How to Buy Ether (ETH) with USD
Last updated: 2020-02-25
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.
First, YOU are responsible for the stuff: your investments, your choices, and and most importantly, your security. There are no babysitters or undo buttons, and no bank to call up and have a transaction reversed. The power of the blockchain lies in this autonomy, but it can also be dangerous to expect all of the convenient failsafes we have come to enjoy.
Second, most of the people involved in this world are pretty tech-savvy, and sometimes forget how different things are to the inexperienced. Take your time, read the instructions and warnings, ask for clarification and reach out for help if you still have questions.
Here are three basic security tips you need to know when buying and holding cryptocurrencies.
- Scams, phishing sites, and malicious links exist. Trust messages and random links about as much as those in your spam box. Verify, verify, verify!
- Avoid cloud storage. Always save and backup your private key in a separate location, like a piece of paper or a USB drive.
- Be skeptical. Does the person have an ulterior motive? Does an offer sound too good to be true?
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!
- 10 Tips for Noobs & Words are Hard are both great intros.
Now, the fun part! How To Buy ETH with USD
You can go to buy.mycrypto.com and use our Simplex integration, or alternatively, use an exchange for purchasing cryptocurrency.
Buying through an exchange
What is an exchange?
If you use an exchange like Coinbase, Gemini, Kraken, Poloniex, Bittrex, then you have an account with that company, and they hold your ETH and your keys for you. They have their own account on the blockchain with all their and their customers' funds in it. Then you have a username / password with them, which are stored on their servers, and they keep track of how much ETH they "owe" you.
This allows you to have a more traditional username / password situation and do things like reset your password if you forget it, change your password if your password is compromised, and turn on 2FA. However, it also means that if the exchange loses ETH, it's your ETH that is lost. If you still want to purchase ETH through an exchange, follow the steps below.
Create an account on either Gemini, Coinbase, 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
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.