Adventures of a Crypto Prospector

Ahh…where to start?

Why am I writing this? Probably two parts therapy and one part “I occasionally have interesting knowledge to impart and stories to tell.”

My wife (as of 3 weeks ago) has been encouraging me to write for a long time, but I have always been deathly afraid of writing anything personal or creative. Recently, I was telling a friend a story of my cryptocurrency trading exploits and he encouraged me to start a blog. I trust him, he’s smart, and way more interesting than me. After about 10 years of avoiding creating my own brand, I figured it was about time.

So here we go! First Medium post, doubt anyone will read it! This one will be about my foray into digital currency trading (read: buying).

Things you should know about me before reading this:

  1. I am an avid gambler, not quite a crippling addiction, but on the spectrum of socially unacceptable
  2. I am a former derivatives trader, which explains point 1, not sure which came first anymore
  3. I spent almost every $ I had on the wedding/honeymoon, except my precious crypto holdings (partly because converting them back to cash takes 317957365267 days)
  4. I inexplicably switched oxford comma camps in the last few months, all of a sudden, using one feels correct and I have no idea why (edit: apparently my wife is the actual reason)
  5. I just realized how much I like communicating my thoughts via lists

This is all suffice to say, I am an incredibly average guy, probably slightly above average intellect, who has learned a little bit about the crypto universe. So if you are a little intimidated by the subreddits and tweet wars surrounding this space, hopefully this can be your cozy nook where you indulge your distributed ledger fortune dreams.

Alright, enough useless preamble, although I thoroughly enjoyed it. I started flirting with Bitcoin in April of 2016 and remember bragging to my friends that it was up 6% in 3 months, to which they smugly retorted the S&P500 had performed fairly similarly over the same time period. OH HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED.

Anyway, as time went on, I got deeper and deeper. I was forbidden from buying Ether on Coinbase because I signed up with an NYC address which probably cost me at least ~$30,000 (I will forever irrationally blame Coinbase over the regulators and my lazy self). I remember waxing poetic to a friend about the potential for Ripple’s XRP when it was worth 1/2 a penny, but the friction for setting up another account on an exchange not linkable to a U.S. bank account was too much for me and I missed the first 10x pop to $.05 (although my friend profited massively). I have since done well with XRP despite the bloodbath currently ongoing. I am secretly checking my BitStamp app every 30 seconds praying for (at a minimum) a dead cat bounce.

After 15 months of warm-up, I was ready for my first ICO, but I will dive into that THRILLING experience on my next post…in the meantime, here are some tips if you are interested in getting involved in this asset class (time for that list thing again).

  1. Read these two white papers, one by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and the other issued by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board. These are fairly easy to digest and help you understand the underlying technology and how it works.
  2. Set up a Coinbase account. If nothing else, this is the most user friendly exchange. They have also made it a point to work with regulators and you can link your U.S. bank account. This is also a good portal & wallet to send bitcoin from to other exchanges that list altcoins you may be interested in.
  3. Don’t be stupid. Start small, these are incredibly risky investments. Markets are thin and not totally transparent. There is also the risk of the exchange/wallet you use getting hacked and losing your currency which is a risk we generally do not have to account for in the U.S stock market. (Don’t worry about cold storage until you have >$10,000 in coins you want to protect, this comes with its own dangers if you are the average person that loses thumb drives)
  4. If you are going to venture outside of Bitcoin or Ethereum, make sure you understand what you are trading (well you should also understand Bitcoin and Ethereum). Read the whitepapers. Treat these like you are a VC investing in a startup, do you believe in the utility of the token?
  5. Be prepared, once you go blockchain you never go back. I cannot have two beers without getting into a heated discussion about how blockchain will change the world.

That’s all I’ve got for now, hope this was a good mix of humor and utility. Thanks for coming along on this first post journey.

Alex