Bitcoin is a paradigm shift that’s changing the way we perceive money. It allows individuals to have full control over their finances without needing to go through a bank. Many investors are starting to use bitcoin as a long term store of value and hedge against financial uncertainty.

If you’re new to Bitcoin and feel overwhelmed with all the information, then here are three easy steps to get you started.

Step #1: Secure your Private Keys

The first thing you need to do is make sure your private keysare safe. Bitcoin is an open public ledger and key pairs give you ownership of coins on that ledger. Each pair has a public and private key that looks like this:

Your public key is like your email address, you share it to receive coins and your private key is like a password that allows you to send coins. If you lose your private keys or if someone steals them, your coins will be lost forever. This is why it’s important to keep them safe.

You have two options to keep your keys safe; invest time to learn how to secure your computer properly or invest a bit of money on a hardware wall to make it easy. Trezor is an easy to use hardware wallet that will keep your keys isolated from any viruses.

Step #2: Buy Coins

Once you have everything set up to keep your private keys safe you’ll be able to purchase your first coins. There are different exchanges to buy coins and the most popular one is Coinbase. When opening up any account on an exchange you’ll need to set up 2-Factor Authentication. In the event that a hacker steals your password they’ll need to get access to your phone because it generates a secondary login code.

You can purchase coins by sending money from your bank to the exchange. If you don’t want to use a bank then you can also meet up locally with someone to buy them directly with cash. Direct peer-to-peer purchases usually charge a 5-10% premium over the spot markets.

Another alternative is buying bitcoins by sending a money order to Quadrigacx.

Step #3: Transfer the Coins Over to your Wallet

Unless you’re actively trading you want to make sure that you control your own private keys. Leaving your coins on an exchange can be risky. If an exchange gets hacked or goes bankrupt you could lose money.

Once the bitcoins are in your possession you can use them for all kinds of things such as storing value, sending cheap payments, tipping, making purchases and trading. Bitcoin is a really efficient form of money that can be accessed 24/7 without spending limits or restrictions.