Ethereum-250x250

How to buy, sell or trade Ethereum (ETH) and how it works

A beginner’s guide to buying, selling and trading Ether in Canada.

Ethereum is a unique altcoin with several distinctive design features. Much like bitcoin, its price skyrocketed in a short time, increasing over 5,000% between the start of 2017 and its all-time high in June 2017.

At the time of writing in January 2017, the June high was over US$400, but since then it’s mostly plateaued in the US$300-$350 range and has remained relatively stable compared to other cryptocurrencies.

However, Ethereum offers some unique features and could potentially go a lot further – in either direction – in the coming years.

Here, you can find a list of places to buy, sell and trade Ether and learn more about what makes it different. If you’re planning to invest, it’s worth knowing more about the coin’s unique features and its pros and cons.

This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

Note: Investing in cryptocurrency is always a risk and there is no guarantee of returns. Nothing on this page should be taken as financial advice of any kind.

Where to buy or trade Ether in Canada

The most straightforward way to get Ether (ETH) might be to simply buy it on an exchange or through a brokerage service.

Depending on the service, you might be able to make a bank transfer, pay by credit card, use PayPal or even pay with cash at a smart ATM or bank branch.

Name Product Payment Methods Available Fiat Currencies Available Cryptocurrencies
Cash, BPAY, POLi, Cryptocurrency
AUD
BTC, BCH, ETH, XRP, ADA, XEM, LTC, XLM, MIOTA, TRX, DASH, NEO, XMR, EOS, QTUM, BTG, LSK, ETC, XVG & over 45+ more
CoinSpot is an Australian marketplace that allows you to easily buy, sell or exchange multiple cryptocurrencies using AUD.
Credit card, Debit card
AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, CNY & 50+ more
BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC
Buy and sell bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
Cryptocurrency
BTC, XRP, USDT, ETH, NEB, XVG, TRX, NEBL, ETH, NEO, FUN, ETC, BCC, POE, DASH, ELF, ICX, BNB, ZRX, APPC & 80+ more
Trade 60+ cryptocurrency pairs on this up-and-coming exchange based in China. Multi-language support.
Credit card, Debit card, Neteller, PayPal, Skrill, WebMoney, Yandex Money
USD
BTC, BCH, DASH, ETC, ETH, LTC, XRP
Losses can exceed deposits.
Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform.
Credit card, Debit card, SWIFT, SEPA, Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, RUB, GBP
BTC, DASH, ETH, XRP, ZEC
Use your USD, EUR or RUB to buy and sell cryptocurrency at competitive exchange rates and with high maximums for verified accounts.
Credit card, Debit card, Neosurf, Cashlib, Trustpay, ePay
EUR, USD, GBP, CNY, SEK, NOK, DKK
BTC, ETH
Buy bitcoin with cash or credit card and get express delivery in as little as 10 minutes.
QuadrigaCX Bitcoin Trading Platform
QuadrigaCX Bitcoin Trading Platform
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency
USD, CAD
BTC, BCH, BTG, ETH, LTC
Trade on Canada's largest cryptocurrency exchange, with same-day funding and withdrawals available.
MoneyGram, Perfect Money, Western Union, Cryptocurrency, OKPAY
USD, EUR, RUB
BTC, ETH, LTC
Buy and sell crypto and other digital currencies on this global fixed-rate exchange.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, BTG, DASH, ZET, XVP, XPM, WDC, VTC, VRC, UNO, TROLL, START, SLR, SLG, RDD, QTUM, PPC, POT, OK, NVC, NMC, NLG, NEOS & 25+ more
Trade cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency through this globally accessible exchange based in Brazil.
Credit card, Debit card
USD, EUR, RUB
BTC, BTG, BURST, BYC, CANN, CFI, CLAM, CLOAK, CLUB, COVAL, CPC, CRB, CRW, CURE, CVC, DASH, DCR, DCT, DGB, DMD, DNT, DOGE, DOPE & 140+ more
Use your credit or debit card to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrency without having to verify your identity.
BitBay Cryptocurrency Exchange
BitBay Cryptocurrency Exchange
Wire Transfer, Cryptocurrency, Express Polish Post Office 24/7, Express Żabka Market, Express DotPay
USD, EUR, PLN
BTC. BCC, BTG, LTC, ETH, LSK, GAME, DASH
BitBay is a Polish-based exchange that offers a variety of accessible payment methods, including Express Polish Post Office 24/7 service and Express DotPay.
Cryptonit Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptonit Cryptocurrency Exchange
PayPal, Moneygram, OKPAY, Perfect Money, SEPA, WebMoney, Western Union, Wire Transfer, Paxum, QIWI, Payeer
EUR, USD
BTC, ETH, ETC, ZEC
Cryptonit is a secure platform for trading fiat currency for bitcoin, Litecoin, Peercoin and other cryptocurrencies — delivered to the digital wallet of choice.
Cash, PayPal, Western Union, SWIFT, Flexepin, Gift Cards & more
CAD, USD
BTC, ETH
Buy and sell bitcoin with privacy on this multi-signature, peer-to-peer exchange that supports a wide range of payment options.
Cash, Credit card, Debit card
USD, EUR
BTC, ETH
Use USD/EUR to buy bitcoin and Ether with credit card or cash on the Coinmama cryptocurrency exchange.
Credit card, Debit card
USD, EUR
BTC, BCH, BTG, ETH, ETC, DASH, DOGE, NEO, OMG, PIVX, SALT, STEEM, USDT, XLM & 50+ more
Access competitive crypto-to-crypto exchange rates for more than 35 cryptocurrencies on this global exchange.
OKPay, PerfectMoney, Yandex Money, Payeer, QIWI, Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, RUB
BTC, XRB, ETH, DCN, BCH, NIO, TRX, DASH, COB, DOGE, PRIX, DSR, XCPO, LTC, VERI, LOC, NUA, PKT, PPT, ICO & 80+ more
Supporting over 100 coins, you can exchange a variety of cryptocurrency pairs on this peer-to-peer platform.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, DOGE, NEO, XMR, POWR, DASH, PIVX, XEM, OMG, GNT & 500+ more
Buy and sell hundreds of cryptocurrencies with minimal verification on this all-in-one, New Zealand-based exchange.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, BCH, BTG, ETH, ETC, FUN, 1ST, ANT, BAT, BNT, BLK, CVC, CLAM, DASH, DCR, DGB, DNT, DOGE, EDG, EOS, FCT, GAME & 25+ more
Cryptocurrency
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BTC, BCH, KCS, DRGN, DBC, XRB, ETH, PRL, LTC, SNOV, DENT, RPX, QLC, NEO, UTK, BNTY, ACT, POE, UKG, LA, LEND, VEN & 50+ more
Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, ETH, XRP, DOGE, XLM, ETC, STRAT, LTC, SC, DGB, BCH, LSK, XMR & 50 more
Trade various coins through a global crypto to crypto exchange based in the US.
Electronic Funds Transfer, SEPA, Wire Transfer *payment methods vary per country
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD
BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC, XMR, DASH, LTC, XRP, XLM, REP, ICN, MLN, ZEC, USDT, GNO, EOS
Exchange multiple cryptocurrencies through range of payment methods, including Electronic Funds Transfer, SEPA or Wire Transfer.
Electronic Funds Transfer, Wire Transfer, Cryptocurrency
USD
BTC, ETH
Trade bitcoin and Ethereum at a US-based exchange where payments can be made in USD.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, ETH, XVG, SC, XRP, DOGE, STRAT, XMR, ADA, OMG, ETC, BCC, XLM, DGB, UKG, QTUM, ZCL, RDD, LTC, NEO & 120+ more
New account registration is currently halted on Bittrex due to a surge in demand.

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Other ways to get ETH:

  • Get paid directly in ETH. You may be able to get paid directly over the Ethereum blockchain. For example, if you’re a content creator, you could request payment in ETH.
  • Trade another cryptocurrency for it. You could trade bitcoin or another cryptocurrency for Ethereum at an exchange.
  • Mine for it. You could mine for ETH by dedicating computing power to solving problems on the blockchain, executing smart contracts and carrying out transactions. However, you might need a lot of processing power to start earning worthwhile returns, and the Ethereum mining system is being reworked, which makes returns on mining investments less certain.
  • Other. There are other ways you might buy into the Ethereum blockchain, ranging from winning a bet online with ETH to participating in affiliate programs or buying into another system on the same blockchain. The distinctiveness of Ethereum means that there might be more ways to find yourself holding ETH than other currencies, such as bitcoin.

What are the special features of Ethereum and how does it work?

Ethereum’s main difference is that it lets users set up “smart contracts.” These can do almost anything a user wants, with anonymity, with no set point of failure and with complete trustworthiness and reliability.

This essentially lets you cut out the middleman in any kind of transaction, while still making the transaction with complete reliability, security and trustworthiness.

  • It’s transparent. All parties can see the details and conditions of the transfer. It’s a transparent program that’s set up to do exactly what it says.
  • It’s extremely flexible. You can program it to do almost anything you can imagine, such as making a transfer when specific conditions are met at a certain time in the future or dividing funds between different parties depending on other factors. There’s no real limit other than one’s need and imagination.
  • It has all the usual blockchain benefits. Like other cryptocurrencies, you can make transfers relatively cheaply and quickly compared to going through banks or other third-party services.

This makes it possible to do things that simply weren’t an option before.

You can read our full guide to Ethereum here.

Making the impossible possible

Imagine an international organization that charges nominal membership fees, like an online fan club.

Ethereum’s blockchain and smart contracts system makes the impossible possible.

With smart contractsWithout smart contracts
  • Cheap transfers mean you can charge very low membership fees that people might be willing to pay.
  • The costs and limitations of international transfers make it impossible to collect small amounts of money from individuals overseas. It needs to be pooled first.
  • No one person is “collecting” the money. Instead, it can be securely gathered without letting anyone in particular access it.
  • The money will be going to a bank account, which will typically be under the control of one person.
  • The money can be moved with group consensus. For example, a smart contract might automatically send the funds to a certain charity based on the results of a members’ vote.
  • The group treasurer has control. They might take the money and run, veto anything they don’t like or otherwise misbehave.
  • Everyone can see the exact conditions around where, when and how the funds will be moved.
  • No one has a choice but to trust whomever has control of the funds.

There are already plenty of real-life examples of people using it in ingenious ways. For example, a company has created its own tokens to trade for electricity on the Ethereum blockchain, and individuals have started using it to source funding for their own projects without paying a cut to middlemen like Kickstarter or Patreon.

How its special features affect the price of Ether

This usefulness means a lot for investors. The coin itself, Ether (ETH), is the fuel for smart contracts. In simple terms, it’s used to pay the miners who donate computing power to process transactions and execute smart contracts.

The value of Ether might increase as more people start using smart contracts and the Ethereum blockchain becomes more widely used.

Quick glossary

Definitions

Ethereum. The name of the blockchain. Often used to refer to “Ether” and the system in general.

Ether (ETH). The most prominent and highly valued coin on the Ethereum blockchain. Sometimes referred to as “gas” because it fuels transactions.

Ethereum classic (ETC). A similar type of coin that came about due to a previous hard fork on the Ethereum blockchain.

Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). The network of miners whose computing power processes transactions and executes smart contracts

How to hold Ether

Like other cryptocurrencies, you hold ETH in a cryptocurrency wallet. However, not all wallets are compatible with it.

Some of the options include the following:

It’s worth taking the time to compare the various options and features of each wallet if you plan on holding ETH.

The problems and downsides of Ethereum

There are several problems that might stand in the way of Ether’s price increasing.

Smart contracts are easier said than done

The first problem is that writing a “bulletproof” smart contract is easier in theory than in practice. The hard fork that created Ethereum Classic (or Ether depending on how you look at it) came about as the result of a loophole in a contract, which led to the theft of about US$50 million worth of ETH.

A report from Microsoft pointed out that a large-scale analysis of published contracts on the Ethereum blockchain would most likely reveal a lot of vulnerabilities.

This is being addressed with the creation of publicly available “templates” of sorts, and users simply getting more experienced with time.

Performance issues

All smart contracts are stored publicly on every node of the blockchain. This helps drive transparency and security, but also leads to performance issues.

As more users get involved and smart contracts become increasingly common and complex, performance issues might get worse.

Worse performance leads to slower transaction times and increased transaction costs, which undermines the point of it all.

There are several proposals in place to address these issues, but to date there’s no solid timeframe or detailed plan.

Ethereum price forecast

When forecasting the price of Ether and the value of the Ethereum blockchain, you might want to consider the following:

  • The potential applications of smart contracts and how likely they are to be widely used in the future.
  • Whether current issues are likely to be resolved and how long it might take.
  • Whether competition from other coins might impact the value of Ether.
  • How many other tokens and applications will take advantage of the Ethereum blockchain.

How to sell Ether

  1. Visit the exchange platform you used to purchase your Ether. If you have it in a digital wallet, then pick a platform from the list above that you’d like to complete the purchase with.
  2. Follow the platform’s instructions on selling your Ether.
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