But there are some caveats to consider before you opt into a course on the latest investing trends. If you’re going to pay anyone for financial advice, make sure you know exactly what resources and education you’re getting, especially for an industry as new and dynamic as cryptocurrency. In general and with crypto, it’s a good idea to stick with conventional financial advisors who have a certified financial planning (CFP) certification.
Cryptocurrency courses can range from high-level overviews of blockchain technology to in-the-weeds explainers about how to trade altcoins. We don’t think either of these approaches is where beginner crypto investors should start.
“ The crypto world, by definition, is an open architecture. Most information is free,” says Theresa Morrison, a CFP with the Beckett Collective. “Sometimes, though, paying for the cliff notes version is worth it. Just know what you are getting in exchange for your money.”
But if a module or course-style teaching is how you learn best, and a “cliff notes” version sounds right for you, here are a few factors to consider when choosing a cryptocurrency course:
What Makes a Great Crypto Course?
In a space that’s rife with fraud, scammers, and theft, it can be difficult to find legitimate sources of information, especially as a beginner.
The truth is, you don’t need a course on cryptocurrency to get started investing. We researched 10 popular courses, and found most skew heavily toward in-depth trading analysis and technical deep-dives into blockchain technology and its future potential. And then there are the get-rich-quick zealots who are prime examples of the old saying that if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
But we did find a couple courses that might be helpful for beginners looking to learn more about cryptocurrency in general and long-term investors looking for strategies to add crypto as a speculative diversifier to their overall portfolio. The first one is free, while the second one has a fee:
Best Crypto Courses of 2021
We found two courses that offer good cryptocurrency knowledge and basic investing advice. One you can take for free (you’ll get all of the course material for free, but not a few extras like graded assignments) and is a bit more in-depth. The other comes at a cost, but succinctly explains what you need to know about cryptocurrency. Both courses are well-reviewed and rated by users.
- Cryptocurrency and Blockchain: An Introduction to Digital Currencies
- Cryptocurrency Fundamentals: Buy, Sell Trade Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency and Blockchain: An Introduction to Digital Currencies
This Coursera course is taught by Jessica Wachter and Sarah Hammer, two professors at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. The course consists of four modules that each take one to two hours to complete.
You can audit the course for free, which means you get access to all of the videos and course materials. You’ll need a paid Coursera account to get access to extra features like graded assessments and a shareable certificate. When you first navigate to the website, you’ll be prompted to pay, but look for a link to “audit course” and you’ll be able to access the free version.
This course is more in-depth than a quick explainer, and also devotes a whole module to “cryptocurrency as an asset class,” which is helpful for people interested in how crypto can fit into an investment portfolio. The module goes through the risks and returns of cryptocurrency investments and how Bitcoin can have a “place in a more stable and predictable portfolio.”
We like that this course dedicates an entire module to “Cryptocurrency as an Asset Class” in which you’ll examine “whether cryptocurrency has a place in individual investment portfolios,” according to the course site. You’ll also dive into thinking about cryptocurrency through a traditional investing lens, and learn about the capital asset pricing model and concepts of modern portfolio theory.
Only the paid version of the course gives you access to the quizzes, but you’ll still have access to accompanying PDFs and reading material if you do the free version.
Notable teachers / educational backing
Requires payment for assignment feedback and certificate
Cryptocurrency Fundamentals: Buy, Sell Trade Cryptocurrency
This Udemy course is a quick-hit introduction to the basics of cryptocurrency. The course is made up of three sections, 19 lectures, and is 1 hour and 45 minutes long. It costs $94.99, but does frequently go on a significant discount (it was recently available for $15.99). We’d recommend holding off on paying the full price, but keep an eye out for promotions that knock it down to the $15-$20 range, ideally.
The instructor is George Levy, the chief learning officer at the Blockchain Institute of Technology. The course’s content covers everything from what is a cryptocurrency to how to convert your crypto into fiat money.
Along with the lectures, you also have access to PDFs and guides that you can read and reference after, including a cryptocurrency exchange starter guide. There are “knowledge check” quizzes throughout the course to check that you have understood key terms and concepts. These add-ons can help make this course worth the cost, if you think they’ll be helpful for you long-term.
The course also addresses a critical checkpoint for investors — should you even invest in cryptocurrency in the first place? It is not the right choice for everybody. “How can you participate in this space? And more importantly, should you even participate? And if you do, how do you do so safely? We will cover all that,” says Levy in one video.
Covers basics and how to invest
Basic overview structure may not be as comprehensive as some investors are looking for
What Is the Best Strategy for Crypto Trading?
Cryptocurrency is a speculative asset, and even the most well-known — like Bitcoin and Ethereum — fluctuate wildly in value on a regular basis. That’s why investing experts advise not to put more than 5% of your total portfolio into cryptocurrency, and to never invest more than you’re OK with losing.
Buying and selling different currencies is not the best approach if you are investing in crypto as a long-term store of value, as experts recommend. Not to mention, your tax obligations can quickly get messy the more actively you trade. Instead, the best strategy for long-term investors is purchasing an amount of cryptocurrency you can afford and would be OK losing, and holding onto it.
Many crypto courses do skew more toward the complex trading of different cryptocurrencies that can sometimes, though unreliably, turn a quick profit. We don’t think this is a good or safe approach, so we’d only recommend courses that include how to buy and hold cryptocurrency as long-term investments, the same way as you would other long-term investments.
How Much Does a Crypto Course Cost?
Crypto courses vary in price, and there are definitely a few free options out there. We don’t think there’s any great reason to pay for a cryptocurrency course when so much good information can be found for free (Shameless plug: Here’s our entire catalog of cryptocurrency coverage.) There are other courses available that may offer free trials, super discounts, or an option to audit for free.
Definitely do not pay for a cryptocurrency course if it’s out of your budget, and remember that crypto is an asset class that you should be OK with losing whatever you’re putting in, so really consider before you spend money on online education.
If you’re up for a more self-guided approach, there are plenty or free resources available to teach you all of the basics. Here is NextAdvisor’s guide to getting started in cryptocurrency investing:
- What Is Blockchain? The ‘Transformative’ Technology Behind Bitcoin, Explained
- What is Cryptocurrency?
- What is Bitcoin?
- Is Bitcoin Safe?
- Ethereum: What You Should Know Before You Invest
Investing in Cryptocurrency
- Does Crypto Belong In Your Investment Portfolio? These 4 Questions Can Help You Decide
- Curious About Crypto? What 10 Financial Advisors Are Telling Clients About Investing in It
- How to Buy Bitcoin: A Guide for New Crypto Investors
- A Crypto Wallet Can Help Keep Your Coins Safe. Here’s How to Decide If You Need One
- Want to Buy Crypto? Here’s What to Look for In a Crypto Exchange
- Bitcoin or Ethereum: What New Crypto Investors Should Know About Both Before They Buy
- How Much to Invest in Cryptocurrency, According to 5 Experts