How to Buy Ethereum
Best places to buy ethereum
If you are looking to buy ethereum then check out the prices at these exchanges which all accept customers from United States. Prices can vary quite significantly between exchanges and are constantly changing so the below is just a guide from the last few minutes. For more information on these exchanges and other exchanges for buying ethereum or other cryptocurrencies in United States then please scroll down to the Exchanges Info Section which highlights the differences between them.
Buying ethereum in United States
The United States is progressively regulating the crypto sphere. However, there seems to be some split in approach to cryptocurrency. On one hand, some states continue to pass laws which aim to stimulate the economy, attract investment, or encourage tech development, while others have either passed restrictive crypto asset and investment regulations, or have suggested to do so. The state of New York, for example, requires companies to acquire "BitLicenses" in order to operate virtual currency businesses, and even issued a "greenlist" of accepted virtual currencies. On a federal level, there is a large amount of crypto regulation from various bodies, meaning lots of overlapping jurisdictions and different opinions on crypto. Although U.S. crypto banking seems undeveloped, it is making slow progress. A large crypto exchange, Kraken, stated that it became the first U.S. digital asset company with a bank charter, recognized under both federal and state law, in 2020.
As of 20/03/2021
Mkt Cap $
The leader in programmable money, smart contracts and decentralised applications. There have been many copycats but none have the community and level of adoption.
These exchanges all accept customers from United States. While they broadly offer the same services and you can buy ethereum at all of them, there can be differences in transaction fees, security, verification requirements, deposit methods and features, as shown below
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- Fees (spreads) are high
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Kraken has a good reputation for security and protection of your funds and operates across the USA (except NY), Canada, the EU and Japan
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Ethereum is the second most popular cryptocurrency and among the earliest to have been created. Technically, Ethereum refers to the blockchain platform behind it and the coin is Ether (ETH). However, most people commonly refer to the coin as Ethereum.
Ethereum describes itself as “A global, open-source platform for decentralized applications.”
Ethereum is also the base for more than 290,000 cryptocurrencies, known as ERC-20 tokens.
When Was Ethereum Founded?
Vitalik Buterin first described Ethereum in a whitepaper in late 2013. His goal at the time was to make it easy to create decentralized applications. Previously, Buterin had made arguments that Bitcoin should have a scripting language to allow for the development of decentralized applications. When he did not get the necessary support, he instead decided to create a new platform, which became Ethereum. The announcement regarding Ethereum took place in January 2014 during the North American Bitcoin Conference.
The Ethereum system went live in July 2015 following a crowdsale in July and August the year before.
Who Is Involved in Ethereum
The list of co-founders of Ethereum includes Buterin, Gavin Wood, Anthony Di Iorio, Charles Hoskinson, Amir Chetrit, and Mihai Alisie as of December 2013, with Gavin Wood, Joseph Lubin, and Jeffrey Wilke being added as founders early in 2014.
The group then created the Ethereum Foundation, which is a Swiss nonprofit. Today, that nonprofit works with the community to maintain and drive progress for Ethereum. The Ethereum Foundation is dedicated to supporting Ethereum as well as related technologies.
Today, much of Ethereum is a community effort, assisted by the Ethereum Foundation. It is important to note that the Ethereum Foundation does not control the platform, nor does Buterin nor any of his co-founders. Ethereum was designed to be decentralized, and that comes through in its governance today.
The Ethereum Team and Its Track Record
As a community-run project, there is not really a need to look at the track record of the individuals involved. After all, even Buterin, the most famous of the Ethereum co-founders, does not get to make decisions regarding the network and cryptocurrency.
The other major player typically associated with Ethereum is the Ethereum Foundation. The official description of the foundation is as follows:
“The EF is not a company, or even a traditional non-profit. Their role is not to control or lead Ethereum, nor are they the only organization that funds critical development of Ethereum-related technologies. The EF is one part of a much larger ecosystem.”
Brief History to Date
The following are some highlights in the history of Buterin, including his interest in cryptocurrency:
- 2011: Co-founding Bitcoin Magazine.
- July and August 2014: Crowdsale.
- July 2015: Ethereum went live.
- November 2016: The DAO hack led to Ethereum splitting into Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC).
- November 2016: The Difficulty Bomb occurred. This meant that mining difficulty started increasing at block 200,000. It was created to motivate the network to change from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake.
- Development contributions to open-source software projects, Bitcoin Python libraries, Egora (a crypto marketplace website), and DarkWallet.
For those who prefer a visual history of Ethereum, the following chart shows the historical price movements of Ethereum from its creation up to early September 2020.
The Future of Ethereum: Ethereum 2.0
Ethereum 2.0 or Eth2 has been in planning for years and will upgrade the network to help with security and scalability. This change will only affect the infrastructure of Ethereum, not the cryptocurrency or applications developed on the platform.
The main goals of Eth2 are to:
- Increase security.
- Reduce energy consumption.
- Let the network process a higher amount of transactions.
- Reduce the barriers to entry.
Phase 0 is planned to launch in 2020. The phases will be as follows:
- Phase 0: Create the Proof of Stake Beacon Chain.
- Phase 1: Create shard chains, then connect them with the Beacon Chain.
- Phase 2: Implement state execution for the shard chains. At the end of this stage, the Ethereum 1.0 chain will become a shard in Ethereum 2.0.
Purpose and Vision
What Problem Does Ethereum Solve?
Ethereum builds on the idea of cryptocurrency and the blockchain by increasing what can be done with it.
Difficulty in Creating Apps with Bitcoin: The Bitcoin blockchain was not designed for creating applications, as the focus was on the cryptocurrency itself. By contrast, Ethereum was developed in part to offer a path to the development of decentralized applications.
This comparative ease of creating decentralized applications with Ethereum has led to the platform and cryptocurrency’s increase in value over time and its popularity.
What Is Ethereum’s Vision?
Ethereum’s vision is to provide everyone with access to data-friendly services and digital money, regardless of where they are or their background. The vision incorporates a few key elements, including:
- Banking for All: There are still many unbanked people in the world, but Ethereum aims to overcome that by allowing anyone to access financial services with an internet connection, including access to savings, borrowing, and lending.
- Privacy: Ethereum’s vision also involves creating an internet that has a higher level of privacy. This comes from the fact that you do not need to provide many details to use Ethereum. According to the project, “Ethereum is building an economy based on value, not surveillance.”
- Censorship Resistance: Because Ethereum is decentralized, no single company or government controls it. This makes it almost impossible for someone to stop others from using Ethereum’s services or moving tokens on the network.
- Being Peer-to-Pee: Ethereum eliminates the need for intermediaries when moving money. Instead of dealing with a bank or other payment processor, you can easily make agreements directly with others via smart contracts or just move money.
- Commerce Guarantees: In terms of commerce, Ethereum helps level the playing field, giving small companies and consumers the same security that was previously restricted to large companies. This comes via the built-in guarantee that you will only pay if the agreed-upon conditions were met.
Interestingly, the primary vision of Ethereum was focused on functionality instead of value. Ethereum was created to provide developers with access to aspects of the blockchain that Bitcoin could not, such as the development of decentralized applications.
Investopedia sums it up perfectly:
“Ethereum is another use-case for a blockchain that supports the Blockchain network, and theoretically should not really compete with Bitcoin. However, the popularity of ether has pushed it into competition with all cryptocurrencies, especially from the perspective of traders.”
What Makes Ethereum Special Compared to Other Coins?
Many of the comparisons between Ethereum and other crypto coins look at how it compares to Bitcoin. However, there are also some important features that help it stand out from other cryptocurrencies. The following are just some of them:
- Divisibility: You can divide ETH into as many as 18 decimal places. This makes it incredibly easy to buy fractions of ETH and purchase or use as much or as little as you want.
- Functionality and Purpose: While Ethereum is commonly used as a token for purchases and sending money, most people in the cryptocurrency world still think of it primarily as a smart contract platform that allows for the development of decentralized applications.
- ETH and Its Role in Ethereum: Many of the traits that make ETH special come from the fact that it is the cryptocurrency that gives you access to the Ethereum network.
When you use the network or send ETH, you pay a small fee using ETH, which is an incentive for the miners. As such, ETH helps power Ethereum. ETH also underpins the entire Ethereum financial system. In this way, you can use the token to create new cryptocurrency tokens on Ethereum, namely the ERC-20 tokens.
Ethereum works on a blockchain as other cryptocurrencies do. As such, the blockchain maintains the public ledger or records for Ether. This is a distributed ledger that cannot be modified.
As mentioned above, the cryptocurrency is technically called Ether, although it is commonly referred to as Ethereum. Ether is used for paying gas for transactions. That term gas refers to the processing power needed to complete tasks.
There are also a few technologies of note in the Ethereum network, including the virtual machine, smart contracts, and decentralized apps. We will discuss the apps in more detail under the “adoption” section.
The value of ETH includes the ability to pay transaction fees on Ethereum, using it as a digital value store since ETH production slows down over time, using it as collateral or payment in financial apps, and using it as an investment.
Smart contracts are a type of programming that lets developers add functionality. Developers can write them in Solidity, LLL, Serpent, or Mutan. Smart contracts are commonly used for programming “if, then” scenarios, where an action, such as transferring Ether, occurs if certain actions are met.
Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)
This is where smart contracts run and is a 256-bit register stack. It is also the Ethereum consensus mechanism.
One major difference between Ethereum and Bitcoin is that Ethereum uses state transitions for the balances and accounts instead of relying on the unspent transaction outputs (UTXO). In other words, the state shows extra data and account balances with that data stored on a Merkle Patricia tree.
Other Differences from Bitcoin
In addition to the state transitions, the following are some of the other major differences between Ethereum and Bitcoin.
- Bitcoin uses the UTXO system (which is similar to spending cash and getting change), while Ethereum uses automatic debits and credits in Wei values (which are the smallest ETH denominations) between accounts.
- Ethereum has a block time of 13 seconds, while Bitcoin’s is 10 minutes.
- Ethereum uses the Ethash algorithm for Proof of Work, reducing the advantage that ASICs have in mining.
- Mining ETH creates new coins at a consistent rate compared to Bitcoin’s rate, which halves after four years.
- Bitcoin transactions compete in terms of transaction size while Ethereum’s transaction fees depend on storage needs, bandwidth use, and computational complexity.
- Ether does not have a hard cap or limit to the tokens that will ever be mined.
- Bitcoin requires significantly more electricity and computing power to mine compared to Ether.
- Ethereum has Turing-complete internal code. That means it can calculate anything as long as there are enough time and computing power, something Bitcoin cannot do.
As with other cryptocurrencies, the trading fees will depend on multiple factors, so they are constantly changing. Conveniently, some websites offer suggested gas prices, so you have an idea of what the fee should be depending on the speed with which you need your transaction completed.
The gas price is typically calculated in Gwei, which is 1 million Wei. Remember that Wei is the smallest division of Ether and is out to 18 decimal points. So, there are quintillion Wei in an Ether. There are a million Gwei in an Ether (nine decimal points).
Since the gas price varies, the following chart gives you an idea of the average gas prices for Ethereum throughout its history.
The transaction speed for Ethereum will vary slightly depending on how high of a fee you pay, something it shares with Bitcoin. Paying the standard gas price typically results in Ethereum transactions taking 15 seconds to 5 minutes to finish processing.
This is quick enough for the typical transactions completed with Ethereum, but it makes the expansion of Ethereum as a payment method questionable, especially considering people are used to instant or near-instant transactions.
Ethereum processed an average of 25 transactions a second as of early 2016. Given that Visa averages 45,000 payments per second, questions of scalability regarding Ethereum are common. However, Ethereum did complete more than 1 million transactions by Dec. 19, 2016, showing its capabilities.
Recent High Fees
During August and September 2020, the gas prices for Ethereum have risen exponentially, leading to questions about the network’s scalability and sustainability. This was brought on by analytics that indicated Ethereum miners earned more than $500,000 in a single hour on Sept. 1, 2020, a new high.
Buterin Admits a Scalability Problem
Even Buterin accepts that the Ethereum blockchain has a scalability problem. In August 2019, he told The Star:
“Scalability is a big bottleneck because the Ethereum blockchain is almost full. If you’re a bigger organization, the calculus is that if we join, it will not only be more full but we will be competing with everyone for transaction space. It’s already expensive and it will be even five times more expensive because of us. There is pressure keeping people from joining, but improvements in scalability can do a lot in improving that.”
In the same interview, Buterin offered a solution to improve scalability:
“The main problem with the current blockchain is this idea that every computer has to verify every transaction. If we can move to networks where every computer on average verifies only a small portion of transactions then it can be done better.”
According to Buterin, this would only lead to a slight sacrifice in terms of security.
The December 2019 Istanbul hard fork improved scalability somewhat with Ethereum, but there is still room for improvement. Buterin said that the blockchain capacity increased to 3,000 transactions per second, although others claim up to 18,000 TPS for online payment processing.
The previously mentioned Ethereum 2.0 should alleviate concerns about scalability, as this is one of the primary goals of the update. This update relies on the increasingly popular idea of sharding as a way to boost scalability.
Overall, Ethereum has an average to strong reputation for security, but there are some very important caveats, including security vulnerabilities and security threats.
The most notable security incident was the DAO event, which led to the hard fork and the creation of ETC.
The DAO was a decentralized autonomous organization and in 2016, it raised $150 million in funding via crowdsale. This was a record-breaking amount. In June of that year, an unknown hacker exploited the DAO and stole the equivalent of $50 million in ETH. In addition to posing security questions, it led to the first split in Ethereum.
The network and coin we call Ethereum made a forked blockchain to reappropriate the stolen funds. The original chain became Ethereum Classic.
The DAO hack was not the only incident in 2016 that required Ethereum to fork the blockchain, as it did so two times in Q4 following other attacks. Ethereum took action, and by November 2016, there were new protections against DDoS attacks in place along with the debloating of the blockchain.
Those in the crypto industry agree that the upgrade to Ethereum 2.0 should help improve security. Others argue that the introduction of staking can add risk for those who are unfamiliar with it or with the model’s complexity.
Others are concerned about the lock-up risk potentially associated with the transition to Ethereum 2.0. Research associate Eliezer Ndinga told Cointelegraph:
“The transition from the current Ethereum blockchain to Ethereum 2.0 requires users to transfer their ETH between blockchains, which could create risks for users who try to do this themselves, though exchanges and other custodians are likely to assist in this process.”
Ethereum is a decentralized network, so no one is in control. While some people may mistakenly assume that the Ethereum Foundation is in control, even that is not the case. The Ethereum Foundation does not have any stake in the network’s running.
As a decentralized system, Ethereum is autonomous and not under anyone’s control. As with other decentralized cryptocurrencies, the fact that Ethereum runs on the computers of thousands of people around the world, it will never go offline.
Adoption and Community
There are numerous potential uses for Ethereum, including some of which have only been proposed and others that are already implemented. Some of these include farm-to-table produce, sports betting, electricity pricing and sourcing, the internet of things, and finance.
Using the ETH Itself
While most of the current and potential uses for Ethereum focus on the network or its technology, there are also several for the coin itself. Originally, you could just send it between accounts. Now, you can stream ETH for paying and receiving money in real-time, trade ETH for other tokens, or earn interest on ETH.
One of the most common use cases of Ethereum is to create decentralized applications, with the choice to write them in one of seven languages. There are already hundreds of these dapps available for use.
Compared to regular applications, those built on Ethereum can:
- Create new digital assets and types of money.
- Develop unstoppable and uncensorable web apps.
- Create collectively governed virtual worlds, property, or decentralized organizations.
Instead of creating their own cryptocurrency and blockchain from scratch, many projects have chosen to create ERC-20 tokens. This is a technical standard, and as mentioned earlier, there are already more than 290,000 ERC-20 tokens.
One of the benefits of ERC-20 tokens for developers is that they have a clearly defined set of roles. This allows developers to accurately predict how the token will function, saving them time.
To put the popularity of ERC-20 tokens in perspective, consider that as of July 2020, around 50 percent of the full ETH blockchain was made up of these tokens.
One of the use cases of Ethereum that is growing the most quickly is decentralized finance. This uses a decentralized architecture to offer traditional financial instruments. The decentralized structure means that the instruments are not under the control of governments or companies. The lack of regulation involved has produced many skeptics, and this use case is still in development.
Uses Specific to Smart Contracts
Many of the potential applications of Ethereum come from its smart contracts. Among the various use cases, some of the most discussed include contracts in banking and financial services, ICOs and DAICOs (which combine DAOs and ICOs), prediction markets, replacing escrow, and digital identity management.
Buterin described a project regarding digital identity management in his interview with The Star, showing one of the often-overlooked applications of Ethereum:
“Another example is this project called OpenCerts. They take records of university degrees and other sorts of certificates, and save them on Ethereum blockchains so if you want to verify someone’s certificate you can scan blockchain, and check that it exists and that it has not yet been revoked.”
Projects and Partnerships
There is an incredible amount of support for Ethereum, including among major businesses. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) was created in March 2017, consisting of Fortune 500 companies, research groups, and blockchain startups. Initially, it had 30 members. Within three months, there were 116 enterprise members, including the following big names:
- BNY Melon, ING
- Banco Santander
- J.P. Morgan
- National Bank of Canada
- Samsung SDS
- Toyota Research Institute
By July of that year, the alliance featured more than 150 members, with some of the additions including Scotiabank, MasterCard, and Cisco Systems. To date, there are more than 200 organizations that support the EEA.
In addition to the official partnerships in the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, numerous major companies have incorporated Ethereum via customized networks and software. Deloitte, IBM, Microsoft, Innovate UK, and R3 have all expressed interest in the software and networks that enterprise software companies are producing. Credit Suisse, UBS, and Barclays have also been working on their own projects.
Some examples of Ethereum-based ledgers or blockchain variants already in place or under development include:
- J.P. Morgan Chase’s JPM Coin: This coin is on Quorum, a variant of Ethereum that is permissioned. According to the team behind it, it should: “Toe the line between private and public in the realm of shuffling derivatives and payments. The idea is to satisfy regulators who need seamless access to financial goings-on, while protecting the privacy of parties that don't wish to reveal their identities nor the details of their transactions to the general public.”
- Royal Bank of Scotland’s Clearing and Settlement Mechanism: This is built on the Ethereum platform for smart contracts and the distributed ledger.
The Ethereum community is large and includes tens of thousands of people around the world. There are HODLers, users, developers, enthusiasts, and technologists. The community has both a strong online presence and many in-person events.
To further support the feeling of community, the official Ethereum website has a page dedicated to listing dozens of the opportunities to interact with other members of the Ethereum community. These include:
- Forums, such as subreddits, Ethereum Stackexchange, Ethereum Research, and Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians.
- Chat rooms like Ethereum Hackers on discord, Ethereum Gitter for GitHub, CryptoDevs Discord, and Ethereum Cat Herders for project management support.
- Twitter accounts.
- Upcoming events, such as summits and conferences, both in-person and virtual.
- Ethereum meetup groups from around the world hosted by Ethereum enthusiasts. You will typically find at least several dozen listings in most regions of the world.
- Decentralized Autonomous Organizations that encourage collaboration and organization, such as LexDAO, MachiX, and MarketingDAO
- The same website also offers numerous ways for those who are interested to get involved, from developing contributions to research to nontechnical skills, such as writing, organizing meetups, taking notes, translation, marketing, and more.
As of June 28, 2020, there were more Ethereum wallets with a non-zero address than ever before at 42,385,447. This is particularly impressive given that the previous high was just two days before at 42,382,991.
Of the long list of wallets available for Ethereum, the project’s official website recommends the following wallets for beginners, including those who want to buy their ETH right in the wallet:
If you have more Ether to hold, the site suggests a hardware wallet or a digital wallet that includes withdrawal limits and fraud alerts, such as Trezor, Ledger, imToken or Enjin
What the Fans Say
Ethereum is hugely popular with many positives such as:
- The functionality and adoption of Ethereum go hand in hand as a common point in favor of the coin and its network. The fact that ERC-20 tokens have become the go-to standard for fundraising and projects points to the success of this.
- The size of the community is another strong point in favor of Ethereum, with approximately 200,000 active developers who were working on the Ethereum technology stack and project in general as of early 2020. This data comes from the One Million Devs initiative from Ethereum, which is part of the platform’s efforts to increase its developer base.
- Others point to the SEC decision in June 2018 that determined that Ethereum is not classified as a security as a positive. Because it is not a security, there are fewer constrictions as to dealing with a regulatory framework, giving Ethereum more opportunities to grow and fewer roadblocks.
- For many people, a clear roadmap is a strong sign of a project that will succeed. In this way, Ethereum provides plenty of reassurance via the roadmap available on its website and GitHub. Not only does Ethereum have a roadmap, but it has shown that it achieves goals on the roadmap and is consistent.
- Although this is a common point in favor of cryptocurrencies in general, decentralization is still among the arguments made in favor of Ethereum.
- One of the great things about Ethereum’s decentralization is that in addition to being decentralized, Ethereum makes it easier for other projects to decentralized. As Buterin told The Star:
What the Critics Say
Many of the criticisms related to Ethereum are those common to cryptocurrencies, while others are specific to ETH.
- Ethereum could attract criminals or Ponzi schemes.
- Ethereum is not scalable (although Ethereum 2.0 hopes to address this).
- Ethereum was created to offer smart contract functionality and facilitate the creation of decentralized applications on the blockchain, which it does.
- Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency and has a vast community, including an alliance of Fortune 500 companies that want to harness its capabilities.
- Throughout its history, Ethereum fees have been relatively low, but there have been some spikes, including recent exponential growth that needs to be addressed. Since this is a small blip in Ethereum’s history, it only reduces the rating somewhat.
- Ethereum’s network is much quicker than Bitcoin’s, which it sought to improve on, but there is still room for improvement to achieve scalability. Ethereum is facing major scalability problems that may affect its future, but it has clear plans in place (Ethereum 2.0) to address these issues. The DAO hack taints the security reputation of Ethereum, but apart from this one major incident, there have not been any other major security concerns.
- Ethereum is fully decentralized, and neither the founders nor the Ethereum Foundation controls it. It even helps developers create other decentralized projects.
- The founding team has proven itself to be highly knowledgeable and creative. Now that the community consists of more than 200,000 developers, there should be no lack of innovations or overcoming challenges.
- Overall Ethereum is among the most popular cryptocurrencies. Although it is still resolving some scalability problems, it has a solution for those and is steadily gaining support while working toward its vision.
Is Ethereum Safe?
Ethereum is relatively safe, as much as a cryptocurrency can be. The DAO incident was the most notable security issue, and the network took precautions so that would not be able to happen again.
How Can I Store Ethereum Safely?
To store Ethereum safely, you should do your research before choosing which wallet to use. The lowest risk comes from using a hardware wallet or a paper one, but that will make your ETH harder to access. Ideally, you should keep most of your ETH on one of these wallets and only store the amount you need accessible in an online wallet.
Will Ethereum’s Price Go Up?
There is no way to predict whether Ethereum’s price will go up. Those who believe it will increase point to its large market capitalization, usefulness, adoption, and the potential impact of introducing Ethereum 2.0, along with its benefits. Those who think it will drop point to the scalability problems. You should always complete your own research before choosing whether to invest in Ethereum.
Was Ethereum Developed Based on the Blockchain?
The main connection between Bitcoin and Ethereum is that they both use the blockchain. However, Ethereum uses a separate blockchain from Bitcoin and is a platform for applications compared to Bitcoin, which revolves around the cryptocurrency.