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A step by step guide on how to buy & store the Ethereum (ETH) cryptocurrency

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.

What are ETH coins?

Ether is a necessary element- a fuel- for operating the distributed application platform Ethereum.

Important note

This guide is not, and should not be regarded as 'investment advice' or as a 'recommendation' regarding a course of action.

How to buy Ethereum
Important: The links in this guide are correct as to the best of our knowledge. It is your own responsibility to double check that clicked links look correct in your browser bar, and that any wallet you install on your computer is from a legitimate source.

Notes: Images can be clicked to see a larger version. If you're confused by any terms used, a glossary can be found here.

1

For this guide we'll be using the easiest & most convenient wallet option for storing your Ethereum coins- provided by MyEtherWallet (which can store any coin on the Ethereum blockchain, including Ethereum).

Go to myetherwallet.com and enter a password that would be hard to guess (but which you won't forget!).

Note: if you forget this password you might lose access to your coins.

Press 'Create New Wallet'.

Creating a wallet at Myetherwallet.com
2

Click 'Download Keystore File'. Be sure to read and understand the warnings.

It's very important that you back this file up somewhere safe (think multiple external hard drives and/or USB drives that you put somewhere safe).

Once you've done that, click 'I understand. Continue.'

Saving your keystore file
3

Now you will be given a powerful unencrypted private key to your wallet.

Note: Never give your private key to anyone. If you do, they can open your wallet and take your coins.

Consider printing out your private key and storing it somewhere safe- then deleting all references to it from your computer. Why? Because sometime in the future you might get a virus, or malware, or visit a website with an advert that has malicious code.

These things will target a private key, as it's an easy way to open your wallet and steal your coins.

So why print out your private key at all, if it's so insecure? Because it's your last resort. If you lose your keystore file (e.g. your computer gets wiped or damaged), or if you forget your password, with your unencrypted private key you can still access your account as a last resort.

There is also an option to print a paper wallet (which displays everything you'd need to access your wallet).

If you choose to print this, treat it just like the Keystore file you just downloaded- keep it hidden and keep it safe.

Next, click 'Save your address'.

Saving your private key

Important Note: We all hear of computers and phones being hacked. Websites running illicit code to steal passwords. Phishers tricking people into clicking links that steal information from their computers.

Another line of defence to keep our coins from being siphoned out of our wallets is essential.

And that's a hardware wallet.

Hardware wallets plug into your computer like a USB stick, and they have one job- to be a firewall between your Ethereum and the outside world.

To do this, they encrypt the private keys to your cryptocurrency wallets so that no-one- not even you- can know them. That way only someone with physical access to your hardware wallet- and who also knows its password- has a chance to access and move your coins.

Which hardware wallets support Ethereum?

Hardware wallets made by Ledger and Trezor support the storage and sending of Ethereum.

Where do I get a hardware wallet?

Our recommendation is to either get a Ledger Nano S from their official website or Amazon, or a Trezor from their official site or Amazon.

The Nano S makes it easy to manage your coins- it's compact and discreet, and wallet management is achieved through a small LCD screen and two buttons.

Ledger Nano S

The Trezor is just as easy to use, small and also featuring two buttons, with a lot of information packed into its small LCD screen.

Trezor

Here's the Ledger setup guide, and the Trezor user manual.

4

Now we're going to open your new wallet.

Select the 'Keystore File' option, then upload the keystore file you saved in step 2, then enter your password.

Once you're done, scroll down the page to see your opened wallet.

Unlocking your wallet
5

You will see a long string of letters and numbers labelled 'Your Address'.

This is your personal wallet address, and it's where we're going to be sending your Ethereum coins.

Copy this address and keep it somewhere safe as we're going to need it soon.

Finding your wallet address
6

Choose which Ethereum exchange you'd like to use (by clicking on the logo), and the guide will continue:

Choose your exchange
#
Coinbase
  • Operates in 32 countries.
  • Accepts debit & credit cards and bank transfers.
  • Can have low buy limits at first, increases with use.
  • ID verification required.
#
Cex.io
  • Worldwide coverage, 99% of countries.
  • Accepts debit/credit cards and bank transfers.
  • High initial buy limits compared to other exchanges.
  • ID verification required.
There are also some other exchanges (but without step by step guides) listed here.
7

If you use this link to sign up to Coinbase we'll both receive ten dollars of free coins when you spend over $100 (or the equivalent in your currency).

Coinbase
8

Press the 'sign up' button and fill out your name (make sure this is exactly how it's written on your photo ID), email, password and location.

Just like a US bank, Coinbase is regulated by the US government, and has to follow strict financial rules. So they take verifying your identity very seriously. It's a pain, but it does give Coinbase a reputation for being the most trusted way to convert fiat currency to cryptocurrency.

To verify your account you must supply a phone number, upload an image of your photo ID and verify a credit/debit card or bank account before you can buy.

Note: If you have problems verifiying your ID using your computer, try downloading the Coinbase app (on Iphone or Android), signing into your Coinbase account and verifying your ID using your phone camera.

Signing up to Coinbase
9

Using a credit/debit card on Coinbase means higher fees but offers instant purchasing. Using a bank transfer is cheaper but slower (taking up to a week to get your coins).

Once your payment details are verified, click 'buy/sell' on the top menu.

Select 'Ethereum', and at the bottom of the page choose how much to spend in your local currency / how many coins you want to buy.

Once you're happy with the amount, click the big 'Buy' button.

Buying Ethereum on Coinbase
10

You'll be asked to confirm your purchase.

Press the 'Confirm Buy' button.

Congratulations! You now own some Ethereum.

Confirm buying Ethereum on Coinbase
7

Click here to go to Cex.io

Click the 'Register' button along the top menu.

Cex.io
8

Enter your email address and a secure password. Click the checkbox to agree to the terms.

Click 'Register'.

Signing up to Cex.io
9

You will now be asked to set up 2-factor authentication for your new account. It is strongly advised not to skip this step, as 2-factor authentication makes your account far more secure.

We recommend using the 'Smartphone App' option.

Signing up to Cex.io
10

Once your security has been set up, you'll be taken to your account dashboard.

Before we do anything else, head on over to your personal email account- there will be an email from Cex.io asking you to click a link to verify your account. Click it.

You will be taken to a page telling you your email has been confirmed. Click 'Go back to the site'.

Signing up to Cex.io
11

Look for your user ID in the top menu, hover your mouse over it and in the drop down menu click 'Verification'.

Signing up to Cex.io
12

Every exchange that lets your buy cryptocurrencies for cash require you to verify your identification before doing so.

Complete the Cex.io verification process by supplying your personal information and uploading your ID.

Signing up to Cex.io
13

Once you're verified, click the 'Deposit' button along the top menu.

You now get to choose how you'd like to deposit money:

Via credit/debit card

If you choose credit/debit card you can buy instantly, but you pay commission on the money you deposit.

Via bank transfer

This option takes a few days for the transfer to arrive but has no commission fees.

Choose the method you prefer and follow the instructions to deposit your money.

Signing up to Cex.io
14

Once your money is in your account, click 'BUY/SELL' on the top menu.

Choose '' and the currency you'd like to buy it in (Dollars, Euros, Pounds or Rubles).

You will be offered some precalculated amounts of Ethereum, or you can scroll to the bottom of the page and input the amount of Ethereum you'd like to buy in the 'Custom amount' box.

Once you've decided, click 'Buy'.

Signing up to Cex.io
15

You'll be asked to confirm your buy.

Check everything looks correct and click 'Confirm the order'.

Signing up to Cex.io
16

Congratulations- you now own some Ethereum!

Press 'Ok'.

Signing up to Cex.io
11

Click 'Accounts' from the top menu, then find your Ethereum wallet listed on the left.

Click 'Send'.

Sending Ethereum on Coinbase
12

In the 'Recipient' box, paste your personal wallet address we saved earlier from MyEtherWallet in step 5.

In amount, type how much Ethereum you wish to send (there is a 'use max' option if you wish to send it all).

Click 'Continue'.

Coinbase may ask you to confirm with your password/phone. Follow the instructions until it confirms the Ethereum are sent.

Sending Ethereum on Coinbase
17

Go back to Cex.io

Press 'Withdraw' on the top menu.

Under 'Select currency and amount' click 'USD' and select '' in the drop down menu.

Input the amount of Ethereum you're sending.

In the box labelled 'Enter the recipient's address below' paste the Ethereum wallet address we saved earlier from MyEtherWallet in step 5.

Once you've looked everything over, click the check box to confirm you've double checked everything is correct.

Press 'Withdraw'.

Signing up to Cex.io
18

You will be asked for a 2-factor authentication number.

Use your selected method of authentication to generate the number and write it in the box. Press 'Confirm'.

Signing up to Cex.io
19

You will be sent an email to confirm the withdrawal.

Go to your personal email and click the link Cex.io has sent you. This will send the coins on their way.

Signing up to Cex.io
13
20
1

After a few minutes you should now see the Ethereum in your wallet at myetherwallet (you may have to refresh the page and log into your wallet again using your keystore file and password or private key).

Note that the amount may be slightly less than what you were told you were getting as exchanges deduct a small amount of coin to pay for the transfer.

While you're waiting, consider sharing this guide with your friends and followers to spread the word about Ethereum, encouraging its popularity and value to grow.

Here's some share buttons for Facebook and Twitter to make it easy:

Sending Ethereum
14
21
2

In the future you may want to move your Eth. Great news- it's easy!

Press 'send ether & tokens', then open your wallet using your keystore file and password or private key. In the 'To address' insert the wallet address you're sending the Ether to (in the below example it's a deposit address for Bittrex).

Now write in how many coins you'd like to send (or press 'send entire balance' to send them all).

You should only need to change the gas limit if you get multiple failed transactions.

Press 'generate transaction'.

Sending Ethereum
15
22
3

The wallet has created the transaction. Double check you entered the wallet address and Ether (ETH) amount correctly and then press 'Send transaction'.

On the following pop-up click 'Yes, I am sure! Make transaction'.

Sending Ethereum
16
23
4

Your transaction has sent. In the green box that appears click 'View TX'. This will take you to a screen where you can make sure that the transaction has confirmed.

As you can see in the example below the transaction has already got 1 block confirmation- it's on it's way!

If you transaction fails with an 'out of gas error' repeat the send but increase the gas price (try doubling it).

Sending Ethereum
Sending Ethereum
17
24
5

What about when you're ready to sell your Ethereum?

You simply reverse the order of tasks you performed in this guide.

For example, you send your Ethereum to none, exchange it for Ethereum, send that Ethereum to Coinbase Cex.io Local Bitcoins and sell it for your preferred currency.
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The Age of CryptocurrencyThe Age of Cryptocurrency
The Internet Of MoneyThe Internet of Money

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