Bitcoin is so awesome, it’s taking off very well. Right now it’s at $5,300+ apiece, and I’m sure you can’t help but think that you’ve missed the boat.
You’re not alone, for I’ve felt the same way as you.
But you know, Bitcoin is not the only coin that exists.
Welcome to the world of Altcoins, where cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin thrive.
There are hundreds of exciting digital coins in the market, such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, Dash, NEO, and Ripple. Each of them serves a different purpose and provides real-world benefits (like what Bitcoin did to payments).
Bottomline, missing the Bitcoin craze is no big deal. Owning a share of Altcoins allows you to reap massive profits both in the short-term and long-term.
Without further ado, let’s learn how to buy these Altcoins. I’ll show you 3 simple methods to do so, which I’ll explain in detail below.
Method 1: Use Selected Bitcoin Exchanges
There are Bitcoin platforms that allow you to buy and store Altcoins. The available currency varies with every exchange and is usually limited, so you have to do further research if the coin you want is not supported.
Also, these exchanges are constantly adding new coins over time, so you can just wait until they’re available. I’ll also try my best to update them often.
For the meantime, I suggest you check out these websites:
Available Currencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin
Description: Coinbase is the most popular option for buying Bitcoins, Ethereum, and Litecoin. At present, the buy/sell feature is available to only 32 countries including US, Canada, Australia, UK, Singapore, and many parts of Europe.
If you’re outside these countries, then look for other exchanges instead.
Available Currencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple
Description: Bitstamp has a wider coverage for people living outside of Coinbase countries. It also includes the purchase of Ripple, which is a nice currency to keep as well.
Also, Bitstamp is a great place to use your credit card to buy cryptocurrencies, which is done via a processor called Simplex.
3. BitPanda (formerly Coinimal)
Available Currencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash
Description: For European users, BitPanda is the ideal crypto exchange for you. Be prepared for a 3-part verification process, one being a live web chat with an agent.
It’s tough at first, but everything’s a breeze once you pass the identity verification. You can start buying Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dash at high purchase limits.
However, if you need Altcoins because you want to participate in trading and buy more cryptocurrencies, I suggest you check out the 2nd method.
Method 2: Use Cryptocurrency Trading Platforms
A trading site is one that allows you to buy and sell over 100+ cryptocurrencies. No need to ask whether your favourite coin is available or not, it’s always there!
In case you’ve never heard of the less popular cryptocurrencies, just head over to CoinMarketCap.com to learn their names and market values.
Also, think carefully before holding Altcoins for trading and investing. Make sure you have a way to securely store and liquidate your crypto assets when needed. If you become careless, you might lose your money forever.
Anyway, here are some of the best trading platforms to try:
Bittrex is a great option for cryptocurrency trading. It contains some of the best features, including lightning fast trade execution, stable wallets, and industry-best security practices.
I like how the interface looks, which is very clean. It has fonts, charts, and buttons that are big enough to be easily read.
To get started, first create your Bittrex account. I recommend verifying it right away so that you’re able to withdraw your money.
The first verified level is called a Basic Account, which can withdraw up to 3 BTC (or equivalent) per day. The second level is an Enhanced Account, which upgrades your maximum limit to 100 BTC (or equivalent) per day.
Poloniex is a US-based trading site offering maximum security for cryptocurrencies. When you deposit money in this website, the platform puts it in an air-gapped cold storage, meaning it’s offline and cannot be hacked.
When I first entered the dashboard of Poloniex, I was shocked to see lots of things going on. There are charts, market prices, buy/sell buttons, notice, and a trollbox. It was overwhelming that I had to logout at once (lol).
Anyways, to create an account, you need to fill in your details, as well as submit some identification documents to confirm that you’re a real person.
Kraken is a nice Bitcoin & Altcoin trading site as well, which was founded in 2011. It features Bitcoin margin trading and the “proof of reserve”, which is a cryptographic audit proving that an exchange owns cryptos at least equal or greater than what it owes to its customers.
Also, Kraken took part when Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy by aiding in the investigation of lost Bitcoins and claims. This simply proves that Kraken has a proven operating history, and that it’s never been breached by hackers.
Bitfinex is also a good website to trade, claiming that it’s the world’s largest and most advanced trading platform. It also allows margin trading and provides some advanced chart tools.
Although Bitfinex got involved in a $72 million hack in 2016, the exchange was able to return the lost money to its owners. If you want to get in, just be careful and don’t put too much money in your account.
Method 3: Convert Using Specialized Services
Last but not least, you can convert Bitcoins and Altcoins to one another using an online cryptocurrency converter. Instead of depositing your BTC in a trading site, a specialized converter will “instantly” trade your coins at the current exchange price.
Creating an account for storage is not necessary here because all you’re doing is converting coins. After the transaction, you’ll send the Altcoin immediately to your personal Altcoin wallet.
By the way, expect higher fees for the convenience it brings.
The two most popular services in the field are Shapeshift and Changelly, which I’ll further explain below:
Shapeshift was founded in 2013 by Erik Voorhees. Before that, Erik was involved in multiple companies, including Coinaputt, BitInstant, and SatoshiDice. He sold SatoshiDice to an investor for 126,315 Bitcoins, which was considered the “first big Bitcoin acquisition”.
Shapeshift is awesome because it allows you to quickly convert any cryptocurrency you have into a different one.
It supports a lot of tokens such as: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Blackcoin, Bitshares, Dash, Digibyte, Dogecoin, Ether, Ether Classic, Golem, Litecoin, Namecoin, Ripple, Waves, Zcash, Monero, and many more.
Changelly is another tool that’s in direct competition with Shapeshift, and was established just in 2016. The founders of Changelly started from a mining pool called MinerGate.
There’s a slight difference with using this tool, in that you need an email address in order to use Changelly. Shapeshift doesn’t require one so it respects your privacy.
Some of the tokens supported here are: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Monero, Zcash, Dash, Ripple, Steem, Ether Classic, Litecoin, Dogecoin, NEO, Gulden, OmiseGo, and so much more.
Altcoin Wallets: Where to Store Your Tokens
So you got your very first Altcoin? Great job!
Whether you invest for the long-term, day trade, or simply utilize the token’s benefits, you’ll definitely need a storage to contain it. Placing them in your web wallet is a bad practice to make (see Mt. Gox story).
Here are some wallet ideas to move your Altcoins to:
Trezor is a hardware wallet that you can carry anywhere like any device. Of course the downside is: If it’s lost, then your money is also lost.
Hardware wallets are a form of cold storage, which is great because it’s disconnected from the Internet. This makes it 100% secure from hackers and thieves.
Trezor has an Altcoin wallet for:
Exodus is one of the desktop wallets that support multiple currencies.
The main disadvantage is, when your computer is infected with malware, it could hack into your private keys and have your coins stolen. So don’t forget to back it up in a USB.
Exodus has an Altcoin wallet for:
- And more
Jaxx is a widely versatile wallet for storing Altcoins. It features a desktop and mobile wallet supporting almost all major cryptocurrencies currently in the market.
It also integrates with Shapeshift, which makes it easy for you to move from Altcoin to Altcoin without storing it online.
Jaxx has an Altcoin wallet for:
- Ethereum Classic
- And more
Coinomi is like Jaxx, but with so much more currencies to support. By the way, this wallet is a mobile app, meaning it can be installed in any Android or iOS smartphone.
Coinomi has an Altcoin wallet for:
- And so much more!
Go Ahead and Grab Your Altcoins
Now that you know where to buy and store Altcoins, I leave it up to you to explore each method. I do suggest that you start off with Bitcoin first and learning how to buy and store it, then grab the rest later.
With the booming growth of cryptocurrencies, it’s a nice ground for creating long-term investments. Who knows, you might come across a coin that grows 200, 500, or even 1,000%!
Anyway, I wish you good luck in your endeavours. And most importantly, stay safe when buying alternative cryptocurrencies.
If you have any questions about this guide, feel free to comment below and I’ll answer it as soon as I can.