A Frat Boys Guide to Getting Into Cryptocurrency

David Powers

*Disclaimer, I AM NOT AN EXPERT. AT ALL. I just wanted to create the guide that I wish I had when I first was curious about crypto. Please don’t try to point fingers at me if you lose the shirt off your back because you’re a dumbass. The most you can get out of me is maybe a couple bud lights at this point. Invest responsibly.*


So, your friends and coworkers wont stop talking about it. Your parents and grandparents wont stop asking about these imaginary monies. Even the bus driver seems to be in on the action. Welcome to 2018, where money isn’t real and the points don’t matter.

Cryptocurrency seems to be taking over the world, and it’s becoming common to hear of people buying new cars(goals) and paying off their student debt(double goals). Well maybe not super common, but people have proved it’s possible, so what’s stopping you from getting in on the action?

This guide will help breakdown how you can get involved with buying your first cryptocurrency. Whether you want to actively trade, support the idea of a decentralized currency system, or become a HODLer it’s completely up to you. Just remember that Bitcoin and Altcoin’s started out as a decentralized currency system, and not just a stock that can be traded.

I know, I know. “HODL, Altcoin, what the fuck, you’ve lost me already.” I’m going to create a little glossary of terms that you can refer too to make this whole process a little easier. There are a ton more terms, but I believe these are the most valuable to get a basic understanding.

Key Terms

HODLer = Someone on reddit spelt hold wrong, and the misspelled term and become synonymous with individuals who buy coins and don’t sell them until they’ve reached their growth target. i.e. I bought Bitcoin at $6,000 and i’m going to sit on it till it’s worth $20,000. No matter what.

Altcoin = This refers to pretty much any coin other than Bitcoin.

Exchange = A place to buy and sell coins. We will be using Coinbase and Binance in this guide.

Limit order = This term carries over from bank or brokerage language. Simply put, it’s an order to either buy or sell at a certain price or better.

ATH = All Time High

ICO = Inicial Coin Offering

Pumping or Shilling = Bullshit publicity that is used to hype up a coin.

Pump and Dump = The cycle of a coin getting a ton of attention, raising a lot in price, then the rapid decline in price as everyone sells off for a profit.

Market Cap = Total supply of coins multiplied by the price of the coin.

ROI = Return on Investment.

2FA =2 Factor Authentication, I’ve attached a video that best describes this below since it’s kind of complicated.

Blockchain = In simple terms, it’s the backbone of what makes crypto secure .If you’re interested in the technology behind cryptocurrency, then researching blockchain is the best place to start. I am far from an expert and wont even attempt to explain how it works. Here are some good guides( my fraternity brother put this one together) that can explain way better than I ever could.

Wallet = Secure place to hold your coin keys, these can either be software or hardware based.

Cryptocurrency market cap as of January 27th, 2018, in billions of US dollars. Damn.

Brief History

Now that we’re caught up with the hip lingo, let’s go back to that decentralized currency idea. It’s easy to forget that crypto is more than just a stock, like you would own from a company. Crypto started out way back in 1983, by David Chaum, who created an anonymous cryptographic electronic money(not entirely sure what this is, probably not important) called ecash.

In 1995, he implemented it using a software called Digicash, which would encrypt(hide ownership) money transfers before it was sent to the receiving party. This made it impossible for the issuing bank, the government, or a third party(curious girlfriend) to see who was responsible for the transaction(sneaky boyfriend). I can only imagine David created this because he was embarrassed by some of his purchases back in the day(playboy subscriptions).

Fast forward to 2009, bitcoin was created by an unknown person or group of people that went by the name Satoshi Nakamoto, who wanted to completely decentralize cryptocurrency. Since then, it’s evolved and there has been hundreds of other coins created, each with their own pros and cons.

Let’s Spend Some Money

To get started, I’m going to walk you through the process I took to research and invest in easily avalible coins, then we’ll dive deeper into researching and investing into some more obscure coins. This is less of a direct guide, but more of a collection of resources that will help streamline your learning process. Like I said earlier, I’m not an expert, so I do my best to use expert resources and give credit to people who actually know what they’re talking about.

Getting Setup

There are two different exchanges I use to trade. Coinbase, which we will use to buy the four most widely recognized coins, and Binance to trade smaller and less recognizable coins.

The reason we have to use two different exchanges is because Coinbase, while it is super easy to use, it only offers the four larger coins, but it makes it extremely easy to buy and sell those coins using your countries currency and transfer to and from your bank account. Binance is for more complex trading, and does not have an option to convert from your favored currency, only transfer in coins to make purchases.

The process will look something like this.

  1. Setup Coinbase
  2. Setup Binance
  3. Decide Which Core 4 (Bit, BitCash, Ether, Lite) Coins to Purchase
  4. Purchase Coins on Coinbase
  5. Decide Which Coins Offered on Binance You Want to Buy
  6. Transfer purchasing power(one of the Core 4 coins) to Binance from Coinbase
  7. Buy Altcoins on Binance
  8. $$$$?!?

Coinbase — Step 1

Instead of walking you through the entire process of setting up a Coinbase account I’m just going to attach a simple step by step guide. Once you get through the account set-up process, stop after you have verified your identity and don’t purchase any coins yet(please don’t, you’ll fuck this all up).

Here’s the link to get set up.

Binance — Step 2

Same goes for Binance, DON’T BUY ANYTHING YET, just get all the way through the verification process. Here’s the link to sign-up.

Deciding Which of the Core 4 Coins to Purchase — Step 3

For this, I’ll break down each of the coins avalible on Coinbase to show their differences, then you can use that to make your own decision based on what your intentions are. I’ve borrowed some definitions from an awesome site that has a lot of really helpful articles, check it out here.

Bitcoin — “Bitcoin was the original cryptocurrency blockchain, creating the entire industry we are talking about. It was released in 2008 and has the most marketing power behind it.

Despite the ecosystem growing widely, Bitcoin is still the most recognized and widely used brand in the industry.”

Litecoin — “Litecoin was an early altcoin created to improve on Bitcoin. These improvements were rather minor, and didn’t deviate too much from what Bitcoin already offered.

For the longest time, Litecoin was considered the silver to Bitcoins gold. Recently, Litecoin has made significant headway by implemented a protocol known as Segwit, which Bitcoin has struggled to implement in their chain.”

Ethereum — “Ethereum was a completely new blockchain architecture, different from Bitcoin and other competitors. They included the Ethereum Virtual Machine in their nodes, which processes complex smart contracts and allows for new applications.

Ethereum has opened itself up to become the primary platform to delivering decentralized services of all kinds.”

Bitcoin Cash — “Bitcoin Cash was started by Bitcoin miners and developers equally concerned with the future of the cryptocurrency, and its ability to scale effectively. These individuals had their reservations about the adoption of a segregated witness technology, though. They felt as though SegWit2x did not address the fundamental problem of scalability in a meaningful way, nor did it follow the roadmap initially outlined by Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous party that first proposed the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrency.”


If you’re still not completely up to speed, check out this video I’ve linked below that goes a little more in-depth.

Purchase Coins on Coinbase — Step 4

Once you’ve decided which one of the options on Coinbase you’ve decided to invest in, the next step is to purchase your coins. I’m going to push you back to that video I linked above, as it is the most comprehensive guide to purchase your coins.

Decide Which Coins Offered on Binance You Want to Buy — Step 5

Congrats, if you’ve made it this far, that means you probably own some crypto, which is pretty dope, welcome to the future! Next we’re going to check out some of the resources that can help you figure out which altcoins you’d like to throw some money at.

Binance has a ton of options for purchasing coins. Here’s a super simple guide that can walk you through the different options in a broad sense, research into individual coins can be completed on your own. An easy way is to just hop on Binance and pick a couple coins, then start to research what each coin was created for. To do this research, I would hop on this site and search the coin I was interested in. This is a super simple way to see charts, historical data, and what the world is saying about the coin.

To give you a place to start, some of the biggest altcoins avalible that aren’t on Coinbase but are on Binance include, RIPPLE(XRP), NEO, TRON, and VERGE(XVG). I’d hope on CoinMarketCap and check into those. I’m not recommending you purchase them, but there is a ton of information that you’ll be able to use to make a good assumption if you think the coin has potential. Once you get the hang of that, you can pick some other coins and go from there.

Transfer purchasing power(one of the Core 4 coins) to Binance from Coinbase — Step 6

Now that you’ve selected the altcoins you’d like to purchase on Binance, now you have to fund your account. As of right now, the easiest way I’ve found to do that is purchase one of the Core 4 coins on Coinbase and transfer those to Binance then use those to purchase the altcoins.

Transfer fees can very from coin to coin, but during the time writing this, Ethereum has the cheapest and quickest transfer. You can easily check this on your own to figure it out for your own transfer. Below is a video on how to transfer from coinbase to binance.

Buy Altcoins on Binance — Step 7

Now that you have buying power in Binance and you know what coins you want to purchase, you just simply put in the limit-order for the coin. Here’s a quick video on how to actually purchase your altcoin of choice(this video uses Ripple as an example).

What’s next?

Well, you’ve made the leap, welcome to the wonderful world of Crypto. What you do next is completely up to you. I suggest continuing your research and learning as much as you can. Everything is pointing at Crypto to be the future, so the earlier you get educated, the better.

Remember, selling your coins is as easy as buying them, just reverse the process and sell the coins in Coinbase. Remember to calculate what the fees will be from the start. Trading Crypto can be a nerve wracking experience, but the best thing to remember is to try to pull all emotions out of the equation. Don’t panic sell when the market crashes, it happens all the time, the smartest thing to do is get set-up and just let it steep. Set some goals for yourself and your crypto. Maybe you want to see 10x returns on your investment before you sell, stick to that and don’t let your brain try to talk you out of it. Future you will thank you.

David Powers

Written by

Manufacturing Engineer at ETM Manufacturing, Former Co-Founder and CEO at The Hum, Former Owner at Bleed True LLC, Management Engineering Student at @WPI

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