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Where to look for bitcoins. Type in your city or country and pick from the list. Want to get in on the Bitcoin and Ethereum action? This is where you start. Click Here to find out more. The Mashable Velocity graph shows how quickly people are sharing this article on the social Web. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies, you’ve maybe also considered getting in on the action.

Now, you’re gonna learn how. But first, a disclaimer: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and so many of the other cryptocurrencies out there can be a way to pay for stuff online, sure. And investments, you might know, can go up and down. You can gain money on them, or lose it. And those values can fluctuate wildly, as you might’ve also seen lately.

To put it simply: proceed with extreme caution. That said, the rise of cryptocurrencies are an exciting moment for technology, and even if you don’t want to actually buy any, it’s worth knowing how it all works. Let’s begin where any investment starts—in your own wallet. But it’s a bit more complicated than that, and there’s some serious notes of precaution to be aware of with a wallet.

Cryptocurrency won’t just magically appear in your wallet out of thin air. You’ve gotta buy it, first. There are several ways to do that, but the easiest is to exchange a fiat currency—dollars, euros, pounds, etc—for some cryptocurrency. And the easiest place to do that is at an exchange. You register for it, deposit your fiat currency of choice, and then, you can buy yourself some crypto.

But the cryptocurrency market is still pretty new—and it’s not bound by the same laws and regulations as the stock market. The cryptocurrency markets have matured in recent years, but there’s still a lot that can go wrong. There are scammers, out to separate you from your money. Software errors could theoretically wipe out your store of bitcoin. Hackers can also break in and steal it. One of the largest bitcoin exchanges, Mt. Gox, has had some of its bitcoin stolen, and it went bankrupt in 2014.

Many users who had their bitcoin in Mt. Gox are still waiting to get it back. It eventually recovered and reached new heights, but it took a while to get there. And yes—things have changed since Mt. There are well-funded exchanges out there, backed by well-known VC funds, overseen by regulatory bodies like the New York State Department of Financial Services. None of this guarantees your money as totally safe, though. Same with the new, decentralized exchanges that are coming—exchanges which promise to keep your money safe, by means of technology instead of authority.