Earning and investing in crypto can allow you more control over your financial future, but only if you take control of your present financial state as well. To do so, we have to protect our investments just like a bank would with gold and silver in a vault.
We have to be aware of the risks associated with our investment, not only when holding onto it, but even when purchasing it. We also have to watch out for the bad actors that target us in attempts to steal our money.
Below I'll be sharing 10 top tips to protect and secure your crypto investments.
1) Never ever share your private keys, ever
Your private keys/seed phrase grant ownership and control of your crypto. Protect yours by never, ever sharing yours with anyone. No software or hardware wallet will EVER ask you for your private keys. Even if they did, don't ever share them. It's best to only write them down in a safe place offline, or even memorize them.
2) Store the majority of your crypto on a cold storage hardware wallet
When your crypto is in cold storage, such as on a hardware wallet, it's not on an exchange susceptible to another party's bad actions. We've seen exchanges lock withdrawals and get hacked, so if we want to fully safeguard our crypto, we should only keep what we're willing to lose on exchanges. I personally use a Ledger Nano X and can't recommend it enough.
3) Spread out your crypto assets throughout multiples wallets
If all your crypto is on one exchange or one wallet and it gets compromised, it's all gone. This scenario creates motivation to spread our assets out amongst multiple wallets, even cold storage hardware wallets. We've all heard the old saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket." As my portfolio grows, I'll be buying a second LEDGER Nano X for this very reason. For lending crypto, I love using Celsius, but I also lend on Blockfi and Nexo to hedge my risks in case something did happen.
4) Always use 2 Factor Authentication with an Authenticator App (not SMS)
With all of our accounts, it's extremely important to use 2FA, two-factor-authentication with an Authenticator app such as Authy or Google Authenticator, and NOT use SMS for this. SMS authentication is susceptible to SIM swap attacks, whereas with an authenticator app you physically have to have your app in your hands on either your phone or tablet.
5) Never invest more than you can afford to lose
I know this one is easy, but it must be said. Since we're all human, we can be susceptible to FOMO (fear of missing out) when we see the price climbing high on a certain crypto, and can essentially lose our sense of logic due to the emotions we're feeling. If this happens, we might enter into a position and buy in, only to see our investment drop 50% in a week. This happens, but the way to help control it is to never go ALL IN, and never invest money that you honestly cannot afford to lose. You want to be in a position where if it goes down, it's unfortunate, but not a life changing loss.
6) Don't leave any crypto on exchanges that you can't afford to lose
This adds on to some of the other tips above, as we have to remember anything can happen when our crypto is on exchanges. Even right now, there are exchanges out there controlled by a single entity, which means funds can be locked, stolen, or withdrawn elsewhere at anytime. Exchanges, especially some of the smaller ones, get hacked frequently, and sometimes there's no recouping your investment if it happens. So always remember to never keep the majority of your crypto in these places.
7) Always double check your sending/receiving addresses
Always copy/paste or scan the QR code for your addresses, and double check them on your devices when sending and receiving crypto. Many people have lost their crypto forever because of sending theirs to the wrong address or to the wrong coin account. Take the extra time to double check the address.
8) Keep all of your passwords stored offline + change them throughout the year
I always write my passwords down on paper, as opposed to storing them all in a Word or document file on my computer. This secures me from not having my information get compromised through hacking or malware from the internet. Changing passwords throughout the year is also a solid practice for keeping your security up to date.
9) Constantly watch out for phishing scams which ask for your keys or personal info
I have been the recipient of multiple phishing attempt this year, where I have been asked in a sneaky way to enter in my private keys. If I fell for these scams, a large chunk of my crypto portfolio would be in the hands of scammers. Earlier this year, Ledger's customer database was hacked, and over the last 2 weeks I've received about 5 different text messages from people posing as Ledger asking me to update my information. If I clicked these links and entered in my private keys, they would've been successful at stealing all my crypto on my Ledger. Always watch out for scams and never send anyone money expecting to get extra back.
10) Dollar Cost Average over time instead of putting in your total investment all at once
I often see the question, 'If I have $1000 to invest in crypto, what should I buy?' That's a fine question, but a follow-up should be 'How and when should I buy?' As opposed to dropping all the $1000 in one day, we can narrow our risk by spreading out our investment over time, which is called dollar cost averaging. Perhaps you buy in for $250 each week for 4 weeks. Chances are you'll be in a better position than going all in at once due to the crazy volatility in the crypto markets.
By owning crypto, we are owning and controlling money in a way we never have before with physical cash or with storing fiat in a bank account. It is up to us to fully secure our investments and to essentially become our own banks, and these 10 measures and tips will help you guard yours for you and your family's future.
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope this helps you on your crypto journey!