The world of cryptocurrency can be daunting, to say the least. Getting started is like dipping your toes into a lake buzzing with activity, allowing little time to slow down and take it in. But at the end of the day, taking a step-by-step approach will help you grasp the concept, allowing you to buy, send, trade, and operate within the market.
To begin that journey, you’re going to need an Ethereum address to have your funds sent to and a digital wallet to store them. Both are painless procedures.
To start, knowing what Ethereum is would be helpful. According to Coindesk’s guide, Ethereum one of the largest blockchains – a decentralized digital ledger where crypto transactions are recorded publicly – in existence today. It could be considered a relative of Bitcoin, the other larger cryptocurrency, but its goals are different:
“While bitcoin aims to disrupt PayPal and online banking, ethereum has the goal of using a blockchain to replace internet third parties — those that store data, transfer mortgages and keep track of complex financial instruments…
In short, ethereum wants to be a 'World Computer' that would decentralize – and some would argue, democratize – the existing client-server model.
With ethereum, servers and clouds are replaced by thousands of so-called "nodes" run by volunteers from across the globe (thus forming a "world computer").”
Ether is the currency used on the Ethereum blockchain and will be the base currency used for this walkthrough. Bitcoin and U.S. dollars are also options, but we aim to keep things simple.
To get your address and create your wallet, you have a variety of paths to consider. You can opt to go to MyEtherWallet to create your digital storage space, but for ease and security, we suggest going with MetaMask. The set up is simple -- acting as an extension to your browser -- and you’re able to control many accounts at once while working on different networks. Search and download the app to your browser and follow the prompts to create your account.
While you’ll be using the main Ethereum blockchain network once everything is live, we’ll be working on the Ropsten Test Net. The reason for using Ropsten or any test network is to work out code, iron out any bugs, and ensuring things go smooth before your move to the main Ethereum network. It is also free to use, unlike the main network. You can choose this and other test networks from the drop-down menu in the top corner of the app window.
Personal security is essential when dealing with any online entity, especially with cryptocurrency. Your initial password should be strong and unique, a good habit to start if you haven’t already. MetaMask will then create a 12-word recovery key or "Seed" that you can copy, save as a word document, or write down depending on your security preference. Much like your private key, keeping this phrase secure and remembering it are key to accessing your wallet. Without it, you won't be able to access your wallet in the future and any funds along with it.
You should see your account and wallet created soon after, ready to add a token and make some purchases. Being on the test network, we can add Ether to your account via the MetaMask Ether Faucet. You’ll need funds in your wallet before starting to trade to cover any transaction fees. In a real situation, you would be dealing in real money, and you’d need funds to pay for the transaction and your purchase from token issuers.
Next, you’ll want to access your wallet address. This is NOT your "Private Key." Much like the name implies, this should be kept private and secure, only used when you need it. Once you have your address, you’ll need to add the token to your wallet. To do this, you need to find the contract address. Knowing the company and token you are looking for, head over to Etherscan -- specifically ropsten.etherscan.io to search the Ropsten Test Network. From there, plug in the name of the token and find the contract address.
For Indeco, you’ll take our contract address and plug it into the Add Token function on the app. While in testing, our token will be located on the Ropsten Test Network, but the same process will be used when we’re finally live.
After adding the token to MetaMask, the next steps would take place off of the blockchain. If things were ready for business, you would send your wallet address directly to Indeco, with the funds to buy the token. From there, we would start the transfer of the token, and you’ll see a new balance in your app. For now, knowing how to set up your wallet and the process will have you prepared for when you can grab your first security token.
And that’s merely the first step. Soon you’ll be able to claim distributions and dividends, purchase other tokens, and explore the world of crypto on your own.