How to buy crypto now: Easy guide for complete beginners

Kathleen Marshall
6 min readApr 6, 2021


If you’re a complete beginner in the cryptocurrency world, you probably want to know how to actually buy crypto of your own. Some people are afraid to try because they don’t understand how it all works. You don’t need to be afraid; I’ll help you. You can start very small to learn the ropes without feeling like you’re taking a big risk.

Web Stock photos by Vecteezy

I’m going to assume that you can buy crypto where you live. Different countries have different regulations. Make sure you check into this before you get started. Once that is out of the way, decide what exchange you want to use. If you haven’t decided yet, read my article on understanding wallets and exchanges.

Register on your exchange

I usually recommend starting with Coinbase if you are new. I started there because it was recommended to me, and I’ve never had any issues. Coinbase is the world’s largest exchange for a reason. It’s secure and easy to use. Other top exchanges include Binance, Gemini, and Kraken.

If you’d like to start with Coinbase, I’d appreciate you using my link to sign up. If you do, you’ll receive $10 in Bitcoin after you buy or sell your first $100 on that exchange, and I will too. Even if you don’t use my link, Coinbase usually offers new users $10 in Bitcoin with the first $100 purchase. Check to see if your country is supported here.

The first thing you have to do is register on the exchange of your choice. You’ll have to validate your identity and also set up 2-factor identification. This makes your account more secure. For example, when I log into Coinbase, I put in my username and password. Then I receive a code that I have to type in to prove that it’s me logging in and not someone else.

Prices page on Coinbase
Prices page on Coinbase

Now that you’re in, browse around. Click on Prices and you’ll see a list of crypto assets and their prices from the last 24 hours. This will give you an idea of which coins performed the best — and the worst. You can also choose which coins you’d like to keep an eye on by clicking the star at the end of the row for each coin. Stars create a watch list that you can view from your Home page.

Check out the prices

As you can see, there are many, many coins that you can buy. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. When you’re just beginning you should stick to the most successful and established coins. I usually recommend starting with Bitcoin and/or Ethereum.

As of this writing, Bitcoin is $58,876. This is where many people think they can’t get into Bitcoin. Who has an extra $60,000 laying around? I know I don’t. But that’s okay because you don’t have to buy a whole Bitcoin.

Price of Bitcoin $58,876

You can start out buying satoshis. A satoshi is the smallest unit of Bitcoin, equal to 100 millionth of a Bitcoin. When you make regular purchases of small amounts of Bitcoin, it’s called “stacking sats”. So just decide how much you feel safe investing and test the waters.

Jump right in!

Say you want to start with $20. See the blue button that says Buy Bitcoin on the right? Above that it says $0. That’s where you type in the dollar amount you want to spend. You will need to put in payment information as well. This may be your bank, a credit card, wire transfer… it will vary depending on the exchange. Connecting your bank is usually the best option. But, some banks block crypto transactions, and not all exchanges offer bank transfers.

Now that you have $20 typed in and have linked your payment method you just click that blue button. Congratulations! You are now the proud new owner of Bitcoin! When you click Portfolio you’ll see your purchase and what it’s value is. Note that there will be a small fee taken out for the transaction. This is typically around 1.5% but it will vary based on the exchange and the amount of the transaction.

Put your coins in your wallet

It’s always best to keep your crypto in a crypto wallet. You certainly can keep your asset on an exchange, but if you have a large amount, a wallet is the safest place to store them. In fact, if you have a large amount, you should have multiple wallets.

Just as with exchanges, there are many wallets to choose from. Coinbase has a wallet app. There is also Metamask, TrustWallet, Exodus and more. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll use the Coinbase wallet for this article.

Coinbase mobile app
Image courtesy of Coinbase

Download the Coinbase wallet app and connect it to your Coinbase account. Now go to Settings and then Transfer. Choose the currency and amount you’d like to transfer. Follow any additional prompts and you’re done. It really is that simple!

Now what?

Okay, so now you have your very own account on an exchange, and your very own wallet with crypto you bought yourself. That’s awesome! Now what?

Well, now you need to make some decisions. Do you want to hold (“hodl” in crypto circles) on to your coins and watch them grow in value? Or is your goal to buy and sell?

Either answer is fine. In fact, your answer can be both! To start, you may want to build up your assets a bit while you watch the markets. Keep in mind, you’re going to see them go up and down and the amounts may seem dramatic.

But here’s the thing…

As a whole, cryptocurrencies have gone up. Not just a little bit either. Cryptocurrencies have exploded, and they will continue to do so. Look at your Coinbase account again. Click on prices and then change 24 hours to 1 year. Bitcoin has gone up over 693% in the last year. Ethereum has gone up over 1131%!

Market year increases

How many investments have you made that have given those kinds of returns? I’m betting there aren’t very many. You may have people telling you that you’ve missed the Bitcoin boat. Don’t believe them. You can still invest and expect to see an amazing return over time. Cryptocurrency is still new, and it’s still volatile. But it’s still growing even though it seems to rise and fall dramatically in value.

Now you know how to get started so you can be a part of the growth. Next, we’ll talk about security and cryptocurrencies. You need to make sure your crypto is secure along with all of your devices.

If you found this article helpful, please share it, follow me, and give me a clap! 👏



Kathleen Marshall

Kathleen Marshall is a certified cryptocurrency expert and trader working on her blockchain certification. She’s been a freelancer since 1996.