Don’t be Afraid of Crypto

Don't be afraid of Crypto

Image by ORION_production / Envato Elements

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Being naturally curious, I wanted to try my hand at NFTs. NFTs are non-fungible tokens. In my words (there are better descriptions out there), that means that an NFT is an item that does not hold an equivalent. In someone else’s words (I like their analogy, but I can’t remember who said it), something that is FUNGIBLE (the opposite) could be two 5-dollar bills, as that can be equally exchanged for a 10-dollar bill. An NON-FUNGIBLE item cannot be equally exchanged as it is a one-of-a-kind item. Hence, art, and collectibles.

With no one around to teach me (in fact, I got more of the opposite advice: “stay away from crypto” and “be careful”), I ventured into the world of crypto alone.

I like to research

…which is probably a really good thing. So, I’m going to help you out by sharing how I started and how it’s going.

I learned a few things. One important bit of wisdom to take away from this blog is what cryptocurrency is…essentially. Again, this is in my terms and I’m sure there are much better descriptions out there, lol. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is online and decentralized. Decentralized, meaning NOT ONE entity/computer/person/business holds the currency. Whereas, a bank, holding fiat (for example), is the opposite scenario. A few other terms that you’ll need to familiarize yourself with are: mining, gas fees, and the blockchain. Mining is the method of producing cryptocurrency (“digital coins”) and verifying new transactions. Mining is done on the blockchain via a global network of computers. Anyone with the right equipment can take part in mining. Because of mining, carbon needs to be offset, hence there are “gas fees” which need to be paid when minting items or during other transactions. The blockchain is:

“a system in which a record of transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are maintained across several computers that are linked in a peer-to-peer network.”

Oxford Languages

See? Not so scary. Now that you have those terms under your belt…

My research also brought me to learning that a hardware wallet (a wallet is a place to store your crypto. Pretty logical) is much more secure than an online wallet.

There were a few big brands, offering hardware wallets, and I felt more comfortable at this point with a popular brand. I liked what Ledger (affiliate) was doing so I chose one of their wallets. They resemble a USB drive.

Once you receive your wallet in the mail, you’ll need to set it up. You will now have a wallet address. This is a long chain of letters and numbers, and what you send to others when you are receiving funds from them. There are also 24 secret words that you will need to keep safe (please write them down on a couple of sheets and hide them somewhere safe, in a couple of different places). Ledger recommends that you be alone when recording your secret words. They are the equivalent of having a PIN code for your bank card, and you should never tell anyone these words. No one will ever ask you for them! If they do, it’s a scam. NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR SECRET WORDS.

Moving on…

Once you have it set up, download the Ledger Live app for your desktop. This is super handy. I’m not into stocks, but the app shows the latest highs and lows in the cryptocurrency market. Once you have your hands on some crypto, you’ll probably peek in on the latest trends, at least every so often, as I do.

Purchasing Cryptocurrency

This was actually the most painful part… and it wasn’t that bad. It was more annoying and time consuming than anything. I’m going to save my fellow Canadians from the frustration. Read on…

To mint (not make, but to actually mint) an NFT, you need to own ETH. ETH is short for Ethereum. It’s a cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin (BTC). My first lesson was in purchasing ETH.

Ledger Live has a menu along the left side. I clicked “Buy/Sell,” and chose the crypto asset that I wanted to purchase: ETH. From there, I chose Coinify. I quickly found out that my Canadian bank stopped allowing credit cards. Bank transfer was available, so I gave that a go. After going through Coinify support to confirm that I was sending to the correct address for an international bank transfer, a visit to my branch who didn’t know the answer, and a phone call to the head office of my bank, I learned that I would have to, instead, make an international wire transfer in order to complete my purchase. This would have cost me a $48 fee (rather than the initial $6 fee that I would have paid if I send money internationally to a person, rather than a business – the bank that Coinify uses). No thanks.

So that was a week or two of back and forth. I was pretty lost at this point. I even tried asking friends on Facebook but… 🦗🦗🦗   This is really uncharted territory for many. No one knew how to help me – except a great friend all the way in Scotland recommended Wise (referral). I tried them, and I’m glad he recommended Wise because I’ll probably use it for other transactions; however, Wise unfortunately doesn’t allow crypto. Back to the drawing board… a.k.a. Google.

I’m in love! 😍

Not really. I found CoinSmart (referral) and it made my day! This site was so easy, and it allowed me to do a bank transfer. It honestly went so smoothly that it freaked me out. Usually when things are too good to be true, but nope, this worked and worked well. So, technically I have another wallet with them. I had my newly purchased ETH in it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep it there. I was able to move it to my Ledger quickly and easily.

MetaMask and

There’s one final step. This was my second lesson. It’s not too bad, and I’ve come to accept it and am actually happy to leave things as is. I’ve intentionally left this step this until the end BECAUSE you’ll (hopefully) be able to decide for yourself. What I’m referring to is that I think I did things in the wrong order initially. Between trying to purchase ETH, I got impatient and I set up an account with MetaMask and with OpenSea. MetaMask is, in their words:

MetaMask provides an essential utility for blockchain newcomers, token traders, crypto gamers, and developers. Over a million downloads and counting!

MetaMask is a marketplace to buy and sell NFTs. It’s pretty massive, as one of the most popular marketplaces. After I created an account with OpenSea, I used my new MetaMask account to “sign” (this confirms that it’s you). Because I did this, and had now built my new collection with this wallet linked, when I was finally able to purchase ETH (and wanted to keep it on my Ledger), I hooked up Ledger to MetaMask (necessary for convenience with OpenSea), and it gave me a second wallet. My initial wallet had my new collection on it, and I unfortunately couldn’t duplicate my collection name. I also didn’t want to delete my collection in one wallet and recreate it in my new one, for fear that I would lose my collection name (and the name is important to me). So, I have a couple accounts and I learned that I can toggle back and forth through them. That’s cool with me now.

I also want to mention that support through Coinify and Ledger have been great. Very personable and they actually listen and try to help, without providing a robot-like response to shrug you off. I’m extremely happy with Ledger’s Tech Customer Success Specialist, Steven. He helped me realize I need to close the Ledger Live app when setting up MetaMask and OpenSea, but plug in my Ledger device, in order to connect everything. Worked like a charm.

The fun part – creating an NFT / NFT Collection

I’ve already created my first collection! I will say there’s a bug in OpenSea, that I’ve reported. I’m hoping OpenSea will fix my collection name. It’s been a few days, so if I don’t hear back from them soon, I’ll just have to change my entire series names, unfortunately. (For context, one of my item names said it was “taken” …which is crazy since my item names were pretty unique with combinations of words and numbers).

My collection isn’t yet minted, which also means I haven’t had to pay gas fees yet. I have a price already in mind for these NFTs, but if you’re interested in making an offer, you’re more than welcome to! I already have views and some have been favourited 🤩 Are you ready? Check out Gemstone Turtles! I have more to upload, and then the minting process ensues (or offers… either way).

Thanks so much for reading! I’m still a noob at crypto myself, but this is really the gist of it and it’s not scary at all. Just a bit of a learning curve and if you follow my lessons above, you’ll be ahead of the game, no problem!

If this blog post has helped you feel more confident in cryptocurrency, or even inspires you to sign up for a wallet of your own, please let me know in the comments! Like anything digital – stay safe, don’t fall for scams, and you’ll be able to enjoy the decentralized world of crypto!

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