Safely investing in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum

(WFXG) - You probably talked about it at your Christmas dinner, Bitcoin, Ethereum and cryptocurrencies.

Some of them are up over 12,000 percent in the past year, but before you blindly throw money in there,
I broke down how you can safely invest.

It's been a wild year for long time cryptocurrency enthusiast Adam Pankow.

Initially intrigued by Bitcoin in 2013, he saw prices of cryptocurrencies this year, skyrocket to the moon.

"[It's] exciting but somewhat fearful because when something goes up that quickly, it can also go down just as quickly," said Pankow.

These charts are for real, just last January, cryptocurrency Ethereum was just about 10 bucks. Want one today?
You're looking well over a thousand. A single bitcoin is hovering about $14,000 -- for one.

It sounds great, but the government is urging caution. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in a December statement, to please
know none of these coins are regulated by the SEC and popular buying platform Coinbase also sent an email to users, saying
please invest responsibly. These prices are very volatile.

"You can't guarantee security, so always hedge your bets, always take precautions so Coinbase. I find it plenty secure to buy off of, that doesn't mean I would hold my balances there," said Pankow.

Pankow suggests if you do decide to buy, to also invest a safe storage for your cryptocurrency..and always back up your passwords with two factor
authentication.

"So they have hardware wallets like the Trezor and those are basically actual physical devices you have where it generates a private key and only you have that private key," said Pankow.

Right now there are roughly 13,000 thousand different coins, called altcoins, trying to make it in this wild, wild west of digital money. But in this
arms race of superior digital currency, not everyone is going to survive.

"Last year they enjoyed explosive growth, this year will be a thinning of the herd. Where the ones that actually have sound backing will stick around. The ones that don't will kind of disappear," said Pankow.

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