Buying Bitcoin, Ether And Many Others On Coinbase

Coinbase is an US-American exchange where you can trade cryptocurrencies. They’re one of the very few exchanges who own a BitLicense, and are generally considered trustworthy (editor’s note: with trustworthy, I don’t mean that they won’t forward your data to the IRS, I mean that your cryptocurrencies are safe… well, at least until now).

As far as I know, Coinbase is the only exchange which has an active insurance for the cryptocurrencies they hold for their customers. And while I still like to advocate storing your crypto on your own wallets (“not your keys, not your money!”), I’d say that Coinbase can be considered a good place to store your crypto – if you absolutely have to, which I personally don’t see much reason for, though.

This article will explain how to buy cryptocurrencies on Coinbase. Exemplarily, this article will explain how to buy Bitcoin (BTC), but you can use the same procedure to buy any other crypto Coinbase offers.

Here’s a list of coins they currently support (February 2nd, 2019):

  • BAT (Basic Attention Token)
  • BTC (Bitcoin
  • BCH (BCash)
  • ETH (Ethereum)
  • ETC (Ethereum Classic)
  • LTC (Litecoin)
  • ZEC (ZCash)
  • ZRX (0x)

Also, you can use the Stablecoin “USDC”, as well as an Euro / US-Dollar-Wallet.

So, let’s get started!

Create Account

As with any (centralized) trading platform, we first need an account. Navigate to coinbase.com (you will earn 10 USD of free Bitcoin when you use this link and buy or sell 100$ of BTC or more!) and fill out the form. You will see a notice that enchained (that’s me!) has invited you to join Coinbase.

Select a proper password (you might wanna use all kinds of letters and numbers, as well as special characters, (or – better – use a dynamically generated one from services such as gaijin.at!), enter your name, email, confirm that you’re 18 years old or older and don’t forget the Google reCAPTCHA.

Buying Cryptocurrency On Coinbase: 01 - Register Account
Buying Cryptocurrency On Coinbase: 01 - Register Account Note: please use proper name and email address! 😉

In the next window, select whether you’re an individual or corporate account. In most cases, “Individual” applies. If you create the account on behalf of a / your company, select “Business”. Fill out the form and hit “Create Account”!

coinbase.com: 02 - Account Type
coinbase.com: 02 - Account Type

Now, you will be lead through a few more screens containing information on Coinbase’s Privacy Policy. Read it carefully and confirm each step.

You will receive a confirmation email. Open it and click the confirmation link to enable your account.

Add phone number

The next window will ask you for your phone number. Select the proper country and enter your phone number without the leading “0”. Coinbase will need your phone number to send you confirmation messages (second factor, kind of), for when you do important things, like withdrawing money or coins.

coinbase.com: 03 - enter phone number

Coinbase will send you a confirmation code which you will have to enter. So, check your phone, enter your 7-digit-confirmation code and your account is ready to use!

Know-Your-Customer: KYC

After your initial login, you will be asked to verify your account. Follow the steps on the screen, enter all requested information (such as address etc.) and upload a copy of your driver’s license, passport or ID to increase the buying limits on your account.

Note: nearly every exchange requires these kinds of information, nowadays. By law, they need to make sure they know who they’re dealing with, in case of fraudulent activity.

Add a payment method

To start buying crypto, you’ll first have to add a payment method. Navigate to the “Buy/Sell” menu item and you will be prompted to add a payment method. Hit the “add payment method” button and select either 3D Secure Credit Card” to buy with Visa or Mastercard, or add a bank account (for bigger amounts).

coinbase.com: 04 - add payment method
coinbase.com: 04 - add payment method (please excuse the German language; I couldn't find a way to change it to English… I hope it works anyway!)
coinbase.com: 05 - select payment method

As we’re only going to buy a small amount of crypto, we’ll proceed with the credit card option.

Hint: when you’re trading with another person, e.g. on bitcointalk.org, never ever ever use a reversible payment method, such as PayPal or credit card! You’re very likely to get scammed!

Complete the form:

  • set your address, confirm
  • enter the name
  • card number
  • expiration date
  • CVC
  • postal code

…and finally, hit “add card”. If you did everything right, you’ll be able to buy cryptocurrency, now.

Click Buy/Sell in the main menu to get to the buying form. Your previously added credit card should be visible right above the “Buy Bitcoin” button.

Enter the amount you desire to buy (conveniently, you can either enter the Euro / US-Dollar-amount or, alternatively, switch to BTC to enter the amount in Bitcoin) and click the “Buy Bitcoin” button.

coinbase.com: 06 - buy Bitcoin
coinbase.com: 06 - buy Bitcoin / as you see, I found a way to change the language back to English; the language dropdown only appears after you've completely finished creating your account.

You will likely be prompted to enter a verification code from your bank. So keep the login to your bank ready, as well as the payment authentication method you’re using in your online banking (in my case, this was plain old paper TAN).

coinbase.com: 06 - buy Bitcoin
coinbase.com: 06 - buy Bitcoin / as you see, I found a way to change the language back to English; the language dropdown only appears after you've completely finished creating your account.
coinbase.com: 08 - payment confirmed
coinbase.com: 08 - payment confirmed

That’s it! You have successfully bought a fraction of a Bitcoin. Feels good, doesn’t it? 🙂

Next, let’s withdraw your precious BTC.

Because you’re a genuine crypto enthusiast and always follow the “not your keys, not your Bitcoin” directive, you wanna withdraw your BTC, now.

Go to your Bitcoin wallet and copy the address you wanna receive the BTC to (if you wanna deposit your BTC to an exchange, go there and copy the Bitcoin address they provide you).

With your Bitcoin address in the clipboard, navigate to the “Accounts” menu item on coinbase. Select the “BTC Wallet” tab and you’ll see the BTC you just bought.

coinbase.com: 09 - coinbase accounts
coinbase.com: 09 - coinbase accounts
coinbase.com: 10 - bought bitcoin
coinbase.com: 10 - bought bitcoin

Everything there? Good. On the left, where the tabs for the cryptocurrencies are located, click the “Send” button. The following form will ask you for your BTC address, the amount and, if you want, you can add an optional message. Let’s do this!

coinbase.com: 11 - withdraw your coins
coinbase.com: 11 - withdraw your coins
coinbase.com: 12 - enter confirmation code
coinbase.com: 12 - enter confirmation code to complete your withdrawal

This is the moment when you’ll be happy that you entered a valid phone number in the registration process. Check your phone, grab the confirmation code and enter it.

If entered correctly, you’ll receive a short notice that everything went fine and your coins will be sent.

It seems that Coinbase is quite fast. At least when I tried it (for this tutorial), the coins were sent immediately. Maybe that’s the bonus you get for paying a cheeky 1% fee on your purchase. 😉

That’s it! You registered on Coinbase, verified your account, bought cryptocurrency and successfully withdrew your new coins. Awesome!