How to Buy and Store Grin

27 Feb 2019

 

A lot of people are excited about Grin (see our guide here), a lean, efficient, and very private blockchain built on the relatively new Mimblewimble protocol. For these reasons, Grin, or Grin Mimblewimble (hereafter Grin), offers the promise of a scalable private blockchain, with a storage size much smaller than both existing privacy-focused chains and Bitcoin.

There was plenty of hype surrounding Grin during its fair launch (no token sale, no premine, just mining), as institutions piled into mining the new coin right out of the gate.

One can understand, then, wanting to “get in early” on this project - but watch out. Grin is a high emission coin, with one new coin minted every second (forever, Grin developers expect), and no halving events.

This means that inflation on Grin will be quite high for a long time to come. This is the way the developers want it, as they are not aiming for a store-of-value coin. They want grin to be used more as a currency, not held as an asset.

But, if after all of that, you still want to buy (and hodl) Grin - this is how you can do it.

Buy or Sell

A newer and low-cap crypto, the options for buying and selling Grin for fiat are at the time of publication nonexistent. The means you’ll have to buy bitcoin (here’s a guide) or Ether first, and send that to other, crypto-only exchanges in order to buy Grin.

Even after that, Grin is not currently trading on the most prominent exchanges. Being more of a shoestring operation that relies entirely on community donations to fund development, the developers are not able nor willing to pay listing fees to get on those big ticket exchanges.

Listings are coming, however. The most prominent exchange so far to list the crypto is perhaps Poloniex, which requires robust KYC/AML admissions - an awkward circumstance for a privacy coin to trade under.

But Grin is trading widely on the more marginal exchanges. It can now be found on Hotbit, Bgogo, BitForex, Gate.io, Bittrex, and KuCoin with an adequate amount of liquidity. Most of these exchanges do not require KYC/AML checks, and it’s pretty easy to sign up and get trading. But of course, trading on such small exchanges comes with a certain class of risks, because usually they do not offer compelling or robust custodianship practices.

In all cases, but especially when trading these small exchanges, one should keep crypto on the exchange only long enough to trade it and no more. That means you’ll have to set up a Grin wallet. This is a whole subject in itself, covered below.

Wallets

So now you’ve bought some Grin with bitcoin or Ether, and you don’t want to leave it on the exchange. How do you get it off?

You’ll need a wallet - and there are, at present, two reliable ones. Unfortunately for Windows users, both these wallets are currently only available for Mac OSX or Linux operating systems. This will inevitably change as the ecosystem is built up, and more user-friendly solutions are already in the works.

The very easy workaround to this problem, for Windows users, is to install a free Linux distribution (Ubuntu being one of the most common) in a virtual machine (here’s a guide), and then install a wallet onto the VM-loaded Linux system.

Both of the wallets are Command-Line Interfaces, or CLIs - meaning they function almost entirely by typing commands into a text field. But don’t run for the hills if you’re new at this; it isn’t as hard as it sounds, and it’s a good skill set to start building if you’re in crypto.

One wallet is the official Grin wallet, and the other is a slightly modified version of that (open source) wallet called Wallet713. Wallet713 is designed to be both easier to use and more private. The official Grin wallet can be downloaded here, and Wallet713 here.

We will give some very brief examples transactions on the official wallet, to demonstrate the fairly rudimentary process of transacting - but the respective guides have all the information you need. A transaction guide for the official Grin wallet is found here, and for Wallet713 here.

Transactions

A very important feature of Grin in general, especially when considering transacting and storing it, is that it does not utilize public addresses. The is one of the most unique and eye-catching aspects of Grin, as it stands completely apart from the “classical” blockchain convention of a public/private address-key pairing. As we explained in our Grin guide, this lack of an addressing system is one of the crypto’s key security features.

This all makes transacting in Grin very different from what we’re all probably used to - and also very dynamic, because the methods for transacting are completely open to development from community members.

The core Grin developers are not themselves pursuing development of new methods of transacting, beyond the basic methods they’ve already implemented for the launch, and are expecting the community to pick up the slack.

Therefore, this might change beyond the date of publication of this guide.

The two basic, initial methods available at time of writing are file transfer and https listener. At present, these are the only two methods being used by exchanges.

Grin transactions are accomplished by sharing two private keys, “mixing” them to produce an output on the blockchain. So it is necessary to put those keys into communication somehow. Most exchanges just use one method or the other, without an option to choose between file transfer and https listener.

An important note: Receiving Grins from the https listener method is substantially more difficult than the file method, and not really an option for newbies.

Therefore, try to find an exchange that utilizes the file transfer method (just go to the withdraw page for Grin and see what it says). If you really want to try receiving at your own https listener, read the official guide linked above.

We assume that our wallet has already been initialized (with the “init” command), that a new wallet has been generated (and its seed written down!) and that the wallet is synced and connected to peers. Below is an example image of a running wallet, on Linux. Leave this window running and open another terminal window in the same directory.

 Buying Grin

Let us take the first method, file transfer, and send our Grins to our wallet.

Make a request to withdraw funds. The exchange will produce a file, which you must download to your computer. It is easiest to put the file in the same directory as the Grin wallet, so that you don’t have to point the wallet to a different location.

Assuming the file you downloaded from the exchange is now in the same folder as your wallet, direct your terminal window to your wallet folder.

If on Mac, type without quotes “grin wallet receive -i [name of file]”; if on Linux, “./grin wallet receive -i [name of file]”.

Enter your password. The wallet will respond “Command 'receive' completed successfully,” and produce a file called [name of file].response in the same directory that the downloaded file was in.

Go back to the exchange. There will be a button to upload the *.response file. Upload it. That’s it. Your withdrawal should execute.

Be warned, withdrawals can get stuck -- but stuck transactions can be cancelled if need be. Don’t panic, it’s actually very easy to cancel stuck transactions -- it’s simply one command in the wallet. See the detailed transaction instructions linked above.

As emphasized above, receiving Grins from the https listener method is quite a bit more difficult than the file method, and not really an option for newbies. But sending Grins to an https listener is extremely easy.

To send to an https listener, all you have to do is request a deposit on an exchange, and copy the url presented. KuCoin’s is, for example, “https://depositgrin.kucoin.com/deposit/[some numbers and letters].”

Go to your terminal. On OSX, type “grin wallet send -d [url] [amount to send]” and on Linux “./grin wallet send -d [url] [amount to send]” -- your password will be requested. It’s that simple.

Beginning Your Grin JourneyWe hope this guide has been enough for you to get your feet wet with Grin, and hopefully get your new coins off the exchange and into a safe place. Grin seems to have a bright future, and it’s early days. Time will tell if it lives up to its hype of being “Bitcoin 2.0.”

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