So you have some US dollars and wish to invest in an altcoin, hoping to multiply your savings and are asking yourself the question, “How to buy altcoins with USD?“. In this special cryptocurrency guide, we’ll use the term “altcoin” to represent any digital currency except Bitcoin. There are several ways to do this, either by going through one of the major cryptocurrencies or by using an electronic wallet provider.
Where to Buy Altcoins
There are many sites where you can buy altcoins. But there are over 2000 altcoins, and no exchange lists them all. So where to buy your tokens depends on which specific token you wish to purchase. For relatively well-known tokens like Ethereum, Litecoin or EOS you will be able to choose among several exchanges. For lesser-known tokens like ArepaCoin or Revain, the choice of exchanges is a lot more limited.
There isn’t a unique, universal answer to the question of where to buy altcoins.
Most of the lesser-known altcoins are traded on exchanges that don’t accept fiat currencies like the US dollar, Chinese Yuan or Brazilian Real. Some exchanges like Binance and Bittrex offer more altcoins than others, but no exchange lists every single one of the 2400+ tokens out there, and you will have to do a little research to find out just where your desired token is listed. More on that in the step-by-step below.
Best Way to Buy Altcoins
Since most altcoins can’t be directly purchased with fiat currencies, you will first have to convert your dollars into tokens that can be purchased directly. There are two main ways to do this:
- Via crypto exchanges that accept fiat currencies: Exchanges like Coinbase or Kraken allow you to buy crypto tokens directly with US dollars. However, this option is not available for all cryptocurrencies listed on either exchange. Kraken lists 18 tokens that can be bought with USD. Coinbase lists 9.
- Via electronic wallets with cryptocurrency support: electronics wallets are services that allow you to receive, send and make payments online. The best-known e-wallet is PayPal, but there are others. Some of these, like Uphold and Skrill, also allow exchanging between US dollars and crypto tokens. Skrill supports 9 tokens. Uphold supports 16 tokens, and also allows fiat-to-fiat trading.
So the first step is going to be converting your USD to a major crypto token that can later be exchanged for the token you wish to purchase. But we’ll cover that in more detail in the step-by-step guide below.
Best Site to Buy Altcoins
There are hundreds of exchanges available for purchasing altcoins. Some are large sites, offering hundreds of tokens. Others are much smaller. Of course, the best site for buying altcoins depends on the specific token you wish to buy.
Generally speaking, when you choose an exchange for buying altcoins, there are two things you want: security and options. So, you want a site with good security protocols, and with the largest number of listed tokens possible. Some of the top altcoin exchanges are:
- Binance: currently lists 162 tokens with a 24-hour trading volume exceeding 920 million USD.
- Bittrex: there are 243 tokens currently available for trading. Their 24-hour market volume is around 25 million USD.
- Poloniex: trades in 56 tokens, with a daily trading volume of about 16 million USD.
Any of these exchanges allows fast, safe purchasing of altcoins.
Step-by-Step Guide For Buying Altcoins
Method 1: How to buy altcoins with USD going through en e-wallet service
In this tutorial, we’ll use Uphold as an example. Other e-wallets work in much the same way. Just make sure your wallet service supports crypto. Uphold provides you with wallets for USD and the crypto tokens it supports. Here, these wallets are called cards. So, you have a USD card, BTC card, ETH card, etc.
- Let’s assume you have an account un Uphold. If not, you can create one for free by clicking here. The first step will be to get your USD into your wallet. On your dashboard, click on the USD card. This will take you to a screen where you can do different operations with the US dollars you have on Uphold. Click on “Add Funds”.
- There are four options for adding funds to your USD card: from a US bank account, from a Euro bank account via SEPA, from a credit/debit card or with crypto. Click on “from U.S. Bank Account”.
- Fill in the required information, accept the terms and conditions and click “Create”. Note that the “Name this account” field is so you can select a name that is easy for you to identify, in case you link multiple bank accounts to your uphold account. The name on the bank account itself must match the name on your uphold account. Once the account is linked, you can select it as an option when adding funds to your USD card. Transfers take about 5 business days to complete.
- Once the funds are in your card, purchasing crypto tokens is very easy and takes only a few seconds. In this example, let’s suppose you want to purchase 20 dollars worth of ETH. Click on your USD card, like before, and you will be taken to the same screen where you linked your account from. But now, instead of clicking “Add funds”, click on “Transfer between your cards”. The following screen will appear:
- Type in the amount you wish to purchase (in USD). You will be presented with the current rate, fee and final credited amount. If everything is satisfactory, click “Confirm” and the transaction will be completed in seconds. Congrats! You have now purchased your first altcoin.
Method 2: How to buy altcoins with USD going through a crypto exchange
For this guide, we’ll use Kraken. Other exchanges operate in the same way. As before, the first step will be funding your wallet with a bank transfer. Just make sure your exchange accepts fiat currency trading.
- After logging in, click on the “Funding” tab
- (THIS SECTION WOULD INCLUDE THE STEPS AND SCREENCAPS FOR DEPOSITING USD INTO KRAKEN)
As you can see, buying your first altcoins with USD is an easy, pretty straightforward and fast procedure if you are buying a token that can be directly purchased with fiat currency. But this is true only for a small fraction of all the coins out there. How would you purchase another altcoin?
Let’s assume you wish to buy some Monero (XMR).
The first thing to consider right now is that not all tokens are directly tradeable with each other. Exchanges organize their tokens in what are called trading pairs. So, one token might be purchasable with bitcoins, but not ether, or vice-versa. Different exchanges feature different trading pairs.
How to Buy Monero Example
- First, we’ll find your exchange and trading pair. Head over to Crypto Market Cap and type the token you want in the search box in the top right.
- The search will provide information about the coin, including technical data, market volume, and a price chart. On the left you will see the top 10 exchanges for your token according to market volume, You can click for a full list, including trading pairs.
- Scrolling down the list, You can see Binance trades in Monero, and has an XMR/ETH trading pair. That means you can buy Monero with Ether.
- The next step is to log on to Binance, go over to “Wallets” and Click “Deposit”. You will be presented with a screen where you can select the token to be deposited. In this case, ETH.
- On the right, you’ll see the address for your Ethereum wallet on Binance. You will need to transfer your ETH to this wallet. Copy the address to your clipboard.
- Now head back to the exchange or wallet where you originally converted USD to ETH. In this example, I’ll use Uphold. From the Dashboard, click on your ETH card, and then select “Send to Cryptocurrency or Utility Token”.
- Scroll down until you see “Ether (ETH)” and click there.
- Paste the wallet address you copied from Binance into the first field, type the amount of ETH you wish to send and Confirm. The transfer will begin and should be done in a matter of minutes.
- Back on Binance, click on “Echanges” and then “Basic” from the top ribbon. You will be presented with a trading screen. From the right column, click on “ALTS” and then “ETH” to see all ether trading pairs. Scroll down until you find the “XMR/ETH” trading pair and click on it. You will now see a similar trading screen for the monero/ether pair. From here you will be able to both buy XMR with ETH or sell XMR for ETH.
Buying altcoins with USD can be a simple process, but It can also be more complex. It all depends on the specific token you wish to purchase. For the major altcoins, like Ethereum, Litecoin, BAT or EOS, direct purchasing is an option, and there are exchanges (like Coinbase or Kraken) and e-wallets (like Uphold or Skrill) that will let you do so easily. For lesser-known altcoins, you will need to go to crypto-only exchanges like Binance or Bittrex, after doing an initial fiat-to-crypto conversion. That wraps it up for this guide on how to buy altcoins with USD.
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Jesus Cedeño is a certified doctor turned cryptocurrency expert, writer, and investor who lives in New York City. Jesús specializes in cryptocurrency product reviews, tutorials & technical analysis. Follow him on LinkedIn to stay up to date on his latest work on blockchain, decentralization and crypto investments.