In order to begin our adventure in the cryptocurrency world, we first must obtain the cryptocurrency. There is a plethora of options, and Bitcoin is not the only one available. Monero, ZCash, Ethereum, Peercoin and a thousand of other altcoins are part of the market. Each one offers unique features, such as ease of use and privacy improvements. But in this article, we will focus on how to obtain Ethereum, the hottest altcoin in 2017, from the best ethereum exchanges.
As you might know, mining is one of the ways you can get crypto. We have already covered which altcoin is the most profitable to mine. However, the process requires an investment of time and money, in addition to some technical know-how. Thus, most people prefer to purchase cryptocurrencies instead of mining them.
Specialized exchanges are the most common way to acquire coins. Just as you would buy stocks on a stock exchange. For Ethereum, there are many options, and here’s a list of the best.
There are several things to consider when thinking about buying Ethereum from the best exchange.
1.) Are you looking to convert USD (or another Fiat currency) to Ether? Or
2.) Are you looking to trade Ethereum with another crypto?
For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus mostly on getting hold of some Ethereum in the first place, but we will also mention several other exchanges that let you trade Eth for other cryptos.
No article about cryptocurrency exchanges can go without mentioning Coinbase. The exchange is most of all, beginner friendly, which is a huge bonus for people who want to get their feet wet in the world of crypto. Many features are included, such as multisig wallets and two-factor authentication.
Support for ETH/USD and ETH/EUR is present, with a few other currencies available. For those interested in what would happen to your money in case the exchange gets hacked, Coinbase has insured their hot wallet, thus you can expect to get your coins back in case something goes bad. The standard buy/sell rate amounts to 1.49%, and for credit cards in most countries including the US it’s 3,99%. Bank transfers are supported.
Coinbase is a bit frustrating the first few times you use it, because they limit how much you can buy. However, it’s well worth buying up your limit and letting it increase steadily. We’ve only used Coinbase for a few months and already had our limit increased to over $5,000 using a debit card, and $20,000 using direct debit. That’s per-transaction. It’s well worth using.
By the way, if you use this link to sign up, Coinbase will give us both some bonus Bitcoin after you’ve made your first purchase. Nice!
Coinbase is the best exchange for getting hold of some Ether or Bitcoin in the first place, but for trading it into other cryptos, you should read on to find out what else we recommend.
Bitpanda, formerly Coinimal, is a cryptocurrency exchange based in Austria, focused on Ethereum and Bitcoin. It’s one of the most popular Bitcoin exchanges in Europe and an industry leader. What is unique about Bitpanda is the feature of chargeback on payment options supporting it. It also allows paypal payments, which is an increasingly popular way to get on the Bitcoin train.
Due to this, the prices of the coins are a bit above the market rate. A wide range of ways to pay is available, including Skrill, SEPA, EPS, Giropay, SOFORT, Neteller and of course credit card. The rates depend on which option you use. Skrill, for example, charges around 3,77%. Keep in mind, this does not include the additional price of the cryptocurrency. The exchange requires verification, although a phone number is enough to purchase small amounts.
If you don’t want to provide any documents at all, then ShapeShift is for you. It is a crypto to crypto exchange, and supports almost every single cryptocurrency out there. Simply choose what coin you want to deposit, and then select Ethereum as the received cryptocurrency. Point to wallet addresses. Done. No registration! There are no fees on ShapeShift, only the exchange rate. You get exactly what it amounts to. Granted, the miner fee is included in the price, and there are minimum and maximum deposit limits, depending on the current situation of the market. The exchange is very quick, and has a sleek, easy to use mobile app in case you need it.
Once you’ve got hold of some Ethereum and you want to trade it for other coins, then you should consider Bittrex or Binance (one of our favorite exchanges). Both exchanges are well supported, and most importantly, have good volume. It’s important to choose an exchange with good volume so that you can actually have trades happen, rather than just sit there waiting for them to execute.
Coinbase, Binance and Bittrex both have the option for 2-factor authentication as well, which is very important when it comes to keeping your account secure.
While those exchanges are insured, they won’t pay you out if it’s YOU who gets hacked, so make sure you set up 2FA on your exchanges, and if possible, move your coins off an exchange to a hardware wallet as soon as possible.
We recommend the Ledger Nano S for hardware wallets.
EtherDelta is a decentralized, peer-to-peer, Ethereum only exchange, being one of the few to support Ether token trading. You don’t need to sign in or register. However, you must install specialized software in order to use it. This makes it extremely difficult to use for the non tech-savvy, as the whole process can seem quite convoluted. The unsightly interface certainly doesn’t help, but once you get past all these problems, you’re left with a quick, secure exchange, enjoying low fees. All Ether tokens can be found here, making it a must see for Ethereum aficionados. If you’re interested, but can’t wrap your head around using it, check out one of the many video guides available on YouTube.
Another decentralized exchange, BitShares DEX, certainly is not a one trick pony. It has a wide range of supported crypto, including Ethereum. Like EtherDelta, it requires software installation, however, the process is quite simple in comparison. Exchange rates are very favorable, and of course, fiat currency purchases are available. You can trust this exchange, as it has over 1,1 million transactions per day, and the highest volume of all decentralized exchanges. There are no trading limits and no personal information required. Gold, silver, oil, stocks and bonds are all here, just like on a fiat based exchange. Fees range from low to high, depending on the operation you wish to perform. They can be paid in any tradable asset. Overall, I would highly recommend this exchange for all your crypto needs, not just for Ethereum.
Closing in, every single exchange on this list is worth a recommendation. The final choice should be based on your needs. But if possible, it’s best to do your own research to see what suits you. Your mileage might vary, and you might not find these exchanges as good as we do.
Keeping Your Coins Safe
As we’ve talked about already, most good exchanges are insured, so if they get hacked, your coins will be safe. But this doesn’t cover the possibility of YOU getting hacked. If someone finds out your login information through phishing attempts, or sloppiness on your behalf, the exchange isn’t going to rebate you.
Here are three ways to keep your coins safe:
1.) Bookmark exchanges and only visit them via those bookmarks. Be careful of fake sites that mirror the real sites. A common one is BIttrex which uses an L instead of an i.
2.) Keep your coins on a hardware wallet. As soon as you’ve bought your ethereum, transfer it to a hardware wallet. We recommend Ledger Nano S which is a pretty inexpensive option for guaranteed security.
3.) Install 2FA on your exchanges. Use something like Google Authenticator on your phone to make sure that people can’t login to your account even if they find out your password.