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How to buy Ethereum (ETH) in 5 steps

Learn how to buy Ethereum (ETH) easily by following a step-by-step guide and compare 10+ crypto exchanges. Get started today.

Ethereum's native asset, Ether (ETH), is the second-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalisation after Bitcoin. ETH can be bought and traded on a wide range of cryptocurrency exchanges. It is also used by developers to pay for transaction fees and services on the Ethereum network.

Step 1. Choose where to buy Ethereum

A cryptocurrency exchange is a digital platform that allows you to buy, sell and trade cryptocurrency. They are similar to stock trading platforms.

Your first major consideration is to figure out whether you want to buy ETH with another cryptocurrency (like BTC or a stablecoin such as USDT) or use fiat currency like the US dollar or your own country's currency, such as AUD, SGD or EUR.

  • Cryptocurrency exchanges differ in terms of fees, security, and payment options, so you'll have to do your due diligence before choosing the right one for you. When choosing a cryptocurrency exchange, it's important to look at the fees and withdrawal options. The ideal exchange will have low fees and high-security features. As a beginner, it is best to choose an exchange with an easy user interface that doesn't have too many features, which may overwhelm you.

    When deciding where to purchase Ethereum, look for an exchange that lists ETH in one or more currency pairings.

    When purchasing cryptocurrency for the first time, it's important to choose an exchange that supports your local currency. exchanges Popular exchanges in South Africa include Coinbase, Kraken, Gemini, and Binance.US. You can view a list of exchanges exchange that supports ETH

    After you have chosen an exchange from the table below, click on the Go to site button and sign up with your name, email address, and a password.

    • Note: Many exchanges also require your full name, contact information and proof of ID before allowing you to trade.

    You will then need to complete the Know Your Customer/Client (KYC) process, which is a legal Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirement that requires you to verify your identity and address. To do this, you will need to provide a copy of your identification card, and a copy of a recent bank statement or utility bill that has your address on it. Sometimes you will also need to provide a selfie through the use of guided KYC software where you are holding your identification card.

    Usually, KYC takes a few days, after which time your account will be verified and be ready for you to start using it.

    After your account is approved, you will need to choose a payment method to deposit funds into your account before you can make any purchases.

    Step 3. Deposit funds into your account

    To buy ETH, you'll first need to deposit USD or another supported fiat currency into your exchange fiat currency account or link your credit card to the account.

    If your exchange supports Ether (ETH) you'll be able to buy ETH directly with your bank card, depending on local regulations. Some exchanges charge varying fees depending on the amount of ETH you're buying, so pay attention to the cost of your transaction.

    • Note: Some payment methods have higher fees, with credit card payments usually being the most expensive.
    Depositing funds. A cheap way to buy ETH is via bank transfer. You'll have to deposit the money from your bank account to the exchange account and use it to purchase ETH. However, although this may be the cheapest option, you may have to wait a couple of days for the funds to clear in your exchange account. Once the funds have cleared, you can purchase ETH with these funds.Linking a card. Linking a credit or debit card to your exchange account can be a convenient way to purchase cryptocurrency. But, as mentioned above, this is usually a more costly option. Card payments are also usually done instantaneously so you won't be able to deposit funds to use on the spot market.

    In general, it's best to avoid using a credit card to purchase cryptocurrency as you will have to pay interest on top of the exchange's fees. Additionally, some credit card providers don't allow you to purchase cryptocurrency at all.

    Step 4. Buy Ethereum

    Navigate to the markets section on your chosen exchange to find your desired ETH pairing. Look for the section on buying ETH, and type in the amount of the paired cryptocurrency you want to spend or the amount of ETH you want to buy.

    • Note: Carefully review your transaction details, including the amount of ETH you're buying and the total cost of the purchase, before completing the transaction.

    Be aware that you don't have to purchase a whole Ether, most exchanges will allow you to purchase a portion of one. Some cryptocurrency exchanges only offer one way to purchase cryptocurrency while others give you a few options. The most popular methods of purchasing cryptocurrency in the US are instant buy and the spot market.

    Instant buy

    Most exchanges offer the ability to buy cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH instantly, and this is certainly one of the fastest ways to purchase ETH. Simply enter the amount you would like to purchase in your local currency and the exchange will calculate the equivalent amount of ETH, according to the market rate.

    Buying ETH via the instant buy method is generally more expensive than on the spot market as there is usually an extra exchange fee added on top of the market price. This can be a simple way to purchase cryptocurrency for beginners but it's important to be aware of the extra costs involved, especially if you are using this method with a linked credit card.

    Step 5. Withdraw ETH to wallet

    While some people choose to store their cryptocurrency 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:

    Check out our guide to the best Ethereum wallets

    What to consider before you buy ETH

    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 recognize the factors that could potentially drive the price of a cryptocurrency asset either up or down.

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

    • 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. 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.

    Where to buy Ethereum (ETH) in South Africa

    Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
    Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange
    Bank transfer (ACH)
    USD, AUD, GBP, EUR, RUB, TRY, NGN, UAH, PHP, CZK & 20+ more

    352
    cryptocurrencies

    Trade an extensive range of reputable coins on this world-renowned exchange, popular for its high liquidity and multi-language support.

    US residents: As of September 2019, US-based users can only trade USD on the American dollar onramp of Binance, Binance.US.
    UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading services, Binance offers margin lending. As this is a regulated activity which they are not authorised to offer in the UK, we advise you not to use this service. If you're interested in margin trading, see authorised providers.
    Kriptomat Cryptocurrency Exchange
    Kriptomat Cryptocurrency Exchange
    Credit card, Neteller, SOFORT, Skrill, SEPA
    EUR, USD, GBP, BGN, HRK, CZK, HUF, PLN, SEK, TRY

    236
    cryptocurrencies

    Finder Exclusive: Sign up with code FINDER15 and get EUR 15 when you spend over EUR 100 each month. T&Cs apply.
    Buy a large selection of cryptocurrencies instantly via credit card or bank account after registering. Store your crypto conveniently in Kriptomat's multi-currency wallet.
    KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
    KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
    Cryptocurrency, PayPal, Wire transfer, Credit or Debit Card, SEPA
    USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, CNY, AUD, KRW, JPY, TRY, VND & 40+ more

    494
    cryptocurrencies

    Finder exclusive: Sign up and use code 1xf56 for one month of VIP 1 benefits. Deposit/transfer more than 0.1 BTC to KuCoin within 7 days of registration for 1 month of VIP 2 benefits. T&Cs apply.
    Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
    Coinbase Digital Currency Exchange
    Coinbase Digital Currency Exchange
    Bank transfer (ACH)
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK, CLP, BGN & 10+ more

    81
    cryptocurrencies

    Buy and sell major cryptocurrencies on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
    Wirex Cryptocurrency Exchange
    Wirex Cryptocurrency Exchange
    Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, Bank transfer (SEPA), SWIFT
    EUR, GBP, CAD, CZK, HUF, PLN, RON, HRK, USD

    29
    cryptocurrencies

    Get a Welcome Bonus of USD 15 in WXT when you sign up with Wirex through Finder. T&Cs apply.
    Spend a range of cryptocurrencies anywhere Visa is accepted with the Wirex Crypto Card and earn rewards.
    Gate.io Cryptocurrency Exchange
    Gate.io Cryptocurrency Exchange
    Cryptocurrency
    USD, EUR, GBP, HKD, SGD, AUD, CHF, MXN

    944
    cryptocurrencies

    Finder exclusive: New users get $90 worth of Gate.IO points and an airdrop of $5 in GateTokens if trade volume exceeds $100 in their first week. T&Cs apply.
    A feature-rich exchange with over 700 tokens including derivatives, yield farming and lending products.
    Bittrex Global
    Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card
    USD

    283
    cryptocurrencies

    Buy from one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges with a selection of over 190+ cryptocurrencies and 3 USD pairings.
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