Curious About Crypto? Invest Your (Digital) Spare Change
Another day, another flood of Bitcoin headlines. Yes, it seems like 2017 has been the year of cryptocurrencies, despite that fact that most of us are likely still in need of a 101 class on the basics of blockchain and Bitcoin. While the space has certainly had its ups and downs throughout the year (or, you know, any given day), there’s undoubtedly promise in crypto, which has led many to start investing. But what if you only have some loose change with which to start buying Bitcoin? Well, that’s where an app called Coinflash comes in.
Similar to Acorns, the idea behind Coinflash is that it rounds up your credit and debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and invests that “spare change.” In the case of Coinflash, these funds are used to buy cryptocurrencies — namely Bitcoin and/or Ethereum. As a result, this could be a good way to dip your toes into the crypto pool.
While the basic ideas behind both Acorns and Coinflash as easily comparable, there are some notable differences in execution. For one, in order to utilize Coinflash, you’ll actually need to set up an account with another app called Coinbase as well. Without this step, you won’t be able to purchase your crypto coins. The only problem here is that Coinbase has proven to be a divisive player in the crypto space as of late. Most recently, the app was accused of facilitating insider trading as it introduced support for Bitcoin Cash. Additionally, the company’s exchange has been forced to halt buy and sell orders on occasion due to high demand volume. Because of this, some may be wary about using Coinflash due to its dependence on Coinbase.
So how integral is Coinbase to Coinflash? Well, in another departure from the Acorns model, Coinflash will merely total up your loose change while Coinbase will actually be the one placing the order and charging you. As a result, you’ll need to enter your preferred payment method in Coinbase, although you can select which one you’d like to use within Coinflash. One important note is that linking Coinbase to Coinflash will also authorize the latter to take money from your crypto wallet. That’s because Coinflash does currently assess you a $1 per month service fee (paid in Bitcoin). However, you can help curb some of those fees as the app offers incentives (paid in Ethereum) for referring others.
For more on how Coinflash works, this video by founder Louis Lapat does a great job of explaining the app and, specifically, its security:
Now, I haven’t had a chance to take Coinflash out for a spin just yet, but it certainly sounds interesting. As someone who’s intrigued by cryptocurrency but not quite ready to make a purchase of much size, this option does seem to be about my level. That said, you should be aware that cryptocurrency is extremely volatile. Because of this, if you decide to invest in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other coins, you should be prepared to completely lose your investment — think of it more like going to a casino than building up savings. But, if you’ve been looking for an easy way to get started with cryptocurrencies, Coinflash might just be the entry point for you.
Also published on Medium.