In the early days, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were only offered on a limited number of exchanges–so it was hard for first-time buyers to get involved. Today, that’s all changed. There are a wide variety of options for how to buy cryptocurrency from bitcoin to ethereum, xrp, bitcoin cash, and more!

At Uphold, we support eight different cryptocurrencies and makes it very easy to dip your toe into any of the supported currencies. Platforms that focus on privacy and security first and foremost are the best places to buy any cryptocurrency. Complicated exchanges still exist, but for the average person who only wants to buy and hold cryptocurrency, Uphold is the only platform you need.

The Top Cryptocurrencies On The Market

Bitcoin, litecoin, and ethereum are only a few of the leading cryptocurrencies today. Each has their own strengths, weaknesses and unique selling points.

Bitcoin was designed to be a decentralized way to send money quickly and efficiently, but some consensus disagreements with how the currency handles transactions have resulted in forks. Despite higher transaction fees and longer processing times than some altcoins, bitcoin still remains the most popular cryptocurrency to own. However, bitcoin’s long transaction processing times, high fees and mining difficulty led to the creation of one of the first alternatives to bitcoin: litecoin.

Launched in 2011, litecoin was designed to be a silver currency to bitcoin’s gold standard. For one, it is much easier to mine litecoin. This means more litecoin is also given as a reward for solving complex problems on the blockchain. Litecoin has experienced some of the same market ups and downs as bitcoin in its long lifespan, and it continues to be one of the easier cryptocurrencies to get started using. However, neither Bitcoin network nor Litecoin network fully leverages the power of blockchain technology, which is where Ethereum comes in.

Ethereum is a cryptocurrency and network designed to address some of the problems found in first-generation cryptocurrencies like bitcoin such as high fees, slow transaction times and difficulty mining. Ethereum is much more than another cryptocurrency. For one, Ethereum enables the creation of “smart contracts” that automatically resolve once certain conditions are met, getting rid of the middleman. Ethereum also supports ÐApps, shared apps that run directly off the Ethereum blockchain. The cryptocurrency traded on this network is called Ether, and there are a few significant differences between ETH and BTC. ETH block times are around 15 seconds, whereas Bitcoin blocks take 10 minutes to resolve. As a result, transaction fees tend to be lower for ETH transactions compared to BTC transactions. The Ethereum network also charges for transactions according to their complexity, with more complex transaction costing more; with Bitcoin, all transactions are charged according to the same formula.

Altcoins With Utility

Some specialized altcoins have arisen out of a desire to change how we interact with the world, and with a specific purpose to solve a problem. For example, Basic Attention Token (BAT) rewards content creators directly from those who consume it with their browsing habits via the Brave browser. Users, advertisers, and publishers can all use BATs to buy and sell attention-based services. Together, Brave and BAT seek to create a more ethically sourced advertising network that doesn’t rely on companies like Facebook and Google who sell user data and monopolize advertisers’ budgets.

For another example, XRP is changing the way banks send money across the world by making transactions nearly instant and without the necessary USD conversion that must be done with traditional SWIFT and SEPA bank transactions. Since there are fewer conversions in an XRP transaction, fees tend to be lower than these conventional transfer methods, too.

How Cryptocurrency Exchanges Work

Cryptocurrency exchanges work by giving you a hot wallet for the cryptocurrency you want to trade. Once you have verified your identity and set up your bank account, you can initiate transactions to trade fiat currency for any cryptocurrency supported by the exchange you are using.

Trade-focused exchanges make it possible to day-trade cryptocurrency the same way stock and futures can be day-traded on the stock market. These exchanges are generally for investors who are seasoned in trading in large volumes. For most people who just want to get started with cryptocurrency, they can be very confusing to use and take days to properly get your account set up. That’s why our members love Uphold: it’s easier to use, and takes minutes to get started!

How To Buy Cryptocurrency on Uphold

Getting started is easy. Sign up for an Uphold account and have your documents ready to verify your account. You see the dashboard area with various “cards” that represent wallets for different crypto and fiat currencies.

If you do not see the cryptocurrency you want to trade, you can click Add Card/Currency and then name your wallet and select the currency you want to add to your dashboard.

To add new funds to a card, select the card you want to use–for example, the BTC card–then click Add Funds on the right side of the banner. You’ll be presented with a number of funding options like transferring funds from a bank account, via wire transfer, from a credit or debit card, or from a cryptocurrency or utility token.

Say you have bitcoin in an external wallet and want to transfer it to your Uphold account. Click the BTC card on your dashboard, then click Add Funds, then Fund with Cryptocurrency or Utility Token. There you’ll be presented with a list of supported cryptos to choose from. Select Bitcoin (BTC) from the drop-down menu and you’ll see a bitcoin address and a corresponding QR code to send your bitcoins to fund your Uphold account.

To transfer funds between different crypto and fiat currencies–from USD to BTC, for example–pick the USD card, then select Use Funds, then click Transfer Between Your Cards. Then under Transfer to Card select BTC and the amount you would like to transfer. Then click Confirm. Congrats! You just purchased BTC with USD!

Uphold currently supports the following cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Basic Attention Token (BAT)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Dash (DASH)
  • Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
  • XRP (XRP)

It’s never been easier to start buying, selling and trading cryptocurrencies. Whether you’re looking for a long- or short-term investment, a currency for online transactions, or hedge against fiat currency fluctuations, Uphold’s platform makes it simple to get started!

This article should not be used as or considered investment advice. If you have questions regarding cryptocurrencies, tokens or any financial investments please consult your financial advisor.