Most people try to mine Ethereum but then get frustrated with the high up-front costs.
This post will show you how to buy Ether instantly with any of the following payment methods.
Note: Before you buy Ethereum make sure you have a secure place to store your Ether! An Ethereum hardware wallet is the most secure option.
There are many ways to buy Ether with a credit card and this section will discuss the three best options. Note that the fees will be around 3.5% for most options.
In the USA, Europe, Canada, and the UK, Coinbase is the easiest way to buy Ethereum with a credit card pr debit card.
The fees will amount to 3.75% and you can buy instantly.
Coinmama is a reliable Bitcoin broker that has been operating since 2014. They allow customers from nearly any country to purchase ether with a credit card or debit card. Coinmama has some of the highest credit card buying limits among all credit card brokers.
The company offers excellent customer support and has very fast response times. Coinmama also supports bitcoin and litecoin.
Bitpanda is one of Europe's most popular and reliable Bitcoin brokers. They allow you to buy Ethereum with a credit card if you live in Europe.
You can also buy other coins such as bitcoin, litecoin, Ripple, DASH and a few more.
CEX.io is a worldwide cryptocurrency exchange that supports most countries.
You can also buy other coins such as bitcoin, litecoin, Ripple, DASH and a few more.
The only countries that cannot buy ether with a credit card are: Iceland, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
Here is a quick comparison of the Ethereum credit card exchanges:
|Coinbase||3.75%||USA, Europe, Canada||Buy|
Buying Ether with a bank account will allow you to save on fees, although it takes longer than buying with a credit card.
Using Coinbase you can buy Ethereum with your bank account if you live in the following countries:
The fees will be about 1.49% per purchase.
For US users, the buy will take about 7 days because the ACH banking system is very slow.
Canadians can buy very fast in 1-2 days, and the same goes for UK and Europe if you use SEPA transfer to deposit to your account.
You can also sign up on Coinbase and then use GDAX. GDAX is Coinbase’s sister exchange. It is slightly more difficult to use but will allow you to buy ether with bank account for 0 fees.
Bitpanda is a cryptocurrency exchange and broker based in Austria. You can now buy Ethereum instantly as well as bitcoin, Ripple, litecoins and some other coins.
The fees are not shown but instead included in the buy price. The premium is only about 1% usually, so Bitpanda’s fees are fairly low.
Kraken is based in Europe and is one of the largest ETH/EUR trading markets. Kraken is a good option if you live in Europe and want to buy a large amount of Ether tokens.
Gemini is a New York based crypto-exchange. You can buy Ethereum in the USA (in most states) using ACH deposit.
It also serves Canada, some European countries, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea.
Gemini recently raised its fees to 1% for small buyers.
Bitstamp’s fees start at .25% and go down as you make more trades.
CEX.io is based in the UK and is one of the oldest crypto exchanges online. You can buy Ether with SEPA in Europe or with ACH from inside the United States of America.
Before we move onto other options:
Never store your ETH on an exchange!
You can buy Ethereum with Bitcoin at nearly any cryptocurrency exchange. This is because most of the global Ethereum trading volume is actually done in the ETH/BTC pair, and not the ETH/USD pair.
Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. You can easily deposit BTC and exchange it for Ethereum or ETC.
For US customers, GDAX has some of the highest volume and is a convenient way to turn your BTC into ETH, especially if you already used GDAX or Coinbase to initially buy Bitcoin. If so, you won’t even need to create a new account but can just immediately start trading your bitcoins into ETH.
In order to use GDAX, you have to sign up for a Coinbase account first.
GDAX had a flash crash of Ethereum a while back, but Coinbase paid everyone back for any losses.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to buy Ether with PayPal.
You will first have to buy bitcoins with PayPal on VirWoX.
Whereas many Bitcoin buyers use the coins to send money internationally, most Ethereum buyers appear to be buying ONLY for speculative purposes.
So we’re still yet to see something that allows people to easily buy Ethereum with cash.
Like the methods above, you will first have to buy bitcoins with cash.
Decentralized Ethereum exchanges are probably the best option for you if you’re looking to swap only between coins and ERC20 tokens.
You can swap tokens without the need to actually store your coins on an exchange, which removes the chance that you will be hacked or lose your coins in any similar way.
We’ve highlighted some of the best decentralized ETH exchanges below.
ForkDelta is the most popular decentralized Ethereum exchange. It allows you to trade ETH for other ERC20 tokens. So, you can’t really buy ETH if it’s your first time but if you already own some tokens it’s a nice way to exchange them for ETH.
ForkDelta is somewhat complex, so here is a good video explainer:
Note: ForkDelta is a fork of an exchange called EtherDelta. It uses the same code. But many people were having issues with Etherdelta so someone forked the code and made a new exchange.
ERC dEX is a new decentralized Ethereum exchange. It has an excellent UI and makes swapping tokens in a trustless manner very easy.
ERC dEX also works will from your phone, which adds convenience to your trading. Its fees are 0.1% for maker and 0.2% for taker.
We’ve mentioned it before but remember:
Do NOT store your ether on the exchange once you buy!
A quick search on Google will show you hacks with millions of ether stolen and billions for cryptocurrency in general.
So, how do you know which wallet to use?
You have a few options.
The likely best option if you are buying ether as an investment is a hardware wallet, like the Ledger Nano S:
These devices store your ether offline. You can send directly from your ethereum exchange to your Ledger wallet.
If you are not looking for simple secure storage, you can just use a mobile wallet, web wallet or desktop wallet.
MyEtherWallet is the most popular web wallet. But know that web wallets are the least secure type of wallet and even less secure than desktop and mobile wallets.
Exodus.io is a very popular desktop wallet that support ethereum and many other coins. You can also exchange between coins directly in the wallet. It also displays your portfolio in a very easy to view graph which a lot of users really like.
And, just one more reminer, your exchange account–like Coinbase or Binance–is NOT a wallet! Do not leave cryptocurrency on an exchange and if you need to do so for more than a day use two-factor authentication.
Once you send to your wallet you can check the status of your payment in your wallet or by pasting the transaction ID into a block explorer like EtherScan.
Here is how to send, for example, from Coinbase to your Ledger Nano S:
This section will answer the most common questions about buying Ethereum.
Like any market, it’s impossible to know the right time to buy.
One strategy you can use is dollar cost averaging. This means you split your buys over a period of time to even out in case the price rises or falls substantially.
You may also want to use charts to track the market, so you can see if the price seems too high or too low.
Ethereum is a new type of asset and even more volatile than Bitcoin.
You should do as much research as possible, compare Ethereum to other crypto assets, and if after that you feel you understand it perhaps it is time to decide if you buy.
The reason buying Ether can be slow is because the traditional banking system is very slow. Credit card and bank payments are all very slow and most exchanges must wait for these payments to clear before you can get your Ether.
Of course, you can use most of the exchanges mention above to sell Ether.
Yes, Ether is divisible to many decimal places so you don’t have to buy an entire Ether.
Anyone is free to use Ethereum. If you can find an exchange in your country, there is no reason you should not be able to buy.
It depends what your goals are. Mining Ethereum has more up front costs, while buying is the fastest way to acquire some/
It depends what your goals are. For low fees, try a bank transfer. For privacy, you will have to buy bitcoins privately and then buy Ether on an exchange. For speed, try credit card.
If you plan on storing your Ether long term, move your coins immediately to a secure Ether hardware wallet.
For small amounts you can use any online wallet although they are less secure.
This is somewhat confusing, but a while ago the Ethereum blockchain split into two: Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.
Ethereum Classic is the smaller chain and has a market cap of about $200 million.
If people ever use Ethereum for use-cases where they need cash, it probably will get easier to buy with cash.
That, however, does not seem likely. Whereas Bitcoin is more of a currency, Ethereum is more of a platform for smart contracts and doesn’t even appear to be in direct competition for most of what Bitcoin is being used for. Also, Ethereum is inflationary whereas Bitcoin is deflationary, so Bitcoin’s fixed supply makes it a much more attractive option for investors who believe in deflationary currency.
It depends on how you are buying with cash.
If you have a Bitcoin ATM in your area, then the process can be very fast since once you arrive to a Bitcoin ATM your purchase is basically instant. Note that ATMs have very high fees at around 5-10%, although purchasing Ethereum with that Bitcoin can be very cheap. Also note that if you buy from an ATM you are buying in a very private way, if you care about that.
If you buy with cash using something like LocalBitcoins or Bitquick, the speed can depend on the availability of sellers in your area. Using these two sites you can buy with cash deposit in the USA and most of Europe. The fees are usually about 1%, so much lower than ATMs although sometimes less private since some buyers on LocalBitcoins may require ID, and BitQuick also requires ID verification from the start.
Bitcoin ATMs do not support Ethereum at this time. This is, again, likely because there is no real demand right now to use Ethereum in cross border payments or remittances, or for online shopping like so many people use Bitcoin for.
The main benefit is privacy. If you don’t care about that, then try to buy Ethereum using your bank account or credit card, where you can buy larger amounts, buy faster, and also pay less in fees than buying bitcoins with at an ATM and trading that in for Ether.
Ethereum is one of the most heavily debated cryptocurrencies. Some claim it’s useless and some say it will power the internet in 10 years.
Which is it?
No one knows. However, many people are buying Ethereum and speculating that it will turn out to be a success. No one knows what will happen in the end.
The DAO was one of Ethereum’s defining moments and set some bad precedents for its future.
About $34 million of ETH was lost in the DAO bug. The Ethereum devs decided to “fork” the ETH network to create a new network and unlock the lost funds. This is, essentially, a “bailout”.
Since Ethereum claims to have unstoppable applications, many are questioning what the point is if the developers can decide at any point to reverse transactions that they don’t like.
Another main issue raised about Ethereum is the Parity wallet bug.
$169 million worth of ether was locked when a contract went wrong and resulted in a loss of funds. Now, once again, there is talks to bail out the money with a new “fork” of the Ethereum network.
This would be the second time the Ethereum developers have decided to reverse a transaction. This is what has many people claiming Ethereum is controlled by developers and not actually decentralized.
ERC20 tokens are assets that are issued on top of the Ethereum blockchain. ERC20 tokens are NOT Ethereum, but separate assets.
Ethereum is aiming to be the “gas” over internet applications, while Bitcoin is aiming to be money and currency. So the two are not really comparable despite them both being “cryptocurrencies”.
Bitcoin also has not ever reversed transactions like Ethereum has, so maybe be seen as more immutable. There also has not been a bug on the Bitcoin network like there have been on the ETH network.
There is no “best” ETH exchange. You will have to research and find out which one is best for you based on your country and payment method. Some exchanges only work in the USA, for example, so you’ll have to make sure that the ETH exchange you are trying to use works in your country.
Yes, most of the exchanges above will also allow you to sell ETH. Although note that a lot of exchanges do not support selling. Coinmama, for example, only allows the buying of ETH. If you plan on trading you may want to get set up with a few exchanges so that you have lots of different options.