Here’s a look at some of the tools that are available for bitcoin and altcoin investors. We rated each one on a score of one to five, based on five factors — whether it serves its target user well, its effectiveness, ease-of-use, its price as compared to its value, and customer service. As time goes on, we’ll be adding to this list.
The tools listed fall into the following categories:
The BMJ Early Investor Scorecard is designed to help investors evaluate pre-ICO opportunities objectively.
Target User: The BMJ Early Investor Scorecard is valuable for the investor who is looking for early investment opportunities in the pre-ICO stage.
Effectiveness: The scorecard is used by our own BMJ analysts and experts regularly, and the results of their research are made available to PRO newsletter subscribers every Friday.
Ease of Use: The scorecard is easy to use for any investor.
Price/Value: The scorecard is free and provides amazing value to users.
Customer Service: There are abundant resources on the Bitcoin Market Journal site explaining the scorecard. Those investors with additional questions can contact the BMJ team for answers at any time.
In investing, knowledge is power. Being able to “deep dive” on a prospectus before committing any capital could be the difference between bringing in a positive return on investment and taking a loss. The best research tools offer an unbiased picture of the investment in a clear and concise manner.
The definitive source on altcoins, CoinMarketCap provides historical data on market activity and capitalization for every altcoin that has ever been traded or publicly sold. The beauty in this tool is its simplicity; it offers nothing more than what it advertises in its name. You can use the site to look at current social media feeds about the coins, explore the coins’ blockchain, download historical charts for both coin valuations and daily trading volume, and look at how the coins performed on individual markets.
Target User: This service needs no training or advanced understanding to use.
Effectiveness: The service has an API that allows for the direct porting of data to desktop applications.
Ease of Use: The application is relatively straightforward, although the API may need technical understanding to use.
Price/Value: It is free.
Customer Service: As a free service, it is relatively non-existent.
Yes, we are reviewing and recommending ourselves. However, we must present an unbiased picture of the toolset available to the investor. Truth be told, Bitcoin Market Journal is one of the few all-in-one repositories available to the altcoin investor. On the same site, you can research frequently asked questions on altcoins, look at current and recently-concluded ICOs, examine investment trends and tools, and stay ahead of the current investing news.
Target User: The information on this site assumes some pre-knowledge, but is targeted toward novice investors.
Effectiveness: The site aims to be all-inclusive to all aspects of altcoin investing.
Ease of Use: The site is straightforward and well-laid out.
Price/Value: It is free.
Customer Service: The site is responsive to reader’s needs, although one-on-one assistance may be a stretch.
A news aggregator, Coin FYI provides a free, filterable newsfeed for both current news and current prices for any altcoins you wish to place on your wish list. The application prides itself on its simplicity.
Target User: This site aims to be a resource to any investor at any level of skill.
Effectiveness: As an aggregator, the site is straightforward and easy to read.
Ease of Use: There are no clear instructions on the home page and it may take a few minutes for a novice to figure out how to set up an account.
Price/Value: It is free.
Customer Service: It is relatively non-existent, although means to contact support is available on the homepage.
YouTube’s user-submitted content tends to be a convenient forum for subject-matter experts to not only share their take on altcoin investing trends and news but to also offer tips and demonstrations. A quick view of the search term “altcoins” on YouTube will offer a litany of advice for the casual and budding investor.
Target User: YouTube has a low barrier of entry, making it useful to anyone getting started in altcoin.
Effectiveness: As with any public forum, you must be able to determine if the information available is useful, truthful, and not malicious. For a new investor, this may be difficult to achieve.
Ease of Use: YouTube utilizes a generic search engine concept that is familiar to most internet users.
Price/Value: YouTube is free. However, free service requires the viewing of server-installed video ads, which can be placed inconveniently in the middle of sentences or complex thoughts.
Customer Service: YouTube is a part of the Google portfolio. Google’s s customer service is better than most free services, but there have been allegations of privacy violations.
While it might be simple to keep track of a single altcoin wallet, it becomes a challenge when your portfolio contains multiple altcoins. It becomes even harder when your altcoins span different protocols, such as Litecoin/Ripple/Ethereum Classic.
BlockFolio is an iOS and Android app that allows for easy charting of over 80 exchanges and over 3,000 altcoins in more than 60 fiat currencies. With customizable news feeds, price alerts, and development alerts from altcoin leadership teams, BlockFolio is one of the top management apps available.
Target User: This app is appropriate for any level of investors.
Ease of Use: The app has a bit of a steep learning curve.
Price/Value: BlockFolio is free.
Customer Service: There have been Reddit reports of nuisance calls, inaccurate data, and missing information.
For the novice investor, CoinBase is the definitive tool. CoinBase not only provides simplified buying of bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ether, but also provides wallets for each of the coins. Coinbase also offers simple charting and access to a professional-level exchange platform.
Target User: This app is meant for novice users. For professional users, however, the high fees may be a turnoff.
Effectiveness: Coinbase is one of the largest exchanges in operation due, in part, to its ease of use and inclusiveness of features.
Ease of Use: The app is simple to use; however, initial log-in can be challenging due to the mandated use of the mobile app.
Price/Value: It is free, although the transaction fees are higher than typical.
Customer Service: There are numerous reports of Coinbase accounts being seized and other customer service hiccups.
It is strongly advised that you do not leave inactive altcoins online. Doing so leaves these coins open to being seized or stolen. A good option to offloading your altcoin is “cold storage” or the storing of altcoin keys on a removable hard drive. One of the best “cold storage” drives comes from Trezor.
Target User: “Cold storage” precludes casual use. This device is designed for altcoin long-term storage.
Effectiveness: Trezor drives are reliable and virtually hack-proof.
Ease of Use: The device requires a moderate level of computer and altcoin understanding.
Coinigy allows an investor to trade on more than 45 exchanges simultaneously, eliminating the need to juggle with multiple apps and portals. Coinigy also allows for simple charting with more than 75 technical indicators.
Target User: This is for more advanced or professional investors. 3/5
Effectiveness: This app is the Swiss Army knife of trading platforms. Using this app should reduce your tool desktop significantly.
Ease of Use: This app is meant for professional-level traders.
Price/Value: The app offers a 30-day free trial. After this, the app costs $18.66 per month.
Customer Service: Coinigy has a well-established support base and few reports of controversial behavior.
Exchanges are to traders as the gridiron is to football players; it is where you play the game. It is essential that you are able to have trust in your exchange – especially if you are taking controversial positions, such as buying short.
Despite a false start, Bitfinex is the top exchange for Ethereum and a major exchange for most coins. Bitfinex is very fluid, especially for ERC20 coins. The app allows fiat currency purchasing of altcoins via bank wires.
Target User: This exchange is not beginner-friendly.
Effectiveness: The exchange has a limited set of altcoins available for trade (more than 50). However, the app allows for margin trading and buying short.
With the support of over 80 coins and support for margin trading, Poloniex is the exchange that best mirrors traditional stock exchanges.
Target User: This is extremely expert-level.
Effectiveness: With over 80 altcoins available for trade, this exchange is exceptionally liquid. The exchange, however, is based in San Francisco, leaving it open to future altcoin regulations and denying it access to fiat currency purchases.
Ease of Use:
Price/Value: The app has low fees.
Customer Service: Support offers 24-hour chat. However, support is currently slow.
Trading is a speculative activity. That means that you will need to be able to guess how the market will move and when trends will end. The way many professionals do this is through charting apps, which can track both current and historical pricing patterns.
A dedicated altcoin charting platform, CoinTracking allows users to chart the trends of over 5,500 coins, review nine years of historical data, list trades and fees by exchange, and prepare capital gains tax declarations.
Target User: This is a professional-grade application, although serious amateur investors could appreciate the package.
Effectiveness: It allows for automatic importing from almost every exchange and online wallet.
Ease of Use: The use of automatic scripting helps, but there is still a learning curve.
Price/Value: The Pro version of the software cost 0.0012 BTC per year (`$9).
These are just some of the top tools for altcoin investing. We will update this list as other tools are rated and reviewed, so check back frequently! If you want more information about how to invest in altcoins the smart way, be sure to subscribe to the Bitcoin Market Journal newsletter!