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Ask HN: What are best practices for buying / storing cryptocurrencies
46 points by xwvvvvwx 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments
- Which exchanges are the best - How should I secure my coins once I've bought them?

Do not leave coins on an exchange. Any digital currency is only yours if you control the private keys.

All recommendations are for Bitcoin.

Most secure: A hardware wallet like the "Trezor" or "Ledger". Good balance of security and usability. Gives you a backup phrase in case the device is lost. Backup phrase fits on a piece of paper, can be made as secure as required. Keep backup phrase in multiple locations.

Cheap and secure: (encrypted) paper wallets generated from https://www.bitaddress.org , with backups stored in multiple locations. Bad usability, but can be made as secure as you want/require.

Easy, reasonably secure, not for large amounts: "breadwallet" for iOS/Android. OSS, user friendly, but not recommended for long-term storage. As most modern wallets do, this one also gives you a backup phrase to be stored on paper.

As for exchanges, I'm in Europe and trust bitcoin.de. On Reddit there have generally been no major complaints about Bitstamp, a few about Coinbase, and a lot about Kraken.

Trezor - https://amzn.com/dp/B00R6MKDDE/ $99.93 | referral: http://amzn.to/2wsH6WM

Ledger Nano S - https://amzn.com/dp/B01J66NF46/ $146.50 | referral: http://amzn.to/2eYkJSQ

You may find better prices (back ordered) on their respective sites linked elsewhere on this thread.

Which exchanges are the best? --- Depending on where you are located, best exchanges probably means an exchange that has high liquidity and smoothly facilitates withdrawal and deposit. In this case consider Gdax, Bitfinex, Coincheck, etc.

How should I secure my coins once I've bought them? --- Really securing coins is hard and requires up most attention. The easiest way to get started is to purchase a hardware wallet. I recommend Trezor but you may also use a Ledger. These wallets supports a few other coins aside from Bitcoin such as Litecoin, Dash, Ethereum. As for Ethereum, the Trezor wallet works well with Myetherwallet, a web wallet for Ethereum which you can secure your own private keys. This private key can reside in your hardware wallet in which you use to sign transactions. This very same wallet is also used to store all ERC20 tokens.

What if I can't/don't want to buy a hardware wallet? (Since the amount that I want to store isn't worth buying an expensive wallet)

I've heard that paper wallets are good too but I have no idea how to use them. It would be great if you (or anyone) can help me with the process of using them.

I wrote a guide a while back that may be of some help:


I keep an old thinkpad laying around offline and do the following

    Create unsigned transaction(online).
    Sign it (offline).
    Broadcast it (online).
There will be instructions for any wallet software how to do this on bitcointalk or their own documentation. After each txn backup the wallets to some other offline/cold storage in case the thinkpad dies. If you had millions of coins you wouldn't want to do this obviously due to usb attacks but for my <$1k wallet good enough. There's also QubesOS, can keep wallets running in different VMs

If you're in Australia, your options are pretty much Coinbase, BTC Markets, Coinspot, or LocalBitcoins

Source: http://howtobuybitcoininaustralia.com

There's also CoinJar for buying & selling Bitcoin. They don't work with any other cryptocurrencies though. (And their main focus seems to be their Bitcoin Debit / ATM card.)


In the U.S., GDAX (by Coinbase) is a good exchange with a fee of 0% - 0.25% depending on whether you are a "taker" or a "maker."[1] This is a lot less than Coinbase itself, which charges 1.49%.[2] (Assuming you fund with a bank account.)

Do NOT store your coins on an exchange. You do not actually own the coins unless you control the private key. Use a hardware wallet. Some options include the Trezor[3], Ledger[4], and KeepKey[5].

Also, ShapeShift[6] is a good exchange for converting between various cryptocurrencies.

[1]: https://www.gdax.com/fees/BTC-USD

[2]: https://support.coinbase.com/customer/portal/articles/210959...

[3]: https://trezor.io/

[4]: https://www.ledgerwallet.com/

[5]: https://www.keepkey.com/

[6]: https://shapeshift.io/#/coins

1: Don't keep your coins at an exchange. Only keep at an exchange what you are going to trade soon.

2: Backups, lots and lots of backups. And update the backups EVERY time you do a transaction!!!!

3: Keep your coins in multiple "batches", so if you lose one, you don't lose all.

4: Keep most of your coins offline. A bootable USB key is a good idea to reduce hack surface. Divide up the coins on multiple removable USB keys that you normally keep removed. (And USB keys can and do fail, so don't forget those backups.)

5: If you encrypt your wallet write the password down!! Your attack vector is hackers on the internet - they can't see the postit on your wall (if they are in your house you have bigger problems). But your family will appreciate the ability to have the money in case of problems. (Or if you decide to not do anything with coins for a year or two, then want to get back into it - you'll probably not remember the password. There are far too many people who lost their coins because of encryption.)

#2 is overkill. Back up once and forget about it, there is no news to backup after transactions.

That is absolutely not true.

If you send coins your wallet generates a new key for the remaining coins.

At that point your old backup is useless - it has a key that no longer works.

And yes, people have lost coins because of not knowing this.

This should be a solved problem with HD wallets.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11693631 (May 2016)

> droffel: Hardware wallets use the BIP32[1] spec to implement "Hierarchical Deterministic" (HD) addresses. Using a single seed phrase (stored internally on the device, and also written down external to the device, neither copy should ever be online), you can generate an infinite number of addresses for your wallet. Every time you request a payment, you get a different address to send to, there is no address reuse (unless you or someone else chooses to send funds to an address that has already been spent from).

Steer clear of Kraken. Their software/infrastructure is more inept than anything I've seen in recent memory. Coinbase and Bitstamp seem fine. Put your coins in cold storage or a hardware wallet such as Trezor.

Coinbase has horrible support. if you are out of the USA, there is not support. In the USA, it can take at least a week before they will respond. I would not recommend.

Coinbase is still using MongoDB (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14902743) but seems to have worked through the growing pains they had getting started.

Ask HN: Does anyone know what's going on at Coinbase? | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5427985 (March 2013)

Shapeshift or Changelly for exchange, your cois are only at risk during the trade which will last 10 minutes or so in my expereince.

The ideal destination for your coins post trade in order...

1. Hardware wallet if supported.

2. Carbon Wallet for multi signature bitcoin, https://carbonwallet.com

3. A non custodial wallet such as blockchain or strongcoin wallet.

My setup:

BTC/ETH/USD Exchange: Coinbase --> GDAX

Other Coins: Bittrex/Poloniex

Hardware Wallet: Ledger Nano S

Is there any way to exchange your money for bitcoin and just put it in a 'personal wallet' if you don't want to store it on somewhere like coinbase, etc?

Yes there are a huge variety of wallets like this, hardware and software. Storing your coins on one is best practice, don't rely on an exchange.

Transfering the coins from and to the exchange... Would that cost a fee?

Yes, miners fees make the system go round.

Few bitcoins I bought I did it on Gemini. They seem legit.

Best exchange: none.

Best way to secure them: don't buy them.

Reads like the Tao!

Xapo is one of the most reliable wallets to store your Bitcoins. Another great advantage is that it has a debit card so you can shop and withdraw money at ATMs and Coinbase is another of the recommended Wallets to store Bitcoins, for its simplicity and power. In addition, it allows you to store Ethereum and Litecoin.

Another advantage is that you can buy Bitcoins from most countries in Latin America by credit card.

If you invite a friend to buy at least US $ 100 in one of the criptomonedas they give you $ 10 in Bitcoins to you and your friend.

They are the best to store and I recommend them since they are the ones I use.

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