How to Buy Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies in as Simple Terms as Possible
The simplest way to buy Bitcoin is to use Coinbase. From there you have a few options for buying other cryptocurrencies.
Coinbase isn’t the only way to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it is simply the easiest way to trade dollars for Bitcoin and is the best choice for secure, trusted, wallet-broker solution in the US in my opinion.
How to Buy Bitcoin:
- Sign up for Coinbase.
- Hit the “buy/sell” button.
- Put in the amount you want.
- Click the “buy Bitcoin” button.
- Then, when you want to sell, do the same thing but this time toggle to the “sell” tab and hit the “sell Bitcoin” button.
It is as simple as that!
That said, it’ll help to provide a little more detail. So that is what the rest of the page is going to be about.
First its is worth considering that Coinbase also acts as a place to store your Bitcoin (a wallet), has options for buying other top coins like Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash, has a more advanced sister site called Coinbase Pro which allows you to trade directly and avoid fees, and can be used to transfer coins back and forth to other exchanges.
With that covered, here is how you buy Bitcoin on Coinbase in a little more detail:
- Sign up for an account on Coinbase. If you use this link to the official Coinbase site we both get $10 worth of Bitcoin free when you spend $100.
- Follow the steps on screen. This includes uploading identification and your banking or credit card information.
- Click the “buy/sell” button at the top of the page, click the image of the coin you want (Bitcoin in our example), and click “buy” (see the image at the top of the screen for a visual).
- Insert the amount of USD (dollars) you want to spend or the amount of Bitcoin you want to buy.
- Confirm everything is correct, and then click “confirm buy.”
Congratulations, assuming everything went to plan you now own the same Bitcoin anyone else who owns Bitcoin does.
It really is that simple. That is how I do it, that is how my mom does it, and that is how most users do it when they start out with crypto.
Now, with that said, we can get a lot more complex, add some important details, and even take some steps to avoid some fees!
I can’t cover everything here, because this is “a simple guide.” But here are some need to knows:
- Download the Coinbase App to access Coinbase on the go.
- Coinbase’s App looks a little different than the desktop version… but the gist is the same. You should do the initial sign up on the desktop if you can.
- It can take some time to get verified. After you are verified you’ll likely have low limits for what you can buy. Add more payment options and buy/sell to increase your limit over time.
- Cryptocurrency is a risky investment. You have to mentally be prepared to see coins go to zero. Don’t risk more than you can afford to lose.
- Coinbase is a broker, they charge fees. If you fund your USD wallet, wait for the funds to clear, then go trade on the Coinbase Pro exchange using limit orders you can avoid 100% of the fees Coinbase charges (as you are then providing liquidity to the exchange). That is higher level, but I want you to know this is an option (and one reason why even after you advance you’ll still want a Coinbase account set up).
- Everything we discussed above is essentially the same for Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. Ethereum is a top coin. Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin are solid picks. Typically the most stable coin is Bitcoin.
- To buy/sell many cryptos you must use Bitcoin or Ethereum. Thus if you want some other coin like Ripple or TRON, you’ll need to buy Bitcoin or Ethereum first. When in doubt, stick with Bitcoin.
- Use a strong, secure, and unique password. If Coinbase gets hacked, you are insured. If someone gets into your account because you don’t secure it properly, you have no recourse to recover lost funds – period.
- You really should secure your account using two factor authentication. Use your phone if need be, but seriously consider using a proper authenticator.
- You can store your funds in Coinbase (Coinbase is a wallet and is meant to be used as a wallet). Storing your coins in Coinbase is a solid move if your account is secured properly. However, many take an extra step and get a hardware wallet like TREZOR to store their funds offline.
If you want to continue your journey your next step is signing up for Kraken, Bittrex, or another site that allows you to trade a range of cryptocurrencies. Those two are my top choices for US residents, but they aren’t the only choices.
Here is the gist of what you need to know to do that using Bittrex as an example:
- Sign up for Bittrex (hit sign up, follow the directions on screen).
- Transfer Bitcoin or Ethereum from your Coinbase wallet to the Bittrex wallet by hitting “send/receive” (it is under “wallets” in Bittrex and under “accounts” in Coinbase, take the time to make sure you are doing everything right; always copy and paste wallet addresses, never type them by hand).
- Trade your Bitcoin or Ethereum for other cryptocurrencies on Bittrex (taking time to really understand the price you are paying and the fees).
The thing to note here is that trading Bitcoin for altcoins (coins that aren’t Bitcoin) is a little more high level than hitting the buy button on Coinbase and stocking up on some Bitcoin. The average person won’t be ready for this out of the gate and will want to proceed slowly. However, now you know what you’ll need to do when you are ready, and that is the point here.
On our site we cover all the details you’ll need to know to move forward, so feel free to browse our site to learn more or to simply ask questions below. 🙂
TIP: Kraken accepts USD and soon Bittrex will too. Despite that I strongly suggest you make Coinbase your home base. Coinbase is a top site, it is insured, it is beginner friendly, it is way easier to use than the aforementioned, and it is meant to be used as a home base of sorts.