How to start using bitcoin?

There are affiliate links in this post. Do your due diligence before investing in anything. 

I may have missed the crypto bloom, being the last person in town to ride the boat. My involvement in bitcoin started just because I want to collect a free $10 from Coinbase (so kiasu). And if anyone likes to send me free bitcoins, I have an address to receive. In the process, I found that cryptocurrencies are not as scary as I think. It takes just two steps and twenty minutes to set things up. Where have I been all this while? 

First, you have to create a wallet. 
A wallet is like a bank account where store the coins. Each wallet comes with a number and a key. The public bitcoin address is your account number to deposit money while the private bitcoin key allows you to transfer the money. Like your atm card pin, the private key should be kept secret.

There are three types of wallet: A cloud-based, paper and hardware. 

Paper wallet: I opt for the paper wallet because it's safer than cloud-based and it's free. This is the wallet that I use if I decide to store the coins for the long run. You could generate a wallet from an open source like WalletGenerator.

Cloud-based wallet: You could have multiple bitcoin addresses for a different purpose. My wallet at Wirex is like a current account to me. Here I store a smaller amount of coins for the daily transactions. It's a cloud-based address, and the security depends very much on the company. If you are a UK citizen, Wirex is one of the best crypto debit card provider.

Hardware wallet: If you like to invest in the best option, you could buy hardware wallet (USB like password device) like Ledger Nano S. Make sure you got the original Ledger.
Hardware wallet requires you to plug in the USB device to transfer out any coins in a wallet.

Second, the exchange platform
You will need exchange provider if you want to buy or trade your bitcoin into other cryptocurrency or convert to cash. Like a bank provider, these exchange charges fees for transactions.

The most widely used platform in Malaysia is probably Luno and Localbitcoins. However, there are incidents where the government freeze Luno accounts in Malaysia. Coinbase is an alternative if you have VPN because the service is not available to Malaysia. The problem with most exchange platform is 1. History record of being hacked. 2. The clearance takes x-days on a volatile market.

All these platforms will give you a bitcoin address like a wallet, but try not to keep them inside for more than a week. I personally only use these platform to sell coins and transfer to a bank.

Coin Mining
All my bitcoin are mined. Mining is cheaper than buying a coin and lower in initial investment.

The risk of using paid mining service is you may not get any bitcoin if the mining company are fraud. I have only invested $9.90, and I have got my returns. It is more of an experiment than a real financial gain.

No one knows for sure where cryptocurrency will be heading. I am in view that as long as people accept your coin for their service, there will be some value peg to the currencies, just like any other fiat money.