Ethereum is the second-most-popular and second most valuable token by market cap behind Bitcoin. Vitalik Buterin proposed Ethereum in 2013, the network went live in 2015 with 72 million pre-mined coins and it launched as a global open-source for decentralized applications. Ethereum boasts the largest and most active blockchain community in the world and the network has advanced the market penetration of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies by serving as a launchpad for DApps, tokens, and DAOs among others.
If you are new to cryptocurrencies and are interested in exploring short- and long-term opportunities in Ethereum, this piece provides a definitive guide on the easiest places to buy and sell Ethereum.
Differences Between Ethereum and Ether
Many people tend to erroneously conflate the terms “Ethereum” and “Ether”; however, both terms are only related but they are not the same. Ethereum is a blockchain network where people can build DApps, DAOs, and Smart Contracts on a decentralized supercomputer.
Ether is the cryptocurrency used for transactions on the Ethereum network. Ether is functionally a utility token which can be programmed for many use cases on the Ethereum network. Traders and investors buy and sell Ether even though many crypto exchanges tend to go with the status quo by asking people to buy and sell Ethereum.
Where to Buy and Sell Ethereum
If you are new to cryptocurrencies, you’ll most likely find some of the core concepts of Ethereum somewhat challenging to understand. Discussions about Proof-of-Stake, Gas, Gas Limit, Ethereum 2.0, and scalability are some of the complex concepts that new crypto investors might find challenging. Nonetheless, you can buy and sell Ethereum through the options provided below without worrying about the complexities.
Buy and sell Ethereum from an Exchange
If you run a Google search on “where to buy Ethereum” the first page results will most likely show you hits for buying the token on crypto exchanges. Cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance and Kraken provides a platform to facilitate crypto trading transactions between people who want to buy and sell Ethereum.
You’ll be required to create an account and complete the required KYC. Afterward, you’ll need to fund your account with fiat currency from your credit/debit card or through your bank account. Once, your account is funded, you can place a buy order for the amount of Ether tokens you want to buy either at the market price or a limit price higher or lower than the prevailing market price.
Your buy order is added to the other book and the exchange’s matching engine will scour the orderbook to look for a corresponding sell order in terms of price and number of tokens. Once a match is found, the trade will be executed, your order will be marked as “filled” and the Ether token will be transferred into your wallet on the exchange.
Buy and sell Ether through a Custodian Service
Buying Ethereum from a custodian service is simpler and less stressful if you don’t want to deal with the hassles of those tiny squiggly trading charts and market data on crypto exchanges. A crypto custodial service is a licensed and regulated third party through which you can buy Ethereum and with whom you can securely store your tokens until you are ready to liquidate your position.
Coinbase and Skrill are two of the most popular crypto custodian services for people who want to easily buy and sell Ethereum. Whereas crypto exchanges typically run the risk of hacks, custodian services typically keep user tokens securely in cold storage; hence, you don’t have to worry about withdrawing the ETH tokens to a wallet that you own.
Skrill allows you to open a free account and then buy Ethereum with one of the more than 100 alternative payment methods that it supports. You can buy Ethereum instantly with any currency on a list of more than 40 fiat currencies without having to undergo any additional verification. Skrill customers can buy Ethereum from their balance in local fiat currency (EUR, USD, etc.) starting from an approximate minimum of $10.
Skrill’s simplicity lies in its expertise as a globally recognized digital payments company with close to 2 decades of experience. Skill is part of the PaySafe Group with annual revenues of about $1.9B and it is authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 for the issuing of electronic money and payment instruments.
Coinbase is the largest U.S. based crypto exchange and it available to users in more than 55 countries. Since its launch in 2012, Coinbase has signed up more than 30 million users who have traded more than $150 billion in cryptocurrency. Coinbase’s popularity, (especially in the U.S) lies in how it’s been at the forefront of embracing regulation and increased transparency in the cryptocurrency industry.
Coinbase also offers a simple user interface for buying Ethereum and it is devoid of the complicated charting features common to crypto exchanges. One key differentiation with Coinbase is that it allows users to create personalized watchlists that they can use to track the performance of coins that they own or intend to own without necessarily having to stay glued to a trading screen all day.
Buy and sell Ethereum on a P2P Network
If you want a bit of flexibility when buying Ethereum in terms of pricing, speed, and payment method, you may want to consider buying Ethereum on a peer-to-peer P2P payment network. LocalEthereum and Remitano are two of the popular P2P network for buying and selling Ethereum.
P2P platforms allow you to place buy or sell offers indicating how much Ethereum you want to buy, the price at which you are willing to pay, and the payment options such as cash, gift cards, or bank transfer that you are willing to take. Interested parties can see your offer, reach out to you for negotiations.
When there’s an agreement in principle, the seller places the ETH tokens in an escrow fund, the buyer makes payment to the seller, the seller confirms payment, and the escrow will release the ETH tokens to the buyer. If there’s any dispute on the transaction, the escrow service will examine the facts of the matter to arrive at a fair settlement.
However, when buying or selling ETH on a P2P network, you need to take extra precautions to avoid falling a victim to scams especially if the counterparty doesn’t want to use the escrow service.
Buy Ethereum from an ATM
Another relatively simple way to buy or sell ETH is to use a crypto ATM. Using crypto ATMs presumes that you have a somewhat intermediate knowledge of cryptocurrencies, private and public keys, as well as wallet addresses. You can find an Ethereum ATM near you through services such as CoinAtmRadar or LocalCoin.
When buying ETH, Crypto ATMs work in much the same way as cash ATMs except that instead of dispensing cash, they’ll transfer the ETH tokens into the wallet address that you provide. When selling ETH, the ATMs will function live regular ATMs by dispensing cash to you in exchange for ETH sold at the prevailing market price.
Why would people buy Ether?
Taken much further back into the last five years, Ethereum has delivered more than 6000% gains while Bitcoin has only delivered about 3000% gains in the same period. Hence, while it is very easy to be fixated on Bitcoin because of its relative popularity; Ethereum has historically been more profitable in its quiet second position.
Ethereum has triggered massive paradigm shifts in business, technology, economics, and organizational structures by facilitating the emergence of decentralized systems and processes. The last half of the current decade has laid the groundwork for how decentralization could power digital innovations at scale. It is realistic to expect the next decade to deliver on the promise of decentralization as Ethereum 2.0 surmounts the scalability challenges that have previously prevented its mass-market adoption. Ethereum is still trading at an 86% discount to its 2017 high, it would be interesting to see the catalysts that would cause the token to regain that high going forward.
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