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Welcome! You’ve just happened upon the exciting (and sometimes downright terrifying) world of cryptocurrencies, and are wondering what to do next. You can start here, with our totally non-baffling, not-boring, practical list of things you should know first, before you open a wallet or sign up for a service:

Accept that you’re a n00b:
Nobody likes being the new kid at school, but we all need to learn a few things along the way. Put your ego aside and start learning. There’s a lot to take in, so much to consider and many exciting aspects of crypto to learn about. Don’t be put off by the startling amount of information that’s out there. Instead, pick one thing that interests you, and use that as your starting point.

Get legitimate help:
Don’t get sucked in by some guy down the road who claims he can turn your “investment” into millions overnight. If your ‘trusted advisor’ can’t explain the intricacies of an ICO to you like you’re five, find someone else to talk to. If they’re just keen to sign you up to their ‘excellent’ scheme, then go find someone else to chat to. You’re probably keen to learn about crypto because it could be a super source of relatively passive income, or a sweet investment to reward yourself with in the future. Finding someone knowledgeable and trustworthy can be tricky, but ask yourself this: Would you ask your accountant to perform spinal surgery? Nah. Find the right people to talk to, check your sources, and don’t forget that good old common sense your mama taught you.

Do Your Own Research (DYOR):
There’s nothing wrong with learning new things and finding your own way through the wild west of the crypto world. The DYOR principle applies, no matter what advice you’re given, or juicy titbit you overheard at dinner last night. As far as we’re aware, nobody has a proper handle on being able to forecast the future just yet, so DYOR as best you can.

Never sink more than you’re willing to lose:
Sure, high risk investments are fun because the payoff could be so sweet, but let’s not cash in our pension funds just yet. If you’re just starting to dabble in the cryptocurrency world, rather play with smaller amounts, and never sink more into it than you’re willing to lose. Use that common sense, and rather apportion some of your disposable income towards your crypto pursuits. Let’s not lose our heads, or our houses, just yet.

Cath Jenkin is a freelance writer, editor, and communications consultant, who doesn't take lightly to fools or dishonesty. As a renowned WordWoman in South African circles, Cath creates results-driven communication strategies, while providing copywriting, proofreading, editorial, and other online content generation services too. When she's not pounding the keyboard, you'll find her in search of the perfect cup of tea.