Getting started: how to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash on Coinbase

A simple how to guide for starting to trade cryptocurrency’s using the Coinbase platform to convert fiat currency to cryptocurrency.

Start by registering for an account at

  1. Sign up for to create a digital currency wallet where you can securely convert fiat currency to cryptocurrency and store your digital currency
  2. Connect your bank account, debit card, or credit card so that you can exchange digital currency in and out of fiat currency
  3. Buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin by trading fiat currency for cryptocurrency
  4. Sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin by trading cryptocurrency to fiat currency
  5. Register for another crypto exchange and start trading one cryptocurrency for another cryptocurrency using your Coinbase wallet

Note: Coinbase accepts some non-US currencies as payment, but options may be limited. See Payment Methods on for more information

Additional information to get started trading with Coinbase:

  • Coinbase/GDAX has a strict Anti-money laundering and know your customer process and you will be required to provide the following information; ID, Bank account, credit card, primary address  
  • Connect a bank account, this will reduce fees to convert your fiat currency to cryptocurrency
  • There will be a 3-5 day bank approval period (plan in advance as you can’t trade for about a week after registering)
  • Be aware there are weekly buy/sell limits. Adding a photo ID and other payment methods will increase your limits. Otherwise, your limits will increase over time as you trade
  • Trading Fees; fees decrease as you trade more. In other words, you’ll pay a little bit more than market price (or sell for a bit less than market price) and pay a small fee when trading on Coinbase
  • Set up 2-factor authentication. Download the Google Authenticator APP. This will help secure your account by providing a secure code the refreshes ever 30 seconds which Coinbase will request each time you log into your account 
  • To trade coins, Confirm your wallet is set up. BTC, LTC, ETH, and USD wallets can be found under “accounts”
  • The benefit of a USD wallet on Coinbase is that you can put money in that and then buy coins instantly from the wallet. If you try to buy directly with your bank account, the transaction can take up to 7 days. TIP: Deposit fiat currency in your wallet as opposed to buying coins directly from Coinbase via your bank account. You will have access to trade immediately rather then waiting for the transfer transaction to clear.
  • You don’t have to buy a whole coin, you can purchase a specific fiat currency amount that you are comfortable with investing  
  • When purchasing a coin be sure to thoroughly review the order ticket. An extra decimal place can cost you money considering a single Bitcoin can trade for over $6,000 USD.
  • Download the app. This lets you trade cryptocurrency from your phone
  • Set alerts. Price alerts can help you decide when to buy or sell
  • There is a feature that lets you buy incrementally over time. Averaging in a position on a weekly basis is a time-honored conservative move that Coinbase will automate for you
  • Cryptocurrency is volatile! There is always the chance that the market will crash, or that you will face some other catastrophe. Cryptocurrency isn’t a centrally controlled and regulated fiat currency. If you lose a coin or someone cheats you, there is nothing you can do about it (which is why you want to have 2-factor authentication set-up).

In other words, trading cryptocurrency is simple to start, but there are some essential aspects to understand before you start trading with a wallet-exchange like Coinbase.

The last thing to note is that there are countless other options for setting up wallets and trading currency. Most will, however, pair with a Coinbase account.

Once you have Coinbase down, try moving onto a platform like to convert bitcoin or Ethereum to one of the other cryptocurrencies.