How to Buy Cryptocurrency in 10 Minutes

Buying cryptocurrency is easier than you think. Follow the steps below to make your first cryptocurrency purchase. It probably won’t take you more than 10 minutes!

How to Buy Cryptocurrency

When you travel to another country for vacation, you exchange your local currency for a foreign currency with a middleman who takes a small cut for facilitating the transaction.

Buying cryptocurrency works the same way; you connect with a middleman, usually an exchange company, to trade your local currency for cryptocurrency.

There are many willing cryptocurrency exchanges, but today we’ll be using Coinbase. Coinbase is a fully regulated California-based exchange which makes buying cryptocurrency easy.

While you can also purchase cryptocurrency through, we think it’s a little easier to use the Coinbase mobile app.

Here are the steps we’ll be taking today to buy and send cryptocurrency for the first time ever:

  1. Download Coinbase app, create new account (2 minutes)
  2. Verify phone number, payment method, and identity (5 minutes)
  3. Buy cryptocurrency (1 minute)
  4. Send cryptocurrency (1 minute)

Ready? Let’s get started.

Step 1: Getting Coinbase Setup

This is the part where we download, install, and setup the Coinbase mobile app for the first time. This only has to be done once.

  • iPhone users: Download Coinbase through the App Store here.
  • Android users: Download Coinbase through Google Play here.
First, we need to create an account with Coinbase. After registering for an account and confirming our email address we’ll be ready to move on to the next step.

Once the app is installed on your mobile device, it’s time to create an account. Fill out the form, hit “sign up”, then click the verification link sent to the email address you provided. Boom! Account created.

Step 2: One-Time Verification

This is the part where we prove ownership of our phone number, payment method, and identity. This also only has to be done once.

Here’s what’s on the menu after completing step 1. Don’t worry, this won’t take long.

Now it’s time to prove to Coinbase that we are who we say we are. Here’s how we’re going to do that:

  1. Enter the verification code sent to your phone via text message
  2. Log into your credit card provider, or open their mobile app, and verify the size of the pending Coinbase transactions. Don’t worry, you won’t have to pay for these test charges.
  3. Take photos, front and back, of your driver’s license, or identification card. Next you’ll need to wait for Coinbase to approve your photos. It took less than 2 minutes for Coinbase to approve us.

Step 3: Buy Cryptocurrency

This is the part where we use Coinbase to buy cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash can all be purchased using Coinbase. Which one should you buy? That depends on why you’re buying it.

In this particular situation, we’re using cryptocurrency to transfer value inexpensively. Put another way, we want to use cryptocurrencies with low transaction fees. For this reason, we’ll be purchasing Ethereum.

While Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash may be slightly cheaper and faster to transfer, Ethereum is more widely accepted as a method of payment.

Make an Ethereum purchase by tapping on the Ethereum graph under the Prices tab, then tap “Buy”.

We’re going to spend $20 CAD in exchange for 0.0173 ETH. The fractional amount of ETH we receive doesn’t matter to us. At the end of the day it’s simply $20 worth of Ethereum our recipient can convert back to dollars, or hold as is.

Two taps later, we have completed our first ever cryptocurrency purchase!

You’ve just purchased cryptocurrency! Congratulations!

How To Send Cryptocurrency in 2 Minutes

Now that you’ve got your virtual paws on some cryptocurrency it’s time to send it onwards. We’re going to be using our previously purchased ether to fill an invoice generated by a freelancer using Gilded’s cryptocurrency invoices.

Here’s the invoice emailed to us by that hip neighborhood kid who offered to mow our lawn for cryptocurrency. Next, we’re going to click the “Pay Now” button in the top right corner to send over some ether.
The fellow who cut our lawn only accepts Ethereum, but other freelancers may also have an option to accept Bitcoin on this screen. We’re just going to click on Ethereum and move on to making our payment.
Now we’re going to use the Coinbase app on our phone to scan the QR code and complete the payment.

Now that we know how much $5 of ether is (0.010465), and we know the wallet address of our recipient, it’s time to send some ether!

Open your Coinbase mobile app and navigate to your ETH Wallet under the Accounts tab. Click the send arrow in the top right corner.

Here we enter the amount of money we want to send. In this situation, that’s $5. You can denominate value in your native currency (like USD) or directly in ETH.

Now that the amount is covered, it’s time enter the address of the recipient. There are 3 ways to do this:

  1. The cool way: tap on the QR code icon and scan the QR code from the Gilded invoice. Boom, address has been auto-filled.
  2. The less cool way: copy the address from the Gilded invoice and paste it into the “To:” field in your Coinbase mobile app.

Choose your address entry method of choice, hit next, confirm the transaction details are correct, then tap “confirm send” — you’ve just filled an invoice using cryptocurrency!


Buying and sending cryptocurrency doesn’t have to be intimidating. We hope this step-by-step guide proved that anyone, regardless of how technical they are, can start using cryptocurrency today.

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