Blockchain technology has been heating up in the past several months, thanks in large part to the surge in Bitcoin’s price since early May. The cryptocurrency skyrocketed from less than $1,000 in March to an all-time high of $4,440 on August 14.
Given this meteoric rise, it’s no surprise that investors are clamoring to figure out how to break into the Bitcoin marketplace. But there are many other cryptocurrencies (such as Ethereum) and blockchain companies on the stock exchange where investors can funnel their money.
However, investing in a cryptocurrency is different than investing in a regular stock. When you invest in a company, you’re buying shares of that company and essentially own an extremely small percentage of it. When you invest in Bitcoin or Ethereum, you receive digital tokens that serve different purposes. With Bitcoin, you get decentralized currency that also happens to be partially anonymous. With Ethereum, you get a piece of the power that runs decentralized apps and smart contracts.
Trading cryptocurrencies occurs on dedicated exchanges. Larger exchanges like GDAX, Kraken, Bitfinex, and Gemini typically offer solid volume to trade cryptocurrencies through bank transfers or credit cards. Coinbase is also an option that is growing in popularity thanks to its ease of use and a built-in wallet. But the trade off here is comparatively higher fees.
Poloniex is another exchange that offers more than 80 cryptocurrencies for trading, but the catch is you can only use Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies to fund these trades.