How To Buy Ethereum
You can purchase Ethereum on almost any crypto exchange, but not all exchanges are created equal. Below we take a look at the best places to purchase Ethereum, weighing fees, trading minimums, and more.
We also cover the safe storage and handling of your ETH.
Own Ethereum in 4 Steps
Buying ETH requires just a few steps.
Step 1: Choose an Exchange
Step 2: Sign-up and verify your account
Step 3: Pay for Ethereum
Step 4: Store Ethereum – Keep it on an exchange or transfer it to a crypto wallet like Metamask.
Cheapest Way to Buy Ethereum for Metamask
Ethereum is a popular cryptocurrency that’s supported by nearly all crypto exchanges. Below we cover the top exchanges where you can buy ETH.
|Platform||Minimum Deposit||Transaction Fees||Margin Trading||Staking and Rewards|
|Kraken||0.00001 ETH||0.26% taker fee and 0.16% maker fee||Yes||Yes, outside the US|
|Coinbase||$1 of ETH||0.60% taker fee and 0.40% maker fee||No||Yes|
|Nexo||None||No-fee trading for standard swaps (Nexo uses a spread), 0.40% Taker 0.30% Maker fees for Nexo Pro (lower fees for 30-day trading volume above $10,000)||No||Yes|
|Uniswap||None||Between 0.1% and 1% depending on how stable the pairs are||No||No|
|dYdX||$10||0% if your 30-day trading volume is under $100k||Yes||Yes|
- Low Fees For Kraken Pro: Kraken’s low fees available with Kraken Pro make it one of the best places to buy Bitcoin. Pay just a 0.16% maker fee or 0.26% taker fee for trading volume up to $50,000, with additional discounts available for higher trading volumes.
- Proof Of Reserves: Log in to your account to verify Kraken’s crypto assets and ensure your holdings are included in the totals.
- Multiple Funding Methods: Kraken is one of the few exchanges to offer credit card crypto purchases (outside the US). Buy Bitcoin with a credit card or debit card, or fund your account with your bank account.
In an industry where centralized exchanges haven’t been time-tested, Kraken has weathered both bull and bear markets since 2011, making Kraken one of the most trusted Bitcoin investing sites. Fees for Instant Buys are higher than some competitors, but If you use the Kraken Pro, just a click away from the home screen, you’ll enjoy some of the lowest trading fees available.
- Multiple Funding Methods: Buy BTC with your bank account, debit card, or PayPal. If you’ve been wondering how to get Bitcoin with PayPal, Coinbase is one solution. Yes, PayPal business accounts are supported as well, but not PayPal business debit cards.
- Large Selection Of Blue-Chip Cryptos: If you need to diversify beyond Bitcoin but want to stay in the safe-ish lane, you’ll find proven names in the space, like ETH, ADA, LINK, and much more.
- Fee-Free Trading Available: With a Coinbase One subscription, priced at about $30 per month, you can buy Bitcoin with no fees, up to $10,000 in monthly trading volume.
Coinbase is one of the most trusted names in crypto, and being a publicly traded company brings more transparency than you’ll find with many other exchanges. Coinbase fees can be high if you use the Buy & Sell box, but with a few clicks, you can get those fees under control with Coinbase Advanced or if you subscribe to Coinbase One.
Buy Ethereum Through DeFi Exchanges
Ethereum uses its smart contract technology to power an entirely new way of trading financial assets known as “decentralized finance” (DeFi). Through DeFi, individuals can trade, lend, and borrow crypto without relying on centralized intermediaries but instead by utilizing automated programs that link buyers and sellers and facilitate transactions.
Below we look at the two largest DeFi platforms you can use to buy Ethereum.
Uniswap is the largest DEX by trading volume, bringing a wider range of tokens and deeper liquidity pools. The DEX combines an easy-to-use interface with easy-to-understand fees. Uniswap’s new Auto Router helps you get the best price by using multiple pools if needed.
- Wide selection of tokens
- Helps users avoid scams with warnings when purchasing rarely traded tokens
- Simple fee structure
- Fees higher than some competitors
- Limited blockchains
- No limit orders
Want a DEX that’s so easy to use that you can recommend it to Mom? That’s Uniswap. But you might have to explain crypto wallets and ETH gas fees first. Uniswap has a massive user base, with about 5 million users to date and a huge selection of tokens. Quoted prices include both USD values and token values, removing the cost mystery you might find on other DEXs.
- People who want to keep things simple: DEXs can be as daunting as drunken Jenga, but Uniswap makes DEX swaps simple. You’ll find one box in the middle of the screen. No endless endless tables or complicated charts. Just enter your trade, and you’re swapping like a pro.
- People who need a larger selection of tokens: As the grandaddy of DEXs, Uniswap attracts hordes of eager traders, which also attracts liquidity providers hungry for yield. Whether it’s a common token or something new, there’s a good chance you’ll find it on Uniswap.
- CoW Swap: If you live in the ETH world, your ETH is more valuable than gold. CoW Swap lets you save your precious ETH by paying for any fees with the tokens you’re selling.
- OpenOcean: OpenOcean is a DEX aggregator that helps you find the best swap rates on 20 supported blockchains. You can even do cross-blockchain swaps. (More on that later.)
Payment Methods Accepted
- Credit Cards: Most major exchanges no longer support purchasing ETH and other cryptocurrencies using a credit card. However, debit cards are widely accepted on exchanges, including Coinbase and Kraken.
- Debit Cards: For many, debit cards are the default way to buy Ethereum. Leading exchanges like Kraken and Coinbase support crypto purchases made through debit cards. Be sure to compare fees against using ACH, which is often more cost-effective.
- ACH: Automated Clearing House (ACH) is a popular method for sending money directly between bank accounts. ACH is a great way to purchase Ethereum in bulk, but keep in mind that clearing times may be several business days, and exchanges may assign spend limits.
- PayPal: The online payment provider supports purchasing Ethereum through their website and mobile app. You will need a PayPal account to complete your purchase. Coinbase also supports PayPal funding for ETH and other crypto purchases.
- Crypto ATMs: The on-the-go method for purchasing Ethereum is to use a crypto ATM. These ATMs have locations all around the world, just like traditional ATMs, and provide a quick and easy way to top up your crypto balance. The downside is that crypto ATMs charge significantly higher fees than most exchanges.
We will use Kraken for this example.
Step 1: Log in to your Kraken account
Step 2: In the “Explore” section, select “Ethereum”
Step 3: Click the “Buy” button and enter the amount of ETH you’d like to purchase
Step 4: Add your debit card as a payment method and complete your purchase
You can buy Ethereum either directly through PayPal, or by using PayPal to fund your account balance on a website like Coinbase. Below is a step-by-step process for buying ETH on Coinbase by using PayPal.
Step 1: Log in to your Coinbase account
Step 2: Add your PayPal account as a funding method for your Coinbase balance
Step 3: Select “Ethereum” and enter the amount you’d like to purchase.
Make sure you have selected “PayPal” under the “Pay with” option.
Step 4: Click “Preview Buy” to preview your purchase.
When you’re ready, click “Buy now” to complete your ETH order.
When To Buy ETH
Ethereum, along with the broader crypto market, moves in cycles known as “bull” and “bear” markets.” Bull markets are when the price of crypto goes up, and investors are optimistic (bullish), while bear markets are when the price of crypto goes down and investors are pessimistic (bearish).
Ethereum had an initial bull run in 2018, where the price reached $1,385 per ETH. A bear market set in later in 2018, and the price started dropping, bottoming out at less than $90 per ETH in 2019. The second large bull market started at the end of 2020 and reached an all-time high of $4,811 in 2021 before bottoming out at under $1,000 in June 2022.
When it comes to crypto investing, you should attempt to buy low and sell high. Of course, no one knows where the market will go, so you will have to learn about Ethereum’s fundamentals, research upcoming changes, and listen to investor sentiment to decide when to buy.
If you know you want to own some Ethereum, but you’re not sure which exact moment you should make your purchase, you can use dollar-cost averaging (DCA). Dollar-cost averaging is the practice of spreading out your investment into several smaller investments over several days, weeks, or months.
This allows you to “average” out the price of your overall purchase and helps even out spikes and dips in price. DCA has several benefits:
- DCA lowers your investment risk
- You don’t have to worry about timing the market
- DCA can provide peace of mind to investors
The major downside of DCA is:
- Having to pay higher transaction costs due to multiple purchases
Where To Store ETH
Your Ethereum, and all your other cryptocurrencies, are stored in a crypto “wallet.” This is a software program that authenticates your private credentials and gives you access to your funds. Wallets can be either online “hot” wallets or offline “cold” wallets.
|Wallet Type||Best For||Security||Loss Protection||Ease Of Transfer||Price|
|Hot Wallets||Short-term storage||Not very secure since they’re always online||Some providers have many recovery options including passwords and customer assistance||Easy to transfer||Generally free|
|Cold Wallets||Long-term storage||Very secure, only vulnerable if they’re physically stolen||Recovery options are available for a lost password but not a lost device||Requires plugging the wallet USB into a computer connected to the internet||$50 and up|
A “hot” crypto wallet is a software wallet that is connected to the internet. Hot wallets allow you to easily store, transfer, and receive cryptocurrencies and authorize transactions.
Despite the convenience of a hot wallet, there are significant drawbacks. Here’s the main one: Your wallet is always vulnerable to attack. If someone knows your seed phrase, which is your password, they can access your wallet and steal your funds. Additionally, if you authorize any hacked applications to access your wallet, your funds can be stolen.
Some popular Ethereum hot wallets include:
- Accessible funds
- Easy to use
- Free to set up
- Prone to malware attacks
- Some wallets are specific to just one cryptocurrency (such as ETH or Solana)
A “cold” crypto wallet is a wallet that is not connected to the internet. Most “cold” wallets are physical USB drives that look similar to a traditional USB file storage flash drive but are used to store your crypto instead.
To use a cold wallet to transfer your funds, you’ll need to plug in the physical USB device to a computer and enter a password in order to access the wallet. This means, of course, that anyone who has access to the physical USB device and knows your password will also have access to the funds inside. Additionally, if you lose your physical USB device, you will also lose access to your wallet.
Popular Ethereum cold wallets include:
- Safest way to store crypto
- Cannot be hacked unless they are plugged into a computer
- Anyone who has access to the physical device may have access to the funds inside
- If you lose your physical USB device, your funds are likely gone forever
To Sum It Up
Ethereum is one of the most well-supported cryptocurrency assets out there, so there is no shortage of ways to purchase ETH. For beginners, sticking to large exchanges like Conbase or Kraken is probably your best bet, while intermediate traders can get a better deal on their ETH trades by navigating DeFi options like Uniswap and dYdX.
It’s important to keep in mind that the world of crypto is still riddled with scams and malicious attempts to steal your hard-earned crypto. Remember never to open links you don’t recognize, never share your wallet seed phrase with anyone, and always double-check the URLs of the websites you visit.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can purchase Ethereum at most crypto exchanges.
Our top picks for crypto exchanges are Kraken and Coinbase. You can also purchase ETH at DeFi exchanges like Uniswap and dYdX.
Most exchanges will have some minimum requirement for each purchase.
While it varies by exchange, this minimum is usually no more than a few dollars worth of ETH.
Ethereum has had several bull cycles and is currently in the midst of a bear market.
While there are many crypto skeptics who say Ethereum will never again reach its all-time high, there are also many crypto champions who point to the ballooning number of ETH use cases as evidence that the next bull run will be even better for ETH.
Ultimately, however, there is no way to tell if Ethereum will be a good investment long-term.
All centralized exchanges, such as Kraken and Coinbase, are required to run identity checks before allowing you to purchase Ethereum or any other crypto.
You can benefit from more anonymity by using a decentralized exchange such as Uniswap or dYdX. These DeFi exchanges don’t perform identity checks and simply execute your trade and send the funds to your wallet.