Litecoin is a peer-to-peer internet currency that enables instant, near-zero cost payments to anyone in the world.
Each Litecoin represents the value of the currency on the blockchain.
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Note: Images can be clicked to see a larger version. If you're confused by any terms used, a glossary can be found here.
If you use this link to sign up to Coinbase we'll both receive ten dollars of free coins when you spend over $100 (or the equivalent in your currency).
Press the 'sign up' button and fill out your name (make sure this is exactly how it's written on your photo ID), email, password and location.
Just like a US bank, Coinbase is regulated by the US government, and has to follow strict financial rules. So they take verifying your identity very seriously. It's a pain, but it does give Coinbase a reputation for being the most trusted way to convert fiat currency to cryptocurrency.
To verify your account you must supply a phone number, upload an image of your photo ID and verify a credit/debit card or bank account before you can buy.
Using a credit/debit card on Coinbase means higher fees but offers instant purchasing. Using a bank transfer is cheaper but slower (taking up to a week to get your coins).
Once your payment details are verified, click 'buy/sell' on the top menu.
Select 'Litecoin', and at the bottom of the page choose how much to spend in your local currency / how many coins you want to buy.
Once you're happy with the amount, click the big 'Buy' button.
You'll be asked to confirm your purchase.
Press the 'Confirm Buy' button.
Congratulations! You now own some Litecoin.
Now you need to decide where you're going to store your Litecoin.
There are three options:
1) Keep it on Coinbase.
This is the easiest option, and pretty safe (as long as you enable 2-factor authentication). But exchanges have been hacked before, and many people simply prefer having their coins under their own control.
2) A desktop/web wallet.
There are plenty of wallets out there, for desktop and mobile, and a full list of Litecoin approved wallets can be found in the 'download' section of their official site.Storing your coins in a wallet on your computer is as safe as you make it- if you lose or forget your password you can lock your coins away forever, or if your computer is hacked and security compromised you can be vulnerable to having your coins stolen.
So, choose this option only if you're confident you have good security practices and are sufficiently technically minded.
3) A hardware wallet.
We all hear of computers and phones being hacked. Websites running illicit code to steal passwords. Phishers tricking people into clicking links that steal information from their computers.
Another line of defence to keep our coins from being siphoned out of our wallets is essential.
And that's a hardware wallet.
Hardware wallets plug into your computer like a USB stick, and they have one job- to be a firewall between your Litecoin and the outside world.
To do this, they encrypt the private keys to your cryptocurrency wallets so that no-one- not even you- can know them. That way only someone with physical access to your hardware wallet- and who also knows its password- has a chance to access and move your coins.
Hardware wallets made by Ledger and Trezor support the storage and sending of Litecoin.
The Nano S makes it easy to manage your coins- it's compact and discreet, and wallet management is achieved through a small LCD screen and two buttons.
The Trezor is just as easy to use, small and also featuring two buttons, with a lot of information packed into its small LCD screen.
If you decide to use a desktop or hardware wallet, you're going to need to know how to send your Litecoin to it. Once you're set up, your chosen software will provide you a Litecoin deposit address- it will look something like this: 1BSy1wRG3ojQiCKFRcezqsf9nfUSBLY82o.
In Coinbase, click 'Send/Request'. In the send option box, insert your unique Litecoin deposit address.
In amount, type how much Litecoin you wish to send (there is a 'use max' option if you wish to send it all). Click Send.
Coinbase may ask you to confirm the send with your password/phone. Follow the instructions until it confirms the Litecoin are sent.
Now, you gotta wait.
Unless there's an unusually large backlog, a Litecoin transaction from Coinbase will take between 5 and 30 minutes to appear in your wallet.