Since its release in January 2009, we’ve watched Bitcoin rise to an all-time high of $5000 in early September 2017; a bit pricey for the average investor. However, it’s not too late to get in on the game. In fact, there are several ways you can profit in the cryptocurrency market including investing, day-trading, or mining.
Investing in Cryptocurrency
If you’re looking to invest in cryptocurrency, there are plenty of options available to you. To get started, I suggest creating an account with Coinbase.
Coinbase, headquartered in San Francisco, began operations in June of 2012. Initially dealing only in Bitcoin (BTC), Coinbase now allows accounts in Ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC), and have announced plans to offer Bitcoin Cash (BCH) in January 2018.
There’s plenty of skepticism when it comes to cryptocurrency, and I’ll admit, there are risks. But if you’re willing to buy stock on Wall Street, you might give cryptocurrency a try. I’ve done better trading in cryptocurrency than trading with Wall Street.
I set up my first cryptocurrency account with a company called Coinbase in early 2014. It was to make a purchase from a Canadian company, and the merchant would only accept Bitcoin for payment from US customers. A bit sketchy I thought, but the transaction went through without any problems, and I received my merchandise as promised. Since that time, I’ve made a few more purchases using Bitcoin without once experiencing any issues. I trust that Coinbase would offer support if there are any problems.
If you do decide to create a Coinbase account, use the following link and we will both receive $10 in Bitcoin (BTC) when you invest at least $100.
Or, download the App for your smartphone:
As you learn more about cryptocurrency, and become more comfortable with this new form of money, you may want to consider a little day-trading.
And that’s one more reason that I recommended Coinbase. Besides their original cryptocurrency accounts system at www.coinbase.com, Coinbase introduced an exchange platform, Global Digital Asset Exchange, or GDAX, in January of 2015. Using the credentials from your Coinbase account, you can painlessly create a GDAX account in just a matter of minutes. GDAX allows trading, without fee (for makers*), between Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).
Before making any trades on GDAX, decide how much money you want to risk, which coins you want to trade, study the charts, and familiarize yourself with the ups and downs of those markets. There can be quite a bit of volatility there, but it’s that volatility that makes it possible to make a little money each day.
My best advice when using GDAX: Buy low, sell high.
*Briefly, makers make the offer to buy or sell at a certain price, and takers take that offer. Takers pay the fee for the transaction. I will speak more about makers and takers in an upcoming article.
While it’s unnecessary to have a complete understanding of cryptocurrency to join in on the fun, crypto-mining is probably best left to more advanced computer users. That being said, I will briefly discuss crypto-mining here, and take a more in-depth look at cryptocurrency mining in an upcoming article.
What is cryptocurrency mining? In a nutshell, cryptocurrency mining involves two functions: 1) adding transactions to the blockchain, securing and verifying, and 2) releasing new currency. These functions are completed by a global network of computers, and are rewarded, in coin, for their work.
While crypto-mining can be achieved with a variety of computers, and even smartphones, serious miners will use either GPU miners or ASIC miners.
GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) mining is no longer profitable for the mining of Bitcoin (BTC) or Litecoin (LTC) — ASICs have made it impossible for GPU miners to keep up with the pace — but for many other cryptocurrencies, there are still profits to be made. And in my opinion, there will always be profits to be made using GPU miners. The difficulty is choosing which coin to mine.
If you’re only interested in mining Bitcoin, you’ll need to invest in an ASIC. ASICs can be quite costly, and may sometimes take weeks or even months for delivery. We will look at ASICs more closely in the near future.
Start Crypto-Mining Right Away
In the meantime, if you want to get started mining right away, and already have a powerful (gaming type) desktop computer, with a decent video card (GPU), you may be well on your way. Be prepared, however, to update your video card.
As far as video cards go, I’ve had better luck with the NVIDIA cards as compared to the AMDs. I recommend at least a 3GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1060. As of today, these can still be purchased for less than $300, with the right retailer, as mining continues to drive the price of GPUs through the roof. If you can afford it, go with the GTX 1070 or 1080, with 8GBs. As far as brand names go, I’ve test Gigabyte, ASUS, EV3A, PNY, and MSI, among others, and have had the best luck with MSI. I’m not sure why this is, but the MSIs have run more stable than any other cards that I own.
What Software Should I Use?
There are a number of mining scripts available for download, but after trying several, I have come to prefer Claymore’s Dual Ethereum GPU Miner. While free to download and run, it does have a built-in developer’s fee which allows it to run for 1 minute/hour on your device, and any shares found during that minute go to the developer. That’s fair! (Wow. I wish I was that guy.)
I will discuss Claymore, and other mining software, mining pools, and more in a future posts.
Go Make Some Coin
Cryptocurrency is still in its infancy, but is changing the way many of us conduct business. Some critics have called it worthless, and worse, but I say they’re either scared or just wrong. And while Bitcoin (BTC), the original cryptocurrency, has reach values beyond the small investor’s levels, there is still money to be made investing, day-trading, and mining. Good luck!