Playing with Cryptocurrency

Playing with Cryptocurrency

Everyone’s talking about crypto nowadays. You can’t seem to turn on the Tube (either TV or You) without seeing/hearing something about the Bitcoins, or the Eths, or whatever has caught someone’s eye this week. So I decided to play around a little. I do that from time to time. Like when I played around hosting my email and webservers in my bedroom.

Yeah, that one didn’t age well. Lots of effort for little return.

So I decided to play around a little with crypto. I read up on wallets, the different coins and tokens, and some of the basics of the uses of some crypto.

Some of what I learned at first was familiar. Anyone who’s played with asymmetrical encryption (PGP or GPG) will recognize how most crypto wallets work. You have a public key and a private key. The private key is kept in your crypto wallet (either a program, app, or hardware device). This allows you to sign outgoing transactions, or unencrypt incoming transactions. While the public key is used to encrypt transactions to you, or verify signed transactions sent from you.

Some of what I learned was new and foreign. The use cases of some crypto is downright confusing if you aren’t well-versed in it. Such as coins used as some intermediary between large scale transactions, or some kind of tokenized collateral for loans.

But as I read, I began to see at least some of what is trying to be accomplished with most of these coins. The developers are trying to re-make the financial world into something a little more secure, and a lot more free from bad actors trying to influence (or downright manipulate) the economy. Bad actors in this case not only being thieves, hackers, and conmen, but governments, central banks, and large financial institutions as well. That’s not to say the cryptos are perfect. Far from it. The entire crypto industry is still in its infancy. There is a lot more development necessary. But one day (hopefully soon), the corrupt, mostly unsecure financial system may be faster, more secure, and more independent than ever.

Until then, I advise to play around with it. Don’t dump any significant fiat (dollars, pesos, etc.) into it without the advice of a financial advisor, but anyone can download a wallet app (such as Coinomi or Trust Wallet), open an exchange account (such as Coinbase.com, ftx.us, etc.), and buy some Bitcoin, Etherium, or Litecoin. There are some very few stores that will even take crypto as payments. So don’t let the idea of crypto scare you. Get in there and play around. See what it’s all about. And learn.

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