Getting Started With Ethereum

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is a decentralized computing platform and cryptocurrency. Ethereum uses Bitcoin’s blockchain technology to create a protocol for “smart contracts“.

Where Can I Buy Ether?

The currency of Ethereum is the “ether”. Here are some exchanges that allow you to purchase ether with USD, Euros or Bitcoin:

  • Gemini is a reliable exchange for Ethereum. They are regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS)
  • Binance is Chinese owned exchanged based in Japan (I personally use this one)
  • Kraken is large exchange that supports trades in euros
  • Coinbase allows you to buy ether using a bank account or credit card.


Where Can I Buy Ether With Bitcoins?

If you already have bitcoins and want to buy ether, you can use Changelly. The service was first announced on Bitcointalk on April 12 of 2016. This particular service is operated by the MinerGate team. There is a 0.5% commission for crypto-to-crypto trades. It seems that there are no transaction limits. If this is so, it would seem to eliminate the need for centralized exchanges.

I ran several tests on Changelly, and I was able to exchange my bitcoins for ether in about 10 minutes.

Where Should I Store Ether?

Ledger Nano S

Ledger Nano S is currently the most versatile wallet for storing cryptocurrencies. It allows you to securely store ether (the currency of Ethereum), as well as these digital currencies: BitcoinEthereum Classic, Zcash, DASH, Litecoin, Dogecoin and Stratis.

You can send and receive payments, check your accounts and manage multiple addresses for each currency from the same device. Nano S also supports the FIDO Universal Second Factor standard used by online services such as GMail, Dashlane, Dropbox or GitHub.

The Ledger Nano S is available from Amazon for around $85.

See also this guide to keeping your cryptocurrencies safe.

Where Can I Track Ethereum Prices?

CoinMarketCap has a list of all the altcoins charts, including Ethereum.

Is It Legal?

The legality of cryptocurrency varies by country — this Wikipedia article lists the laws by country. Some have explicitly allowed it for trade, and others have totally banned it. In the United States, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that bitcoin will be treated as property for tax purposes as opposed to currency. So, it’s legal to own and use for trade internationally, however it will be subject to capital gains tax.

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