How to Buy Ethereum, Overachiever of the Crypto World

How to Buy Ethereum, Overachiever of the Crypto World

Here's what you need to know to invest in cryptocurrency's favorite rising star

How to Buy Ethereum, Overachiever of the Crypto World
Liz Aldrich

Updated Oct 15, 2022

Many companies on MoneyMade advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and in-depth research determine where and how companies may appear.

Crypto

Crypto

Active Investing

Active Investing

Beginners

Beginners

Bitcoin might be the first cryptocurrency, but Ethereum is threatening to overtake this crypto OG. Think of it as Bitcoin's competitive, overachieving younger sibling. 

This darling of the crypto world has moved in value by in the past year. So how can you get in on the action?

Ethereum is also cutting its energy usage dramatically, which is a major concern among environmentalist crypto users.

If you're thinking about buying Ethereum, it's probably because you've heard that the second biggest cryptocurrency merged to become a proof of stake (PoS) network. The blockchain is taking over, so here's everything you need to know about how to buy ETH.

How do I buy Ethereum?

Buying Ethereum is easier than you might think. You'll need to pick a marketplace where you can buy cryptocurrency, such as a cryptocurrency exchange platform. From there, you can create an account, deposit money, and buy Ethereum. You can then store it in your Ethereum crypto wallet, which is essentially a digital wallet for your coins and tokens.

Whether you're brand new to the world of crypto or looking to add this valuable currency to your digital stash, this step-by-step breakdown will guide you through the process of how to buy Ethereum.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is actually the blockchain platform, while Ether (ETH) is the name of the token, and it's arguably the best blockchain platform around. You've probably heard a lot about NFTs (non-fungible tokens)—most of those are on Ethereum, and its widespread use makes ETH a solid choice for anyone who wants to invest in cryptocurrency.

1. Pick an Ethereum exchange

You can buy ETH and other cryptocurrencies on a centralized cryptocurrency exchange. These online platforms allow you to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies using a variety of payment methods that may include a linked bank account, debit card, wire transfer, or other cryptocurrencies.

Some of the most popular cryptocurrency exchange platforms are Coinbase, Kraken, Gemini, and eToro. You'll find more details comparing the best places to buy ETH toward the end of this article. Considering the popularity of Ethereum, it's not hard to find exchanges that support it.

However, it's important to choose the right crypto exchange when buying Ethereum. The platform you use will determine everything from how much you pay in fees to how secure your transaction is.

Here's what to look for when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange to buy Ethereum:

  • If ETH is supported
  • Deposit methods
  • Withdrawal options
  • Fees
  • Security

If you're sticking to Ethereum and other widely available cryptocurrencies, for now, you probably don't need an exchange that supports hundreds of different cryptocurrencies, although it's worth taking into consideration. You'll also want to look at the deposit and withdrawal options—some exchanges allow you to deposit money with a debit or credit card, while others require a bank transfer.

What is staking?

Staking means locking your ETH to validate blockchain transactions. Validators replaced miners when Ethereum turned to PoS, meaning you can lock up 32 ETH to secure the blockchain and earn variable interest on your ETH. You can also stake ETH on some exchanges or decentralized protocols.

Because cryptocurrency is still very loosely regulated, it's crucial to do your research and make sure the exchange you're using is legitimate and secure. Look out for fake crypto exchange websites that promise outrageous returns or send you unsolicited phone calls and emails.

You'll want to minimize fees as well, although paying a little extra for convenience or ease of use might be worth it. These fees can range from 0.5% to over 5%, and you'll pay even more if you want to purchase coins using a credit card.

How to buy ETH with PayPal

You can buy ETH with PayPal, or you can buy it directly with Coinbase. PayPal now lets you use your balance to buy various cryptocurrencies by selecting "Crypto" from your account dashboard and verifying your identity.

However, buying Ethereum with PayPal has its drawbacks. Namely, you can't withdraw your crypto from PayPal and store it in a private wallet. Instead, you can only buy and sell it on your PayPal account.

2. Create an account and deposit money

Once you choose a crypto exchange, you'll need to create an account and deposit money to start buying ethereum. You'll probably be asked to verify your identity by uploading government-issued photo identification. We highly recommend also setting up two-factor authentication for an added layer of safety.

Different platforms will offer different deposit options, and they usually come with varying fees as well. Paying with a debit or credit card might seem easiest, but this can often result in higher fees than setting up a bank transfer. If you already have some cryptocurrency and you want to pay using that, you can also deposit cryptocurrency from another exchange or your crypto wallet.

How much should I invest in Ethereum?

If this is your first time buying cryptocurrency, you probably want to start small. Seasoned cryptocurrency traders may be ready to purchase larger quantities, but it's important to remember that while cryptocurrencies like Ethereum have seen huge gains over the years, they're still a fairly volatile investment. 

Many investment gurus suggest keeping your cryptocurrency investments at 3% to 5% of your net worth maximum, and you'll probably want to diversify your investments across at least a few different cryptocurrencies. Never invest more than you can reasonably afford to lose.

3. Buy your ETH

Now you're ready to start buying Ethereum! The process for buying ETH will vary by exchange, but you can begin trading by selecting whatever 'buy cryptocurrency' option the platform has and choosing Ethereum. You'll then have to specify how much you want to buy.

How much does it cost to buy ETH?

Most crypto exchanges don't have high minimum buy-in requirements, and you can buy fractions of any cryptocurrency and other alternative assets. With Coinbase, arguably the most popular crypto exchange, you can start buying Ethereum with as little as $25.

The price of ETH is currently about .

4. Get a crypto wallet (optional)

You need a crypto wallet to hold digital currency—it's where your ETH, and other crypto tokens, are kept.

 

You can always leave your money in a crypto exchange. This is a secure option, especially if you've taken the proper security measures with your account, such as signing up for two-factor authentication and protecting your passwords. Your Ethereum is still being stored in a wallet in this case, but it's a 'hosted wallet' because it's being hosted by the crypto exchange platform.

You can also get your own crypto wallet and store your Ethereum there. This gives you more control over the security of your Ethereum and allows you to send and receive ETH easily. In this case, you have two types of crypto wallets: a software wallet and a hardware wallet.

Software wallets are digital and include web-based wallets, mobile wallets, and desktop wallets.

Hardware wallets are physical devices that store private keys that allow you to access your cryptocurrency. Generally speaking, hardware wallets are more expensive and complicated but also more secure.

Where is the best place to buy ETH?

Now that you understand how to buy ETH, it's time to decide where to buy Ethereum. Thanks to the currency's popularity, there's no shortage of places to buy ETH. The best one will depend on your preferences and needs.

If you don't want to directly own ETH, there are a growing number of exchange-traded funds with ETH in their portfolio. But, the easiest way is to use a trading platform. Crypto exchanges are your best bet, but some online brokerages support major cryptos.

Easiest: Coinbase

Coinbase is one of the largest, oldest, and most well-recognized crypto exchanges. This is a platform you know you can trust, and on top of that, they make it very simple to buy, trade, and sell Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies.

While Coinbase wins for easiest cryptocurrency exchange, it's worth noting that apps like PayPal and Robinhood make buying Ethereum even easier—if you don't mind not having full control over your crypto. Your investment is still tied to the value of Ethereum, and you can cash out at any time. But you have to keep your crypto within the app, so you won't be able to withdraw it or transfer it to another account or wallet.

coinbase
Coinbase

4.4

Crypto

Most social: eToro

eToro is an established crypto exchange that doesn't charge any commission. The unique thing about this platform is the social element—in addition to being able to buy, sell, and trade crypto, eToro also bills itself as a collaborative community where users can teach and learn from each other.

etoro
eToro

Crypto

Most secure: Kraken

Kraken is another one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchange platforms. It has some of the most extensive security features, as well as 24/7/365 customer support. You'll also be able to buy and trade a long list of different cryptocurrencies on this platform.

kraken
Kraken

Crypto

Is Ethereum a good investment to hold in 2023?

If you're looking to invest in cryptocurrency, Ethereum is certainly not a bad choice. It's second only to Bitcoin in terms of market value, and it's widely considered to be the best blockchain platform. Because Ethereum is so widely used by developers, it actually has real-world utility. Ethereum is also cutting its energy usage dramatically, which is a major concern among environmentalist crypto users.

That said, the currency (like many cryptocurrencies) is extremely volatile. This means you could see massive returns on investment in a short time period, but you could also lose a lot of money in a short time period. If you'd purchased $1,000 worth of Ethereum in January 2017, your investment would be worth roughly $270,000 now. That being said, if you purchase Ethereum when it's at all-time highs and then sell after a dip, you could lose the majority of your original investment.

As long as you aren't throwing your life savings into crypto, buying Ethereum can be a good investment this year. Now that you know how to buy Ethereum, you can get started with a small initial investment and work your way up from there.

Find your next investment