Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been dominating headlines in the media in recent years. It’s hard to ignore the talk of how these new digital currencies are going to revolutionize transactions and provide stable, anonymous sources of cash, and with it – online shopping.
As cryptocurrency popularity has slowly but surely, become more mainstream, shopping online with Bitcoin has become a growing option for many. But, most people still aren’t aware of the dangers of shopping with crypto.
While it is true that a decentralized network is as safe as it gets – people are not. There’s an exorbitant amount of people trying to scam you for BTC, ETH, and other cryptocurrencies, so before you jump the gun and start shopping with your digital money – let us first tell you how to do it safely.
1. Learn More About Crypto
The first thing you should do is sit down, fire up your web browser and start learning. The best way to avoid getting scammed or wasting your money is by studying crypto.
Most people don’t know nearly enough about crypto in the first place, and who can blame them? Even though BTC and ETH have become quite popular and mainstream, some folks just don’t understand the technology behind it. Sure, we’re bombarded on social media with posts about certain coins going “to the moon” and promises of life-changing gains, but that doesn’t mean anything by itself.
The only thing that can come out of blindly buying and shopping with crypto are massive financial disasters. So, educate yourself first.
2. Set Up A Wallet
Before you can even buy anything with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or even Dogecoin – you have to have a place for it. You keep your regular money in the bank or in your wallet, and that’s the same thing you should do with digital currencies, too.
Let’s say you’ve bought $1000 worth of Bitcoin. You could keep it on the exchange like Binance or OKX, but that doesn’t mean that you should. Exchanges are vulnerable to hacks and all sorts of other digital attacks, and it has happened in the past that hackers have breached the security of various exchanges and stole millions of dollars.
So, instead of keeping your digital money on an exchange – set up a wallet.
When it comes to wallets, you have two options – physical and digital wallets. While both of them are digital, in a sense, a physical wallet would be a hard drive. A digital wallet would be an app or a program on a particular platform.
A wallet is a secure place to store your coins. During the set-up, you’ll be prompted to input a password for your wallet, and you’ll be given a random selection of twelve words that you should write down and store somewhere safe. The key word is “write down” – not type it out. You’ll want to keep this safe because if you forget it, you’ll lose all of your money forever.
3. Use Secure Exchanges
Now that we’ve gotten over the very basics let’s get more into actual shopping and paying tips.
The first tip we have for you is – use secure exchanges. Places like Binance, CoinBase, OKX, or Kraken are some of the world’s most famous and well-respected exchanges that you can trust. But also, if you visit this website, you can see that there are some pretty reliable exchanges outside of the mainstream ones.
The reason why you’ll want to use secure and reliable exchanges is because you don’t want to risk getting scammed. If you end up at a wrong exchange, linking your wallet to make a simple purchase could easily result in you losing all your funds in a blink of an eye. So, be very careful when shopping with crypto.
4. Don’t Go On The Deep Web If You’re Not Experienced
While it is true that the deep web is basically a mecca for shopping with crypto, it is also a place where a lot of shady people come together. In the early days of cryptocurrency adoption, it was believed that Bitcoin was only there to serve as a tool for very shady deals on the dark web. And, to be fair, that was kind of true.
Thankfully, nowadays, that’s not the case anymore – at least not entirely. The deep web is arguably the world’s greatest store, and if you know what you’re doing, you can probably buy whatever you want with it and stay safe in the process. However, if you don’t know what you’re doing – stay away from it. If you’re not careful, you’re just one click away from phishing malware that’s going to drain your wallet.
5. Know Which Coins To Use
There is one more thing about shopping with crypto, and that’s its ever-changing value. As you probably know, just a few months ago, BTC was almost $70,000 a pop, and as of this moment, it’s lurking around $38,000. That just goes to show how volatile the value of these digital assets is. But, the thing is – the value can also go up. So, you could easily end up spending twice as much in the long run.
Instead, try and do your shopping with stablecoins like Tether. USDT is a cryptocurrency that holds its value based on the US dollar. So, if you want to shop with crypto, shop with a coin you know is going to be worth the same in a few months, instead of risking it with a volatile coin.
6. Beware Of The NFTs
Finally, the latest trend in crypto shopping are NFTs. Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are essentially digital assets built on Ethereum or Solana and are backed up with a smart contract. Some of these NFTs are retailing for thousands or even millions of dollars, and while it is true that some of them are actually a worthy investment – 98% of them aren’t.
According to several experts from the crypto space, almost every single NFT project that’s being created right now will inevitably fail. So, if you want to try out your luck with some NFT investing – make sure you thoroughly research the project. Otherwise, you’re just burning money.
Whether crypto will change the world or not – we don’t know. Will it completely replace money? We don’t know that either. But, what we do know is that if you are not careful when shopping with it – you could get in trouble.
Hopefully, you found our tips are helpful. Take care.