How to buy Ethereum (ETH)

A beginner's guide to buying and trading Ether in the UK.

Updated

Fact checked

As the native asset of the Ethereum network and one of the best known digital currencies, Ether (ETH) can be traded on a huge range of crypto exchanges.

If you want to acquire some of this popular cryptocurrency for your portfolio but don’t know how, you’re in the right place. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to buy Ether.

Disclaimer: 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.
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Quick guide: How to buy ETH

  1. Register for an account with a cryptocurrency exchange like CoinJar.
  2. Verify your account.
  3. Go to the deposits section
  4. Select your preferred payment method and confirm.
  5. Go to the buy section and select the cryptocurrency you want to buy.
  6. Enter how much you want to buy, or how much you want to spend.
  7. Double check the details and confirm your purchase.
Go to CoinJar's site

This is our quick guide to just one way to buy ETH. Compare some other options in the table below.

BC Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Broker

BC Bitcoin is a UK-based cryptocurrency brokerage that buys and sells more than 100 different cryptocurrencies.

  • Local support from UK headquarters
  • Buy crypto in EUR or GBP
  • Direct deposits available
  • User-friendly interface
  • Buy/sell calculator displays fees prominently
  • Wide selection of cryptocurrencies
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Where to buy Ethereum (ETH)

Table: shows partner brands and other brands, sorted by popularity
Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
eToro Cryptocurrency Trading
Credit card, Debit card, Neteller, PayPal, Wire transfer, Online banking
EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, AUD, CAD, HKD, SGD, CHF, NOK & 5+ more

16
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Disclaimer: Virtual currencies are highly volatile. Your capital is at risk.
Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform.
CoinJar Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, Faster Payments (FPS)
GBP, AUD

15
cryptocurrencies

Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD

26
cryptocurrencies

Trade bitcoin, Ethereum and more at a US-based exchange where payments can be made in USD.
Coinbase Digital Currency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH), Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer (SEPA), Wire transfer
USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK, CLP, BGN & 10+ more

40
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell major cryptocurrencies on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
BC Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Broker
SEPA, Faster Payments (FPS), BACS, Instant SEPA
GBP, EUR

122
cryptocurrencies

BC Bitcoin is a UK-based cryptocurrency brokerage that buys and sells more than 100 different cryptocurrencies.
Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, SWIFT, Wire transfer, Osko, SEPA
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF

53
cryptocurrencies

Paybis Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Neteller, Skrill
EUR, GBP, USD, AUD, CAD, PHP, SGD, CHF, HKD, JPY & 30+ more

9
cryptocurrencies

Buy Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies with credit card or debit card on this digital cryptocurrency exchange.

US residents: Restricted in the following states - NY, CT, NM, WA, HI, AL, VT, FL, AK, NV.
Revolut Cryptocurrency App
Bank transfer, Credit or Debit Card
GBP, USD, EUR, CAD, NZD, JPY, HKD, NOK, DKK & 9 more

10
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell several popular cryptocurrencies through your Revolut account, set up recurring purchases and transfer it to other users. You can’t transfer cryptocurrency to anyone who does not have an active Revolut account.
Exmo Cryptocurrency Exchange
AdvCash, Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, Payeer
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, PLN, TRY, UAH, KZT

53
cryptocurrencies

A UK-based cryptocurrency platform that provides buyers with a wide variety of payment options.
CEX.IO Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH), Credit card, Bank transfer (SEPA), Faster Payments Service, Skrill
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB

22
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Use your USD, EUR or RUB to buy and sell cryptocurrency at competitive exchange rates and with high maximums for verified accounts.
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Ethereum vs Ether: What's the difference?

Ether is the native token of Ethereum, a smart contracts platform which developers can use to build and deploy decentralised applications. However, despite this fact, it’s quite common to see the platform’s currency also referred to as Ethereum across crypto exchanges and online.

A step-by-step guide to buying Ethereum

There are two ways to buy Ether:

If you’re new to the world of cryptocurrency, you’ll most likely find that buying ETH direct with GBP is the easiest option. However, we’ve also included instructions on how to buy ETH using another cryptocurrency (in this case Bitcoin) if that is your preferred approach.

Buying Ether with GBP

There are several exchanges that allow you to buy Ether with GBP, so make sure you compare the features and fees of a range of platforms before deciding which one you’d like to use.

For this example, we’ll show you how to buy ETH with GBP on Uphold.

Step 1. Register for an account with Uphold

Visit the Uphold website and click on the “Sign Up” button in the top right corner of the page. You can then sign up for an account by providing:

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number
  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of residency
  • A photo of yourself holding a signed statement

Make sure you enable 2-factor authentication on your account before moving on to step 2.

Step 2. Deposit GBP into your account

When logged in to your Uphold account, click on the “Deposit GBP” link visible from the account dashboard.

Step 3. Buy Ether

Once the funds have arrived in your account, click the “Buy/Sell” tab at the top of the screen and select “Ethereum” from the list of currencies. Next, click the “Buy Ethereum” link and then specify either the amount of ETH you want to buy or the amount of GBP you’d like to spend.

Make sure you double-check the details and total cost of your transaction before clicking “Buy”.

Buying Ether with another cryptocurrency

If you want to exchange another cryptocurrency for ETH, there are myriad exchanges that allow you to do so. Make sure you compare the features and fees of a range of platforms before deciding which one you’d like to use.

Step 1. Buy BTC

While you can buy Ether using a number of popular cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is the easiest to acquire and trade.

If you already have some BTC, skip ahead to step 2. If you don’t, you can find step-by-step instructions on how to buy some in our guide to buying Bitcoin.

Step 2. Create an account at an exchange listing BTC

Keep in mind that at some exchanges, you’ll have to verify your identity in order to deposit funds and trade. You might also need to activate 2-factor authentication.

Step 3. Deposit funds into your account

After this, you’d transfer your BTC to the exchange which lists ETH. Your account on an exchange should have its own wallet and a unique wallet address, which you can usually find in the “Wallet” tab on dashboards. When you choose to transfer your BTC out from one exchange, you should be prompted to enter the amount you want to transfer, as well as the wallet address of the exchange where you wish to receive BTC.

Enter your wallet address carefully, as sending your BTC to the wrong wallet could be irreversible. After making sure your wallet address and the amount to send are both correct, you’d hit the “Send” button.

Step 4. Buy ETH

Typically, you would buy ETH at any exchange that offers it by first clicking on a button that says “Exchange” or “Markets”. Next you’d search for the pairing – ie, the ETH/BTC pair if you wanted to buy ETH with BTC. After that, you’d select this pairing and enter the number of ETH tokens you want to buy before hitting the “Buy” button.

How to sell Ether

If you want to sell your ETH tokens, the good news is that they can be exchanged for an extensive range of digital and fiat currencies on many different exchanges.

The selling process is similar to the buying process outlined above in step 4, except for the key difference that you’ll need to enter your transaction details in the “Sell” field.

Find step-by-step instructions for selling ETH in our complete guide.


Which wallets can I use to hold Ether?

While some people choose to store their crypto tokens in their exchange account, this is not recommended. As exchanges are regular targets for hackers and thieves, it’s generally considered a much safer option to move your ETH tokens into a wallet which allows you to retain full control of your private keys.

Happily, there are heaps of choices available when searching for an Ethereum wallet. Options you might like to consider include:

For more information, check out our guide to the best Ethereum wallets.


How Ethereum works

Launched in 2015, Ethereum is an open-source blockchain platform which developers can use to build and run decentralised applications (dapps). Its key feature is that it allows developers to create smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts that automatically complete tasks when specific conditions are met. As an example, a basic smart contract could say, “pay John $50 if he emails me a 10-page report on pet obesity by 30 November 2018”.

These smart contracts are executed by the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which is powered by a decentralised international network of nodes. In the real world, Ethereum can be used to power dapps and smart contracts across a diverse range of industries, including everything from finance and insurance to supply chain management, betting and file storage.

Ether is the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network. It is used by developers to pay for transaction fees and services on Ethereum, and can also be traded on a wide range of crypto exchanges.

Find out how the Ethereum platform works in our comprehensive guide.


What to consider before you buy Ether

Cryptocurrencies are complicated and volatile assets, and buying any digital coin or token comes with a high level of risk attached. Before you buy, make sure you do plenty of research and that you recognise those factors that could potentially drive the price of a crypto asset either up or down

If you’re thinking of buying Ether, consider the following factors first:

  • Supply. According to CoinMarketCap, at time of writing (October 2018) the circulating supply of ETH was 102,883,734. Unlike Bitcoin, Ether does not have a maximum supply cap limit but instead an annual issuance capped at 18,000,000 ETH per year. Find out more in our guide to the ETH inflation rate.
  • Move to proof-of-stake. Though it started life as a proof-of-work cryptocurrency, Ethereum will soon be shifting to a proof-of-stake system as part of the Casper update. Designed to improve scalability and tackle centralisation, Casper’s success (or otherwise) will have a big impact on the future of Ethereum.
  • Market leader. As it stands, Ethereum has the biggest profile of all the dapps platforms currently in existence. Thanks to its early-mover advantage, Ether is the world’s second largest digital currency in terms of market cap and the Ethereum platform is synonymous with the development of dapps.
  • Competition. However, Ethereum is also operating in an increasingly competitive market sector. NEO, Lisk, EOS and Cardano are just some of the dapp platforms that look set to compete with Ethereum in the future.
  • Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). The EEA is a non-profit corporation that aims to accelerate the adoption of Ethereum’s blockchain technology by businesses. If it can successfully drive increased use of Ethereum, this could potentially lead to increased demand for ETH.

Find out more about the factors that could influence the price of Ether in our ETH price prediction guide.

FAQs

Disclaimer: 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.

Picture: Shutterstock

Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ADA, ICX, IOTA and XLM.

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