How to Live on Crypto: Get a Wallet

Hi, and welcome to this video series on how to live on crypto. If you’re looking to learn how to live completely off of cryptocurrency, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m Joël Valenzuela. I’m a cryptocurrency and freedom advocate and have been involved in the space since 2013. My main claim to fame is the subject of this video series: I’ve been living off of cryptocurrency, without a bank account, since 2016. I’m here to help you try to do the same.

The cryptocurrency I use in daily life is Dash, which stands for digital cash, a currency focused on being useful as an everyday money and payments system with instant transaction settlements, high security, and very low fees.

What’s a wallet?

First, you’re going to need a wallet. A wallet is where you store your money. It’s kind of like an account, except you can create as many as you want for free and without restrictions or permission from any third party. Think of it like the wallet you keep for your paper cash, except this one is for digital cash, and instead of in your pocket or purse, you keep it on your phone or your computer.

Depending on how you already feel comfortable dealing with your finances, you will want either a mobile or a desktop wallet, or both.

Go to, under the “individuals” menu click on “downloads”. Under “Desktop Wallets” I would recommend the Exodus wallet as the easiest to use for beginners. It also works for cryptocurrencies other than Dash. Click “downloads”, hit that big “download” button, and then click to download the desktop wallet. Install and open, and you’re ready to go. The same goes for getting a mobile wallet:, individuals, downloads, except this time you scroll down to “mobile wallets” and download the official Dash one.

Wallet security

NOW REMEMBER! This isn’t like a bank account where someone holds your money for you an keeps it safe for you. This is digital cash, and just like physical cash, keeping it safe is entirely your responsibility. Just like you wouldn’t show off your wallet in public, or let strangers go digging through your pockets, or leave money out in the open on your desk, you should keep your crypto safe as well. Keep your wallets pin and password-protected, practice good device security on your phone and computer, and back your wallets up.

About that, here’s how to back up your wallet. On Exodus, click on “backup”, create a password, confirm it, and then HANDwrite down your recovery phrase, which is used to recover your funds if your computer gets damaged, hacked, or stolen. On the mobile Dash wallet, go to the menu in the bottom-right corner, go to “security”, go to “view recovery phrase”, and once again, HANDwrite it down to back it up in case your phone gets destroyed or stolen.

Now, DO NOT take a screenshot of your seed words! DO NOT copy and paste them, DO NOT even type them out anywhere. Don’t let ANYONE see them over your shoulder. That’s a HUGE security risk. Instead, write them out with a pen and paper. Store that paper in a safe place, somewhere no one will find it, but somewhere you remember. And try not to write something really obvious on it like “cryptocurrency backups” or “all the digital money I have in the world.” Also, in case it wasn’t clear before, don’t lose your backup or forget your password or pin. No one can help you get them back.

Sending and receiving

Ok, now on to how you send and receive transactions. Cryptocurrency works by sending and receiving to cryptographic keys called addresses. An address is a big long string of letters and numbers, and in Dash’s case they begin with an X. Anyone who you give this address to can send and receive money to it, but they can’t use it to take money out. It’s one-way only.

Now, modern wallets have essentially an infinite number of addresses, and a new one is created every time you go to receive funds. Think of them like disposable, single-use addresses, with a new one every time someone wants to send you money. People can still send you money to old ones, however. It’s like using disposable plastic cups: you probably want to get out a new one every time, but you can still receive a drink into an old one. You just probably shouldn’t.

The way you send people money is to one of these addresses. You get an address from a friend, or from an invoice when you go to buy something. Just copy and paste that address into your wallet, enter the amount, and hit “send”.

Of course, the easiest way of doing this is by scanning a QR code, and that’s typically what you do with a mobile wallet: just scan a QR code (which grabs the address that you otherwise would have manually copied and pasted), enter the amount, and send. That’s it.

Now remember: be careful and double-check when sending! Cryptocurrency transactions are one-way and permanent. If you send to the wrong address, you can’t get it back, unless the person you mistakenly sent it to gets in contact with you and returns it. Digital cash is just like physical cash: you hand it over, the transaction is finished, and if you made a mistake you have to work it out with the person who you paid (or who paid you).

That’s it for the basics of how to get and use a wallet. Subscribe to the channel and watch for the next video where I show you how to actually get some Dash. See you next time!

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Crypto and liberty lover. Journalist. Living unbanked off of crypto since 2016. Free State Project mover. Opinions are my own.

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