Accessing Altcoins in 3 Steps
The following is not an endorsement of any investment, currency, service or exchange. Do your homework before buying cryptoassets including storage best practices. Risk only what you can afford to lose.
By now, everyone knows about Coinbase, the widely-used American exchange/ wallet for Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC). After an explosive year for crypto, you may have holdings there.
While it may prove worthwhile to accumulate those core cryptoassets, FOMO or “fear of missing out” in 2018 may only be cured with buying a few altcoins. This post isn’t about which coins to trade or HODL, which means (buy and) “hold on for dear life” in crypto trader speak; it’s about accessing markets quickly with minimal personal data risk.
What You Need
- An email address
- Cash in USD
- A smartphone that isn’t tied to a burner line (any phone that can receive text messages will work as long as you have a BTC wallet address handy)
- Access to a rockitcoin ATM in the U.S. (there may be alternatives like Coinsource ATMs and others internationally, but I’ve only tested rockitcoin)
NO driver’s license, social security number or promise of first born -- that's right, crypto as it was intended to be!
STEP 1 Open a Livecoin account. Please use this referral link (https://livecoin.net/?from=Livecoin-tfSE1rKt) that gives me a 10% USD bonus on commissions you generate.
STEP 2 When signed in, tap or click Deposit at the top of the page. On the next page (shown below), under CRYPTOCURRENCY BALANCE, Search… “BTC” and tap or click the Deposit button at right (see red arrows). The Deposit button reveals a wallet address and a QR code, representing the same destination, to which you can direct funds.
STEP 3 Visit a rockitcoin ATM. It will ask you to verify your phone number with a numeric code delivered via text message. Select Bitcoin. Scan the QR code you obtained in Step 2. Deposit a minimum of $20. Get a receipt.
That’s it! Your Livecoin BTC cryptocurrency balance will soon show an incoming transaction. Tapping the “Hide zero balances” button will make it easier to see. Once validated on the blockchain, you will have access to the BTC cryptocurrency pairs offered on the Livecoin exchange. When your Livecoin account eclipses $100, they require Google Authenticator (Android App, iTunes App) for added login security.
If you know an easier or safer way to access the crypto markets, or see any risks that I didn't mention, post a comment below. Please do not spam referral links or coin recommendations.
The least expensive way to fund your exchange account is trading cash for Bitcoin with a trusted friend (who already owns that cryptoasset), at a rate close to the BTCUSD market price.
RockItCoin ATM fees can be high, as high as ~17% of your minimum $20 deposit. The more you deposit, the lower the fees.
Currently, states with rockitcoin ATMs include: CA, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MO, PA, TN, TX and WI.
Litecoin can also be purchased at rockitcoin ATMs. Sending LTC to a BTC wallet address will result in funds lost with no recourse! BE CAREFUL.
Most altcoins are paired with BTC, but LTC pairs are also available if you prefer transacting in that cryptoasset.
It may sound obvious, but you aren't limited to sending funds to just Livecoin from a rockitcoin ATM. Your new cash-for-cryptoassets can be sent to a Coinbase wallet or any other location including a paper wallet (advanced users only).
Don’t buy BTC at Coinbase or elsewhere thinking you will transfer it to another wallet or exchange. The “send” fees can be massive. If you’re buying BTC at Coinbase, think of it as a store of value.
There's more below, but if you found this helpful, send some BTC my way on your next ATM visit. Let me know via email or tweet @JayBeckner so I can say thanks!
I came to Livecoin after opening an account on Poloniex. To fund my account, Poloniex required a copy of my Driver’s License and social security number. I wasn’t comfortable giving them that level of information to buy/ trade cryptos, so I sought alternatives. I tried Poloniex after Binance, Bittrex and Bitfinex who, at the time of this writing, aren’t accepting new accounts.
I've been following BTC/ crypto news since 2013. Two months ago, I wrote the cautionary post, Before You Chase Bitcoin. I think it’s important to have a balanced view of what’s happening and what's possible in the space.
Bitcoin’s crypto market capitalization share has fallen from over 50% to ~35% in recent months. This is indicative of new coins emerging and others gaining share. There may be some movement away from BTC due to high network fees, energy consumption and its use as a settlement layer to buy other cryptos among other reasons. Many see BTC as a proof of concept or a long-term store of value.
There’s no doubt the crypto boom will impact our financial future.
A tokenized financial marketplace is looming:
“The centralized clearing houses that currently manage all of the information about shares in AAPL, GOOG, AMZN, FB, etc. are going to be replaced by distributed ledgers. Most people in financial services can see this. It’s precisely why stock exchanges, DTCC, and everyone else is going so hard, so fast into blockchain.
When the stocks of AAPL and FB become tokens, the brokerage of the future will need to prove they can effectively manage the private keys on behalf of their clients. This is when Coinbase will begin to eat away at the business of traditional brokerages.”
Think about trading AMZN (NASDAQ:AMZN, $1,246.91 +$17.77 or 1.45%, 4:00 pm) in terms of a cryptoasset like Bitcoin... You may not need a traditional brokerage account or enough money to buy a single share/ token. Accessibility and liquidity could increase substantially.
That financial future is not here yet. There’s still time to fiat-cost-average into the cryptoassets that will create it. But, there's a saying: “Six months in crypto is like five years in the “normal” world.” So, don’t wait too long.
Lead image source: Google Search. Assuming Creative Commons license until I learn otherwise. Modified.