The crypto and blockchain space is growing rapidly and so it’s no surprise that it’s difficult to find an entry point. How does one get started about crypto and blockchain? Here are my thoughts!
All right, we’re back from the waterpark. I have 15 minutes between a couple of calls to talk about a question that I get asked quite often which is:
How do I get started learning about crypto?
So let me share the experiences that I’ve had in the past when I got started with the space and how I started learning about it.
So I feel the crypto space is quite confusing if you’re getting started. It’s kind of hard to find out which sources are valuable, which ones are just “blah blah”. I think that’s completely normal for such a new space that’s moving at such a rapid pace. Concepts have not really been defined yet.
- What is the cryptocurrency?
- What does mining mean?
- Does that always mean proof of work or could it also mean proof of stake?
- What is a decentralized computer?
- How is a decentralized computer connected to a cryptocurrency?
- Why is it beneficial for certain business models to be tokenized?
There are so many questions and I don’t think anyone has the right answer to all of them. It’s all about finding it out and understanding how things are connected. But I do want to share some ideas or some sources or things that have helped me in the past.
1. Set aside some cash and invest in a cryptocurrency
I think it’s good to just force yourself to learn about the space. And one way to do this is to set aside a certain amount, let’s say $50 or $100, and invest that into a cryptocurrency. See it not as an investment, see it as money you’re paying to learn something. Because once you’ve invested into something, there will be natural interest for you to follow that.
Also, before you invest, you will want to have a look at, let’s say, the top 15 tokens or coins and get a bit of an idea of what is what and what you think has a future. And then see if that plays out. And maybe you’ll do really well on your 50 bucks. In the worst, case you’ve learned a lot.
2. Take the Udemy course by Princeton
There’s also a really good Princeton course and paper that you could read. We will make sure to link right here to the course and probably also in the description up there or down here. I found that to be the right mix of extensive and detailed but also starting with very simple concepts.
They are not expecting you to know anything about cryptocurrencies. They have a paper, I think a couple hundred pages, and then there’s also a course on Udemy that you can follow and learn it in an interactive way.
3. Join a community
And I think that third is just finding people to talk to and bounce ideas off of them. I think one really valuable way is communities. And one community that you could join is Nextblock.io. Nextblock is a project that a bit more than a year ago started with me looking for someone who could write news summaries.
How Nextblock started
So I was wondering what is a way for me to scale my time or to still get the gist of what’s happening in this space every day. And I went on Upwork and Freelancer and a bunch of other sites and I used this hiring process that I’ve described in an earlier episode to find someone who’s already invested and thinking about crypto and probably reads a lot of the news every day and would summarize the news for me in very actionable bits and pieces every day via WhatsApp.
And I found this guy, his name is Connor. He is based in the UK and he’s been a FOREX trader in the past and he’s spent the last few years on cryptocurrency trading. And so he started providing these news summaries to me. At the beginning, I think it was twice daily that I would get a WhatsApp message which had kind of one-liners about what happened today and then the links to the full articles.
It would say “Parity got hacked because of a bug in their wallet, here’s a link to the full article”. And we’ve also agreed on an emoji code. So an arrow down or arrow up meant bad or good news. Basically, this will allow me to, within 30 seconds to one minute, get a rough overview of what has happened in the space back then.
And that worked really well for me. I started telling friends about these news summaries. A lot of them also liked it or were interested to get the same summary. I decided to create a small WhatsApp group, not thinking about anything like a community back then. I just invited them and I think we grew that to probably 30 to 40 people by summer last year.
Making it official
And that’s when I talked to Simon. Simon is also an EO member, he has sold his previous company and he’s also interested in crypto and shared another few interests with me. Among them, he’s also a minimalist, meaning he also lives, he doesn’t really have a constant home, he’s constantly traveling between Germany, the UK, Spain…
He became interested and he offered to help us grow this community a bit more and also manage it to make sure we provide a lot more value. Not just the new summaries but we also help moderate discussions.
And so since then, Nextblock has grown to almost 250 members right now. We’re still in WhatsApp but just thinking about a switch to Telegram. We have the main group where general discussions go on and where the news summaries are posted but then we have a bunch of subgroups for people who are interested in a specific topic.
Off the top of my head, I can recall there’s an ICO petitioners group; There’s a mining group for people who are interested in setting up mining farms and mining operations. There is a crypto bot channel – so for people who want to talk about automating their trading. And then we also started doing real-life gatherings and meetups. So we’ve had people meet in London, Berlin, Zurich is coming up next week.
Why is Nextblock different?
What I really like about this community versus many of the other Telegram groups and WhatsApp groups that you can join, is that everyone has an interest in the technology and the concepts of blockchain and not just the price of a certain coin.
So you will never find stuff like “oh, Bitcoin just hit 12,000” or that “Bitcoin just fell 30%”. Everyone who’s in the group understands that price fluctuations are just part of this game. And everyone is interested in seeing the long-term vision. What can we use blockchain technology for, what are good resources to learn about blockchain….
And so I’d say if you’ve invested in a coin and made your first steps and understand the basics of what a cryptocurrency is and how you can buy it; if you’ve read the Princeton paper or followed the Udemy course; if you’re then interested in discussions with like-minded people and want to learn more and exchange your thoughts and bounce ideas off of other people, then head over to nextblock.io, sign up and we’ll see you in the group in a few days!
You can listen to the audio version here: