Purchasing Cryptocurrency? Get a Fashionable Public Key

My last post talked about cryptocurrency.  You might be wondering how to purchase your own.

There are a few simple key things to know about purchasing cryptocurrencies.  Also, this is by no means advice to buy cryptocurrency.  We have no idea what is going to happen in this new market and I suggest reading more before jumping in!

3 Basics to Know as a Cryptocurrency Buyer:

1. Exchanges

This is where you buy your tokens, but you should never leave them there.  Tokens left in an exchange are owned by the exchange and if the exchange is hacked, goodbye tokens #sfyl (sorry for your loss).  A popular exchange for buying Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lite Coin is Coinbase.

2. Wallets 

It's as obvious as it sounds, you should send your money from an exchange into some kind of wallet.  For many coins, you can use My Ether Wallet.  Generate a wallet by following their instructions.  DO NOT lose your files, these are the only way to access your wallet.  Once you've set up a wallet, you're assigned a public key.  Without getting to far into it, this key is the address where you can send and receive tokens.  Don't worry — no one can take your tokens by accessing just your public key.  To learn more about public and private keys, check out this post.

Assume your machine is compromised.  Many of our laptops and computers are in fact not secure machines.  This is why companies like Ledger have created cold storage wallets to store your private keys which serve as your tokens.  Check out their site for details on purchasing your own hardware wallet.

3. ENS

The moment you've all been waiting for though.  How do you get a fashionable public key?  What does that mean?  So your public key by default looks like a long and random string of numbers and letters practically illegible to humans.  When it comes to checking to make sure money is being sent to and from the correct address — I can barely type my credit card number correctly...

You can set up an ENS to help solve this problem.  Next time a friend is sending you Ether as payment, it's much easier to have them send it to a public key like thefashionrobot.eth instead of 0x93a2f52cd.....garble.  There are a few services like My Ether Wallet that have made purchasing your own ENS simpler (like buying a domain).  You can head over to their ENS page, search the address you want and bid on it.  The bidding happens in two stages.  There is an auction period and there is a reveal period.  Once you send your initial bid it starts a two day auction.  Then, once the auction is over everyone must reveal their bid.  Failure to reveal the bid ends with the loss of that bid.  If you reveal your bid and lose, you will get your tokens back.

Words of advice in purchasing your ENS: 

1. Copy and paste the JSON transaction information.  You will need it when you go to reveal your bid.  You can screenshot this too, but then you'll experience the pain of hand typing a bunch of random numbers and letters in perfect configuration.

2. Absolutely do not forget to reveal your bid during the reveal period!