Younger adults are often more likely to adopt technology than older adults. However, the gap between them is dramatically narrowing. The outcome of a survey conducted by Pew Research in 2022 found that adults aged 65 and above are growing more invested in social media access, ownership of tablets, broadband subscriptions, and, generally, internet use since 2000. This result, by extension, reveals the growing number of adults who follow tech trends and probably want to learn how to get started in crypto.
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency not backed by the government (usually the central bank). Instead, it’s backed by algorithms and networks of computers that verify transactions. Primarily due to its lack of recognition by the state, many people aged 65 and above avoided crypto and crypto-related discussions.
But today, this is changing. More adults are choosing decentralized decisions over centralized ones. If you want a part among these tech-savvy, blockchain-loving, and volatility-riding seniors, this guide will show you how to get started in crypto.
What is Crypto, and How Does it Work?
A cryptocurrency is a digital form of money you can exchange and use to buy things. It’s a complicated concept, but here’s how it works:
Let’s say you have $100 in cash. You can use that money to buy something at the store—say, a new computer—through your bank. When you pay with cash, the store owner records your transaction on paper and then gives you the computer.
But what if you wanted to buy something from another person and you don’t want to involve a bank due to issues such as high fees, slow payment processes, and lack of transparency? Cryptocurrency lets you do that by creating an alternative form of currency you can trade digitally between individuals without requiring any other third-party involvement (like bank account information).
The seller will receive the cryptocurrency in exchange for their goods or services, and then they can use it themselves or sell it later for more than they paid initially—or less. Miners (people who run computers and perform complex calculations daily) verify these transactions and add them to the blockchain (a decentralized public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions). The most common crypto is Bitcoin and Ethereum. Others are alternative coins, also known as altcoins.
How You Can Get Started in Crypto
The internet is full of information about how to get started in crypto. But if you’re like most people, figuring out what to do next can be overwhelming. Follow these simple steps to begin your crypto journey:
1. Choose a Crypto Exchange
A crypto exchange is an online marketplace where you can buy or sell crypto by exchanging them for currencies like the US dollar and other crypto. These exchanges differ in security, transaction fees, and speed. If you already have a bank account, it might be easiest for you to use an exchange that accepts fiat currency deposits, such as Coinbase or Gemini. If not, many exchanges only use cryptocurrency, which you don’t have as a beginner yet.
2. Create and Verify Your Account
Creating and verifying your account is the next step to getting started with crypto. To create an account, you must provide a username, email address, and password. Crypto exchanges use the details to identify you and verify your identity. After you’ve created your account, you’ll need to verify it by providing a driver’s license or passport. You may even be asked to submit a matching selfie and phone number for added security. Once verified, you can start trading.
3. Deposit Cash to Buy Crypto
There are three ways to deposit cash for crypto investment. You can link your bank account, use a credit or debit card, or use a third-party service that facilitates the transaction for you. But note that credit card companies often process crypto purchases as cash advances, which could cost you some fees. Depending on the exchange, you may have to wait two to three days before you can buy crypto.
4. Choose a Crypto to Buy
After depositing, it’s time to buy. But first, think about what you want to do with your new currency. Do you want to use it for transactions? Do you want to hold on to it, so its value increases over time? Once you’ve determined your goals, select crypto that meets those needs. You can place an order by entering the crypto’s ticker symbol, such as BTC for Bitcoin or ETH for Ethereum. Then select it from a list of options and buy.
5. Choose a Storage System
The last step is to choose a storage method, which is crucial for security. There are two wallets as storage methods: hot and cold. A wallet is hot when it’s connected to the internet, meaning it’s open to cyber threats. It’s cold when it’s not connected to the internet. Instead, it takes the form of a USB Drive or hard drive. It’s only open to theft once you lose the drive and its keys. While some crypto exchanges will provide you with a hot wallet, a cold wallet is totally of your own making.
Other Ways to Get Involved in Crypto
Crypto is volatile, and this volatility may be too liberal for you if you’re conservative. According to a recent study by Pew Research, boomers are the most likely to say they’ve lost money on investments since the Great Recession. So, naturally, they’re conservative investors. If this is you and you want to know how to get started in crypto without buying any coins, here’s how:
1. Leverage Crypto Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
If you want to invest in crypto without buying, try exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These are a way to invest in the market without owning any coins. The way it works is that an ETF is a fund that tracks the price of an underlying asset. For example, if you want to invest in Bitcoin but don’t want to buy actual coins, you could buy an ETF that tracks the price of Bitcoin and pay you for positive movements. Try the largest crypto ETF, ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, to begin.
2. Invest in Companies That Hold Crypto
Look for companies that hold cryptocurrency as part of their business model or strategy. For example, if they’re a start-up and want to enable people to buy their products with cryptocurrency, they’ll want to start by holding some themselves. If you see a company doing this, it’s likely a good bet. They’re already taking steps toward embracing the future of money—and if you invest in them now, you’ll reap the benefits when everyone else catches up with them. These companies include MicroStrategy (MSTR), NVIDIA (NVDA), and PayPal Holdings (PYPL).
3. Look for Companies with Technology Related to Crypto
You can invest in companies involved in the development of blockchain technology or buy shares in companies that crypto start-ups have recently acquired. You can also try stocks whose founders share crypto sentiments, especially regarding solving sustainability issues. These options will give you exposure to the crypto space without worrying about buying or storing coins or about security issues. Stock examples are Tesla Inc (TSLA) and Coinbase Global Inc (Coin).
The Bottom Line
Wanting to know how to get started in crypto as an adult is tech-savvy. If you’re ready to start, we hope this guide has helped you learn the basics. You can use this information to help decide if crypto is proper for you and, if so, what kind of investments might be best for your needs. As with all new investments, use caution. Remember that it’s still a very volatile market. While we think crypto is here to stay, there are no investment guarantees.
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