- Ethereum is an open access, community-run digital platform that provides access to the cryptocurrency ether or ETH.
- Ethereum is decentralized so you can trade ETH with another party without going through an intermediary such as a bank.
- The platform is programmable so you can use it to buy other digital assets including Bitcoin, NFTs, or other cryptocurrencies.
This step-by-step guide will take you through the process of buying Ethereum from the USA today.
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Where to buy Ethereum
Step 1: Select an exchange that sells Ethereum
Ethereum is one of the biggest names in cryptocurrency and is listed on practically every crypto exchange. Finding one that sells Ethereum is not difficult — we've listed some good options above — but there are some points of differentiation to consider: account funding options, what they charge for trades, and also if they charge a fee on deposits and withdrawals.
Step 2: Register and verify your identity
After you've chosen an exchange, you'll have to register an account and prove your identity. What information is required will vary by the exchange. Typically you'll need to provide your name, date of birth, and address. Additionally, a copy of a government-issued form of ID may be required before your account can be verified and secured. In all, this process can be completed within a few minutes.
Step 3: Set your budget
Crypto is a volatile asset class that experiences bull runs and sudden drops, so it's important to decide how much to invest in Ethereum and stick to it. Only ever invest what you can afford to lose.
Step 4: Fund your account
You can send fiat currency or cryptocurrency to your exchange account.
Most exchanges accept fiat currency (USD) transfers from a bank account, credit card, or debit card. Payments via Payoneer, PayPal, Venmo, etc. may also be supported, but this varies widely between exchanges. Fiat deposits can take a few days to clear into your account at the exchange.
An alternative way to fund your account is to transfer cryptocurrency from a wallet you control, but this may incur processing charges.
A minimum amount may be required for your first deposit.
Step 5: Buy Ethereum
Various order types are available for buying, much like there are with a stock broker. More complex order configuration tends to be limited to exchanges that are more geared towards the intermediate to experienced trader.
If you are new to trading, a market order is the easiest option, i.e. buy Ethereum at the next available price. Some exchanges offer the ability to configure recurring buys, which means you can take advantage of dollar cost averaging over time.
Where to store your Ethereum
You can store Ethereum in the exchange wallet and third-party wallets.
If you want easy access to your coins, store your Etherum in a hot wallet (e.g. at the exchange). Hot wallets are very accessible, meaning you can trade more frequently. However, they have a greater risk of theft since they are connected to the internet.
A safer alternative is to store your Ethereum in a cold wallet. These offline storage devices can be manually connected to the internet when you want to access your crypto.