The world of cryptocurrency is attracting new interest every day. However, actually purchasing your first coin can be an intimidating process for new users. Not everyone wants to start with Bitcoin, some are more interested in what a coin like Ethereum has to offer. Therefore BeInCrypto has created a helpful walk-through for those looking to get their feet wet and buy their very first ETH.

Coinbase, a Cryptocurrency Exchange

Generally the easiest place to get your first cryptocurrency is going to be an exchange. An exchange allows you to literally trade between different assets, in this case currencies. There are many different cryptocurrency exchanges available, but for today’s walk-through we’re going to keep it simple, and it doesn’t get much simpler than Coinbase.

Know that you should always do your homework when choosing an exchange, but if you stick to the major names that are trusted in the community you should be fine. For Coinbase, all you really have to do is go to the website and click on “Get Started,” which will prompt you to begin setting up an account.

Enter your basic info and set a strong password, then click “create account.” After this you should be prompted to verify your email and set up two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication increases security on your account by ensuring that even if somehow an attacker gains access to your password, they can’t access your portfolio without your phone as well. Using an authenticator app like Google Authenticator is preferable over simple SMS authentication, as the latter still leaves the user vulnerable to SIM swapping techniques

, but anything is better than nothing.

Another thing you will be encouraged to enter is some basic “Know Your Customer” (KYC) information. On Coinbase, there are three levels of verification. Each level has you confirming more of your personal details (phone number, address, photo ID), while granting more liberty in your purchasing and withdrawal options. This step isn’t always required from exchanges but often is before allowing a user to move significant amounts of cryptocurrency off of a platform.

Making Your First Purchase

Okay, you’re all set up and you want to buy some Ethereum! The next thing you need to do is link a payment option. Click on your profile icon on the top right of the Home screen, and in the drop down menu select “Settings.” There are a lot of options here and you should explore them all, especially things like “Preferences” and “Security,” but what we are looking for now is “Linked Accounts.”

Once on this tab, choose “Link a New Account” and you will be prompted to fill out information to link a Bank Account, PayPal Account, Debit Card or Wire Transfer. Note there are some limitations. For one, PayPal accounts can only be used to withdraw, and bank account purchases will be held for a few days before they can be moved. Debit card purchases are instantaneous, but have a lower allowed monthly limit. At this time, Coinbase does not accept Credit Card purchases. For the most part, these limits shouldn’t be an issue for casual new users, but it is important to be aware.

Once you have a purchasing option set up, go ahead and click the “Trade” button, also in the top right. This will bring up a simple purchasing window where you choose what asset to buy, in this case Ethereum, and select your preferred payment method. Then simply enter how much you want to purchase. You should be able to type this in as either USD or ETH, but you definitely want to be aware of which you are doing.

When ready, click on the “Preview Buy” button, which brings up a full breakdown of the transaction you are about to make. Take note that Coinbase will take a fee for your purchase. This is generally true of most exchanges, and often the more convenient and streamlined the process is, the larger cut an exchange will take. Longer-term buyers would likely want to use a service with smaller fees if they plan on making regular purchases, but this is another spot where each user should do their own homework.

After reviewing the purchase, and assuming everything looks acceptable, click the “Buy Now” button and in just a few moments you should receive the following screen:

If there are any problems, there should be information available on-screen to explain what went wrong and how to fix it. In most cases, everything should simply work and your dashboard will quickly reflect your purchase. At this point you are free to leave the Ethereum you just bought in your Coinbase wallet, or transfer it to an Ether wallet of your choosing (though as mentioned, if the ETH was purchased with a bank account you won’t be able to move it for a few days, so keep this in mind if you need access to it fast).

Conclusion/Further Learning

Congratulations! You just bought your first Ethereum! However, this is just the beginning. Depending on what interests you about cryptocurrency, there are many avenues for more education. If you want to explore trading, there are many, many more options out there for buying and selling digital assets. Perhaps you want to help develop, well there’s no shortage of information or projects out there to jump in on. On the other hand, if you just want to be part of the conversation, there’s plenty of people talking about Ethereum on social media. Whatever you do, welcome to the wild and exciting world of cryptocurrency!