In this article we will look at how you can start to invest in other alternative cryptocurrencies that are out there using your available bitcoin. (BTC) Please note that this is meant to be a beginners’ guide (not the be-all-and-and-all guide, but more of a basic how-to) to trading in the alt markets, but I will be trying to show you some of the best practices and tips I have learned since I started, and how to avoid making silly and costly mistakes. It will also hopefully provide you with a guide on how to trade in Crypto on MintPal.
The exchange that I will be using as an example will be MintPal as it is one of the very best exchanges out there for its selection of available currencies, volume and it is very simple to use. There are a lot of available exchanges that you can use instead of MintPal, but after having used most of them at one point or another, the security and support from MintPal goes far beyond most. So without further ado, let’s start trading.
First you will need to register for a MintPal account. This is completely free and should only take you a couple of minutes.
How to enable 2FA on MintPal
Once you have created your account on MintPal, the first thing you should do, and this goes for any currency exchange you may choose to use, is to enable Two-Factor Authentication. (2FA) This means that every time you log on to your account, you will need to enter your password as well as a sequence of numbers that are generated using the Google Authenticator app. These numbers will change every 30 seconds. The Google Authenticator app is available for Android devices and iOS. For Windows mobile users, you can use the Microsoft Authenticator app.
To enable 2FA on your MintPal account, log in and head to your Profile area. You can find this and other useful areas for MintPal by using the drop-down menu on your username (top right-hand corner)
Once in your Profile area, scroll down to where you can enable 2FA.
Once you click to enable 2FA, you will be presented with a unique QR Code that you will need to scan using your Google (or Microsoft) Authenticator app. Before you scan the code and enter the required numbers, make sure that you make a note of the 2FA Secret Key that is also generated for you underneath the QR Code. If you lose your mobile device and have 2FA enabled, then this will be the only way you will be able to access your account.
Open the app and go: Settings>Set up account>Scan a barcode. Just hold your device to the computer screen and it will scan it instantly. Once it has scanned, it will show you a sequence of 6 numbers and a 30 second countdown timer next to it. Enter the numbers as shown in the screen shot above to your MintPal account and hit Verify. Try to do this before the timer runs out otherwise you will have to wait until the next set of numbers are generated.
Once you have added the verification code supplied via the app, you will see that 2FA is now enabled for your account.
The other great security precautions that you have on MintPal is the requirement to confirm any withdrawals from your account via a confirmation email. This is sent to you every time you send money from your account, and will require you to click on the link in the email that you will receive from MintPal asking you to log in again. I would also advise that you have 2FA enabled on your email account as well, which is something that most of the top email providers have. Remember, this is money we are dealing with here, so the better the security you have in place, the safer your bitcoin and other currencies will be.
Now that we have enabled the security requirements on the account, we can start to trade. Firstly, you will need to transfer your bitcoin (BTC) from your desktop wallet (or wherever you currently keep it) to MintPal. I will be using the official Bitcoin-qt wallet as an example to transfer some BTC over to MintPal to start trading.
Firstly, you will need to generate a Deposit Address for the bitcoins that you will be sending to your MintPal account. To generate this address head to your Balances area on MintPal. Use the same drop-down menu that you accessed your Profile from.
Once you are in your Balances area, scroll down to where you see Bitcoin. This will be towards the top of the page as they are listed alphabetically. To the right of the BTC entry, click on the Actions drop-down menu and choose Deposit BTC.
Now select Generate Deposit Address
This will now generate a unique address that you can use to send BTC to your MintPal account. You can create as many of these as you need, but just the one should be fine. Now copy that address by either clicking on Copy, or CTRL+C it. (Windows users)
Now we have the BTC address that we want to send the coins to, lets open our desktop wallet to send the coins from. When you first open your wallet, select the Send tab. Paste the MintPal Deposit address in to the Pay To box and then give it a label like, ‘MintPal BTC Deposit address’. This way you will know what BTC address belongs to which wallet for future reference. Now just add the amount of BTC that you want to send to MintPal to trade with.
Once you have entered the amount and other information, hit Send. If you have encrypted your wallet (which you should have) you will have to enter the passphrase for your desktop wallet. Accept the fees that you are asked for (these are tiny and go to paying the miners that confirm and help with transaction on the Block Chain.)
Once you have sent the amount of BTC over to MintPal that you chose, you will have to wait approximates 1hr for it to appear on your MintPal account. This is down to the transaction speed of Bitcoin, the required confirmations needed and the exchange that you are transferring to. Transferring other coins can take a significantly shorter amount of time though, which is why it’s great to see some exchanges now pairing with certain coins. For example, on MintPal you can use Litecoin (LTC) to trade for certain other coins instead of BTC.
Keep an eye on your Balances sheet to see when the coins have been made available for trade. Whilst the amount of BTC that you sent to MintPal is awaiting its required confirmations, it will appear in Pending Deposits.
Once it shows in your Available Balance, you are ready to trade.
Trading bitcoin for other currencies
Trading all or part of your available bitcoin for one of the other alternative currencies available on MintPal is fairly simple. Select your coin from the left to see its current buys and sells as well as its current 24hr volume on MintPal and Price/Growth & Depth charts. For the purposes of this tutorial I will be using Cinnicoin (CINNI) as my alt coin of choice to buy using BTC as it has been doing very well over the past 24hrs and has some large sways in price due to its current volatility.
The prices of alt coins that are available to buy or sell on MintPal (and most other exchanges) are normally compared to how much they are worth against the latest price of bitcoin. (BTC) For example, 1 Cinnicoin (CINNI) may cost you 0.00023000BTC per coin. However, on forums or other discussion boards you will hear people talking about how many satochi’s each coin is worth. In the example of CINNI which I have just mentioned, people will refer to this as being at a price of 23K Sats. (Satoshi’s) The reason that people will talk about a coins price in sats rather that xxxBTC is because it is easier to express. A satoshi is the smallest fraction of a bitcoin, with 1 satoshi (Sat) being the smallest. It then increases up to (and beyond) to 1 bitcoin’s worth. (1.00000000 sats)
Below is a very basic explanation that I created to try to explain better:
Buying alt coins with BTC
So let’s go ahead and buy some CINNI using the BTC that we now have available to trade. Take a look at the screen shot below where I have outlined the relevant areas.
As you can see, I have 0.44BTC available to trade. You can choose to trade the full amount of BTC to CINNI (or whatever coin you choose) or input the amount of CINNI that you want to buy and it will tell you how much (including the 0.15% transaction fee) it will cost you in the Net Total. In the example above I have put in a buy order for 0.1CINNI which will cost me 0.00002241BTC. Note that this is just an example of how much of a coin you can buy. If you want 1 or 1,000,000CINNI, then you just add the amount of required coins in the Amount box and it will work everything out for you.
However, in this example I will be trading all of my BTC to CINNI. Now instead of tying to figure out how many CINNI coins you can get for your 0.44BTC at current prices, you can simply click on your available amount (in green text next to ‘Your BTC balance is:’) and it will work it out for you. When you are happy with that, simply hit Submit Buy Order, then confirm the order to send it to market.
Note that if the market for that coin is in a state of volatility (the price is going up and down constantly) then if you take too long to hit send, then your order might not be fulfilled instantly, but it will go through. For example, if the price of CINNI was trading at 0.00024985BTC per Cinnicoin when you were placing your order but you took a 30 seconds to actually hit Submit Buy Order, then the price of the coin may have increase slightly (or by a couple of thousand satoshi (sats) which can happen at times if a coin is rising very fast)) then you may have to wait until the price return to 0.00024985BTC per coin for the order to go through. If this does happen, don’t panic as you can cancel the order when ever you wish by selecting the Cancel box next to your Active Orders.
Note that if the order is in the middle of being fulfilled due to the price you chose to buy/sell at is reached, then you may not be able to cancel. You will see a message warning you of this every time you cancel a buy or sell order. Just take your time. After you have submitted a buy or sell order, you will see a confirmation box appear with a simple Yes or No, as to whether you wish to proceed.
Once your buy order has gone through, you will be notified via a pop-up info box telling you that you have purchased xxx amount of coins. If the buy or sell order doesn’t get fulfilled in one lump, which is often the case, then you may see multiple notifications informing you as and when the are fulfilled.
You can also check on existing Buy or Sell orders that you may have made by checking your current open orders. To see these select the drop-down menu from the top right hand corner and choose Orders. Any Open Orders for a specific coin will also show when you have that coins particular page open.
Once you have started to buy various coins then the amount of coins will be displayed in your account balances window that can be seen in the top left hand corner along with their combined value in BTC as well as how much you have available to sell when you choose. The more coins you start investing in, the longer this list will be.
This is exactly the same as buying coins, but in reverse and, as with all sells on MintPal you get paid in BTC. The amount of BTC that you get back will obviously depend on the current price of the coin and the amount of coins that you are selling.
Below you can see a screen shot of the sell order that I placed approximately 1 hour after my first purchase. The prices at that time were rising and falling quite a bit all at once. (increasing more than falling) I opted to sell the entire amount of CINNI that I initially purchased in one go (not advisable if the amount you have is worth a lot of BTC as that sell order may affect the price and your order may take a while to go through if your selling causes the price to drop. The reverse can be the same when buying)
As you can see from the amount of BTC (0.46BTC) that I will get from the sale, it amounts to more than I initially invested. This is due to the price of the coin rising nicely during that period. That means that we made a profit of 0.02BTC in just under an hour. This won’t always be the case though as it just happens that CINNI is/was (depending on when you read this) going through a big rise in price after having been quite for a while. Also, the amount of profit would have been more if I had invested more BTC in the original buy order.
Again, you will have to confirm the order before it finally goes to market.
Viewing your Trade History
This is one of the main areas of MintPal that I use quite a bit as it reminds me of what price I had previously bought or sold a coin for, so I know if I am going to make a profit or loss.
You can see in the screen shot below that I have highlighted where I bought CINNI in Blue. I initially bought in with my 0.44BTC when the price of CINNI was at 0.00022380 which gave me 1,963 CINNI. I then sold an hour later when the price rose to 0.00023601BTC per CINNI giving me a small profit on my initial investment.
The price then dipped down to 0.00022779 sats, so I bought in again (hoping that it would rise later) giving me 2,027 CINNI. I now have more CINNI than I initially bought. I wasn’t concerned that the price was higher or lower. The only consideration was that I would end up with more coins than I originally started with.
After doing the same again just under 24hrs later when the price had risen further allowing me to sell for a better profit, and then later buy back in again, I ended up with a total of 2,061 CINNI.
So I went from originally buying 1,963 CINNI to 2,061 CINNI, by following the golden rule of buying low (on the dips) and selling high.
A coin may correct itself from time to time meaning that you may see a price drop, (depending on the price of the coin this may be by quite a bit) which will then start to rise (or fall if it’s doing badly) at some point later. Try not to panic when this happens. See if you can find out from other investors as to why this is happening via their forums, reddit threads or IRC channels where possible. Also, if you do start to make a decent profit margin (RIO- Return of Investment) then trade to sell a certain amount so that you at least have your original investment (or more) should the price dive and never recover to the high prices again
Keep an eye on the price of your coins
There are quite a few ways to keep an eye on the latest prices of your alt coin investments, including your coins IRC channel, (very worth keeping a daily eye on) the exchange where you actually purchased the coins, (like MintPal, Poloniex, Cryptsy etc) or the BitCoinTalk threads. However, I stumbled across my main way for real-time prices of coins about a month ago on reddit, called CountMyCrypto which currently indexes the prices of 295 alt coins and counting, and the rates are derived from an average of trade data on Cryptsy, CoinMarketCap, Mintpal and Poloniex. I have their site permanently on my mobile’s home screen to keep and eye and them wherever I am. Really useful tool to have and the developers behind CountMyCrypto are really fast at answering questions. Below is a made up screenshot showing a few coins and their current value in BTC. You can switch the BTC view to show their worth in USD, GBP, EUR as well as many other currencies with ease. The clean interface of the site looks great both on your computer and your mobile device.
Definitely something you should start to use, and best of all it’s free.
That’s really it for a basic look at buying and selling alt coins on MintPal, although it may be slightly different on other exchanges as their layouts will be different. (some are very cluttered and confusing making navigation annoying) However, I would like to add a few tips that may help you when deciding on what coin to invest in as well as best buying/selling practises.
- Never become emotionally involved in a coin – By this I mean, if you have followed a coin from the very beginning, but the coin starts to perform badly, then walk away from it. This may mean making a loss, but hanging on to your bag of coins in the hope that it may one day improve can be a bad idea. That isn’t always the case as some coins have started out well enough, then an issue is found in the code leading to people dumping the coin and the price plummeting. Then sometime later, the community involved with that coin may pull together and fix the issues with the coin and it will grow again. An example of this is Whitecoin (WC) which has had a very bad couple of weeks due to the original developer coding the coin doing a bad job on it when it transitioned from PoW (Proof of Work) to PoS. (Proof of Stake) The community then pulled together and had a few great coders work on a fix. The coin is now great and will hopefully reach its full potential in the near future. If you followed the nightmare that Whitecoin has gone though recently then you will know what a fantastic achievement they have accomplished. I must also thank MintPal-Jay (owner of MintPal) for his support with the community as well.
- Always buy low and sell high – This is a fairly obvious one, but some people do make bad decisions when it comes to money. By selling high and buying low, you can increase the amount of coins you have over time, when done right. Keep an eye on the charts as well as what may be happening in the IRC channels for your coin. There can be a lot of FUD on some IRC channels screaming SELL! SELL! or BUY! BUY! Do the research and use your common sense. At the end of the day this is your money, so don’t listed to every comment or though about a coin.
- Never buy a coin the second it hits a new exchange – 9 times out of 10, the second a new coin is introduced to MintPal that had currently been traded on other exchanges, the price will rise rapidly giving you a false reading of the coins actual worth. Best practice is to wait for the pumping to finish and then take a look at buying into it. An example of this would be 365coin (365) that exploded on MintPal the second it hit the market, reaching a price of 9BTC per coin. (expensive, but the amount of coins are very limited) 1 Day later the coin was trading at 3BTC per coin, meaning that people who got caught up in the buying frenzy in the first couple of hours the coin started on MintPal made a loss. This isn’t anything against 365 as it is a decent coin and only 1 coin is released per day making them hard to get hold of a whole one. The price is currently 1.65000000 sats (BTC) but will hopefully rise at some point
- Do your research – Whenever you start to invest in a coin it is always a very good idea to look at what the coin has to offer and what makes it different from the other hundreds of coins out there. Find out a bit about the developer. Is he or she active in the community? What is the community like? Did the coin have an IPO (sometimes this is needed if the coin devs (developers) want to set a certain amount aside for PR marketing, faucets or bloggers to write about the coin to get a better social feel for it. Is the coin a PoW coin (can it be mined) or a PoS coin. (can’t be mined any more) If it is a PoS coin, does it have a dedicated multipool that will allow miners to mine other alt coins that will then trade to BTC and but their coin on the exchanges to pay the miners. An example of this would be Blackcoin and now Whitecoin. A multipool is a great way of creating a constant buy pressure on the coin, and the more people mining on the multipools, the better the buy pressure. If the coin is a PoS coin, then what is the inflation set to? The lower the better. Blackcoin has a 1% inflation rate meaning that to keep the price stable on the markets, it takes less BTC to do so and people who hold their coins in their wallets will make 1% of their coins back over a year. Some coins have unrealistic inflation rates (50& onwards) that I try to avoid. I will try to buy into a coin that is PoS, no IPO, low-interest rate, (1% to 5% is good) has a decent and competent developer/s and has a large and active community. Examples of great communities are Blackcoin (BC), Dogecoin (DOGE) and recently Whitecoin (WC) who have bought their coin back from the point of death to a fully working and great looking coin due to a massive community effort.
- Don’t keep your coins on the exchange (or other sites) any longer than you have to – The ability to trade alt coins will mean that you will have to place your money on an exchange like MintPal in order to do so. However, you must remember that the exchange is still a third-party holding on to your money whilst you trade, but won’t in most cases assume any responsibility for any money that may get stolen, or worse vanish completely due to the exchange collapsing completely. An example of this would be the MtGox fiasco earlier this year that saw millions of dollars worth of BTC lost due to shady goings on at that company. MintPal is though however, in my eyes at least, a very safe bet when it comes to storing coins for lengths of time as the owner is very active in various communities and their support staff are on the ball when it comes to assisting people with issues. That said, whenever possible always transfer your coins back to your desktop wallet when you are done trading so that you, and you alone, are responsible for their security. Remember that this is your money.
- Never invest more than you are willing to lose – Remember that you are essentially putting down your money on the table and hoping that by investing in a coin, that it will rise in value and give you a nice profit. It you can’t afford to lose whatever amount you are going to invest in, then don’t start.
- Don’t panic buy or Sell to false rumours – There are a lot of people out there that are more than happy to take your money away from you by spreading false rumours about a coin. (referred to as FUD) On pretty much every BitCoinTalk thread for whatever coin there is, you are always going to bump into trolls that will be screaming everything from, ‘This coin is dead’, to ‘BUY NOW!! This coin is going to da moon!’ Just use your common sense and invest accordingly. The other thing that can cause people to panic is when a whale (an investor with a lot of BTC to spare) starts buying or selling huge amounts of a coin in order to try to manipulate the price of the coin in order to get people to think that the price of the coin id starting to rise or fall dramatically. The only reason that they will do this is to either rise the price high enough so that they can dump later for a big profit, or to decrease the price low enough so that they can buy up at a cheap price from people who panic sold when they saw the price tumble. Whales are annoying, but can have their uses at times. Best not to play their games though.
That’s pretty much it to be honest, but I will be adding more as I see fit. I really hope that this has been of use as when I first started in Bitcoin a few months ago now, I had to learn a few hard lessons along the way, before feeling comfortable about doing larger trades.
If you have any other tips that may also help people new to trading, then please add then in the comments below.
If this has been of use to you and you feel like donating to my site, then my BTC and CINNI address are below.
BTC – 1EPKs3PX6BXrzq7oa1hDt41cCt9P7wZNmY
CINNI – JYtas8uX6nBnewdBhKDVkRrjpGN8kcHMo9