A beginner’s guide to buying, selling and trading Ether in the US.
We know that everyone's situation is unique and we aim to help you find the right product for you. We may receive compensation when you visit our partners' sites or are approved for their products. You can read more about how we maintain editorial independence and how we make money here.Ethereum is an altcoin with several features that allow it to do more than just be bought and sold.
Here, you can find a list of places to buy Ether and learn more about what makes it different. If you’re planning to purchase, it’s worth knowing more about the coin’s unique features and its pros and cons.
Where to buy, sell or trade Ether in the US
The most straightforward way to get Ether (ETH) might be to 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.
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 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. Ethereum’s features mean there might be more ways to find yourself holding ETH than other currencies such as bitcoin.
Smart contracts: What are the features of Ethereum and how do they work?
Ethereum aims to let 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.
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 contracts||Without smart contracts|
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
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.
Traders will need to decide whether the value of Ether will increase as more people start using smart contracts and the Ethereum blockchain becomes more widely used.
Ethereum. The name of the blockchain. Often used to refer to “Ether” and the system in general.
Ether (ETH). The 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.
Things to consider with Ethereum
There are several issues that traders will want to take into account when considering Ether.
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 $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.
All smart contracts are stored publicly on every node of the blockchain. This helps drive transparency and security, but can also lead to performance issues.
As more users get involved and smart contracts become increasingly common and complex, performance issues might get worse.
Worse performance can lead to slower transaction times and increased transaction costs, which could undermine 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
- 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.
- Follow the platform’s instructions on selling your Ether.