Coinbase just gave me $30

Around 10:45 am, I started my account and within four minutes, identity verified, was ready to explore.

But who the hell am I? Certainly not a financial wiz. I’ve got a retirement account in traditional stocks. Early on, I made beginner’s mistakes, buying and selling too often — commissions eating up my pipsqueak gains. I’ve learned what numbers to watch, whose advice I trust, and I’ve made a couple timely buys over the years that have grown in value 4350% and 5600% respectively, plus some others with more modest gains. One of the cool things with stocks is that the companies usually provide some kind of products or services — if what the company provides is a good value for its customers, makes a profit, and the finances of the organization are responsibly run, usually it’ll make money for shareholders. Even if you own two $10 shares. You can make choices based on the markers that matter to you.

Cryptocurrency requires a different decision-making process. I’d already started a different crypto account elsewhere, put in a little bit of money, read up a bit and bought three kinds of tokens and was rewarded with $50 worth of a fourth token (for some reason I think I’ve figured out). This tiny portfolio has tripled in value (largely due, I suspect, to the excitement around Bitcoin’s highs in the $60ks) but I still feel out to sea.

I decided this morning to take Coinbase up on their offer to give me free cryptocurrency in exchange for learning more about it through their app.

First, I received $5.00 worth of Bitcoin for signing up. At the moment, that’s .00008179 BTC.

Under the Learn and Earn heading in the top-left menu were featured lessons on Bounce Token (AUCTION), Loopring (LRC), Amp (AMP), Clover Finance (CLV), Fetch.ai (FET), Compound (COMP), and The Graph (GRT). Each had a series of infographic slides followed by a quiz — often three separate rounds for separate quizzes. These were multiple choice, and when I got one answer wrong, it allowed me to choose again for the correct answer and still get the awarded currency. All told, the quizzes netted me $25 worth of seven different types of crypto within a couple hours of signing up, and this includes several interruptions and diversions in reading around the app.

The For You tab has Education, News, and Get More Crypto headings, and I found the articles here interesting and informative. If you’re used to stock investing vocabulary, crypto terminology will take some adjustment.

You can, of course, trade on the app. Once you have your bearings, there are options to pay, earn, or borrow crypto as well using the menu in the top left corner.

I don’t have this “future of currency” all figured out, but I think I can get a much better feel for it. Coinbase is a good place to start.

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