Even with cryptocurrency taking off, it’s still not too late to buy Ethereum. While this major currency has certainly risen in price significantly since its launch, experts feel that there is still room for it to grow.
Of course, that is a prediction for the eventual future with a lot of ups and downs along the way and no guarantee of success in the long run.
At the time of writing, one Ether was worth $389.74, though it had gotten as high as $1,430.81 in January, its all-time high. There is never any guarantee it will get to this price point again – or even close – but there are still other reasons to buy Ethereum.
You should also keep in mind that you do not need to purchase an entire ETH. This cryptocurrency has multiple decimal points, so you can easily buy as much or as little as you want, depending on the limits of the method you choose.
Some people just want to get into the digital currency world to diversify their portfolio. In that case, as the second-most popular crypto, Ethereum is a strong choice, especially since it is more affordable than to buy Bitcoin (BTC). Others may want to take advantage of its decentralization or begin trading in hopes of making money.
No matter the reason you want to buy Ethereum, you should take the time to learn all you can about the process. As you research and buy, keep in mind that the technical term for the cryptocurrency behind the Ethereum network is Ether, but most people use that term and Ethereum interchangeably.
Choose the Right Ethereum Wallet
Before you buy Ethereum, you must have somewhere secure to store it. There are dozens if not hundreds of Ethereum wallets available, so you need to weed through various options to find the right one.
Start by considering what type of device you want to access your Ethereum wallet on. The best wallets are accessible via desktop computers and mobile applications, although some only have support for one of these options.
When making your selection for a wallet, pay attention to recovery options, security, whether it just supports Ethereum or other cryptocurrencies, popularity, customer support reviews, overall customer ratings and how long it has been around.
Remember that hardware wallets will cost money to purchase but offer more security than software wallets, which are highly affordable or even free. Some of the most popular wallets worth considering include Coinbase, Exodus, Jaxx, MyEtherWallet, and ETHAdress.
Buy it Using Your Debit or Credit Card
If you have not previously invested in any cryptocurrency, then you will most likely want to ease into buying Ethereum, something which using a credit or debit card lets you do. This is a good choice for those who are unfamiliar with cryptocurrency exchanges and prefer a traditional retail experience just like buying anything else.
Buying cryptocurrency with your credit card is typically incredibly quick or even instantaneous. However, it does have higher fees than many of the other options for purchasing Ether, typically about 3.5 percent, depending on the platform.
For those in the United States, Canada, Europe, Singapore and the UK, using Coinbase will be the simplest method of purchasing Ethereum with a credit card. This has average fees for crypto purchases with credit cards.
If you prefer a platform that does not require any identity verification, you can buy Ethereum with a card on CoinMama, provided you purchase the equivalent of $125 or less. However, you pay for that privacy with a high 7 percent fee.
Another popular choice is Austria-based BitPanda. While it began with just Bitcoin, it now also sells Ethereum via credit cards. If you don’t like those options, there are also other exchanges that let you purchase Ether with a credit or debit card.
Buy it Using a Bank Transfer
Perhaps the most common method for most people who choose to buy Ethereum for the first time is via a bank transfer or linking their bank account directly to their account on an exchange. This method tends to result in significantly lower fees than buying with a credit card, and you will have many more options available.
Coinbase, for example, lets you purchase Ether using your bank account if you live in one of the five countries/regions that it supports credit card purchases for. The fee for this transaction will be around 1.49 percent.
Europeans who want to buy their Ether with Euros directly from their bank account should consider using Kraken. It is also worth checking out Gemini and CEX.io, both of which are very well respected and are available in multiple countries.
Exchange it for a Different Cryptocurrency
While you can certainly buy Ethereum using USD or another fiat currency, the trading pair of ETH/BTC (Ether and Bitcoin) also accounts for a large percentage of the global trading volume. Of course, this method of buying Ethereum will only work if you already own Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, but it significantly broadens your options.
There are numerous exchanges that offer trading between various cryptocurrencies, and nearly all of these will offer the ETH/BTC trading pair.
Because of the large number of crypto exchanges, you can select one with the features you want, whether that is a high level of privacy via minimal verification requirements, strong security measures, a long list of trading pairs, or an established history.
The options for crypto-to-crypto exchanges are seemingly endless. The big names include Binance and GDAX, the latter of which uses the same account as Coinbase.
Generally speaking, fees for buying Ethereum via another cryptocurrency like Bitcoin will be very low, but this depends on the exchange.
In addition to the lower fees, one advantage of buying your Ethereum on a cryptocurrency exchange is that you will have the option of easily trading it for another cryptocurrency in the future. This way, if you choose to diversify your cryptocurrency portfolio, you will already have a verified account on an exchange that lets you do this.
Another option for those who want to buy Ethereum is LocalEthereum. If you have heard of LocalBitcoins, this is a very similar concept but for Ethereum instead.
LocalEthereum is essentially a marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of Ethereum within a local area for peer-to-peer trades and sales.
For added security, LocalEthereum uses end-to-end encrypted communication and digital identity protection and keeps your wallet encrypted. It also relies on decentralized escrows to store the funds sent by the seller until the buyer’s funds arrive, preventing fraud that leads to losses.
LocalEthereum will also display how many trades a particular buyer or seller has completed so you can gauge their reliability.
Payment options vary but include bank transfers, PayPal and cash deposits. LocalEthereum does charge fees, although these tend to be lower than a centralized exchange would offer. Those who want to maximize privacy or flexibility will want to look into LocalEthereum, although you should always confirm that you do not break any local regulations when completing your transaction.
Find an Ethereum ATM
Although they are still fairly new, the number of Ethereum ATMs around the world is growing all the time. These are set up in public areas in major cities around the world and offer the ability to withdraw fiat currency using your Ethereum or the option to buy Ethereum right there.
Ethereum ATMs are ideal if you only want to buy a smaller quantity of ETH since they typically have smaller purchase limits than other buying methods. Because these ATMs typically have those limits in place, they are able to avoid anti-money-laundering and know your customer (KYC) regulations. In other words, you will have complete privacy when buying Ethereum from an ATM.
Remember that you will need to have an Ethereum wallet before you buy Ether at an ATM, so set that up ahead of time. Using an Ethereum ATM to buy Ether is typically straightforward, and there may be detailed instructions on the screen.
You will usually use your smartphone to open up a QR code for your Ethereum wallet’s address. Hold this to the machine so it can read the information, enter your cash, and you will receive the ETH. In most cases, the cryptocurrency will arrive within a half hour, but it could take a few hours.
An Alternative: Day Trading with CFDs
Some people think they want to buy Ethereum but actually just want to begin investing in cryptocurrency. In this case, you may want to consider trading Ethereum CFDs instead of actually buying Ethereum. CFD stands for “contract for difference” and essentially lets you trade based on the exchange rate.
The positive side is that you will not need to get an Ethereum wallet since you do not actually own the Ethers, just the CFDs.
You should always keep in mind that trading CFDs, including those for Ethereum, is considered to be very risky and only recommended for experienced traders. With CFDs, you can actually end up losing more than you invest, which is not possible if you were to purchase Ethereum outright.
An Alternative: Mine Ether
If you definitely want to own Ether but don’t want to buy it, you can also opt for mining Ethereum. This relies on proof of work and requires specialized computer hardware.
Because of that, you will need to either already have a GPU you can dedicate to mining Ethereum or be willing to invest in one. When set up correctly, you can make a reasonable amount of Ethereum from mining, enough to nicely supplement your income.
An Alternative: Work for Ether
Yet another alternative to buying Ether is working in exchange for this instead of your local fiat currency. Of course, you will need to find some source of income with a boss that is willing to pay you in Ether.
If you know someone who owns Ethereum and needs odd jobs done around their house, see if you can offer your services in exchange for Ether. This can also be taken to a more professional level where you offer freelance services in exchange for Ether.
There are several websites specifically designed for finding and posting freelancing jobs that will receive payment in cryptocurrency. Search one of these websites, limiting your search to payments in Ethereum.
You may also be able to find a job working for a startup that is based on the Ethereum blockchain. In this case, even non-technological skills can be paid for in Ether, including jobs for accountants, graphic and web designers, lawyers, PR professionals, marketing professionals and more.
How to Sell Ether
Once you have purchased your Ethereum, you may eventually decide to sell some or all of it. You might want to minimize your investment in this cryptocurrency or simply need the money in fiat so you can spend it.
Selling Ethereum can be done using very similar methods to buying it, with the exception of using a credit or debit card. You can visit a cryptocurrency exchange and convert the Ethereum into fiat currency, then withdraw that into your bank account.
You can trade your Ethereum for another cryptocurrency on an exchange. You could use a platform like LocalEthereum to find someone in your area who wants to buy Ethereum.
It is even possible to turn your Ethereum into fiat currency at one of the Ethereum ATMs. The important takeaway is that you can sell your Ethereum just as easily as you can buy it.
Everyone has a slightly different reason for wanting to buy Ethereum. Whether you do not have any Ether yet or already have some but want more, there are numerous choices.
With the choice of using crypto-to-fiat and crypto-to-crypto exchanges, peer-to-peer trading networks or finding a seller near you, you should be able to find a method that suits you. Just be sure to research the platform you use before sending your fiat currency and always withdraw the money to a secure Ethereum wallet to minimize the risk to your funds.