A common question is: “How do I buy Monero, Ethereum Classic, Zencash, EOS, Decred, Sia, etc.” For the beginner, it can be unclear where to even start. This brief guide will help you get oriented and show you how to buy a variety of cryptoassets using exchanges.
1Buy Cryptocurrency with Fiat Currency
Getting into crypto requires buying bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum or even bitcoin cash with fiat currency (USD, Euros, etc.). In the US one of the easiest websites to use when buying with fiat currency is Coinbase*. You can sign up for an account and purchase with a credit card, ACH bank transfer, or wire. The fees and fund availability vary depending on how you purchase. For a complete guide see our previous post on buying from Coinbase.
2Find a Coin or Token
There are a lot of cryptoassets that can be hard to discover and trade. A great place to start your search is CoinMarketCap. It lists over 1,000 cryptoassets with market data, exchange listings, and general information. It is well known in the crypto-space and you should bookmark the page for future reference.
3Choose an Exchange
We will use Ethereum Classic (ETC) as an example. If you click Ethereum Classic and then the Markets tab you’ll see the most active exchanges trading ETC. Keep in mind that exchanges from all over the world are listed. Depending on your region, you may want to opt for an exchange that is within your country for regulatory and support reasons. For US based customers Bittrex, Poloniex, and Binance* are generally good options.
4Create a Crypto-Exchange Account
Once you’ve settled on an exchange, go to their website and register for an account. This requires at a minimum a name and email. For greater security, 2-factor authentication using either SMS or Google Authenticator is recommended. Greater withdrawal and trading limits generally require enhanced verification. This involves taking a picture of your photo ID (license, passport, etc.) and providing a photo of yourself. The process is quick and greatly increases your withdrawal limits.
Once you’ve created an account you’ll be met with a somewhat daunting trading window as showing in the screenshot. If you’re not familiar with trading you should set aside some time to review the sites help documentation. Trading isn’t for everyone, but the tools can be used to make a simple buy/sell market or limit order.
5Deposit to Crypto Exchange
Assuming you bought some bitcoin or other cryptocurrency, you need to transfer it to the exchange with the coin that you want. In this example we show the deposit and withdrawal screen for Binance. This will be very similar for Poloniex, Bittrex, or any other crypto exchange. If you are sending or depositing bitcoin, click the deposit button for BTC and it will show you the address to send your bitcoin to. Make sure this is copied and pasted into your Coinbase or other wallet as the send address. Also, if you’re sending bitcoin make sure it’s to the bitcoin deposit wallet and not bitcoin cash. They are not the same thing!
Once the bitcoin has been sent you will have to wait for it to be confirmed on the network. This can be in a matter of minutes or hours depending on how congested the bitcoin network is and what fees you paid. Once the transaction is confirmed you will see the sent amount minus the network fee deposited into your Binance account.
6Buy the Cryptoasset with Bitcoin
Now you can initiate a buy order on the exchange and acquire any cryptoasset you desire. To do this you navigate to the trading pair, ETC/BTC, and initiate a buy order. It is suggested that you use a limit order to avoid slippage. If the order is within or near the market then the trade will execute and you will see ETC in your Binance wallet.
If instead you bought ether or litecoin and then sent it over to Binance, you need to sell the currency for bitcoin and then purchase the new cryptoasset with bitcoin. You might be wondering why someone would buy anything other than bitcoin, if so, see the advanced section below on bitcoin fees and delays for bitcoin transactions.
Advanced: When not to Transfer with Bitcoin
With increasing demand for bitcoin and bitcoin transfers the network gets congested. When you try to send your bitcoin from Coinbase to Binance for example, it may cost a lot and be very slow. To get around this, more advanced users may buy ethereum or litecoin and send that instead of bitcoin. Why? The fees are much lower and the transactions much faster.
Once your funds are at the new exchange you can use ether or litecoin to buy other cryptoassets (if it’s supported) or you can sell ether or litecoin for bitcoin. With bitcoin you can buy any other asset. Once you’re in the exchange there are no bitcoin transfer fees, only trading fees, which are pretty reasonable at 0.05 to 0.25%.