My Crypto Setup – Tools & Services I use
I get asked questions on everyday about bitcoin and crypto. So, I thought it would be helpful to create a page that lists the tools that I use for my personal bitcoin and crypto solutions.
Some of the links below are affiliate links and will earn a commission while not impacting your experience at all. This is a list of things I have used and I am listing them here because they are very useful and I trust them, not because of any commission it may or may not earn.
My Personal Crypto Setup
Below you will find the exact things that I use for my personal bitcoin solution. While this is what I use, your solutions may need to be a little different depending on your personal goals and life situation. Beneath my list of tools I share more tools and resources that might apply to you.
Wallets: I currently use the Trezor hardware wallet and the Ledger Nano for my main BTC storage solution. They are both easy to use and I like the extra security of confirming my transactions on a device in my hand. Only purchase these directly from the manufacturer (the links above work) because unscrupulous resellers on the various retailers platforms can and have copied your private keys. If they have those private keys they can access your bitcoin at any time without your hardware wallet in hand (that’s how the keys work). Buy these wallets direct and avoid this small percentage chance of it happening to you.
Phone Wallets: For my hot wallet I like and use Blockstream Green on my iPhone. It is free, open source and non-custodial. I am the only owner of my keys and their code is popular, open source on github and used by a large number of bitcoiners. I really like this wallet for a free wallet on your phone and it is the one I have my friends and family download and use as well for their first wallet. Another wallet I am using is the wallet from Bitcoin.com. However I am only using it for holding and spending Bitcoin Cash. BCH is currently cheaper to send than Bitcoin, so I use it when I want to purchase things like dinner, coffee or even play a little online poker.
Exchanges: I use Gemini, Kraken and Coinbase. I am fully set up with each of these exchanges and use them for buying, selling, and staking crypto. Always use the trading platform for buying and selling as it nets you the lowest fee’s overall for your transactions (Gemini Active Trader, Coinbase Pro etc). These are fully regulated with KYC processes in place. Kraken is the first exchange to charter a US bank. All are licensed and regulated in the USA. For our friends from around the world you can see if these sites accept people from your region or you can look at other exchanges based on where you live.
Person-To-Person Trading: LocalBitcoins is the largest and probably the safest place to obtain or sell crypto directly to a person using LBC as the escrow. I do not use this so much anymore but in the earlier years this was a viable and relatively safe way to trade. Just make sure you are dealing with someone with a strong reputation. LocalMonero is a place for the privacy centric to obtain Monero, even utilizing a private ip2 link.
Earning Crypto Interest / Staking: I am using the Gemini Earn program to stake Bitcoin, ETH and USDC. I am also staking BTC at Ledn, which offers higher % returns on staked BTC currently and uses the same custodial services as Gemini (they both utilize Genesis as their custodian). I can get higher returns from other providers like BlockFi but at the moment I have stuck to the security of Gemini. I also like it because while the crypto is controlled by Gemini, it also diversifies my risk by having a % of crypto held by a custodian such as Gemini. Just like I do not keep all my fiat dollars under the mattress, I do not keep all of the crypto in one wallet or place. I am also testing Celsius with a smaller amount of crypto to see how the service works.
More Bitcoin and Crypto Resources
Everyone has their own unique crypto and financial situation and there are a lot more tools, services and solutions out there that might be just perfect for you. I have researched and read about these tools but may not have yet used them myself.
Loans: Keep your bitcoin but get access to some cash using it as collateral. If you want to access some liquidity of your coins without selling them then a loan may be for you. You’ll be the other side of the ‘earn interest / staking deal as the person taking the loan. I looked in to this in-depth personally in 2021 as I was choosing my options on accessing some liquidity with my bitcoin. You can look to BlockFi and Celsius as the current crypto lending leaders. They are building a business on offering loans on crypto. While I have not yet done this, this is likely exactly where I would go in order to use my crypto for collateral to borrow some money.
Spending: I use bitcoin cash mostly to spend money on Amazon through a third party provider called Purse.io. Purse lets you spend your crypto on Amazon through their service. It’s useful when you are not in a hurry for whatever you are buying because what they do is let people who have amazon gift cards use the gift cards to buy the product you want and accept your crypto as payment in exchange. Often at a significant savings for you the crypto spender. It has it’s benefits and drawbacks but it is a great way to spend your bitcoin on purchases that you are going to make anyways.
Investing: More and more traditional investing companies are working towards being able to offer crypto related investing options. From bitcoin ETF’s to mutual funds that hold a mixed bag of crypto’s options are growing. At Fidelity you can buy into a Bitcoin ETF BLOK, or at Charles Schwab you can buy the Grayscale Trust GBTC. You can also buy at Robinhood. These sites are great if you want to invest in bitcoin without actually having to own the bitcoin yourself (and manage your keys and keep up with your bitcoin yourself like if you keep it on your Trezor wallet). SwanBitcoin is offering a service where they will automatically buy a certain amount of BTC for you every “x” days and then send it to you when it reaches a certain quantity of bitcoin. It allows you a set it and forget it investing strategy to accumulating bitcoin.
Buying Bitcoin: There are more and more places where you can safely and easily buy bitcoin. You buy bitcoin from the exchanges reviewed here, the brokers or the P2P marketplaces. My favorite way for people in the USA to first buy bitcoin today is by using Cash.app. You probably have the cash app on your phone already and it allows you to buy bitcoin directly from within the app. You can pair that with a phone wallet and withdraw your bitcoin to your wallet and you are the owner of your own keys.
Bitcoin Brokers: If you want to buy bitcoin with a credit card then you can utilize a service of a Bitcoin broker. This is someone who has bitcoin and sells it to you at a certain percentage markup while letting you pay with a credit card or alternative payment method. For USA clients you can use Coinbase. For some USA and a large portion of the EU, you can use CoinMama.
Free Crypto – Coinbase Earn offers you ways to earn crypto for free while learning about them (watching videos). Coinbase gives you $5 free through this link as well as ways to earn free crypto by watching videos and taking quizzes. You can actually earn a decent little chunk of free crypto here just by spending some time learning about some of the new crypto’s coming out. Depending on when you find this page will determine how much and which type of crypto they are giving away.