Crypto has been buzzing these past months. I say that because I went home for a NYE party in my small town this past year and bitcoin was a major topic… in my small town… where people don’t get out much. My dabbling’s in this space began abruptly and with little knowledge in December 2020. I had setup some accounts in August after speaking with a friend (Mi) but I didn’t commit to anything then as I was just preliminary trying to learn about the concept. It wasn’t until December that I actually just started diving in and just going ham on crypto.

Considering I have not had a full time job since 2019, learning about and keeping up with crypto currency became kind of a part time unpaid job for me for about 4 months from January until mid April before I actually started working again. With as much information as I feel I have absorbed, I still truly believe I have only scratched the surface. It’s mind-blowing these concepts and the enormity of the space. There are new projects popping up daily and ideas being built from scratch or from already form ecosystems.. think Ethereum 2.0.

For my primary research, I used youtube channels like Bit Boy Crypto, Crypto Stache, and The Moon, etc., but as I heavily invested in Cardano based on Mi’s advice, I went straight to the source to learn about Charles Hoskinson’s vision and to begin staking my cardano with the Daedalus wallet to get access directly to the blockchain. For every new thing I discovered, the complexity increased.

Around this time I was staying with my friend (SJ) in Chicago and he was just dipping his finger into the cryptosphere. I used what little non-analytical wisdom I had to give him the gist of what I believed was the “staking” game in Daedalus. He raised me X10 and actually bought some cardano and then did extensive analytical research which we both benefited from as he actually used statistical probability to choose which stake pool he believed we should invest in. Some of my fondest moments of early 2021 were waking up on Saturday morning and rushing downstairs to make fresh coffee and sit on the couch next to SJ to discuss and figure out this crypto stuff with him. He’s the one who discovered ADA pools! He’s brilliant.

As many small victories as I experienced, I hit alot of Mary Hard-forks (pun intended) it’s a Cardano reference. At one point I decided to invest in Synthetix because I believe in the derivative de-fi project that they had going on, but realized very quickly that the gas fees would about do me in. In fact, I couldn’t even stake synthetix because I didn’t even have enough SNX to even pay to get my rewards back. So after only a couple days I cut all my loses and got out of the project all together because I feel that unless you are able to start with a large amount it’s not worth it to the dabbling investor.

Recently, I got really excited about the COTI (Coin of the Internet) project that is being used in partnership with Cardano. I was ready to go in and buy a bag of coin to participate in a 4 week non-fungible token (NFT) giveaway but luckily tried to download the wallet ahead of time to realize that I can’t stake any of it or participate in the giveway because COTI is not available to U.S. citizens (at the time of this writing). So if I want to buy COTI then it would just sit on an exchange doing nothing, which I didn’t really want to do.

Insert the Phantasma debacle. I had been researching plenty of different coins that are involved in gaming and NFT combinations such as decentraland, enjin, and phantasma. I decided to invest in and stake phantasma for many different reasons. Because I like that they invented a gaming platform similar to STEAM to build and play games with NFTs, because the staking setup is quite nice if you are a SOUL master, because phantasma is an entire ecosystem involving movies, gaming, NFTs, and entertainment. I mean, they already have their own NFT platform and store called Ghost Market.

But the actual process of setting it all up… let me tell you. Nothing is easy in the cryptosphere. I ran into a slew of problems that lasted over 2 weeks. The first being that I did not realize the phantasma blockchain has 3 different coins needed to do anything. Meaning, I had to buy the SOUL on kucoin but I also needed neo gas to transfer it over. I missed that step and I sent the SOUL to the poltergeist wallet without the neo gas (Not to be confused with the neo coin). Then, when I tried to buy neo gas quickly, it tied up the funds for 10 days (only $30). After I finally got the neo gas into my account yesterday, I completed the cosmicswap for kcal and finally got my SOUL up and running. When you try to transfer SOUL NEP 5 over don’t use a comma as a place marker for thousand. Ommit it and just write the numbers. That stumped me for at least 35 minutes!

Geez, there are so many things to take into consideration for the average newb like me. First, the fact that most of the alt coins can only be bought in certain places so before you know it you have accounts on 3+ different exchanges to manage. These coins usually cannot be bought with USD / other currencies so you’ll have to buy ETH or BTC to trade for the coins. Good luck with the gas fees…! I hope they fix this soon because fees was what crypto was trying to eradicate and now they are outrageous.

Then, every cold wallet comes with it’s own seed phrase, so instead of the one phrase I thought I would be managing for my ledger cold wallet, I have 4+ seed phrases. This occurred because if I want to manage my cypro on their respective blockchains (actual) vice staking on an exchange which usually gets less % overall, then I have to put those coins respectively in their cold wallets, which involves seed phrases for each new cold wallet. Not to mention the fact that if you make one error in transferring your crypto somewhere ie. send a coin to another coins address, you will loose it forever. There is a huge weight of responsibility to take control of your own bank amongst the possibilities that abound. Every time I send coins from one place to another, I double check 3 times and still hold my breath because there is a small chance I could have done it wrong.

This is just a mix-matched story of a couple of alt coins. I can only imagine the problems I will have to sift through as I pick-up more projects in the future. Divulging this information is not meant to deter you. The opposite in fact, I’m also trying to tell you that the more into the space I delve, the more excited I get. My daily walks in the crypto space feel new and disruptive to old archaic ways. I love being in total control of my finances and learning how to do everything on my own. It makes me stronger and makes for great conversation when I meet other like minded people who understand the trials and tribulations. I am grateful to Mi for getting me started and to SJ for all of the analytical thought. I can’t wait to continue to expound on insights and grow in this space. It feels like I am part of my own Monkey Wrench Gang. šŸ™‚