more money has been able to flow through various crypto projects and protocols, intelligent developers have created various innovations, whether it be decentralized finance or NFTs. The speed of innovation in crypto has been accelerating in recent years, and more money than ever is entering the space in new ways every year. Traditional venture funds are allocating a portion of their assets to crypto, helping further mass adoption and incentivizing new ideas. As time goes on, cryptocurrency will only continue to change and innovate - history has shown that this is something crypto is great at doing.

Who Satoshi Nakamoto is

Back in 2008, the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto penned the now iconic Bitcoin whitepaper. But after 13 years, the world is still wondering who this mysterious Satoshi might be and why they never revealed their identity. In the Bitcoin whitepaper, Satoshi outlined how he had solved the infamous double-spend problem that had plagued previous attempts in creating internet money. Many had tried and failed at creating what we now know as cryptocurrency - but Satoshi had come up with a solution for a peer-to-peer electronic cash that actually worked. As Bitcoin began to spread amongst cypherpunks - enthusiasts of cryptography and computer security techniques - many began to wonder who this Satoshi was, and why the genius creator of Bitcoin chose to stay under the radar. There are very few pieces of evidence to go off of regarding Satoshi, as he only left a very small trail of crumbs - some messages on forums, the whitepaper, the first Bitcoin transaction and a goodbye message in 2011. The truth is, there might not be a single person on the planet who really knows Satoshi’s true identity. Many have hypothesized as to who Satoshi might really be, suggesting that the most obvious candidates are Craig Wright, Nick Szabo, David Kleiman and Hal Finney. There are interesting ledes that tie these individuals back to the Satoshi identity but, unfortunately, nothing is conclusive. Out of these four, only Wright and Szabo are still alive, and Wright has certainly not shied away from any attention. For many, the thrill of Satoshi Nakamoto stems from the reality that we might never identify them. Maybe the anonymous Satoshi is still alive somewhere, completely indifferent to the success of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency as a whole. Despite the anonymity, none can deny the debt the cryptocurrency community owes to Satoshi - without him, the world would be a much different place.



Starting with Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies have introduced a truly novel form of money (and more) to the world. The thing which unites and makes this asset class special is the technology referred to as blockchain; a set of algorithms and rules that constitute a distributed digital network where each participant (e.g. holder of a cryptocurrency) can be sure that their balances are correct and accessible — without trusting a central intermediary, like a bank. Ethereum, the second biggest cryptocurrency today, proved that blockchains are useful for more than just simple money transfers; it allows people to build decentralized apps, which, in less than a decade, has resulted in an explosion of Decentralized Financial (DeFi) protocols, and tokens of all kind, including NFTs. There are thousands of cryptocurrencies today with many created each day — it is important to understand the purpose and background of a token before buying it.