Some of the most important cryptos on the market are showing signs of renewed strength in the wake of the Fed raising rates into a shrinking economy. Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and Cardano (ADA) have all recently hit highs not seen in four to six weeks or more.
In most cases, experienced crypto investors have been buying these all the way down – and they’re preparing to ride them back up.
And they will go back up. My AICI colleague Nick Black believes there will be more than 1 billion crypto users by the end of this decade. The use cases for crypto are multiplying almost by the week these days, whether it’s increasing distrust of fiat currencies, hyper-adoption in the retail sector, or increasing crypto ownership in the vast developing world.
But it’s thought that around 85% of Americans don’t own crypto. They either don’t understand it, find it too difficult to buy, or they’re put off by the ongoing “crypto winter.”
The reality is crypto prices have rarely been so attractive, relative to the growth potential, and it’s never been easier to buy, sell, and own. All of which makes right now the perfect time for folks who don’t own crypto to jump in.
I consider Coinbase to be the easiest “on-ramp” into the world of cryptocurrencies, much as America Online was to the Internet back in the 1990s.
That’s because Coinbase offers what beginners need most – a variety of the world’s biggest, most liquid cryptos, and an extremely easy-to-use and -understand interface.
It’s extremely easy to get started, too. If you can open a traditional checking or savings account, you can open a Coinbase account. Here’s how…
Why Coinbase Is the Best Place to Buy Bitcoin If You’re a Novice
Coinbase is easy to use. The interface is clean, straightforward, and written in plain language. Getting U.S. dollars in and out of your Coinbase account is relatively painless when you link it to your bank account. You can also link your account to a credit card.
Coinbase is very secure. It uses a two-step verification of all accounts and stores 98% of customer funds offline – out of reach of hackers. And if the company’s storage was breached somehow, it has an insurance policy to cover any customer losses. That means you can feel comfortable storing your cryptocurrency at Coinbase – rather than downloading and setting up a separate software wallet.
It’s based in and banked right here in the United States. In fact, Coinbase has its headquarters in San Francisco.
It’s very convenient: You can access Coinbase through a browser on a PC or with a smartphone app.
If that weren’t enough, Coinbase is an exchange, too. When you have an account at Coinbase, you automatically have an account at GDAX, the company’s full-featured Bitcoin exchange. If and when you feel ready to move on to Bitcoin trading rather than just buying, your GDAX account is ready and waiting.
For these reasons, Coinbase has experienced dramatic growth over the past couple of years – from about four million customers in mid-2016 to more than 68 million by August 2021. But such rapid expansion has caused growing pains.
When cryptocurrency prices are spiking or plunging, the site can get very slow or even crash. Customer service has been spotty in the past as the company has struggled to keep up with its exploding user base. Coinbase fees also tend to be a bit higher than on other Bitcoin exchanges.
That said, I’ve had a Coinbase account since 2013 and personally have not had any issues buying, selling, or transferring Bitcoin or U.S. dollars in and out of the account. And none of those issues change the fact that Coinbase is the best place to buy Bitcoin if you’re new to cryptocurrencies.
Now, here’s your step-by-step guide on how to open, set up, and start using a Coinbase account.
How to Buy Cryptocurrencies on Coinbase – There Are Six Steps
STEP ONE: Go to the Coinbase website (www.coinbase.com). Fill in your email address, and click the “Get Started” button.
STEP TWO: You will see a “Create Your Account” dialog box. Fill in the blanks, making sure to create a strong password. It’s up to you, of course, but the best, most secure passwords today use a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Coinbase will send you a verification email to the address you supplied. You’ll need to check your email and click on the link in the Coinbase email to continue. Clicking on the verification email will take you back to the Coinbase site.
STEP THREE: You will be walked through a series of screens that ask you for additional information. First, it will ask if you’re setting up an account for an individual or a business. After you click on “Individual,” you will be asked for a phone number. Be sure to use a mobile phone number – not a landline – as Coinbase sometimes uses the SMS text messaging feature to send the security codes required in two-step verification.
STEP FOUR: Now, you’ve arrived at the “Add Account” page. This is how you’ll get U.S. dollars into your account to buy Bitcoin and other cryptos.
You have three options: a bank account, a credit card, or a wire transfer. A bank account gives you higher limits than a credit card. (Coinbase has limits on how much cryptocurrency a customer can buy or sell in a given time period.) The link to a bank account also works both ways – when you sell, you can transfer the proceeds back into your account, which isn’t possible with a credit or debit card.
But using a credit card gives you the ability to buy instantly. Fund transfers via bank accounts take four to five days to confirm – not ideal when you want to buy now. However, you can link both types if you like – as well as more than one of each type.
To link a bank account, click on that option and scroll through the list to find your bank. Then, all you have to do is type in the online ID and password you use when logging in to your bank’s website.
The credit card option asks for the number, expiration date, CVC code (a three-digit code – usually on the back of the physical card), and your billing ZIP code. It’s not all that different from how you’d make a credit card purchase on a retailer’s website. You may also need to submit an image of a photo ID – such as a driver’s license – to confirm your identity.
STEP FIVE: To enable your Coinbase U.S.-dollar wallet, you need to do another verification step. (I know all this verification seems burdensome, but designed to protect you, and it’s absolutely necessary to prevent fraud – and much of it is required by law.
Click on your name in the upper-right corner of the Coinbase screen and select “Settings” from the drop-down menu. To verify your U.S.-dollar wallet, click on the link highlighted with the light blue background (the words are “Verifying Your Identity”). You’ll be taken to a page that asks for your personal identification data as well as your occupation.
STEP SIX: At this point, you’re ready to use the Coinbase service. The Dashboard page has prices and charts of the cryptocurrencies you can buy. You can track prices by the hour, day, week, month, or year.
To buy Bitcoin, just click on the “Buy/Sell” button at the top of the page. There, you will find options for what you want to buy. You can set the amount to buy of any of the cryptocurrencies, a choice of payment method (if you have more than one), and boxes where you can set the amount of U.S. dollars or the cryptocurrency – in this case, Bitcoin.
You can also set up recurring buys here if you want to purchase a set amount of a particular cryptocurrency at a set interval of a day, week, every two weeks, or monthly. A screen to the right details the transaction. If everything looks correct, click on the big, blue “Buy” button at the bottom of the screen. The cryptocurrency is deposited directly in your Coinbase wallet (immediately, if you used a credit card – several days later, if you used a bank account).
Congratulations – you just bought your first cryptocurrency!