One of the original narratives for cryptocurrencies was for them to serve not just as a store of value, but also as a viable alternative currency for the economy. At the moment, that particular use case is hampered by an interesting dilemma, the blockchains and currencies that have the most demonstrated store of value over time are also the slowest to finality. In other words, the most reliable stores of crypto value are also the slowest to be confirmed.
Now, when you are dealing only with on-chain transactions and purchases that aren't really time critical... that isn't so much of a problem. The problem is that most real life retail purchases ARE sort of time critical. If you make a purchase at a store, it isn't helpful to have to wait for a certain number of block confirmations before both buyer and seller are satisfied that the transaction is unlikely to be reversed on the network.
Alternatively, you could "trust" the faster and more volatile cryptos... but that isn't a risk that you should be asking stores and users to be taking when you are just buying clothes and coffee...
Flexa (AMP) is a project that tries to bridge this problem. By locking up (staking) AMP and other currencies, purchases can be "guaranteed" that they are backed up by collateral. This means that stores can immediately accept the transfer without having definitive confirmation, the AMP network takes on the risk.
Of course, this means that AMP stakers are also taking on the risk, and are rewarded accordingly for their exposure.
It does sound like an interesting way to bridge the retail point of sale with the ability to spend cryptocurrencies. Other alternatives have been to pre-fund VISA debit cards (like those from Binance or Crypto.com) with cryptocurrencies which are then held in escrow for spending. However, that introduces middlemen again... and that was the one of the main pain points that decentralised networks aim to replace.
So, AMP is probably easiest to get from Uniswap if you are familiar with using the Ethereum blockchain. Then it is already in your wallet ready to stake on the Flexa portal. Alternatively, it is also being offered on Coinbase... but I generally find that the withdrawal fees on that exchange to be unreasonably high! But it is always a good starting point for beginners!
Purchasing on Uniswap and staking on Flexa does eat up some Ethereum gas fees, so this is the sort of thing that I do when the fees are low... and at the moment, they are pretty damn low! As usual, just take a quick check on etherscan for the current gas fees, but I find that early in the morning Europe time and on the weekends, they are now hitting single digit gwei numbers! So, a great tie to get some exposure on some new and interesting ideas!
Handy Crypto Tools
Ledger Nano S/X: Keep your crypto safe and offline with the leading hardware wallet provider. Not your keys, not your crypto!
Binance: My first choice of centralised exchange, featuring a wide variety of crypto and savings products.
Kucoin: My second choice in exchanges, many tokens listed here that you can't get on Binance!
MXC: Listings of lots of interesting tokens that are usually only available on DEXs. Avoid high gas prices!
Coinbase: If you need a regulated and safe environment to trade, this is the first exchange for most newcomers!
Crypto.com: Mixed feelings, but they have the BEST looking VISA debit card in existence! Seriously, it is beautiful!
CoinList: Access to early investor and crowdsale of vetted and reserached projects.
Cointracking: Automated or manual tracking of crypto for accounting and taxation reports.