- Grant Sabatier is a podcaster, entrepreneur, and author of Financial Freedom.
- He says to keep as little as possible on your phone and use hardware wallets to keep assets secure.
- This is Grant Sabatier’s story, as told to Jenna Gyimesi.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Grant Sabatier, the creator of Millennial Money and author of “Financial Freedom.” It has been edited for length and clarity.
The first crypto I ever bought was in a Walgreens parking lot from a nondescript guy in northern Chicago. I paid him in cash. At the time it was easy to find local people on forums.
I had seen a documentary on bitcoin and it piqued my interest. By no means did I see it as the future of finance.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve made millions in cryptocurrency
Crypto is shiny and new and people can get obsessed with it. But not many people are making real money in crypto.
And just because your friend made some money doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to. Proceed with extreme caution.
If you do decide you want to try out crypto, there are some helpful tools you can access online. But, when it comes to crypto, you want to keep as little as possible on your phone.
You don’t want to text people about your cryptocurrency holdings unless you’re using some form of encrypted app like Signal, for instance. Almost all text apps, like most apps, are vulnerable to hacking unless they’re fully encrypted.
You don’t want to keep screenshots of your holdings either because of things like Google images — once you get access to someone’s Gmail account, you can access their images and view sensitive information. People don’t realize that their mobile devices are backed up somehow via iCloud or Google Cloud.
Here are the tools I personally recommend to people who are looking to invest in cryptocurrency.
1. Read Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin Paper
This is step one. It’s a good threshold to see whether you should dive deeper into crypto or not.
If you can understand the basic central premise of bitcoin, then it’s worth pursuing. Remember that crypto isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.
2. Subscribe to reliable newsletters and podcasts
I use CoinDesk as my primary news source. It’s the gold standard in my opinion. But I also subscribe to a number of other newsletters:
- Bankless: I read their newsletters and listen to the podcast. I believe they’re really on the forefront of the DeFi (decentralized finance) space.
- Modern Finance: I learn a lot from this podcast with Kevin Rose. It’s a helpful way to get a 30,000-foot zoomed-out view of what’s happening.
The worst place to learn about crypto is Twitter, but that’s a lot of people’s entry point into crypto.
Reddit forums used to be helpful, but they’ve turned somewhat trashy and unreliable. Find a trusted source instead.
3. Read about the underlying technology
A lot of people first getting into crypto treat it like gambling. They pick the newest currency and jump right in. What you should do instead is to think about if you’re going to be a short or long term investor.
For short-term investors, it’s true that it’s pure gambling. That’s why I recommend being a long-term investor.
To be successful long term, you should get a full understanding of the underlying technology.
- Trends.vc: This newsletter covers a lot of different trends in the industry. But they frequently write about the underlying technology around a particular coin offering.
- TechCrunch: This website covers innovation and acquisitions. You can also look at a Crunchbase profile of a crypto company. This will tell you how many employees they have, how much funding they have, and other things that will inform you about the company.
4. Use a hardware wallet for added security
When I was using Coinbase, I had crypto stolen from me. The entire crypto space is an extremely vulnerable one, and there isn’t much legal liability for platforms like Coinbase.
So if you get crypto stolen, you’re often out of luck and can’t recover it. That’s why I make an effort to keep my accounts safe.
A lot of people think that a default two-factor authentication, such as a text to your phone, is really secure. But that’s where we’re seeing a lot of people getting hacked. I encourage anyone using platforms like Gemini or Coinbase to have a YubiKey or an actual hardware wallet.
After I had my assets stolen, I decided to move to a hardware wallet — a small, plug-in portable key that lets you access crypto assets. The one I like best is a Ledger Nano X, which is basically like a mini USB that I can plug into my computer. I keep my hardware wallet safe in a secure location.
In addition to the ledger, I use a YubiKey, which is also a physical device that you plug into your computer. I use this for social media, email, and any other platform I’m on that supports it.
The most secure way, without a doubt, is to have an actual physical key to get into your accounts. But always keep a back up somewhere safe, like a safe deposit box.
Overall, my recommendation when getting into crypto is to tread lightly
Unless you have, say, $20,000 already invested in stocks, bonds, or real estate, don’t invest heavily in crypto.
Invest less than 5% of your net worth in cryptocurrency and view it as an alternative investment.
Grant Sabatier is the cofounder of BankBonus.com and the author of the international bestseller “Financial Freedom” (Penguin Random House), which has been published in 14 languages.