This is part of a multi-part series of articles on how to get started in cryptocurrencies. This article is the first step you need to take: Installing your first wallet app. Before you do anything else, you must first create your own BitCoin wallet.
What does this mean and why?
In the cryptocurrency world, YOU are your own bank. That means YOU are 100% in control of your cryptocurrency and no one else. This means no one can steal your funds… not a bank, not the government, not hackers that hack a cryptocurrency exchange.
What’s a cryptocurrency exchange?
A cryptocurrency exchange is a CENTRALIZED authority where you can buy cryptocurrency with fiat currency. One of the articles in this series will cover that. Fiat currency is money you’ve been using your whole life like U.S. dollars, the British pound, the Euro, etc… Currencies created by and issued by governments are “fiat” currencies. Cryptocurrencies are created by citizens with complex computer code and not under the control of governments and are not assigned to any one country. They are borderless.
A cryptocurrency exchange is essentially a centralized bank. They are your “on ramp” and “off ramp” for cryptocurrency. (they’re not the ONLY way to acquire crypto) Before you buy any cryptocurrency with fiat from an exchange, you need to have your own, personal cryptocurrency wallet set up so that you can immediately transfer your purchased crypto into your own personally controlled wallet. If you don’t do that, you’re not in control of your crypto. “Not your keys, not your crypto”.
Not Your Keys, Not Your Crypto!
People often make the HUGE mistake of purchasing crypto, but then NOT moving it to their own, personal wallets. This is why people WRONGLY claim that crypto is always stolen. IT IS NOT! If they had moved their crypto into their own personal wallet files, the massive thefts of crypto that happened at exchanges like Mt Gox would NEVER have happened!
The REASON people lost money with exchanges is because they made the fatal mistake of LEAVING their crypto IN A CENTRALIZED BANK! Hackers got ahold of the central bank’s keys and stole millions of dollars worth of crypto… FROM THE BANK! Only the users that FAILED to move their crypto into their own wallets ever lost anything.
DO NOT MAKE THAT MISTAKE!
Install the Electrum BitCoin wallet app on your PC. Below, is a video demonstrating the entire process.
There are MANY wallet apps for MANY cryptocurrencies. I created a website for decentralized apps and services and I’m adding more to it all the time. Here’s a (growing) list of cryptocurrency wallets. Electrum isn’t the only one.