Hello and welcome to Ethereum! Ethereum and digital currencies are pretty new and in this new financial world, things can be a little bit different. This article gives an overview of what ETH is, where and how you can buy ETH with USD, some important info on how to store it, and how to be secure. We tried to keep it as short as possible so please take the time to read through the article. Don't hesitate to contact us directly if you have any questions or concerns, we are here to help!
What IS Ether (ETH)?
Ether, or ETH, is Ethereum's native currency. It is "digital money" that can be sent over the internet instantly and cheaply, and also be used in many Ethereum-based applications. (from ethereum.org)
Where Can You Buy ETH?
You can go to buy.mycrypto.com to buy ETH, BTC, or other cryptocurrencies with US Dollars or Euros (as well as some other currencies).
You can buy ETH from cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase. When you purchase through an exchange, you have an account with that company, and they hold your ETH and your keys for you. Exchanges offer a more traditional username / password scenario where you can do things like reset/change your password and turn on 2FA. They have their own account on the blockchain with all their funds and customer funds. Exchanges store all of your information on their servers, and they keep track of how much ETH they "owe" you.
How to Create a Coinbase Account
Navigate to Coinbase.
For a NEW Coinbase account, click on the Get Started button, enter your email address and follow the directions to register and verify your account and device.
For any questions or issues on how to buy ETH with USD via Coinbase, please contact Coinbase directly. You can find Coinbase’s support page here.
Storing Your ETH
Purchasing ETH on exchanges is very common and probably the most popular way to buy ETH. Once you have purchased your ETH, you have a choice of how to store it.
- MyCrypto - Client-Side Wallet - You are in control of your funds and private information like passwords and private keys
- Exchange - Hosted Wallet - Funds and private information is stored on company servers.
- Hardware Wallet - Physical Device that stores your private information.
NOTE: If you choose to store your ETH on exchanges, it also means that if the exchange loses ETH, it's your ETH that is lost.
Still with Me? Good! Let's Dive Deeper!
- Understand the difference between a hosted wallet / exchange and client-side wallet before moving your ETH to your own wallet.
- Learn how to protect your funds!
- Words are Hard is a great intro.
Detailed Steps on Buying ETH on Coinbase
Create an account on either Coinbase, Gemini, or Kraken. Verify that account. You will need to upload a variety of documents to prove you are who you say you are. Once you upload all this regulatory stuff, verification takes about a day or two (time is dependent on how busy the service is and can be affected by price increases and influxes of new users. Be patient.).
Follow the instructions on the exchange to deposit USD into that exchange. This, depending on your bank and the wire transfer, will typically take 3-5 business days.
Now you have USD in your exchange account and can buy ETH with it.
Once you have all the ETH you want, withdraw that ETH into a wallet that you control. Exchanges are notorious for being hacked (although the ones mentioned above are very reputable) and you want your funds in a place that you have the private key to. So...
...while you are waiting for your verification and transfer, download and install the MyCrypto desktop app.
When you run it, click on Create New Wallet and create a fresh wallet. Use a password that you will never, ever forget and create the account. Then, it'll give you an address that starts with 0x. This is what you will enter on your exchange to move your ETH from their account to your own.
To safely keep your account, you have 3 pieces of information:
- Your address (0x4bbeEB.....)
- Your password
- Your private key
The private key is like a password, but way more intense. Plus, it's a password that is protected by another password. In MyCrypto, this private key is in the form of a keystore file or a mnemonic phrase. You need to make a backup of this in case anything happens to your computer.
Alternative Steps 1-5:
If you already have BTC (Bitcoin), you can use ShapeShift.io or Changelly to convert your BTC into ETH. Start a BTC->ETH exchange and it'll tell you where to send your BTC (If you have your BTC on an exchange, you can likely exchange them for ETH on that exchange without the need for ShapeShift).
Then, create an Ethereum account and back it up. From where you have stored your BTC, send it to the BTC address provided by ShapeShift/Changelly. The ETH will appear in your ETH wallet in approximately 20 minutes.
Please make sure you back it up!
- Beta MyCrypto
- Legacy MyCrypto
- JAXX - multi-platform, multi-currency
- Exodus.io - multi-currency desktop app