Welcome back to another installment of our articles for beginners who want to get a grip on cryptocurrency exchanges. This is the second article in the series about BTC Alpha. We strongly recommend you take a look at the first article, and also maybe it’s worth checking out the articles in the whole section so you can make an informed choice.
Everyone’s got their favorites. We clearly favor Kucoin for their service, which we believe has never let anyone down so far, professional and happy staff, and simplicity of use coupled with great effectiveness. Everyone, however, like different things about exchanges, so if you’re into advanced functionality, for example, go for Huobi. Anyway, you’ll be able to make any kind of conclusions only after you have familiarized yourself with as many exchanges as possible, which is the basis behind cross-referencing reviews at Revain, too. The more reviews you look at, the better picture you’ll get of a company or product you’re thinking about joining or purchasing.
Enough with the long introductions. Are you ready? Let’s go!
So, you already know we’ve discussed security as an issue of major importance over the last few articles. We always insist you turn on 2FA and such and connect as many security mechanisms as possible. BTC Alpha in this respect is a good option as they monitor carefully where you’re logging in from, and your device. If something changes, they ask you to confirm that you’re who you say you are:
“Your login was a success, but our security system paused your session until you confirm new device and/or place you log in from. We sent PIN-Code to your email address, use it to unlock session.”
Enter the PIN code you got in the email, and you’re back in the system. BTC Alpha also will not let you forget about 2FA, annoyingly blinking a red light in the top right corner right next to the control panel, so if you haven’t turned on 2FA, do:
Congratulations, you've successfully enabled two-factor authentication! We usually use Google Authenticator for its simplicity of use and effectiveness. The reason we’re paranoid like that, by the way, is that practice shows that even multiple precautions can be bypassed by someone who knows what they’re doing.
So, your next step will be to periodically monitor your logins to make sure you’re really you (you know what we mean), even though that’s easier said than done:
The one feature we like at BTC Alpha is that there is a myriad of options here, some of which aren’t vital, which shows that the developers really go that extra mile. For example, backup codes allow you to regain access to your account if all is lost. Go to Security - 2FA - Backup Tokens to generate these codes. After a password check, these are generated, which really is a nice touch. We like knowing someone has our back no matter what.
Just like the case is with your transaction keys, we recommend having a paper wallet at least where you store these (this just means printing them out).
Obviously paper wallets are vulnerable to hacking (we should really say hijacking since they’re not connected to the Internet - but hacking in the wide sense of the word to mean theft), so, even though they are not software wallets, a hacker could still get in to your house (theoretically) or gain access to a paper wallet while you’re in public.
For this reason, we recommend splitting these codes into two parts - or more - or intentionally adding or subtracting letters. For example, it’s easy to remember that “a” is associated with your recovery code, so subtract that letter from the original code a7majd3t and write it down as 7majd3t. When you pick it up you will remember adding the a in the beginning, but there is no way for a malicious third party to figure that out.
The trick, of course, is not forgetting, but we’re relying on your intelligence. And if you’re intelligent enough to get to the middle of this article and still be on board, you can certainly pull this off.
We obviously recommend as many security precautions as can be implemented. If you’re dealing with substantial funds, you’d jeopardize them if you intentionally go halfway on your security. Hardware wallets are a form of cold storage of funds that connect to your PC only when necessary and require your manual confirmation when you do something important.
They look like MP3 players and basically hook up to your PC and demand you to press a button or do something of the sort when you work with sensitive data. To a degree, they reduce risks of data theft and can be quite useful. Some devices can even allow you to create codes that will lead a person to fake accounts if someone is forcing you to give up data.
Hardware wallets, however, can be tampered with before they are sold to you or while they are being delivered (the “supply chain attack”) so be careful to always buy from well-known manufacturers and, if you can, pick them up yourself.
Subdermal may seem like something only Cable from Deadpool would go for, and, we agree, it seems a little extreme to implant something under your skin that you don’t know the contents of. Still, compared to the process of losing all your money, it's a relatively painless process.
Subdermal NFC chips work on the principle of implanting microchips under your skin, which means all you have to do to gain access is to wave your hand in front of a device.
They are, actually, older than you might think, dating back all the way to 2014, which makes them more tried and trusted than some of the exchanges we know. They were presented to the world by Martijn Wismeijer as part of Permanent Beta.
Wismejjer was one of the pioneers of radio frequency identification (that is to say, he was one of the first to actually try using the principle in practice when it came to crypto). The best thing about a subdermal wallet is that unless you’re naive enough to tell someone, no-one knows you have one and it’s, therefore, impossible to detect and steal.
Spreading your funds
While we are on the subject, we do ask you to keep from storing all your funds in one exchange. Experienced traders spread their funds evenly between several accounts because keeping a lot of money in one exchange is considered bad practice.
As you learned from blockchain, distribution beats centralized all the way, so the more distributed your network is, the less you will suffer from a hacker attack. Of course, you can keep all your money in one place, but at least with us, that would be a huge reason for concern.
That way of storing funds works for those who deal with large amounts and trade frequently and dislike the thought of cold storage for some reason.
Make sure you use the Revain exchanges dashboard to find as many reviews as you can about the exchange you’re dealing with. For example, there aren’t that many reviews of BTC Alpha on the Web, which begs a few questions. You will find this exchange on this page:
Make sure you take a look at the reviews (and add one yourself and make history) before you start. You can see what Revain is about here:
A company’s reputation will be subject to the conversation now that the Internet makes communication possible anywhere and with anyone. Information about whatever will eventually surface if you know where to look, so before you trust someone with your hard-earned funds, take a careful look at what the community will say about it.
In the age where the number of security breaches grows exponentially and in parallel to the number of ICOs, dividends, and new companies, it is unequivocally important you examine all the evidence closely before you start trading. Here’s something to take into consideration. You will find the full text here.
“Many platforms refer to themselves as "exchanges," which can give the misimpression to investors that they are regulated or meet the regulatory standards of a national securities exchange. Although some of these platforms claim to use strict standards to pick only high-quality digital assets to trade, the SEC does not review these standards or the digital assets that the platforms select, and the so-called standards should not be equated to the listing standards of national securities exchanges. Likewise, the SEC does not review the trading protocols used by these platforms, which determine how orders interact and execute, and access to a platform's trading services may not be the same for all users. Again, investors should not assume the trading protocols meet the standards of an SEC-registered national securities exchange. Lastly, many of these platforms give the impression that they perform exchange-like functions by offering order books with updated bid and ask pricing and data about executions on the system, but there is no reason to believe that such information has the same integrity as that provided by national securities exchanges.”
Although we don’t normally think of the government and regulating bodies in general with religious fervor (no-one thinks the government is awesome, at least no-one we know), they still provide protection and guidance. If you choose to ignore the words of wisdom from SEC, you’re essentially trading at your own risk.
While the opinions have divided about this, Cameron Winklevoss, Gemini’s CEO, said in a (relatively) recent statement on SEC’s order for all exchanges to get registered and regulated:
“We applaud the SEC’s statement. The trading of ICO tokens that are unregistered securities on unlicensed exchanges has gone on for far too long. This is dangerous for consumers and bad for the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a whole.”
We hope the measures we have listed here will help you make yourself more secure. Take a look at the Pro section of this article, which will be coming up soon, in which we will be looking at trading strategies, nuances, and all things you need to know to really get up to speed with trading that is no less than fantastic. Happy trails! See you soon.