Resources

Brian Schneider, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), has requested public comments on Digital Currency Regulatory Guidance. Comments are due by January 18, 5:00PM CST. Comments can be submitted electronically here.

In the most simple of terms, the IDFPR is looking for commentary and guidance on the fundamental questions around how virtual currency business should be regulated and taxed in Illinois. Virtual currencies do not fit under the current statues, and the IDFPR would like guidance on how the current statutes, such as TOMA, should apply to virtual currencies.

Submit comments here
Digital Currency Regulatory Guidance

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Buying Bitcoin and Ether

If you are located in the U.S. the Softspoon recommendation is to use Coinbase. They have an intuitive interface and easy account set-up.

Here are the English directions to buy Bitcoin on Coinbase.

After set-up you should see a dashboard like this:

bitcoin-buy

 

Buying Ether is as easy as buying Bitcoin. You have to link a bank account which takes a few days, however you can also add a credit card to buy more quickly.

 

Buying Tokens

After you get your Bitcoin or Ether, you may want to buy different Ethereum-based tokens (From our index, perhaps?)

Our current recommendation for buying other tokens is to use Kraken, Poloniex, or Bitfinex. These exchanges have the highest amount of volume, according to CoinMarketCap. (Note: if you are buying the ICN token, it is only available on Kraken.)

Personally, I find the Poloniex exchange to have the friendliest interface:

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-6-32-13-pm

One thing to note is that you will have to deposit either ETH (Ether) or BTC (Bitcoin) in order to trade.

Security

Once you have set up your accounts you are going to want to make use of 2FA or two-factor authentication. This will make your account an order of magnitude more secure. Industry-standard for 2FA are Google Authenticator or Authy. Both are free and easy to use.

Read this article from Coinbase and apply it to all of your accounts, not just Coinbase.

Wallet

Exchanges are notoriously bad places to store your Cryptocurrency (see: Mt. Gox). Even if your tokens aren’t stolen, you may have some of them taken by the exchange. This happened earlier this year on Bitfinex, losses were ‘socialized’ and every users took a hit.

Bitcoin Wallet:

Jaxx – This is a trusted wallet which can be downloaded to your mobile device for local storage.

Ethereum:

Mist – This is the wallet released by the Ethereum Foundation. I’m not including a direct link to the download but rather to the site because it is important to understand the risks associated with this wallet.

myetherwallet – This is a wallet that you can run in Chrome or download and print off. Although I have not heard anything negative about this wallet I would be careful about storing large amounts on it.

 

If you are reading this as a complete beginner, be sure to do your own research. Reddit is a good place to start. Crypto-currency is like the wild west in terms of security, you provide your own.

If you live outside of the U.S. and would like us to write a post that pertains to you, comment below and we’ll be sure to publish one soon.

Also, if you have any questions, comment below or email us and we’ll try to help out.

 

If you live in a city, try to go to an Ethereum meetup.

 

 

 

 

 

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From Evan’s Newsletter:

Check out Evan’s blog here

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If you are new to Ethereum or Crypto in general then the best place to start is with Reddit. The Ethereum subreddit is home to discussion and news. If you are looking for trading and price new, check out the EthTrader subreddit. Also, some of the projects we will be posting about in the future have their own dedicated subreddits that are frequently updated. Augur is a good example. Another way to stay tuned is to follow Ethereum’s founder, Vitalik Buterin. He posts regularly and makes lengthy comments.

 

A few websites I like to follow for crypto related news are: Coindesk and CryptoCoinsNews.

 

You can also just check our blog 😉

 

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It’s helpful to have a basic understanding of what the blockchain is before diving in to Ethereum.  If you are not familiar with the blockchain, first check out this post (2 minute read).

What is Ethereum?

The first implementation of the blockchain was created as part of the release of Bitcoin in 2008.  Beyond all its innovations, the Bitcoin blockchain itself was made intentionally simple.  You can send and receive Bitcoins, but Bitcoin’s blockchain is pretty much limited to sending currency transactions.

The major innovation of Ethereum is that you can write complex logic inside the blockchain itself and takes the Bitcoin blockchain to the next level.  Ethereum is a more generic blockchain that allows developers to build apps– like games, social networks, financial and insurance services, etc., inside the blockchain.   The Bitcoin blockchain was limited to currency transactions, but Ethereum takes the blockchain innovations and applies them more generally, while maintaining the decentralized nature of the network. Because the Ethereum blockchain is more complex, the apps in the ecosystem will be able to solve more general problems and get the most out of decentralized technology, and the ecosystem will be able to build on itself.

Why should I care?

Logic that is written inside the blockchain is called a smart contract.  With smart contracts you can create and interact with electronic agreements with pre-determined terms with actions that run autonomously.  Using smart contracts, the Ethereum platform allows people to solve problems in unique ways that reduce the reliance on human trust and central authorities.  It has the potential to fundamentally alter the way we do business on the internet and think about employment and interact with the economy.

One great innovation already built on top of Ethereum is the DAO.  The DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization and a kind of venture capital fund lead by the investors themselves.  The DAO allows for individual entities to build their own cryptocurrency on top of Ethereum and use this cryptocurrency to issue shares.  One outcome of this feature is a sort of IPO meets crowdfunding allowing startups to do an ICO or initial coin offering, and raise funds from individual investors in exchange for shares in the form of the newly minted cryptocurrency.  This turns the IPO on its head and allows crowdfunding contributors to receive a token that has monetary value in exchange for their contribution.  Compared this to many Kickstarters where you might get a free T-Shirt.

There are many other possibilities for new business models and solving new problems in Ethereum that we touch on in other posts, like the ability to be compensated for discovering an artist or a company (and funding them by buying their token, which may rise in value if they hit it big), to the emerging sharing economy, and cost saving measures that cut out the middle man.

It will allow complex interactions by any two parties anywhere in the world and reduce the reliance on expensive centralized infrastructure. This has the potential to be a game-changer not only in financial institutions in industrialized nations but also provide access to services that have previously been denied to those in poor, isolated countries. It could provide financial solutions for the 400 million people in India without a bank account.

Because of the nature of complex logic being written in the blockchain, the Ethereum ecosystem will build upon itself as developers continue to publish for dApps. The blockchain has the potential to fundamentally change society and finance and dApps on the Ethereum blockchain are uniquely poised to solve global problems in a scalable and cost-effective way.

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