A Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide
Buying cryptocurrency doesn’t have to be complicated!
Follow the steps below to get started investing in Bitcoin (BTC).
Step 1: Buy Bitcoin (BTC)
Exchange your fiat currency for Bitcoin at a top exchange.
I use Coinbase because it is one of the longest running and most reputable places to buy Bitcoin. It also has a well designed and easy-to-use interface.
After signing up and ID verification, you can buy Bitcoin with major currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, etc.) via online bank transfer or with credit/debit card.
Other good places to buy Bitcoin are:
Step 2: Open an account with an exchange that trades Bitcoin
Now that you have some Bitcoin, you need a place to trade it for BTC.
Here is a list of online exchanges where BTC can be bought and sold:
- BTC Markets
- Negocie Coins
- Bitcoin Indonesia
- BX Thailand
- Mr. Exchange
- Mercado Bitcoin
- Independent Reserve
- Trade By Trade
- Altcoin Trader
- The Rock Trading
Exchanges are listed in order of trade volume (descending).
This list is current as of March 2018.
Step 3: Get your Bitcoin address
After opening an account at one of the exchanges above, obtain your BTC wallet address.
The details for obtaining a wallet address vary from exchange to exchange, but it is usually relatively straightforward.
Make sure to get your “deposit” or “receiver” address.
It will be a long string of random characters, looking something like this:
Copy this address for the next step. (Your own unique address of course, not the address above!)
Step 4: Send Bitcoin to your new wallet address
Send Bitcoin from your Coinbase account (or any other account/wallet funded with BTC) to your receiver BTC address from the step above.
Step 5: Trade BTC for BTC
After you receive the BTC in your “secondary” exchange account (it usually takes a few minutes) you can trade it for Bitcoin within the exchange.
The details for trading currencies vary depending on the exchange.
Generally, you will look for the BTC/BTC trading pair and buy or “place an order” to buy BTC with your BTC balance.
Your order may fill immediately or after a short while. If there is a delay, it is usually to find sufficient matching “sell” order(s) for your buy order.
Voila! Now you have some Bitcoin 🙂
Step 6 (Optional): Store your Bitcoin in a private wallet
Now that you’ve got some coin, you can just leave it at the exchange where you bought it. Maybe you want to hold your BTC or maybe you want to trade it for other coins.
Another option is to move your coins to a wallet.
Here is a list of wallets that hold BTC:
- Electrum Wallet
- Ledger Wallet
- Airbitz Bitcoin Wallet
- Mycelium Wallet
- Bitx Wallet
- Trezor Wallet
- Blockchain Wallet
- Copay Bitcoin Wallet
- Block.io Wallet
- KeepKey Wallet
- BitAddress Paper Wallet
- BTC Wallet
- Bread Wallet
- Holy Transaction
- Coinjar Wallet
- Bitgo Wallet
- Armory Wallet
- Bitcoin Freewallet
- Samourai Wallet
- Dark Wallet BTC
- Bitlox Wallet
- WageCan Wallet
- CoolWallet – The Ultimate Bitcoin Safe
- HW1 Ledger Wallet
- Schildbach BTC Wallet
- Jaxx Wallet
- UberPay Wallet
- Bitcoin Core Client
- Bither Wallet
- Lumi Wallet
- CoinPayments Wallet
- Green Address
- Coinbase Wallet
- Circle Bitcoin Wallet
- Xapo Wallet
- MSigna Wallet
- Coinapult Wallet
- Tokenly Pockets
- Wirex Wallet
- Carbon Wallet
There may also be a coin-specific Bitcoin wallet, which you can search for here.
In general, there are different types of wallets – hardware, desktop/software, mobile, web or paper. Some have cross-functionality but most are dedicated to single platform. Each type of wallet has different pros and cons but they all provide the benefit of having an additional place to store your digital currency.
Increased security may be advantage of storing your coins in a private wallet, since exchanges have been hacked in the past. It can also be good to have a backup location to store your BTC and will give you options for moving your coins in the future.
About this guide
This is intended as a beginner’s “101” guide that provides a fast and easy route for acquiring Bitcoin.
There are many subtleties and best practices (such as using secure passwords, 2-factor authentication, etc.) to consider when buying digital currencies. There are plenty of sites out there that provide a wealth of information about cryptocurrency and altcoins. The point of this guide is to simplify the discussion a bit for the general goal of purchasing BTC. As always, use common sense.