How to buy Cryptocurrency?
Due to the exponential growth of the cryptocurrency market in the last few years, more people than ever are looking to invest in Cryptocurrencies to potentially generate market-beating returns. We have broken down the steps to buying cryptocurrencies below. Remember that you still need to do your research and select the best option for yourself based on your circumstances.
Step 1 Choose a Crypto Exchange
Crypto currencies can’t be purchased through your bank or investing firm yet — though some organizations are working toward that possibility in the future. For now, you’ll have to go through a cryptocurrency trading platform to exchange your currency for Bitcoin or other digital currencies. There are hundreds of cryptocurrency exchanges you can use to buy crypto online.
What Is a Crypto Exchange?
A crypto exchange is a platform on which you can buy and sell cryptocurrency. You can use exchanges to trade one crypto for another — converting Bitcoin to Litecoin, for example — or to buy crypto using regular currency, like the U.S. Dollar. Exchanges reflect current market prices of the cryptocurrencies they offer. You can also convert cryptocurrencies back into the U.S. Dollar or another currency on an exchange, to leave as cash within your account (if you want to trade back into crypto later) or withdraw to your regular bank account.
What Is a Crypto Broker?
Cryptocurrency brokers take the complexity out of purchasing crypto, offering easy-to-use interfaces that interact with exchanges for you. Some charge higher fees than exchanges. Others claim to be “free” while making money by selling information about what you and other traders are buying and selling to large brokerages or funds or not executing your trade at the best possible market price.
Step 2 Create and Verify Your Account
Once you decide on a cryptocurrency broker or exchange, you can sign up to open an account. Depending on the platform and the amount you plan to buy, you may have to verify your identity. This is an essential step to prevent fraud and meet federal regulatory requirements.
You may not be able to buy or sell cryptocurrency until you complete the verification process. The platform may ask you to submit a copy of your driver’s license or passport, and you may even be asked to upload a selfie to prove your appearance matches the documents you submit.
Step 3 Fund Your Account
With most exchanges, you’ll be able to connect your bank account or a debit card to transfer U.S. dollars into your exchange account. There may be different fees depending on which method you use to fund your account — typically, bank transfers will cost less than card options.
Remember, funding your account isn’t the same as actually purchasing crypto. Just like with traditional investing, you never want to leave uninvested money sitting in your account. Once you fund your account, you’ll still need to exchange your dollars for Bitcoin.
Step 4 Place and order
Once there is money in your account, you’re ready to place your first cryptocurrency order. There are hundreds of cryptocurrencies to choose from, ranging from well-known names like Bitcoin and Ethereum to more obscure cryptos like Theta Fuel or Holo.
When you decide on which cryptocurrency to purchase, you can enter its ticker symbol—Bitcoin, for instance is BTC—and how many coins you’d like to purchase. With most exchanges and brokers, you can purchase fractional shares of cryptocurrency, allowing you to buy a sliver of high-priced tokens like Bitcoin or Ethereum that otherwise take thousands to own.
Step 5 Store your Crypto
Many exchanges allow you to leave your investment within your account, which is easiest for most beginners. But if you want to further secure your digital assets, you can transfer them into a cryptocurrency wallet. A cryptocurrency wallet is a place to store digital currency. There are various types of cryptocurrency wallets available, and they all have different levels of security associated. The exchange you use may offer a wallet option, so you can easily transfer your coins from your exchange account to a more secure wallet. You can also use a third-party software, or opt for cold storage on an offline hardware device.
If you’re buying cryptocurrency via a broker, you may have little to no choice in how your cryptocurrency is stored. If you purchase cryptocurrency through an exchange, you have more options:
- Leave the crypto on the exchange. When you buy cryptocurrency, it’s typically stored in a so-called crypto walletattached to the exchange. If you don’t like the provider your exchange partners with or you want to move it to a more secure location, you might transfer it off of the exchange to a separate hot or cold wallet. Depending on the exchange and the size of your transfer, you may have to pay a small fee to do this.
- Hot wallets. These are crypto wallets that are stored online and run on internet-connected devices, such as tablets, computers or phones. Hot wallets are convenient, but there’s a higher risk of theft since they’re still connected to the internet.
- Cold wallets. Cold crypto wallets aren’t connected to the internet, making them your most secure option for holding cryptocurrency. They take the form of external devices, like a USB drive or a hard drive. You have to be careful with cold wallets, though—if you lose the keycode associated with them or the device breaks or fails, you may never be able to get your cryptocurrency back. While the same could happen with certain hot wallets, some are run by custodians who can help you get back into your account if you get locked out.
Alternative Ways To Buy Bitcoin
While buying cryptocurrency is a major trend right now, it’s a volatile and risky investment choice. If investing in crypto on an exchange or via a broker doesn’t feel like the right choice for you, here’s are a few options to indirectly invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies:
ETFs are extremely popular investment tools that let you buy exposure to hundreds of individual investments in one fell swoop. This means they provide immediate diversification and are less risky than investing in individual investments.
There is a huge appetite for cryptocurrency ETFs, which would allow you to invest in many cryptocurrencies at once. No cryptocurrency ETFs are available for everyday investors quite yet, but there may be some soon. As of June 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reviewing three cryptocurrency ETF applications from Kryptcoin, VanEck and WisdomTree.
If you’d rather invest in companies with tangible products or services and that are subject to regulatory oversight—but still want exposure to the cryptocurrency market—you can buy stocks of companies that use or own cryptocurrencies and the blockchain that powers them. You’ll need an online brokerage account to buy shares of public companies like:
- Nvidia (NVDA).This technology company designs and sells graphics processing units, which are at the heart of the systems used to mine cryptocurrency.
- PayPal (PYPL).Already a popular choice for people buying items online or transferring money to family and friends, this payments platform recently expanded to allow customers to buy and sell select cryptocurrencies with their PayPal and Venmo accounts.
- Square (SQ).This payment services provider for small businesses has purchased over $220 million in Bitcoin since October 2020. In February 2021, the firm disclosed that Bitcoin made up around 5% of the cash on its balance sheet. In addition, Square’s Cash App allows people to buy, sell and store cryptocurrency.