Cryptocurrency 101: A Beginners Guide

Are you super brand new to the concept of cryptocurrency and feeling a little  overwhelmed? 

Here are 8 clear and simple steps for newcomers to follow, with external links to some of the best and most amazing free tools, products, resources and guides.

We’ve erected these 8 signposts, to guide all beginners along the path towards financial freedom.

Firstly, lets run through the gist of it..

cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is created and managed through the use of advanced encryption techniques known as cryptography. Transactions are verified, recorded and forever stored and on a decentralized open ledger called a blockchain

There are 1,400 different types of cryptocurrencies currently in existence, each one with their own unique features that distinguish them from physical currencies like the USD (Fiat). The majority of them aim to create a better, fairer and more efficient way to transact and exchange value.

Paper money (and the centralized banking system as a whole) is grossly outdated and inefficient. The revolution to find a better way began in 2009 with the creation of bitcoin –  for the first time users were cutting out the middle men and transacting directly with each other in a faster, cheaper and borderless way.

We speculate over which cryptocurrency will survive and go on to be adopted by organizations/businesses/people. The demand to acquire v the limited supply of a coin is what causes the dramatic price fluctuations you’ve been hearing about.

Confused already, but want to know more?

We’ve got all the steps covered below:


Educating yourself about Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and decentralized blockchain technology is a daunting task for every newcomer. Learning about all the various aspects is a gradual process; you will never be an overnight expert. Instead, aim to build a simple understanding of core concepts, enough comprehension to gain confidence and participate.

Finding high quality, free sources of learning can be a struggle. We’ve narrowed some down here to get you started.

Beginner Guides

Bitcoin explained in simple language.


A beginners guide to blockchain technology.


What is cryptocurrency?

Source: Blockgeeks

A series of beginner guides to crypto assets.

Source: Linda Xie on Medium


The best way to actively learn the mechanics of cryptocurrency is to buy a small amount and make a transaction. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are stored in wallets. Each wallet creates a public address to help distinguish it from other wallets on the blockchain.

Reputable mainstream exchanges allow the larger cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin to be purchased, quite seamlessly, using a Debit/Credit card or a regular bank account. The registration process takes 30 minutes. The user is automatically assigned an online wallet to store any of their purchased crypto. Any purchased crypto can then be sent to more advanced platforms and traded with other users, once you’ve gained enough knowledge and know-how.

Beginner-friendly exchanges


The Coinbase platform makes it easy to securely buy, use, store and trade digital currency. Users can purchase Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether & Litecoin through a digital wallet available on Android & iPhone.


Changelly enables the purchase of a wider range of cryptocurrencies. Payment can be made with any major credit card.


A platform that supports the purchase of Bitcoin and Ether, created by the Winklevoss twins.

Advanced trading platforms


A US based cryptocurrency trading platform built by security experts.


The fastest growing crypto exchange, known for listing newer coins and tokens.


Founded in 2011, San Francisco-based Kraken is the largest Bitcoin exchange in euro volume and liquidity and also trading Canadian dollars, US dollars, British pounds and Japanese yen.


Poloniex is a pure crypto to crypto exchange based in the United States.


Bitfinex is a crypto-currency exchange trading and currency-storage platform. Since 2014, it has been the largest Bitcoin exchange platform.


Security breaches, hacks and scams have resulted in millions of dollars’ worth of digital assets being lost or stolen. The victims of these attacks are mostly sites holding lots of value, such as cryptocurrency exchanges, but hackers have also targeted individuals. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to be overcautious and deploy the maximum security measures when navigating this ecosystem. For starters – if you own a significant amount of crypto/value on an exchange wallet then you should be considering these alternative options below, to keep that cryptocurrency safe.

Centralized Exchange Wallets (High to Medium Risk)

These types of wallets are given by default to individuals registered on exchanges. Users are never in control of their private key as the cryptocurrency is stored by a clearly identifiable 3rd party. Hackers will spend more time targeting these organizations as the reward is high.

The user has no control of private keys with a default exchange wallet

The user has no control of private keys with a default exchange wallet

The user has no control of private keys with a default exchange wallet

The user has no control of private keys with a default exchange wallet

The user has no control of private keys with a default exchange wallet

Online/Mobile Wallets (Medium Risk)

The most popular choice for an online/mobile wallet.

Bread is an easy and fairly secure bitcoin wallet, designed for beginners

Canadian-based Jaxx allows for a wider range of blockchain assets and cryptocurrencies to be stored.

Desktop Wallets (Medium to Low Risk)

The Exodus platform can be downloaded onto your laptop/computer so that you control your private keys locally. It is the first desktop multi-asset wallet with Shapeshift built in. That means you can exchange cryptocurrencies for other cryptocurrencies with the click of a button.

The Jaxx digital wallet has a desktop option and has adopted similar features to exodus, such as the ability to trade/swap cryptocurrencies on the platform.

Offline/Hardware wallets (Low to minimal risk)

They sell a variety of hardware wallets that connect to a computer via usb port. The most secure option for storing cryptocurrency however, not all digital assets are compatible with the ledger products.

Trezor also allows you to isolate your private keys offline. Additional features include a password manager and ERC20 token compatability

Additional Security

Google Authenticator

Google Authenticator works with 2-Step Verification for your Google Account and other accounts to provide an additional layer of security when signing in. Always activate two factor authentication (2FA) to protect online cryptocurrency wallets and exchange trading accounts. The free app provides 6 digit number that verifies your identity upon login.


Password managers, like 1Password securely generate and store an array of login information and passwords so that you don’t have to constantly remember them. Randomly generated passwords, with no personal bias or connection, are much more difficult to crack and decode. The information is easily accessible on the go, through a mobile app.

Backup phrases

Backup Phrases are 12 random words that are set in a particular order that acts as a tool to recover or back up your wallet/device/account on many crypto platforms. This is particularly useful if a wallet gets lost/compromised or damaged and in many cases is the only way one can recover funds. At every opportunity please record these phrases on a piece of paper and store in a safe fireproof/waterproof location.


Nailing down  fundamental news sources, that get the balance right between speed and reliability, is a struggle. Keep up to date with events in the space by frequently checking in on these top quality, well respected news sources & commentators

News sources

Forbes Crypto

A choice selection of finely balanced factual and opinion pieces from an array of respected commentators in the crypto space.

Coin Telegraph

Daily articles, simply written, quick to report on breaking news, although they are sometimes guilty for jumping on the rumour mill.



A weekly newsletter signalling general trends and offering solid insight, from a veteran trader/investor known simply as BlueMagic. Sign up via email


A daily cryptocurrency newsletter keeping a pulse on everything important in the crypto space, so you don’t have to. Sign up via email

Event updates


An evidence based and community driven events calendar, updated perpetually.


Unchained by Laura Shin

Laura Shin talks with industry pioneers across tech, financial services, health care, government and other sectors about how the blockchain and fintech will open up new opportunities for incumbents, startups and everyday people to interact more efficiently, directly and globally.

The Cryptoverse by Chris Coney

A daily podcast covering recent news events in the space and summarizing the 24 hour price movements. The host, Chris Coney, is a true believer in decentralization and the power of blockchain technology.

B21 Block by Ravinder Deol

An excellent series of short and to the point educational podcasts that explain all the various elements of cryptocurrency and blockchains, presented in a very easy to understand way.

Social channels

Reddit cryptocurrency news

Reddit is the social platform that sparked the creation and adoption of many cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency news subreddit is the ideal place to start exploring and engaging.

The Coin Movement Twitter account

Come join me on Crypto Twitter. It’s fun!

The Cryptoverse on Youtube

Chris Coney’s visual version of his daily podcast. A very informative channel subscription.


Price movements and fluctuations are aplenty and you will find yourself relentlessly checking how much all your bitcoins or altcoins are worth. A word of warning – don’t allow excessive price checking hinder personal learning and development. For many the obsession to know the current market price of 1 Bitcoin gets too much in the way of their day to day life!

Desktop/URL trackers

Cryptocurrency market cap rankings, charts, and historical data complied using weighted data from 1,000’s of worldwide exchanges. The pioneer in market data and the most widely bookmarked page for investors – this should be your first port of call for accurate and up to date information.

Accurate live prices, charting and market analysis from 25 of the top crypto exchanges globally.

Desktop Portfolio trackers

CoinTracking records and analyzes all your trades and generates useful information in real time, such as the profit / loss of your trades, the value of your coins, balances, realized and unrealized gains. You can also make a public account and share your portfolio information with friends. is new and more of a social platform for tracking and showcasing altcoin and cryptocurrency investments and interacting with fellow crypto investors.

Coin Stats

The coin stats app provides detailed up to date market information, charts and exchange pricing, anytime and anywhere. Each coin profile has a link to social channels and recent media news specific to the project. Track your Altfolio investments and earnings on the portfolio tab and select your favourite coins for quick price access.


Blockfolio is the most popular choice amongst serious traders and hodlers. The app offers complete cryptocurrency management, with easy to use tools to keep track of all your cryptocurrency investments. Get detailed price and market information for individual currencies and your entire portfolio all in one place


The crypto community is strong, accepting and elated to have you as their newest member. Get out there and engage with other crypto enthusiasts. Don`t be afraid to hide your beginner status – ask questions, seek the truth and make some connections and friendships in the space. Those that judge you based on your lack of knowledge are ignorant to the fact that they were once, very recently, in your shoes. It helps to surround oneself with positive voices. You can’t fly like an eagle if you keep hanging around with turkeys!

Suggested actions

Write a journal or start an online blog/diary to document your own journey to financial freedom

Attend community driven events on

Engage and reach out on social media. You can add me on twitter & reddit and I will gladly follow you back and get you started.

Read and research a different cryptocurrency every week to learn how it may/may not be successful. The whitepaper, usually available on a project’s official webpage, details everything you need to know.

Tell your friends about this amazing space. Help them to understand and learn. Spreading the word helps drive adoption rates and the ecosystems survival depends on having a growing community of advocates and enthusiasts.


We are all players. Many are in it for the potential profits, some for the interest in the core technology. Being a trader, and risking personal wealth, is definitely not for everyone. Identify what roles you play and consolidate personal skills and learning to reach your full potential.


An advocate is a positive voice in the community that encourages mass adoption and communicates the advantages of decentralization & removing the middle man.


These are people who help grow ecosystem in their own way – by helping others understand blockchain and how digital asset technology works


They help promote a cryptocurrency and ecosystem. This overlaps with educators in a way. Marketeers are usually fanatical about a particular coin or token and will strive to grow that particular community of users


Home-based mining of cryptocurrency is not very profitable, in most cases. Expensive energy consumption and equipment can hold back most budding miners. However, if you have a nearby cheap and plentiful supply of renewable energy you may choose this path.


Are you a tech head? Every cryptocurrency in existence strives for continual improvement and upgrades. The functionality and user interaction across associated platforms, apps, wallets and URL’s relies on a team of hard working, creative developers coding into the early hours of the night.


Speculators, Day Traders, institutional or long term ‘buy and hold’ investors; these players influences prices, valuations and market sentiments. The aim of the game is profit through a medium that exemplifies high risk/high reward.


Setting financial and personal targets help quantify progress and achievements.

Suggested Goals

I aim to:

..eventually take back control of my personal wealth without having to rely on untrustworthy, inefficient institutions driven by greed and profit.

..gain ‘X’ amount of crypto through trading this year and use to purchase ‘Y’. an expert in this field and educate family, friends, students, newcomers.

A final word..

Early Adopter phase
Cryptocurrency is still in the early adoption phase

Consider yourself lucky to have stumbled upon a path to financial freedom. Take advantage. Firstly, invest all your time in learning not all of your money. Embrace the new technology and a fairer system. Be patient; enjoy the learning curves – do not endure. Discover everything this ecosystem has to offer and find a suitable route to better your life and that of others.

Here is a good movie on Netflix to watch.

And here is a great book to read by Chris Burniske.

Welcome to the future. You’ve arrived early!

Stay tuned,

Cathal – The Coin Movement

It might make sense just to get some in case it catches on. If enough people think the same way, that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy

Satoshi Nakamoto, 1/17/2009 – creator of Bitcoin (real identity unknown)