In the previous lesson we showed you how to get your wallets set up. Now you need to buy some coins to go in them! If you're starting from nothing, then you'll probably need to use US dollars, British Pounds, or Euros to buy bitcoin, litecoin, or ethereum first. If you're a US resident, there are 3 main options that are well established:
- Square Cash (easiest and has iOS and android apps)
- Kraken (more trading pairs)
- Coinbase/GDAX (the biggest and most popular, GDAX is owned by Coinbase and is geared towards pro traders)
We suggest signing up for all 3. It's free to sign up and exchanges often go down for maintenance and it usually happens when everyone the exchange experiences very high volume, so you'll want to have the option of buying from multiple exchanges just in case one of them is down.
Signing up is relatively straightforward for each of the exchanges. Just fill out the initial sign up form from the homepage of each site and then once you're signed up you'll need to verify your identity in order to actually deposit and withdraw fiat (US dollars, Euros, Pounds, etc.). This process can take several days to weeks if the exchange's customer support is backed up, which usually happens during bull markets or when big news hits.
You usually have the option of opening a personal account or business account. Which you choose is up to you and your individual circumstances, but the important thing to remember when singing up is that the name on the bank account you're using to fund your exchange account MUST match the name you use to sign up on the exchange. So if you choose a business account, you need to have a business bank account under the same name. Business accounts generally require more information/documentation to open but the deposit limits and trading limits are usually higher so you can move more money through them.
Square Cash is by far the easiest method to get bitcoin and once you have bitcoin, you can buy any of the other coins you might want. You must add an address to your profile to enable bitcoin purchases. There are only a few states that don’t allow bitcoin purchases in square cash , but if you live in one of those states, just change your address to a friend or family member’s address that lives in one of the allowed states. Once bitcoin purchases, buying bitcoin is super simple.
Start here by clicking on the profile tab
Then scroll down to the funds section and tap Bitcoin
Then click Buy if you want to purchase bitcoins or sell if you already have some and want to sell in exchange for dollars
Then enter the amount of dollars you want to exchange for bitcoin and click “buy”
Then confirm and now you have bitcoins!!
Here are some screenshots showing the signup process for Gemini. As you can see, they walk you through each step and, if you have issues, you can contact read their FAQs or contact their customer support. We know people hate to read FAQs, but most likely if you have an issue, a lot of other people have had the same issue, and it's been addressed in the FAQs. Finding the answer their or with a google search is usually quicker than emailing support.
Step 1: Choose a business or personal account
Step 2: Fill out the basic information to open the account
Step 3: Check your email for the activation code to confirm your account
Step 4: Verify your account and add bank info
Now comes the hardest part...waiting. With the increasing popularity of bitcoin/crypto, it can take several weeks to verify your account. Unfortunately, there's no way around this until exchanges step up their customer service levels.
Once you're verified and have your bank account attached, you can start buying a selling. But first you'll need to send a wire transfer (if you're using Kraken or Gemini) or bank transfer (using Coinbase/GDAX) to fund your account. If you've never sent a wire transfer before, check your bank account support page to see if they have instructions. Otherwise, just take your time and try to figure it out and make sure you enter the correct information. The process is slightly different for each bank.
In the next lesson, we'll go over how to actually buy/sell coins once your account is verified and funded.