Ethereum is the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap. It’s also the second best-known cryptocurrency behind only bitcoin.
Launched in 2015, Ethereum is seen as “blockchain 2.0” for its innovative features like smart contracts and the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
Ethereum’s platform is fueled by a digital asset called Ether, or ETH. Ethereum doesn’t officially view ETH as a currency; instead, Ethereum views ETH as “the fuel” that runs the Ethereum engine.
Nevertheless, like bitcoin, ETH can be an attractive investment. During the Ethereum token sale in 2014, you could purchase 2000 ETH for approximately 1 BTC. At the time, 1 BTC was worth around $500 to $600 – so ETH was available for around $0.25 apiece. In the last few months, Ethereum has hit highs above $1400 USD per ETH. Anyone who invested during the ICO made a significant amount of profit simply by holding ETH.
Some people buy ETH as an investment. Others buy ETH to participate in an ICO. And others buy ETH to participate in Ethereum-based games like CryptoKitties.
Obviously, we have no idea where ETH’s price is going and it remains a high-risk investment. Whether you’re buying ETH as an investment or using it to participate in the Ethereum ecosystem, we’re going to explain how to buy Ethereum.
How to Buy Ethereum on a Cryptocurrency Exchange
Buying Ethereum is as easy as buying bitcoin. Ethereum is the world’s second largest cryptocurrency. Today, most exchanges have a BTC/ETH pair. A growing number of exchanges now offer USD/ETH and EUR/ETH pairs, among others. Put simply, it’s easier to buy ETH today than it’s ever been before.
Here’s the basic process you can use to buy Ethereum on a cryptocurrency exchange:
- Sign up for a cryptocurrency exchange; all major (and most minor) cryptocurrency exchanges have at least one Ethereum pair
- Verify your account
- Deposit funds into your account
- Buy Ethereum directly (if there’s a ETH/USD or ETH/EUR pair); or, you may need to purchase BTC and then buy Ethereum using the ETH/BTC pair
- Keep your ETH in your exchange account; or, withdraw your ETH to an Ethereum wallet like MyEtherWallet
How to Buy Ethereum Using Bittrex
The process of buying Ethereum on all major exchanges is pretty much the same. However, here’s the process used for buying Ethereum on Bittrex. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’re assuming you’re using Bittrex for the very first time.
- Go to Bittrex.com
- Click the “Get Started Now” button to visit the account registration page.
- Enter your email address and password to register your account, then confirm your registration by clicking the link sent to your email.
- Sign into your newly-verified account, then fill in personal details like your name, address, and phone number; Bittrex will verify your phone number. If this is your first time signing up for Bittrex, then you might also be required to provide government-issued photo ID and other verification data, depending on your country of residence.
- Once this process is complete, you’ll need to activate two factor authentication (2FA) to protect your account further; if you want to login to Bittrex, then you’ll need to enter your Google Authentication code. This protects your account from being hacked. Go to your Bittrex Settings page, then click on Two Factor Authentication. Bittrex will generate a 6 digit code.
- Create an Ethereum wallet on Bittrex. This wallet will hold your ETH. Remember: you cannot deposit Ethereum into a bitcoin wallet. If you try to do so, then you’ll permanently lose access to your Ethereum. To create an Ethereum wallet on Bittrex, click the “Wallets” link in the upper right corner of the Bittrex homepage. On the next page, you should see a “plus” sign beside Ethereum. This will create a public Ethereum address complete with a QR code, making it easy to deposit Ethereum into that address.
- Now you need to actually purchase Ethereum. You can purchase Ethereum in several different ways. First, there’s the ETH/BTC pair that lets you buy ETH in exchange for selling BTC. There’s also an ETH/USDT pair that lets you sell your USD for ETH (technically, you’re selling a digital token called the USD Tether in exchange for ETH). In order to buy ETH through either of these pairs, you’ll need to deposit USD or BTC into your account. You can deposit USD using bank transfers and other payment methods. Or, you can deposit BTC from any bitcoin wallet – say, if you bought bitcoin online through another service.
- Once your Bittrex account has been funded, you can easily purchase Ethereum using either of the pairs listed above. Click on either the BTC/ETH pair or the USDT/ETH pair. On this page, under the price graph, you’ll see two boxes. One says “Buy Ethereum” and the other says “Sell Ethereum”. In the Buy Ethereum box, you’ll have three options to buy Ethereum. You can buy Ethereum at the last sold price (“Last”). You can buy Ethereum at the best price currently being offered (“Bid”). Or, you can buy Ethereum at a specific price – like a price lower than the market rate, if you’re anticipating a drop. In that case, you’d hit the “Ask” button. Once you’ve chosen your order type, enter the number of Ethereum you wish to purchase (under “Units”). Then, click the “Buy Ethereum” button once you’re ready. Your order will be processed as soon as a seller is found. Your USD or BTC will be deducted from your account. Then, you’ll receive your ETH.
- You can keep your ETH in your Bittrex Ethereum wallet. Or, you can withdraw to a popular Ethereum wallet like MyEtherWallet or Jaxx.
Use an Online Service Like LocalEthereum
Ethereum is so popular that it’s even spawned its own LocalBitcoins-style service. It’s called LocalEthereum.com. Just like LocalBitcoins.com, you can find local buyers and sellers willing to sell ETH in exchange for a number of different payment methods.
You can use LocalEthereum to buy Ethereum for cash, for example. You can also use the service to buy Ethereum using credit cards or debit cards. Some sellers accept bank transfers. Others accept bitcoin payments.
Here’s the basic process you’ll use with LocalEthereum:
- Sign up for LocalEthereum.com
- Search for people selling Ethereum in your local area. LocalEthereum is a region-based service with support for 100+ countries worldwide. You’ll find sellers supporting specific local payment methods – like BPAY in Australia or Interac e-transfer in Canada. You can also find sellers supporting major international payment methods – including everything from international wire transfers to Venmo.
- Find a seller with a strong reputation and a long history of successful transactions
- Make an offer using your desired payment method; enter the amount you wish to buy (in your local fiat currency) and you should see a corresponding amount of ETH appear
- Verify the transaction and wait for the seller to respond
LocalEthereum makes it easy to buy Ethereum using a wide range of payment methods. Current payment methods accepted on the website include:
- Western Union
- WeChat Pay
- International wire transfers
- Western Union, MoneyGram, and similar services
- Skrill, Venmo, and similar services
- Gift cards
- In-person cash transfers
- Bank transfers
- Cash deposits
Whether you want to buy Ethereum anonymously using cash or online using cards, you can easily buy Ethereum using any of the payment methods listed above. LocalEthereum isn’t as large or as popular as LocalBitcoins, but the platform has still facilitated over $30 million in Ethereum transactions – so it’s the most reputable way to exchange Ethereum directly.
Should You Buy Ethereum (ETH) or Ethereum Classic (ETC)? What’s the Difference?
When you’re buying Ethereum online, you might encounter two different Ethereums: Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC).
These are two different currencies. Like bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), they spawned from the same chain, but hard forked to become two separate tokens. With Ethereum, the split occurred back in 2016 during The DAO incident. As a result of that hack, the Ethereum community was split into two different sections. The bulk of the community supported ETH (which hard forked to reverse the hack), while a smaller section of the community supported ETC (which accepted the hack and continued with the same chain).
Ultimately, when people talk about “Ethereum”, they’re typically referring to the main project and its Ether (ETH) digital token. Ethereum Classic remains an actively-developed project with its own merits. However, if you’re reading this article because you’ve heard about Ethereum, then you’re almost certainly looking to buy Ether (ETH).
Ethereum is the world’s second most popular blockchain. ETH is the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap. That means it’s easier than ever to buy ETH using a variety of different payment methods. You can easily buy Ethereum from an exchange, for example. Or, you can use a service like LocalEthereum to purchase Ethereum using cash, bank transfers, and other deposit methods.