If you’ve already got a grasp of the basics and are looking for a quick way to get started with bitcoin or altcoins then this guide is just for you. Perhaps you need to send a single payment or are looking to buy and hold, whichever it is, after this article you should be equipped to dip your toe into the world of cryptocurrencies. We’ve cut out all the superfluous details and given you the basic ‘starters’-guide’ to getting involved. The three essentials we’re going to cover are:

  • A wallet (to hold you coins)
  • An exchange (to convert fiat currency into digital assets)
  • How to send and receive digital currencies

Obviously, knowing doesn’t necessarily equate to understanding and whilst this bare-bones guide will get you set up to use cryptocurrencies we strongly advise further research before investing sizeable amount of time or money into altcoins. Check out our more in-depth look at digital wallets and wallet comparison as well as further information on exchanges and security.

  • Digital wallets are like email accounts that facilitate the sending and receiving of digital assets
  • Your digital wallet comes with a public key (for receiving cryptocurrencies) and a private key (for sending)
  • Never ever reveal your private key and write it down if you have access to it
  • Check out our wallet comparison or guide to wallets
  • There are several options when buying altcoins
  • P2P, Exchanges & Altcoin ATM machines
  • Many payment methods accepted
  • Check out our guide to buying bitcoin and our exchange comparison
  • CEX.io and many others let you buy digital currencies using fiat
  • These exchanges will store your digital assets but always remember that cold storage is safer than hot
  • Exchanges will charge a fee or a bid/ask spread on purchases

Not exactly rocket science is it? You could simplify the process even further as some exchanges offer wallet facilities too, negating the need to sign up for one first. However, our advice is always to store your digital assets in a secure wallet, separate from an online exchange in case of security issues.