Ethereum or ETH, like Bitcoin, is a distributed peer to peer public blockchain network. Seen as the closest competitor to Bitcoin in terms of market capitalization and user adoption. Ethereum and Bitcoin both differ in terms of technical capabilities and use cases.
The key functionality of Ethereum is the availability of smart contracts. Smart contracts enable the user to the core and develop contracts that are self-executing and can handle the enforcement management and payment all by itself.
Ethereum can also be used to build Decentralised Anonymous Organisations or DAO, which represents a fully anonymous organization with no single leader and they are used to run a collection of smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain.
One such vulnerability in the DAO concept resulted in a hacker stealing around 50 million dollars worth of Ethereum last year, and prompted the debate between Ethereum developers to rewrite the blockchain and restore the funds or to let it be. With no consensus achieved Ethereum underwent a hard fork resulting in a split into Ethereum classic (ETC) and Ethereum (ETH) as it is today.
The road ahead for Ethereum has some very exciting proposed changes ahead, with the expected Metropolis hard fork with proposed changes like Raiden and zk-SNARKS.
Raiden, the Lightning Network equivalent for ETH, relies on the idea that global consensus may not be required for transactions between common participants and thereby suggests use of off-chain peer-to-peer based networks, which allows users to exchange messages only the final transactions to be aided by the blockchain thereby reducing transaction fees and increase transaction speeds significantly.
The other exciting change is zk-SNARKS, which is aimed at paving the way for anonymous transactions in the future on the Ethereum Network.
Other changes include adjustments to the codebase for making programming of Ethereum’s Smart contract technology easier for developers and an automated adjustment of gas rates for transactions solely based on the current network congestion, a much-needed solution to excessive gas rate charging by certain exchanges on the pretext of network congestion.
How to buy ETH?
Ethereum ranks second in terms of market capitalization only next to Bitcoin and currently trades at a price of $300 coin. Ethereum has seen a massive growth of more than 2000% since the last year and is still a stable investment option for the longer term.
Step 1: Get an ETH Wallet
Few of the most popular wallet options for ETH are shown below. Users can choose one amongst the following depending on their security needs and their operating system they tend to use.
For better security for your ETH, hardware wallet is the way to go. Go for either a Ledger Nano S or Trezor, both the hardware wallets support most of the major cryptocurrencies and can be considered.
Step 2: Buy ETH from an exchange
ETH can be bought at most of the leading cryptocurrencies either via Fiat or BTC, with Bitcoin being the preferred choice among users.
How to buy ETH using fiat in any country
Currencies are different in different countries, so are the exchanges that support those currencies. Every exchange that uses fiat in exchange of cryptocurrencies, has to go through a simple KYC process whereby users must submit government issued id(s) and other personal information in order begin trading on the platform.
The process usually takes 3-4 working days depending on the exchange. Once the KYC is done, you’re free to purchase Ethers, which are automatically stored in exchange’s online wallet.
Buy ETH in the United States (USD)
There are a lot of exchanges that support ETH/USD pair. A few reliable ones are:
Buy ETH in the China (CNY)
The Chinese government’s ICO (initial coin offering) ban and issue of notice to cryptocurrency exchanges to shut down resulted in the shutdown of BTCC, one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges among many others. At the time of writing following exchanges continue to operate as normal in China and accept ETH/CNY:
Buy ETH in the Korea (KRW)
Three of the five Korean exchanges constitute for top five exchanges in terms of Ethereum volume traded.
Buy ETH in the Japan (JPY)
The recent Chinese crackdown on exchanges has resulted in several traders moving to Japan for their Investments. Exchanges that list the ETH/JPY pair are:
Buy ETH in the Europe (EUR)
Europe has always been an odd region when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Too many countries with their own law in place working under the same financial regulation umbrella. Every country has its own set of payment options, yet there is no universal solution except SEPA transfers, which are only used for online transfers. Exchanges that accept ETH/EUR:
2. Buy Ethereum using Bitcoin
One can buy Ethereum or Ethereum Classic with Bitcoin at nearly any cryptocurrency exchange since most of the global Ethereum trading volume is actually done in the ETH/BTC pair. A few notable exchanges are:
Step 3: Withdraw ETH to your wallet
Leaving your coins on the exchange is not recommended. After the purchase of Ethereum from any of the exchanges, you must transfer them to a hardware wallet or choose any of the other wallet options above depending on your security needs.