Updated: Aug 6, 2021
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If you have followed our posts, you know crypto itself and all that surrounds it, lives in the digital realm. There are many other things that happen only digitally, like sending a meme or updating your social media. Unlike these, crypto transactions deals with sensitive information (e.g., identity documents and bank accounts) and are typically not regulated by financial institutions. Therefore, the level of security you should use needs to be higher.
Here we share some of our favourite tools to increase security. As an example, think about the “crypto lifecycle”:
First, you need to access an exchange using an email account that will be linked to your login data.
Our favourite secure email is Protonmail. It was created by a team of scientists, engineers, and developers, who met at CERN. Data is protected by Swiss Data Protection laws, one of the strongest world-wide. Even when cloud is hugely useful, when talking about privacy it has its drawbacks. Protonmail data doesn’t go to the cloud, but it’s kept safe on servers with multiple layers of security and encryption. Protonmail is more secure than other widely used email providers like Gmail or iCloud. It’s worth to have and use for sensitive things, like your exchange account, and other investments.
Then, you will use your email to create an account in an exchange.
But which one? Be mindful that you will trust them with your money and private data. So, it’s a good practice to check their risk assessment in a website like coinmarketcap. Exchanges like Kraken and Binance have a good risk score, the difference between them is that Binance it’s a bit more technical to use than Kraken. By contrast, other exchanges like BitZ has very poor score, and Buda doesn’t even have a risk assessment. Of course we would go for Kraken and Binance.
Now that you have created the account, is time to login. To do so, you need to create a strong password and use a 2FA.
2FA or two factor authentication, is a method that provides an extra layer of security to your account. It makes sure you are actually you! It’s used for corporate, banking, investments, and email login systems, among others. As you would expect, 2FA is used on exchanges login systems too.
Our long time favourite is Google Authenticator: it’s an easy to download, set up and use app. There are other trusted apps, like Authy. Moving away from apps, our new favourite is YubiKey from Yubico. YubiKey looks like a tiny USB memory stick, that can be used contactless with the mobile or by plugging-in at the time of login in your PC, tablet or device you’re using with USB port. Given this is a physical device, disconnected from internet, the level of security is much higher than other alternatives.
Congratulations, you have initiated session! But having so many options, which cryptocurrency would you buy on the exchange?
Take some time to do research, even if it’s just a little bit. Look at the crypto website and their proposal, their market cap, look at rankings, check the information available in your exchange. Beware! There are many rubbish coins, that will most probably make you lose the investment.
Now you are the proud owner of coins. The next step is to choose a wallet
If you are going to sell soon, in this case a hot wallet (a well known one!) it’s a good option. Leaving coins in the exchange is an option if you have pending transactions (e.g., buy or sell orders) However, for long time investments, we prefer cold wallets. No question about it.
You can read more about wallets here, but our overall advice is to use a cold wallet.
Usually, you pay fees every time you move your coins to and from your exchange, so make sure you plan the movements first, to avoid paying multiple fees.
As you noticed, all the above was carried out online… of course you used a safe web browser, correct?
Nowadays web browsers are like shoes, you use the one that’s better for the occasion (you won’t use the same shoes for running and for attending a wedding - we hope!) Our favourite safe web browser is Brave. This browser is encrypted, blocks trackers and ads, and is based on Chromium (Chrome’s open-source core layer).
Also, going back to crypto: if you join Brave’s rewards, you get paid crypto (BAT) for browsing. Brave will block all ads but the ones they have partnership with. You can then choose to monthly retrieve your BAT or, through the browser, you can donate them to registered website creators, like us.