Firstly, to those of you who were astute / fortunate enough to be EOS holders before the Genesis snapshot in June 2018 – this article will likely not be of interest to you.
For the latecomers, such as myself, who have only recently heard about or joined the EOS community this piece outlines some of the basics for getting involved, maximising your opportunities, and avoiding some of the problems that I encountered.
Acquiring some EOS
If you already hold other cryptocurrencies in an exchange like Binance, Bitfinex etc. that trades in EOS, then this is pretty simple. If, like me, you use an exchange that does not trade EOS, or don’t use any exchanges then you still have options. I’m based in Australia and found Coinspot to be the best of the bunch for buying crypto for real money (FIAT). Setting up an account is a bit tedious for any crypto exchange or retailer, but generally a clear photo of your ID with no reflections / shadows / distortion from holograms is critical for getting set up without hassle.
Coinspot has a few advantages over other platforms – you can deposit instantly up to $20k for zero fee using the Poli payment system (first deposit limited to $2k which automatically increases to $20k after a week). Some other sites I tried have frustratingly low daily limits (such as $250/week at Coinbase!) so best avoided. Coinspot is super quick – funds in your account to purchase currency in a few seconds. However, I would avoid day trading on Coinspot as their market volume is so low that it takes ages to match buyers and sellers.
Storing your EOS
Don’t keep your EOS on an exchange. There is plenty of info out there explaining why it’s less secure, but also you may miss out on token airdrops unless your exchange happens to be supporting that particular airdrop (more on airdrops later).
The first real hurdle is making yourself a wallet. This annoyed me to be honest – you can’t just make your own.
First, generate yourself a keypair using the Scatter desktop program which is an encrypted identification tool, and is bloody brilliant *tips hat to Scatter developers*. Be sure to download scatter directly from Github, not a third party. Scatter takes a bit of figuring out to set up, but once it’s done it also allows you to securely sign in to loads of sites without disclosing your private data.
Once you have set up scatter and generated a keypair you then need to create the wallet and pick your wallet ID. This is a great feature compared to other crypto as you can choose something memorable not just a long string of numbers and letters. The downside is that the creation part requires input from another EOS wallet holder. If you have a friend (that you trust) they could do this from their own EOS wallet for you. It will cost them a few dollars in RAM, but is really simple.
If, like me, you don’t know someone with an EOS wallet then you need a third party. I did a bit of hunting around and picked Zeos as they had decent feedback. They make a wallet for you ‘at zero cost’ which basically means you pay for the 4KB RAM used in creating your wallet. This payment must be made in another cryptocurrency – Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum or Bitcoin Cash. Far from ideal if you don’t already hold any of these currencies, but that’s what I did. Perhaps this has changed since I started out in July… Feel free to add any comments if you know of a better way.
There are tons of wallet interfaces out there to choose from, but generally the features are pretty similar. Two I have used that (in my opinion) stand out from the crowd are the desktop wallet by Greymass, and the web based wallet EOStoolkit from Genereos.
Whatever you choose, be very careful to ensure you go straight to the developer site. Never use third-party sites.
Greymass is a nice simple interface which holds EOS and any other EOS based tokens you have, plus allows straightforward voting for block producers (more on this later).
EOStoolkit has similar functionality to Greymass but also allows you to airgrab. To sign in requires the Scatter desktop app as mentioned previously.
Airdrops and airgrabs
An airdrop is essentially free tokens from another crypto currency that are sent to your EOS wallet, generally based on the amount of EOS you are holding. An airdrop is the method often used to distribute a new token at start-up or to reward participation. Some airdrops are automatic – no sign up required, no registration, and the tokens just land in your EOS wallet. Boom! Here is a link for some upcoming airdrops. Some airdrops require a bit more input such as registration, sharing on social media, etc.
An airgrab is not quite free; you have to cover the RAM cost of sending you the tokens, like receiving cash in the mail if you agree to pay for the stamp. This significantly reduces the cost of the airdrop for the originator. Some may be worthwhile, but some are just junk and not even worth the few cents you pay for the airgrab.
How much EOS to buy?
Obviously this is pretty subjective, but there are a couple of milestone numbers to be aware of when considering how much to purchase.
Certain airdrops in the past have set minimum amounts of EOS required in your wallet to be eligible, typically 50EOS. The most recent I’ve heard of is the Parsl airdrop, which requires at least 100EOS in your wallet to be eligible.
Some airdrops such as the Poorman token require you to vote for block producers and then you receive tokens only equivalent to the amount of EOS you have ‘staked’.
Block producer voting
Voting is really straightforward using your wallet, pick the producers you want to vote for and hit submit. The voting system is inversely weighted to avoid unfairness, so if you only vote for one producer then your vote counts for less. You can vote for up to 30 producers and I found this tricky to choose. There were a handful of easy choices – for producers whose resources I have found useful such as Genereos – the producer of the excellent web based wallet I use. But otherwise I picked a few random ones I liked the sound of. If you know of decent producers we should be backing then feel free to let me know in the comments.
Staking and RAM
Staking is essentially allocating some of your EOS to pay the CPU and NET costs associated with managing your account or running a DApp. Staked funds cannot be used for transactions. Light users like me only need a small amount for transactions and voting, say 0.8EOS CPU and 0.2EOS NET. If you want to unstake it takes a few days then the amount is refunded to your balance. Staking and unstaking is pretty straightforward using most wallets.
A small amount of RAM is added automatically to your EOS wallet when it is created. RAM is used predominantly for DApps, but also for certain transactions such as airgrabs. It can be purchased through your wallet if you run low, also pretty straightforward.
You can check on the status of your EOS account from any browser without logging in or using a wallet using the handy web based tool EOSFlare.
If you receive a token that you have no interest in keeping then you can trade it on an EOS based token exchange like Dexeos. Logging in is easy with your Scatter app. And the best bit – zero trading fees. Great work guys!
Please note – I’m not associated with any of the companies or products I’ve mentioned, just giving praise where it’s due.