Everything Your Mom Needs to Know About Crypto...But Was Afraid to Ask
A speaker at the Paris Blockchain Week Summit, which kicked off online today, thinks that crypto is not too complicated for your mother – or your father, for that matter. And even your grandmother could get to grips with bitcoin (BTC), blockchain and the rest, so long as she is able to get to grips with a few basic concepts.
In a session at the event entitled “What your mother should know about crypto before getting started,” Ouriel Ohayon, the CEO of crypto-themed mobile app ZenGo, explained that “crypto is complicated – even services that claim to be simple are complex.”
“It’s a new language of money. It’s easy to get lost and confused in crypto – if you are a mom [who’s just getting started], it very easy to end up in that state.”
People like simplicity, the ZenGo chief stated, adding “We will make errors when dealing with crypto.”
But Ohayon opined that crypto can be mastered even by the middle-aged and elderly, so long as they follow a few words of wisdom.
So check out Ohayon’s guide (below) to staying on the right path with blockchain-powered tokens. And maybe forward it to your mom, granny or someone who you think could do with a primer in all things crypto-related!
- Crypto is money that never sleeps. Blockchain networks run 24/7, 365/365. It’s not like banks that close at the weekend. It doesn’t stop even for one second. That’s not something most of us are used to, but it pays to remember this when you are dealing with tokens.
- Private keys and public keys are really important. Those weird-looking strings of characters: It’s not important to understand all of their implications, but you do need to realize how vital they are. A public key is like an email address, but a private key is like a password. There is no bank to call if you forget your key – unless you are using a crypto custody service. Keys and how you manage them have consequences in terms of how you behave.
- The prices of crypto change all the time. These are based on supply and demand, which varies on a constant basis.
And other mom questions answered
- What does it mean to own crypto? Buying on Revolut and other platforms is not owning crypto per se. It is fine for price exposure. But truly owning crypto is owning access. Only if you own the signature and the on-chain key you do really own a cryptoasset.
- How private is crypto? Everything is public in crypto, including transactions. Once your address is known, all of your info is public. That means you can verify data, which can be helpful. But crypto is public by default. There is no way to delete anything from a blockchain network.
- Why is my transaction not going through after I press “send?” Help! Transactions are complete only when they are confirmed – not when you press “send.” You don’t need to understand exactly what that involves, but sometimes people don‘t understand why they have seen multiple confirmations on a transaction, but still haven’t seen their money go through yet.
- Hang on, what is a network fee? Why do I need to pay that? Network fees are different from bank fees etc. They are not paid to a wallet provider or an exchange. They are mandatory and can widely vary depending on the status of the network – how busy the network is. That’s how the protocols are designed.
- Do I need to buy a bitcoin? It seems rather expensive... If you are investing, you don’t need to buy a whole token like bitcoin. We’ve been conditioned to think we need to buy whole numbers by conventional assets like stocks. You can buy fractions of a bitcoin. Don’t think in terms of units.
- What should I be careful of? Beware of scams. Don’t engage with anyone in crypto who you don’t fully trust. Once you give your money to a scammer, you cannot get it back. And beware phishing scams with anyone asking for your private keys. An even bigger danger is yourself. You will likely make errors. Perhaps you will store your password on an app like Evernote, where it could be compromised. Don’t trust yourself. Triple-verify everything you do and use a hardware wallet to store your cryptassets.
And the golden rule:
Remember ABC = always be curious. The crypto rabbit hole is never-ending. The industry is always evolving. There are always new rules, developments, security threats and solutions to them. If you are not curious, you will likely suffer – and won’t get the most out of crypto!
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