The age of digital money is here and everyone wants to get in on it. You may be asking yourself: Why is cryptocurrency so confusing? What is this chain of blocks everyone is talking about? How do I actually buy this altcoin that my neighbour won’t stop talking about?
The most common thing that we hear from investors looking into cryptocurrency is that “they don’t understand it”. This blog was created as a beginner’s guide to educate you on the different types of cryptocurrencies and what they have to offer, and ultimately we’ll give you the knowledge of how to buy ANY cryptocurrency.
We’ll go over a few categories of cryptos, including the “Blue Chips”, Transactional and DeFi coins of cryptocurrency and give a little overview of their history and significance.
The term “Blue Chip” is used in the business world to label financially stable companies that are immensely profitable even in challenging economic circumstances. We also see the term “Blue chip” in poker, which refers to the highest value chip on the table. So what could “Blue Chip” mean when it comes to cryptocurrency? Blue chip coins are highly established cryptocurrencies that are trusted by investors and have a high market cap. Most coins with a market cap above 2 billion are usually put in this category. Blue chip coins are generally less risky compared to lower market cap coins, but also may have a lower ROI. Reliability and dominance in the industry may also account for blue chip status. As of now, there are 17 cryptocurrencies that dominate the blue chip tag. The top 10 include: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Tether (USDT), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Chainlink (LINK), Litecoin (LTC), Cardano (ADA), Stellar (XLM) and Polkadot (DOT). Below, we will go over the history and news of Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Bitcoin and Ethereum:
In 2009, the world was introduced to the very first distributed, consensus-based, censorship-resistant, permission-less, peer-to-peer payment settlement network with a native currency. Bitcoin (BTC), the native asset of the Bitcoin blockchain, is a digital currency without a central bank or administrator. This was the beginning of the age of cryptocurrency. The Bitcoin network is a decentralized monetary institution that exists through the interaction between full nodes, miners, and developers. Bitcoin is the first, oldest, and largest cryptocurrency in the world.
In 2013, Vitalik Buterin noticed different limitations in Bitcoins scripting language, namely the lack of “turing completeness”. The white paper for Ethereum was then published later in the year. Ethereum is a distributed blockchain computing platform for smart contracts and decentralized applications. Its native token is ether (ETH), which primarily serves as a means of payment for transaction fees and as collateral for borrowing specific ERC-20 tokens within the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector.
So what is the difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum? Bitcoin’s sole purpose is to be an alternative to the fiat currency that is printed by banks. It doesn’t really have more uses. On the other hand, Ethereum is an entire platform. With Ethereum, unlike Bitcoin, developers can build their own blockchain-based programs on the network called decentralized applications (DAPPs). DAPPs allow developers to build and implement smart contracts and computer codes that automatically carry out tasks when certain conditions in the contract are met.
Recently, Bitcoin and Ethereum have reached their all-time high. This surge coincides with the much anticipated first Bitcoin ETF debuting on the New York Stock Exchange this week. Despite this record, Bitcoin and Ethereum are still very volatile. Last time Bitcoin saw a record high was in April. It then went on to lose over half its value midway through July. This is just something to consider when purchasing cryptocurrency because even these blue chip coins are always on the move!
While most cryptocurrencies are transactional, “Transactional Coins” were designed for the fastest possible transaction speeds and to have low fees compared to some “Blue Chip Coins” like Bitcoin. One of the most important aspects when thinking about investing in crypto is scalability. This word is used a lot in the corporate world but when it comes to crypto, scalability determines how valuable a blockchain network is by gauging the level of transactions and smart contracts that the network can launch. Right now, Bitcoin can process 7 transactions per second (TPS) for a block time of 10 minutes, while Ethereum processes around 15 TPS. When compared to traditional payment vendors such as Visa and PayPal, these speeds are very low. Visa claims to be able to process 65,000 TPS with over 150 million transactions a day, while PayPal claims to process 193 TPS. When focusing on scalability, the only thing that makes Bitcoin and Ethereum more valuable is the elimination of the middle man. “Transactional Coins” were created to have quicker block confirmations to increase transaction throughput and reduce the amount of time merchants need for block confirmations. They also generally have a larger max supply to prevent the coin from becoming scarce and expensive. Below, we will go over 3 of the top transactional coins, Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), and Steller (XLM).
Litecoin, Ripple, and Stellar:
In 2011, ex Google and Coinbase engineer, Charlie Lee, created Litecoin (LTC) as a fork of Bitcoin’s source code with four times faster block times and four times larger supply. Litecoin considers itself complementary to Bitcoin as a silver to Bitcoin’s gold. It is often used as a pseduo-testnet for Bitcoin, adopting new protocol changes before they are deployed on Bitcoin. One key technical difference is Litecoins’ mining algorithm, Scrypt, which makes it easier for users to generate hashes with commonly available hardware and participate in the mining process. Litecoin implements a 56 TPS with 2.5-minute block times and an 84 million coin max supply.
In 2012, Chris Larson and Jed McCaleb founded Ripple (XRP) as a technology company that develops the Ripple payment protocol. Ripple enables banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges, and corporations to send money globally using blockchain technology. XRP was created as an open-source cryptographic ledger powered by a peer-to-peer (P2P) network of nodes, similar to Bitcoin. Ripple implements a 1,500 TPS with 3-5 second block times and a 100 billion coin max supply.
In 2013, Jed McCaleb left Ripple due to internal conflicts over vision and joined Joyce Kim to fork the Ripple protocol and launched the Stellar project in 2014. The Stellar (XLM) team aims to promote global financial access by creating an open and affordable financial system where people of all income levels can access simple-to-use, secure, and low-cost financial services. The Stellar blockchain also allows anyone to issue new assets in the network in exchange for other assets using their built-in asset exchange features. For more information on the asset exchange features, visit this site. Stellar is capable of running 1000-5000 TPS with 3-5 second block times and around a 50 billion coin max supply.
Recently, these transactional coins have been getting a lot of exposure due to their low prices and fees being more affordable to the average investor. With such large max supplies, these coins tend to be way less volatile, possessing decently steady growth.
One of the main advantages and key leveraging points over the traditional banking system is that most cryptocurrencies are decentralized. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is a collective term for financial products and services that do not have a central service exercising control over the system. All DeFi applications aim to recreate the classic financial systems, like banks and exchanges, using cryptocurrency and are accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
The most common used cases for DeFi crypto applications are borrowing and lending without the need for a bank. Interest rates are typically more attractive than traditional banks, and the barrier of eligibility to borrow is significantly lower. In most cases, the only requirement to take out a DeFi loan is the ability to provide collateral with other crypto assets. The easiest way to understand the advantages of DeFi is identifying problems that exist in the financial systems today. Many people are not allowed access to set up bank accounts and use financial services which can prevent them from being employable. Financial services charge a premium because they need to take a cut for themselves and their intermediary institutions. Lastly, trading hours are limited to business hours of a specific time zone. These are just a couple issues in today’s society that DeFi crypto applications were created to solve.
Now that you know a bit about a few different types of cryptocurrencies, let’s break down how you can get your digital hands on ANY coin, here in Canada. This process can vary, but the steps are easy once you get the hang of it.
Step by step, here’s what you’ll do:
Step 1: Go to CoinMarketCap.com and search the coin you are looking for in the top right corner. In this instance, we will search for Internet Computer (ICP), a utility token that allows users to participate in and govern the Internet Computer blockchain network.
Step 2: Go to the asset page on CoinMarketCap, and click on “market”. You’ll see a list of all the exchanges that offer the token you are looking for.
After you’ve gotten your list of exchanges that offer your coins, you’ll want to do some research on what is required to trade on these platforms. Uniswap for example is a decentralized exchange that requires a connectable MetaMask wallet, but no account sign-up process besides that. Other exchanges on the list won’t be able to accept Canadian customers. Be sure to research and pick an appropriate platform for your needs. Most, if not all, of the exchanges, won’t be able to take Canadian dollars, so you’ll need to transfer from a Canadian platform like Bitbuy.
Step 3: Buy some Bitcoin or another transfer coin on Bitbuy and send from Bitbuy to the platform that has your coin. For this instance, we will be sending Bitcoin from Bitbuy to a Coinbase Exchange account that offers Internet Computer (ICP) tradeable for Bitcoin.
Step 4: Once your Bitcoin arrives in your other exchange account, you can trade it for the altcoin of your choosing. This process can differ when working with decentralized platforms like Uniswap, so be sure to reach out to Bitbuy support if you need help!
That’s it! Now you know how to buy any cryptocurrency in Canada!
Please note Bitbuy does not endorse or provide any type of recommendation on buying cryptocurrencies not available on Bitbuy. This guide is meant to be educational only, and we strongly encourage all cryptocurrency traders to proceed with extreme caution when purchasing any cryptocurrency. Please do your own research and understand the full risks associated with purchasing new, emerging or established cryptocurrencies.