The next stage in crypto investing is to get in after you’ve mastered the jargon, accepted the risk, and taken care of your other financial obligations.

Although there are thousands of different cryptocurrencies, experts advise that you avoid most of them. Cryptocurrency prices change by the hour, which is especially true for lesser-known coins. Even more established cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum and Bitcoin, are subject to volatility, but they have a better track record of gaining in value over time.

The procedure for purchasing Ethereum — or any other altcoin — is identical to that for purchasing Bitcoin. But, because Bitcoin is the most valuable and widely-held cryptocurrency on the market right now, we’ll use it as an example throughout.

The following are the stages to becoming a new crypto investor:

1. Decide on an Exchange

Bitcoin isn’t yet available for purchase through your bank or investment firm, however several institutions are attempting to make it possible in the future. For the time being, you’ll have to convert your US dollars for Bitcoin or other digital currencies through a cryptocurrency trading platform.

There are hundreds of cryptocurrency exchanges where you may buy cryptocurrencies online, but Coinbase, Gemini, and Kraken are three of the most popular. These exchanges are online marketplaces for buying and selling cryptocurrency.

A few things can help you narrow down your search for the best platform:

Security

Unlike FDIC-insured bank accounts, cryptocurrency investments are not backed by a central institution. If your account is hacked or the site where you store your coins is hacked, you could lose all of your money.

If you choose to keep your cryptocurrency on an exchange account rather than moving it to your wallet, make sure you choose one that employs offline, cold storage and has robust anti-theft measures. Some exchanges also offer their insurance coverage to assist secure investors’ money.

Fees 

Exchange fees can range from a flat fee to a percentage of your trades, and they may be applied as a flat fee upfront or as a percentage of your trades. Fees are often charged each transaction and are depending on price volatility.

While fees should be taken into account, experts suggest that you get what you pay for, especially when using larger, more known exchanges such as Coinbase. If an exchange offers extra protections, security, or other services that are important to you, it may be worth paying a somewhat higher charge.

On top of the market price, some exchanges charge fees depending on a spread, or margin. Others charge a set sum or a percentage of your total purchase, which varies depending on your region, payment type, and other factors. Maker-taker fees, which are based on market price swings, are commonly used by exchanges with more active trading features. You’ll be charged a (typically higher) “taker” fee if you buy at the current market price. Alternatively, you can specify a price that you want to buy at and wait for the market to reach that level. This is referred to be a limit order, and it comes with a “maker” fee.

Before you sign up, make sure you understand the costs you’ll be charged, which you can see on the exchange’s website. The price structure should be mentioned when you make your purchase, but it’s a good idea to budget for it ahead of time so you don’t overspend.

Available coins

Not every coin is available on every exchange.

Popular coins like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are available on nearly all crypto exchanges, but lesser obscure altcoins may only be offered on a few. This shouldn’t be an issue for most new investors because experts recommend sticking with these two major cryptos and more mainstream exchanges like Coinbase.

2. Deposit into your account

When you create your account, you may be asked to give information such as your Social Security number, ID, and source of income, depending on the exchange you choose.

To transfer U.S. dollars into your exchange account, most exchanges allow you to connect your bank account or debit card. Depending on how you load your account, you may incur varying costs; normally, bank transfers are less expensive than card choices.

Remember that financing your account isn’t the same as buying cryptocurrency. You never want to leave money in your account that hasn’t been invested, just like you wouldn’t leave it uninvested in traditional investing. You’ll still need to swap your dollars into Bitcoin once you’ve funded your account.

3. Make a Purchase

You’ll be able to place your Bitcoin order once you’ve connected a payment method. Depending on the exchange you use, this process may differ.

If you’re using a platform like Coinbase or PayPal, you can usually just enter the amount in dollars you wish to trade for Bitcoin and acquire it at the current rate (after accounting for any fees).

You may be able to place both market and limit orders if you choose an exchange geared for more active trading, such as Coinbase Pro. A market order indicates that you want to buy cryptocurrencies right now, at the current market price. You’ll place a limit order if you wish to pay a specific price for the cryptocurrency. The money will be automatically purchased once it reaches that level.

You’ll most likely be buying a fractional share of a coin with Bitcoin – a single coin has recently traded for between $30,000 and $60,000. Whatever amount you put in will be expressed as a percentage of the total Bitcoin in the exchange. (For example, if you invested $1,000 in Bitcoin at its early July value of around $34,000, you would possess 0.029 Bitcoin.)

4. Maintain a secure storage environment

Many exchanges let you to keep your money in your account, which is the most convenient option for most newcomers. However, if you want to make your digital assets even more secure, you can put them in a cryptocurrency wallet.

A cryptocurrency wallet is a digital money storage device. There are many different types of bitcoin wallets available, each with a distinct level of protection.

You may be able to simply transfer your coins from your exchange account to a more secure wallet if the exchange you use has a wallet option. You can also utilise third-party software or cold storage on a hardware device that is not connected to the internet.

Some crypto-buying systems, like as PayPal and Venmo, do not allow you to move your coins to your storage device. Before you buy, think about if you want that choice, either for the offline security of your assets or in case you wish to trade on another platform in the future.

Alternatives to Purchasing Bitcoin

You may now buy cryptocurrency using several digital payment platforms, such as Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App, as well as the investment app Robinhood, if you already have an account with them. However, they may not be suitable for all investors. Paypal, Venmo, and Robinhood do not allow you to transfer your crypto assets to your wallet, therefore your private keys are kept on the platform. These systems fall short for crypto aficionados who believe in the widespread crypto motto “not your keys, not your coins.” They can also demand hefty fees for buying and selling cryptocurrencies (and usually only offer a few coins, if at all), so it’s worth comparing the rates you’ll pay to those on more established exchanges.

However, these apps might be a convenient way to purchase Bitcoin. For newbies, buying Bitcoin with your Venmo or Cash App account may be more convenient than utilising an exchange like Coinbase or Gemini, as it allows you to buy in while you’re still learning the ropes. Keep in mind that if you ever accumulate a significant crypto holding, these apps may restrict your ability to move it to another platform. 

How to Purchase Additional Cryptocurrencies

When purchasing other cryptocurrencies, you should follow the same processes as when purchasing Bitcoin. If your goal is to invest in crypto as a long-term store of wealth, though, keep in mind that investing professionals advocate sticking with the two major cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Ethereum will be available for purchase on many of the same exchanges and platforms as Bitcoin. If you’re looking for a really specific altcoin, you’ve come to the right place (which experts generally do not recommend investing in), then you’ll have to take that into account when deciding on an exchange. Some sites only offer a small number of altcoins, however some large exchanges have upwards of 50 different coins (on Venmo, for example, you can only choose between four different cryptocurrencies).

Whether you add Bitcoin or an altcoin to your portfolio, make sure you’re comfortable with the danger of investing in such a speculative asset. Never invest more than you’re willing to lose, and never invest at the expense of other financial objectives.

Do You Think It’s a Good Idea to Invest in Bitcoin?

As with any investment, you should do your homework first and make sure you know what you’re getting into. Make sure that any crypto investments you make do not interfere with other objectives, including as financing your retirement accounts or paying off high-interest debt. Cryptocurrency investments should make up less than 5% of your whole portfolio, according to experts.

According to the experts we spoke with, Bitcoin is a good place for new crypto investors to start. Bitcoin has the longest track record for investors to examine as the first cryptocurrency. Bitcoin’s value has climbed at an exponential rate since its inception in 2009.

As a long-term store of value, several experts compare it to “digital gold.”

While the recent large price swings in Bitcoin underscore its volatility, many experts believe that a small cryptocurrency position can be a beneficial (albeit speculative) diversifier in your overall investment strategy.