How to Buy Ether
So now you know what it is, how do you get your hands on some?
If you are new to Crypto, then the easiest method is via Coinbase.
This lets you buy and sell BTC or ETH with a credit card, and removes the need to work with exchanges.
If you’re looking to buy other currencies, it is easiest to buy with Coinbase and transfer your funds to an exchange to them.
If you hold Bitcoin already, simply exchange for Ether.
Cex.io is probably the easiest to use exchange, with Kraken and Poloneix also popular.
The benefit is you are in full control of your keys and fees tend to be lower, though may require large purchase amounts to become cost effective.
Coinbase is widely seen as the most respected, easy to use and trustworthy way to buy Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum.
With an excellent mobile app and online interface, it is easy to use and friendly to those new looking to invest small or large amounts in the newer currencies.
You can buy any amount of a currency, investing either £10, £100 or £1000 in a given coin.
The main benefit is ease of use, with an excellent app and website design.
However, due to increases in demand Coinbase has experienced difficulty registering new users and keeping up with demand during peak times. Hopefully these issues will be addressed soon.
Cex.io is a full exchange which allows the purchase of Bitcoin via credit card.
While this does require you to then transfer for Ether, the interface is easy to use and well designed, and the friendliest of the main exchanges.
eToro is a social trading platform, designed to make decisions based on “social investment”. It bases your investment on collating the actions of the many, offering simple interfaces to invest in new currencies or stocks.
The idea of eToro is to copy those experts who are on the network showing successful performance, and gaining through this knowledge.
You can trade ether on a ETH/USD exchange on eToro, which is likely the easiest way to gain exposure to the currency without needing much technical set up. eToro is regulated by the UK FCA and is widely viewed as a safe method of trading in a wide range of markets.
They have recently introduce a “Copy Fund” which allows you to gain exposure to digital currencies easily – allowing a mainstream investment method without having to constantly monitor and manage coins yourself.
It’s important to state that you don’t actually own the coins, but are investing in a fund that tracks the prices. Only invest what you can afford to lose.
How to store Ether
So you now own Ether! Congratulations.
Now what? Leave it in the exchange and wait for it to rocket in value?
Buy leaving it in your exchange then you can only access it when the exchange is up and running properly.
So you have restricted access:
- If he service goes down due to high demand / server issues (This is a frequent problem with Coinbase)
- Or the exchange is hacked and you lose it all
For this reason, it is best to keep any crypto you have in wallets.
These come in a few forms:
- Digital – Stored on your PC / Phone
- Paper – High quality archived print with your details on
- Hardware – Fancy USB sticks that keep keys on it, accessed via code. The most secure
There are many arguments for and against each of these types, with benefits on each side.
What is important is that you maintain proper security, as with either feature if you lose information or it is compromised, you will also lose your money.
Not all wallets can store Ether, but below are some of the most commonly used.
Never, ever lose your password. As a lot of the services do not transmit your data, there is no reset or recovery system in place for security reasons.If you ever lose your password, you’re basically fucked.
Jaxx can run on desktops, mobiles and browsers alike, and supports a wide range of coins including Ether, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash and many more.
The main benefit
It’s easy to use, easy to set up, and uses clean, simple language.
Mist is a wallet linked to directly on Ethereum’s site itself.
However, it can be a bit technical for new users and is also a bit slow.
My Ether Wallet (MEW)
The most popular option, MEW gives a wide variety of options to store Ether, Bitcoin and more.
No sign up required and set up is well documented, with lots of help for both new and advanced users.
It’s based on local storage with your password being the most important bit of info you have. Multiple reminders throughout for this.
It also supports sending using hardware wallets, or you can use it to generate codes to keep safely offline on paper. E.g. print it out on archival paper and lock in a safe, and then recover it in a few years.
Hardware wallets are high tech, secure and long-term storage.
They start at around 80 euros so if you’re holding less than this, it’s not really worth considering them.
There are two popular brands:
- Ledger Nano S
At time of writing, both have 3 – 4 month waiting lists, so for now stick to the above and be patient!
They are pretty easy to use and have extensive support – so if you have the cash it’s well worth the investment.