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How to Buy Ethereum – Beginner’s Guide

By: Ofir Beigel | Last updated: 1/20/22

Ethereum is a DIY blockchain platform with smart contract functionality. It’s a platform for developers that was invented by Vitalik Buterin in 2013 to build decentralized apps. The platform has gained immense popularity and so has its currency, Ether (ETH). This post will cover the best ways to buy Ether online.

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How to Buy Ethereum Summary

  1. Get an Ethereum wallet
  2. Find your Ethereum address
  3. Go to CEX.io and choose the amount of Ether to buy
  4. Enter your Ethereum address and payment information

That’s it! The Ethereum coins (i.e. Ether) will be sent to your wallet within a matter of minutes. If CEX.io doesn’t work out for you, here are the top exchanges for buying Ether online:

CEX.io
Type:
Trading platform
Overall rating:
eToro
Type:
Trading platform
Overall rating:
Coinmama
Type:
Broker
Overall rating:
Coinbase
Type:
Trading platform
Overall rating:

eToro disclaimer: This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd.), UK (eToro UK Ltd.) & USA (by eToro USA LLC); which is highly volatile, unregulated in some EU countries and the UK, no EU or UK consumer protections & not supervised by the EU or UK regulatory framework. eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal.

68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

CFDs are not available to US customers.

If you want a more detailed explanation of the buying process and also a better understanding of Ethereum and its currency, Ether, keep on reading this post. Here’s what I’ll cover:

  1. What is Ethereum?
  2. What is Ether (ETH)?
  3. How Do You Buy Ethereum?
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Ethereum vs. Ethereum Classic
  6. Optional – Staking Ethereum
  7. Conclusion

1. What is Ethereum?

Ethereum can be used to decentralize just about anything: voting, domain names, financial exchanges, crowdfunding, company governance, contracts and agreements of most kinds, intellectual property.

It’s a Do It Yourself platform for creating blockchain-based applications. The Ethereum platform is the base layer, and on top of that you can create different tokens (e.g. ERC-20 tokens) and run decentralized apps (aka Dapps). If you want to understand Ethereum completely, watch this video:


2. What is Ether?

Ether (ETH) is the native currency of the Ethereum platform. Ether is required by anyone wishing to build upon or use the Ethereum platform. Just like Bitcoin, Ether can be traded around the web and mined. Most people use the term Ethereum to refer to the currency instead of Ether and that’s why it can get a bit confusing.

The total supply of Ether and its rate of issuance were decided by the donation gathered on the 2014 presale of the currency. The results were roughly:

  • 60 million Ether created were granted to contributors of the presale.
  • 12 Million (20% of the above) were granted to the development fund, most of it going to early contributors and developers and the remaining to the Ethereum Foundation.
  • 3 Ether created every block (roughly 15-17 seconds) to the miner of the block (this was reduced to 2 Ether in 2019).
  • 2-3 Ether is sometimes sent to another miner if they were also able to find a solution but his block wasn’t included (called uncle/aunt reward).

The founders of Ethereum state that Ether is not a currency as much as it is “crypto-fuel”, meaning it’s a token that has one main use – to pay for using the Ethereum platform.


3. How Do You Buy Ethereum?

Step 1 – Get an Ethereum Wallet

Before starting the buying process, you will need to get an Ethereum wallet to hold your Ether. There are many types of Ethereum wallets. Here is a short breakdown of the most popular Ethereum wallets:

Ethereum Hardware wallets

Hardware wallets are the most secure way for storing Ether. It’s a piece of hardware that you connect to your computer (just like a flash drive) that stores your Ethereum private keys offline. A hardware wallet is probably the optimal mix between security and convenience you can find. The main hardware wallets that support Ethereum are Ledger and TREZOR.

Electrum Software wallets

If you’re just starting out with Ethereum, don’t have a lot of Ether to store, or don’t have the money to buy a hardware wallet, you can use free software wallets. These wallets are free of charge but are less secure since they are constantly connected to the Internet (and therefore can be hacked more easily). The top Ethereum wallets for beginners are Exodus (for desktop), Edge (for mobile) and MyEtherWallet (for desktop/mobile).

Step 2 – Buy Ethereum with a Credit Card or Wire Transfer

The easiest way to buy Ethereum (i.e. Ether) would be through one of the popular Ethereum exchanges which are listed below.

Buy Ethereum through CEX.io

Cex.io is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows you to buy Ether with a credit card. If you use the company’s brokerage service (buying directly from the exchange) the fees will already be calculated into the exchange rate, that’s why it will seem higher than other exchanges. If you want to get better rates, try using the site’s trading platform (suited for more advanced users).

  1. Open a CEX.io account
  2. Add your payment method (Credit card or bank account)
  3. Navigate to “Instant Buy” and select Ethereum
  4. Choose the amount of Ethereum you want to buy
  5. Click on “Buy” and complete the purchase

Buy Ethereum through eToro

eToro – If you’re only into Ethereum for price speculation and don’t need to hold the actual coins or send them to anyone else, eToro is probably the easiest and cheapest option. The company offers a friendly and intuitive UI to help you buy and sell Ethereum for fiat currency (USD, EUR, etc.).

eToro is less recommended for accessing and using the actual coins, due to their relatively complicated withdrawal process. So, if you’re using eToro for investment only you can skip step 1 of getting an Ethereum wallet, as you won’t be using the coins you’ll buy.

Important:

eToro disclaimer: This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd.), UK (eToro UK Ltd.) & USA (by eToro USA LLC); which is highly volatile, unregulated in some EU countries and the UK, no EU or UK consumer protections & not supervised by the EU or UK regulatory framework. eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal.

68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

CFDs are not available to US customers.

Buy Ethereum through Coinmama

Coinmama – A worldwide seller of Ethereum that has been working in the cryptospace since 2013. The site allows you to buy Ethereum with your credit card or bank wire transfer (SEPA and SWIFT). Exchange rates are relatively fair especially if you use SEPA transfers.

Buy Ethereum through Coinbase

Coinbase is a convenient and cheap way to buy Ethereum and the platform is open to 100+ countries). Coinbase will sell you ETH for a variable fee that depends on your payment method (credit cards have a higher fee than wire transfers), order size and market volatility. Here’s how you buy Ethereum on Coinbase:

  1. Open a Coinbase account
  2. Add your payment method (Credit card or bank account)
  3. Go to “Buy/Sell” and select the amount of Ethereum you desire
  4. Click “Buy Ethereum”

Buy Ethereum through Bitpanda

Bitpanda is a cryptocurrency exchange specializing in buying and selling cryptocurrencies and other assets inside the Eurozone. The company has a pretty intuitive interface for purchasing Ethereum and other cryptos and the service is relatively quick. Transaction fees are baked into the exchange rate for instant purchases, however Bitpanda also has a “Pro” platform with more competitive rates.

Swap other cryptos for Ethereum through Swapzone

If you wish to exchange other crypto for ETH rather than buying it, you can check out this service from Swapzone. Swapzone provides a single view on which you can compare exchanges by rates, user reviews and delivery time. You can then exchange ETH instantly on the site.

At the time of writing, there aren’t many exchanges available on the site, however, that can be expected from a relatively new service.

Step 3 – Withdraw the Ether to your Wallet

Once you’ve bought Ether, remember to make sure the coins are sitting in your own personal wallet. If you leave your coins on the exchange and the exchange gets hacked or becomes insolvent, you may end up losing your coins.

For this step you’ll need to send your coins to your Ethereum address. Just like you need an email address to receive emails, you have an Ethereum address to receive Ethereum. The address is a long string of characters and numbers that start with 0x and looks something like this: 0x123f681646d4a755815f9cb19e1acc8565a0c2ac. You can retrieve your ETH address from your Ethereum wallet.


4. Frequently Asked Questions

How do I Buy Ethereum with Paypal?

PayPal sells Ethereum directly to customers in supported geographical areas, however currently you cannot withdraw it to an external wallet.

Most exchanges don’t accept PayPal as a payment method since its buyer protection allows the buyer to reverse the transaction and that opens up the option for fraud (you can read more about this here). However, if you’re willing to pay a price there are several ways you can buy Ethereum with PayPal.

Coinbase and eToro are two exchanges that accept PayPal for Ethereum, with Coinbase being the easier of the two to withdraw from. Alternatively, you could use a peer-to-peer platform such as Paxful or LocalCryptos, but you’ll want to personally evaluate the seller before making a purchase.

How do I Start Investing in Ethereum?

There are many forms of investing in Ethereum. You can mine, trade, buy and hold or even invest in different sites. However, many of these methods contain great risks. I suggest reading in depth about the different types of investments here.

How do you Sell Ethereum?

If you’d like to sell the Ethereum you’ve bought you can do so on all of the platforms listed above except for PayPal and eToro. PayPal will only allow you to sell Ethereum that was bought through their platform, and eToro is also similar (you can withdraw, but it’s a complicated process!). Here are the best options:

For a complete list of Ethereum exchanges where you can buy and also sell Ethereum, visit this page.


5. Ethereum (ETH) vs. Ethereum Classic (ETC)

Ethereum Classic (ETC) is a cryptocurrency that arose due to a disagreement with the way original Ethereum conducted business. The catalyst for the split was due to a hacker finding a way to steal $60m worth of Ethereum coins.

The supporters of ETH said that the code should be altered and the stolen coins should be refunded, while the supporters of ETC said that “code is law” and whatever happened happened. ETC is actually the original Ethereum code and ETH forked their code to create a new Ethereum, where the coins were rescued.

Therefore two identical competing currencies were created that have two different exchange rates. Today ETH’s price is much higher and is usually what is referred to as the “true” Ethereum in the crypto community.


6. You can also stake Ethereum

Users can now stake Ethereum to earn more coins, thanks to the network’s shift to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) model. Anyone who owns a certain amount of ETH can participate in staking, with a wide range of services available to assist you in doing so.

Although you can still mine Ethereum, this may soon become an obsolete practice once the network completes its current upgrade.


7. Conclusion

Ethereum is a disruptive technology that is set to change how the Internet works. Whether it succeeds or not remains to be seen, but for now you can easily get your share of “the Internet’s future” by following the steps mentioned above.

As Ethereum becomes more popular its currency, Ether, seems to be gaining momentum and appreciating in price. But as always, cryptocurrencies are a very risky investment and things can change in a heartbeat (as demonstrated by Ethereum’s colossal price drop during 2018).

If you want to learn more about Ethereum you can use the variety of social channels dedicated to the platform: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, StackExchange and the Ethereum blog.

If you have additional questions or comments I’d love to hear about them in the comment section below.

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168 comments on “Buy Ethereum (ETH)”

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  1. I have a question about Ether. I recently purchased some Ethereum coins on an exchange and transferred them to my hardware wallet. My hardware wallet shows the correct amount of Ether I sent now in the wallet, but, there is no transaction history data available in the wallet for the transfer, and when I check the etherscan.io transaction record details for this transfer it shows as successful with the correct amount of Ether transferred, but with a value of zero. Why was no value transferred to my hardware wallet for this Ether? Is something wrong with this transfer ? Do I need to do something further like transfer tokens to the wallet too? If so, how do I do that, or did this transfer actually just fail and I lost my Ethereum in the transfer. :(. Help pls. Ethereum is very confusing and has a huge learning curve compared to bitcoin which I’ve had no issues with at all. Thx for any help you can provide.

  2. ETH is my faveourite altcoin and I am glad to see the more and more options to buy it and trade it. I am partially trading it on SimpleFX and partially holding

  3. Several times I used changenow to buy ETH and other cryptocurrencies. Conveniently, there is no registration and limits, so I can buy as many coins as I need. This is one of the easiest ways to buy crypto.

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