Blockchain is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated technologies of our time. Much like the early internet, experienced technologists foresee blockchain as a vehicle to drive society forward. Implementations of secure, decentralized systems can empower us to conquer organizational issues of trust and security that have plagued our society for generations. In effect, we can fundamentally disrupt industries core to our economies and social structure, eliminating inefficiency and human error.
One of the most exciting and imminent applications of blockchain is with Bitcoin. Though volatile in nature, Bitcoin represents a not so far away future where payments are secure, data-driven, and digital.
Yet, with all the hype and promise surrounding cryptocurrencies, there is still tons of confusion around how exactly to prepare for this revolution. There are many self proclaimed “crypto experts,” as well as fraudulent scammers, who are leveraging the excitement in the space as a means for profit.
Navigating the short term noise in the community can be risk and challenging. Though, if you believe in the long term significance of the technology, then it is well worth the upfront financial and resource investment to familiarize and educate yourself in the space.
Here are 4 ways to ensure you are prepared for the incoming cryptocurrency revolution:
1. Do your own research
Like any other time you are thinking about making an investment, it is best to start with your own research so that you can form your own, unbiased thesis. Especially in a nascent space, like with blockchain, it can be really easy to be inadvertently influenced by others trying to sell you on their own ideas or projects.
Whether you end up analyzing whitepapers or educating yourself on the backend technology, it is important you always investigate who the author is behind the scenes. Everyone has a bias, and while it is not always bad, it is very important you make a mental note of it. It is very easy to get scammed out of a significant amount of capital, when your investment is primarily backed in trust of an individual you have no real strong relationship with.
Especially with initial coin offerings, it can be very easy to get sucked into the romantic future vision without seeing true, technical implementation. Look for the details!
2. Familiarize yourself with the platforms
Given the promising returns of many cryptocurrencies, it can be easy to think that “going all in” early is the best decision. First remember that these returns are generated by extremely risky securities that are volatile in nature. Secondly, there are also many nuances and subtleties, unique to crypto investing, that are worth familiarizing yourself with before throwing any money away. There are many different platforms designed to help you trade and store cryptocurrencies.
Here is a list of the best bitcoin wallets, specifically, that you can leverage to securely and safely store your coins. Depending on the frequency you plan to trade as well as how much money you intend to hold will often dictate which wallet you end up going with. As it is early on, relatively, in the world of cryptocurrency, chances are we will continue to see new platforms come out and evolve as the technology becomes more mainstream.
3. Start conversations with peers
One of the best investments you can make in the long term value of cryptocurrency, outside of physically risking cash to invest in the platform, is to find a strong community you can rely on to talk about recent cryptocurrency news and developments. Unlike other fledgling technologies first coming out, the crypto world is vibrantly filled with a mix of engineers, designers, marketers, and writers. Chances are, there is a niche group of crypto-enthusiasts who share your views, waiting for more members.
But above the relationships you can form, there is also a ton to learn. And finding a community of people you can trust will only become more and more important as the masses gain access to and begin to see the true potential of the platform.
4. Get the resources for your business
If you are a business owner, realize that the world of payments is likely to change dramatically over the next 5, 10, 20 years. Specifically, the process of charging and collecting for your services will be completely different, rooted in the advancement of digital currencies, like Bitcoin.
Luckily, there are different vendors in the space who are helping businesses, big and small, begin to accept alternative forms of currency. As products like virtual credit cards and cryptocurrency wallets become more common among consumers, businesses will need to be able to support this method of payment. In this world, where we are no longer bound to the value of cash or worry about carrying around a bunch of different credit cards, consumers will be able to shop more freely, which is better for all parties.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily shared by TNW.