Interested in cryptocurrency? It can be daunting trying to figure out where to start. We put together this guide to help you learn about a variety of options when it comes to cryptocurrency apps.
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Coinbase is the most popular cryptocurrency option for the most standard cryptocurrency needs: brokerage, exchange and wallet. Coinbase allows you to buy from the widest range of cryptocurrencies, sell and trade on the most active exchange, and store your currency in a highly secure account. The variety of options and overall popularity make it our top pick for best cryptocurrency app.
- Price: Coinbase charges hefty fees compared to some of its competitors, which you can do when you are the #1 name in cryptocurrency options. A bank transfer will run you 1.49% of your payment. If you want to use a debit or credit card, it will cost you 3.99% of your payment.
- Options: Coinbase offers three services to use: a brokerage, cryptocurrency exchange and a wallet. The brokerage allows you to purchase your Bitcoins. The exchange allows you to trade Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. The wallet holds your currency in a secure environment to keep it safe. Most exchanges and brokerage sites are not as secure as a cryptocurrency wallet.
- Pros: Coinbase is the biggest Bitcoin brokerage currently available. Its interface is very easy to use and specially designed for beginners to cryptocurrency. It also offers higher buy limits than its competitors.
- Cons: Since Coinbase is so popular, it can charge more for its services, which it does. It also only allows two methods of payment, while competitors offer more options.
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While Coinbase offers a lot of options for users, Kraken specializes in exchange options, which help it provide better services in that one realm of cryptocurrency. Not only does it offer one of the most active and diversified exchanges on the market, but it also offers an affordable fee structure for anyone looking to save a little money on trades.
- Price: Kraken’s fees vary depending on how much you are spending and the country’s currency you are using. Fees range from 0% (for large trading sums) to 0.26% on your trades. Fees also range depending on if you are a maker or a taker. There are also deposit fees based on how you are depositing money in Kraken.
- Options: You can buy and trade cryptocurrency on Kraken, as it is both a brokerage and exchange, but you need to find a secure crypto wallet to store your currency since Kraken does not offer wallet services.
- Pros: Kraken allows leveraged trading, which allows you to trade for more than you have deposited in your account. Its fees are also far below those of its competitors, making it a great pick for those looking for more affordable crypto options.
- Cons: The process to buy crypto with Kraken takes longer than other services like Bitcoin. Kraken is also really only an exchange, which means you will have to sign up for an outside secure wallet to keep your cryptocurrency when you are not trading it.
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Want to trade cryptocurrency but don’t have the time? Try Cryptohopper. This app allows you to set up parameters for trading and put those trades in the hands of a bot that optimizes trading for you. While this seems like a great option for beginners, the bot does require strict instructions and setup, so it is better used as a tool for experienced crypto traders.
- Price: Automated trading is never a cheap option since a robot is doing all your work for you, but Cryptohopper’s pricing can be reasonable, depending on the package you choose. Pricing starts at $19 per month for the base package and goes up to $99 per month. You also have to make a minimum deposit of $250 to start.
- Options: Cryptohopper is an automated trading bot that will monitor your crypto investment, making trades when it deems necessary to make you money. The platform allows you to make adjustments depending on a variety of factors, including the currencies and markets you want to trade on. Unlike traditional investing robo-advisors, Cryptohopper’s bot works better when you have experience trading and can instruct it to do what you would do if you are trading yourself. It’s a good tool for beginners, but you will need to give the bot instructions.
- Pros: It’s good for beginners and the platform is very easy to use, but keep in mind that you will need to guide the bot with your own trading preferences. It can be very helpful for an experienced trader who doesn’t have time to be constantly trading.
- Cons: It can be pricey if you are trading smaller amounts of money. There is also not a wealth of information on the site about how the bot works or how it was created.
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BlockFi is one of the only options for earning interest on your cryptocurrency. It offers a secure wallet account that lets you not only store your currency, but also earn interest on it. It also offers loan options that are easier to get approved for since it doesn’t use credit checks but rather your cryptocurrency deposits as approval standards.
- What is it? BlockFi allows you to earn interest on your Bitcoin, just as a traditional savings account would. It also offers loans backed by your cryptocurrency, starting at $10,000.
- Price: For its interest accounts, BlockFi doesn’t charge a fee, although it will charge you if you withdraw from the account more than once in a given month. The withdrawal fees depend on what kind of currency you are dealing with. For example, Bitcoin is a 0.25% fee per withdrawal.
- Interest Rates: BlockFi offers a great interest rate on Bitcoin at up to 5.1% APY. Gemini and USDC deposits can earn up to 8.6%, while Litecoin deposits will make only 3.8% APY.
- Options: BlockFi is essentially a cryptocurrency wallet that also pays interest on your holdings. It also offers loans backed by your cryptocurrency.
- Pros: The biggest pro is obviously earning interest on your cryptocurrency, which most wallets don’t offer. BlockFi’s loans don’t factor in credit checks, which can be good for people with poor credit.
- Cons: BlockFi accounts only support Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Gemini and USDC, which limits who can use it. It also only allows one free withdrawal a month, which means you’ll be charged a fee if you withdraw more than once.
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Want to spend your cryptocurrency like real money? Wirex can help you do that. The company operates much like a bank, helping you store your currency in a secured online wallet. It also offers a Visa card that works like a debit card, allowing you to make purchases in the real world using cryptocurrency.
- What is it? Wirex is basically a bank for your cryptocurrency. It allows you to store your cryptocurrency as well as trade it for standard currency. Wirex’s debit card allows you to spend cryptocurrency in the real world as you would standard money.
- Price: Wirex doesn’t have many fees. You pay $1.50 per month to use the debit card, and it will cost you a $2.50 fee to use at the ATM. Other than that, Wirex doesn’t charge you for using its service.
- Options: Wirex is most known as a cryptocurrency wallet, allowing you to store your cryptocurrency safely, but is best known for its debit card, which you can use as if it was a standard currency card. Wirex also offers brokerage and exchange options, so you can buy, sell and trade cryptocurrency.
- Pros: The coolest thing about using the Wirex debit card is that you get 0.5% cash back of Bitcoin every time you make a purchase. The biggest pro is obviously the ability to use your cryptocurrency as standard currency. It also offers an easy-to-use interface for beginners.
- Cons: Some places will not accept the Wirex card, although it is pretty widely accepted. The brokerage and exchange options can be more expensive than some of its competitors.
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You can now use your cryptocurrency as a retirement investment. BitIRA lets you invest cryptocurrency into IRA accounts, like Roth and traditional IRAs, but specific to cryptocurrency. The app is quick and easy to use, letting anyone set up a retirement account. Growth on these accounts is also not taxed since the government views cryptocurrency as personal property and not income.
- What is it? BitIRA provides retirement investment accounts for your cryptocurrency.
- Price: This is one of the main downsides of BitIRA; it is not very forthcoming or transparent about its pricing. There is a $50 fee for setting up the account, and management fees for your IRA can run from $300 to $1000 for the year, depending on how much you’ve deposited in your IRA. There are also fees connected with withdrawals, deposits, stopped payments, etc.
- Options: The main option is obviously the IRA, which comes in four different choices: traditional IRA, SEP IRA, Roth IRA or Simple IRA. BitIRA also offers exchange options for trading cryptocurrency.
- Pros: All of our assets are insured with BitIRA, which it touts as being the first company to be able to provide insured cryptocurrency assets. Since BitIRA trades in cryptocurrency, the growth of your IRA is not taxed (until you withdraw) since the government views cryptocurrency as personal property instead of income.
- Cons: Pricing for BitIRA can be hard to pin down and depends greatly on the amount you are depositing in your IRA. There is also a high minimum deposit of $20,000, which makes it harder for everyday people to invest.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a representation of money in digital form. Simply put, it is digital currency. Cryptocurrency is based on open-source software, cryptography and networking. The prefix crypto- refers to the cryptography used to secure the transactions.
Is crypto worth anything?
This is an interesting question. The worth of something is determined by demand. Right now, many cryptocurrencies are very in demand and can even be used to buy things online or in traditional stores. Cryptocurrencies also trade in exchanges that do assign a value to the currencies, and you can buy and sell them like you would stocks, which gives them value.
Keep in mind though that there are reportedly over 900 types of cryptocurrency available right now, and not all of them are in demand or worth anything. There is also some debate on whether cryptocurrencies will be worth anything in the future.
How do I buy cryptocurrency?
There are many brokerage companies that allow you to buy cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, Coinbase and Kraken. Most of these also offer an exchange that lets you trade your cryptocurrency as well. Most of these brokerage options make the process pretty easy. It usually entails transferring money from your bank account (wire transfer) to the brokerage company and then using that to buy your cryptocurrency.
Is it safe?
Yes, if you use a trusted cryptocurrency online wallet that has security measures in place. There are five types of wallets: desktop, online, mobile, hardware and paper. Desktop, online and mobile operates just like they sound, on your desktop, in the cloud or on your mobile device. Hardware stores your currency on hardware like a USB drive. Paper refers to software that securely generates a pair of keys which are then printed.
Things to look for when choosing a crypto wallet:
– Encrypted private keys
– Backup and restore features
– Active development community
– High-security reviews and ratings
Also, make sure that if you are using software you update it whenever you are prompted. These updates often include fixes to bugs that could affect the security of the software.
Can I use crypto like real money?
Yes, although there aren’t a lot of options to do this, especially in the everyday marketplace. Traditional stores, restaurants, etc. don’t generally accept cryptocurrency, but there are crypto banks that offer debit cards that act like standard currency debit cards. The most common place that cryptocurrency is accepted is in the digital world; more websites accept cryptocurrency than traditional stores, although the bigger commerce sites still don’t accept it.
What is fiat currency?
If you do any research on cryptocurrency, you will see the term fiat currency. This references standard currency, like the dollar or the euro.
What are the most common cryptocurrencies?
– Bitcoin: Started in 2009, Bitcoin is thought to be the first cryptocurrency, and definitely the most popular. The value of all the Bitcoin in the world is currently at $156.7 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.
– Ethereum: Ethereum, or Ether, was started in 2015. It is the second most widely-traded cryptocurrency, although it was hacked in 2016 which slowed its popularity.
– Litecoin: Created in 2011, Litecoin is older than Ether and works in much the same way as Bitcoin, which makes sense since it was a spinoff of Bitcoin. Litecoin processes blocks faster than Bitcoin, though.
– Ripple: Ripple was created in 2012 and has been used by major banks like Sandander.
Why should I buy cryptocurrency?
Many people who invest in cryptocurrency believe that they are getting in on the ground floor of futuristic currency that will rise in value. Although it can be hard to see the worth of it now, if you buy cryptocurrency before it is popular, the thinking is that you can buy it for cheaper before the price skyrockets and make a good amount of money off your investment. This, of course, depends on whether cryptocurrency is adopted more widely in the future.