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 or 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.
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 Coinbase Pro. Coinbase Pro 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!
The best way to backup an Ethereum wallet is to create a recovery seed. The recovery seed is a 12-24 word series of words that you input into a new wallet to retrieve coins at an address. If you lose your wallet or it gets destroyed, then you need this phrase to get your coins back.
There are some warnings to be aware of when it comes to backing up any wallet.
Anyone who knows or finds this recovery phrase can take your coins. You need to hide it somewhere other people won't find it. That means you shouldn't write it down on any electronic device, especially if that device connects to the internet.
You also want to protect it against fire and flood. If you lose your wallet in a natural disaster, you want the backup to be written down on something stronger than paper. This is where steel wallet backups come in.
Steel backups let you write down your seed in fire and corrosion resistant metal. You can find our top picks below:
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, Coinbase Pro has some of the highest volume and is a convenient way to turn your BTC into ETH, especially if you already used Coinbase Pro 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 Coinbase Pro, you have to sign up for a Coinbase account first.
Coinbase Pro 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. Other sites will tell you that etoro and cex allow for this, but that is no longer the case.
The only way to buy Ethereum with Paypal is to buy Bitcoin using paypal, and then use the Bitcoins to buy Ethereum. You can easily buy Bitcoin using Paypal on Local Bitcoins. Once you have Bitcoin, you can use an exchange like Binance or Changelly to swap the Bitcoin for Ethereum.
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.
Watch out for fake “decentralized” exchanges which are not actually decentralized.
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 well 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.
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 hot wallet, like mobile wallet, web wallet or desktop wallet. A hot wallet means your wallet is connected to the computer.
MyEtherWallet is the most popular web wallet. It recently split into MyCrypto.com as well. 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 reminder, your exchange account–like Coinbase or Binance–is NOT a wallet! Do not leave cryptocurrency on an exchange. 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 Ethereum and how to buy it.
Ethereum is more than a cryptocurrency. It’s an open source shared world computing platform. A ‘world computer’ that allows for the decentralized verification of transactions for any Turing-viable implementation. Thanks to Ethereum, Blockchain technologies are now easy to employ without having to reinvent the wheel.
It is clear that Ethereum grew out of desire to apply Bitcoin/Blockchain concepts to realms outside of money. As a result, it provides open source platform to developers who seek to write decentralized applications. This appeals to developers who seek an easy introduction to Blockchain projects
A series of innovative features definite Ethereum. As a result of its extended capabilities, Ethereum comes with two types of accounts. EOA, or Externally Owned Accounts, provide bitcoin-like capabilities such as providing a balance that is secured by private keys. Contract Accounts provide the ‘Turing Complete’ room for application development that makes the protocol so desirable.
These accounts are used as holding objects to constitute ‘Smart-contracts’ which provide Ethereum’s capability for accommodating decentralized autonomous organizations; a way of structuring organizations without a vulnerable center.
Most importantly, Ethereum capitalizes on the realization that consensus allows for currency and currency allows for consensus by providing economic incentive. As such, verifications are paid for on a pay-per-use basis, a system that replaces mining as we know it from Bitcoin.
Ethereum right now uses PoW mining to secure its chain.
Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, stressed that his idea was fueled by the desire to “ [Avoid] the swiss-army knife protocol ”. That is to say that use-case specific Blockchain solutions were expending unnecessary effort on the building of equivalent infrastructure. Here Ethereum enters the picture.
With Ethereum, Buterin created the first universal application of the principles underlying Bitcoin. Instead of using Blockchain just as a way of establishing/providing value, Ethereum offers the ability to use that technology in a Turing complete environment. Where Bitcoin implements Blockchain technology in combination with proof of work to form a currency, Ethereum’s value is derived from the ability to create universal applications.
We also see differences between the way that Ethereum and Bitcoin implemented their decentralized currency. Most notably, BTC supply has a universal cap whereas ETH supply is capped yearly at 18 million ETH but is otherwise unbound.
Ethereum was created by Vitalik Buterin, who also helped start Bitcoin Magazine.
Ethereum launched on July 30th, 2015 by Vitalik Buterin.
Ethereum and Ethereum Classic are different versions of the same Blockchain. The fork served as damage control to the issue caused by the DAO hack in 2016 and was ultimately fueled by ideological differences between early Ethereum workers. As DAO collected 150 million USD worth of ETH but almost 50 million USD in ETC were hacked, about 80% of miners decided to hard-fork the Blockchain. The other miners remained with the initial Blockchain which we now call Ethereum Classic. That is why there now are two Ethereum-based currencies that can be used to trade.
Ethereum has a standard wallet, called Mist, that is used as a gateway for developers to use ÐApps. Ethereum wallets act much like BTC wallets. You can use the tools integral to the system or use the convenience of other wallets that wrap the software in a more user friendly way.
A legal disclaimer on the Ethereum page jokingly requires you not to be a ‘jerk’ and to be responsible for your own computer security. So there is the caveat of exposing yourself (although securely) to a massive network of active computers. But that’s a risk you’re exposing yourself to anyway by using the Internet.
Other than the Mist Wallet, you can also handle Ethereum with online wallets like MyEtherWallet.com, EthereumWallet.com and EthAddress. CLI (Command Line Interface) wallets like Geth provide power-user functionality. An Ethereum hardware wallet is also an option, like Ledger’s Nano S.
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.
Like all tradable assets, the value of Ethereum changes all the time. The value of Ethereum is also different from country to country and exchange to exchange.You can find the most up to date US price on Coinbase.
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.
No one really knows. Vitalik and his team are working on Eth 2.0 to make the switch.
The guys over at the Exodus blog put it best:
5 New Ether are created with each block, meaning 5 Ether are created about every 14-15 seconds. There is no cap to the Ethereum Blockchain.
Only time will tell when the switch is made.
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.
Gas is essentially the equivalent of a network fee in Bitcoin. It is the fee miners charge to include your transaction in a block. Gas is denominated in gwei, which is sub-unit of ether, much like satoshis are a sub-unit of Bitcoin. One Gwei is equal to 0.000000001 ether.
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.
As of this writing, there are currently more than 110 million (110,000,000) Ether in existence. However that number is constantly growing.
According to Bitrates,
5 New Ether are created with each block, meaning 5 Ether are created about every 14-15 seconds. There is no cap to the Ethereum Blockchain.
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.
Buying Ethereum takes place just like you would buy any other cryptocurrency.
You can do it via exchanges over GUI or programmatically over API. You can even send and receive Ethereum directly, meaning that you can trade currency privately with clients or friends without paying an additional fee to an exchange.
After all, the act of buying Ethereum is simply the trading of Ethereum for another currency. Whether you use the service of an exchange is up to you.
However, the easiest way to purchase Ethereum is to go through an online exchange.
Even though Ethereum is the second most prominent blockchain platform, it is considerably harder to find reliable local trading possibilities as provided by localbitcoins.com for Bitcoin.
If you’re looking for a reputable exchange that deals in ETH, you will find no shortage of options.
Good places to start looking are Poloniex, Bitfinex, Kraken and Coinbase Pro. These exchanges largely perform the same function, but by comparing fees and payout methods/schedules between these you can make sure to find the exchange that suits you best.
Stocks are commonly searched with reference to Ethereum. Truth is, Ethereum is not a stock. However, as it represents value based on a free-market supply-demand structure, Ethereum, just like other cryptocurrency blockchain implementations, effectively acts the same way a stock would. There is, however, an important difference to stress. Unlike stocks, Ethereum’s decentralized nature makes it less malleable by specific market forces and fluctuations, making it act more like a diversified asset. Even if Ethereum’s core team disappeared from the face of the earth, Ethereum tokens should, in principle, retain their value (at least until the lack of updates would make it fall out of date). Stocks, on the other hand, live and breathe by the company of which they hold value.
As a result, stock exchanges all over the world are introducing Ethereum into their trading options.
Ethereum presents a universal application of blockchain technology. The currency is the icing on the cake. Investors and miners have made large sums of money on Ethereum’s meteoric uprise. Now that you’ve been briefed on the core aspects, whether Ethereum is worth investing in is up to you to decide.
Now that Ethereum has taking a seat as the second most dominant cryptocurrency on the market you might be wondering what it means to mine Ethereum.
Here is an overview of Ethereum mining, what it is, and what you should know to get involved (go here if you just want to buy Ethereum).
Ether mining is the accruement of ETH via the validation of network transactions. More specifically, mining is the participation in the validation of transactions that take place in order to confirm all activity in the Ethereum Blockchain. This can be done on every platform meaning that it is available to home computers as well as tailored rigs. Note that it’s usually easier to get started with Unix machines than with Windows, especially when it comes to Ethereum.
The challenge in mining is to generate more money by the collection of ETH than is spent on the electricity consumed to do so. As a beginner, the best chance of generating any money by mining is by participating in a mining pool. Otherwise, even the most expensive gaming card will readily be edged out by professionals. There are multiple mining clients that can ease your way into Ether mining. Ranging from the miner provided by the core software and other CLI tools to fully fledged GUI apps that allow fine-tuning and a clear view of all mining activity.
Since Ethereum’s implementation of the Casper Proof of Stake algorithm, ASIC hardware that is known to be particularly effective for mining BTC and other Proof of Work based cryptocurrencies can no longer be used for Ethereum. As a result, Ether mining is limited primarily to Graphics Processing Units (GPU). This excludes the use of Bitcoin ASICs that have significantly limited the pay-off to entry-level mining hobbyists. It also makes Ethereum interestingly favor the home consumer over big-time investors. Either way, a similar playing field has arisen where capitalism still manifests itself in the form of high-stake miners simply buying far more of the same equipment that the hobbyist would also have.
Just like a normal Computer, you will need the following for your Ethereum mining rig :
Note that the graphics card plays the most important role in determining how lucrative your rig will be.
Ethereum mining pools significantly increase your chance of acquiring Ether. This is because Ether’s probability of allocation, just like other cryptocurrencies, is proportional to relative productivity within the entire network. This means that joining a large group of miners can increase your chance of receiving Ether. The revenues received by the pool are then divided between participants where distribution agreements vary between pools.
Types of pool payouts range from Pay Per Share (PPS) and proportional (PROP) payouts to obscurer algorithms like the Double Geomitric Method (DGM). You can find out more about types of available mining pool payout methods here, and find guidance for Ethereum specific mining pools here and here.
Along with a mining pool you will also need Ethereum mining software and an Ethereum wallet to receive your payouts.
Cloud mining implies the management of pre-existing mining facilities packaged by a service provider. This is perfect for novices who want to get their foot in the door. There are multiple kinds of Cloud mining services. Typically, users purchase site-specific tokens that represent the rights to a certain amount of hash power. This hash power acts as the mining power that the service will use to mine Ether for you.
However, there are also other types of cloud mining services.
Several posts can be found advising against the use of cloud mining services by arguing that it would ultimately be more productive to directly buy the ETH from an exchange. This should make you wonder why somebody would offer an opportunity to earn Ether at a lower rate than what the resulting Ether would be worth. However, there is a wide range of cloud mining services to be found and they should at least be taken into consideration when seeking the most appropriate Ether mining solution.
Ethereum mining profitability depends on two key factors: hardware and electricity. Mining returns can vary wildly. As the value of the currency can decrease, so can the revenue relative to your electricity and hardware costs. The volatile nature of cryptocurrency exchange rates spills over to all types of cryptocurrency mining. However, given the right hardware and energy source you could be well on your way to building a sizable income.
It can be argued that Ethereum, due to its lack of ASIC mining hardware, is relatively more accessible to mining hobbyists than Bitcoin. However, as time progresses, Ethereum seems to be heading the same way as Bitcoin in terms of market mining saturation.
You can help determine projected profits by using online Ethereum mining profitability calculation tools as mining profitability is directly related to hardware and energy investment.
Ethereum uses the Casper Proof of Stake algorithm instead of traditional Proof of Work used in Bitcoin. Proof of Stake wastes far less computational power to achieve the same end as PoW (Proof of Work), implying that it is meant to act as a better alternative to the PoW algorithm used for Bitcoin. Casper is part of the cutting edge of PoS and prioritizes availability, or speed, over consistency, meaning reliability, resulting in faster validations with similar properties as that of a Proof of Work Blockchain. Where Proof of Work makes use of hardware to give computation value, Proof of Stake takes a miner-less approach that rids the network of vast energy requirements. Instead of receiving rewards for mining, Ethereum ‘miners’ acquire rewards that are proportional to the transaction they are validating. Note that this has only been the case since 2016, before which Ethereum also ran off of a Proof of Work system.