When Mom Asks: How Do I Buy Cryptocurrency?

Mom, this post is for you. (Of course, anyone else with an adamantly-curious mom is more than welcome to direct them here, too.)

So, mom, you want to buy some cryptocurrency? To help you, first, I need to tell you: Most cryptocurrency prices are uncomfortably volatile and could still potentially go to zero. Read that again.

Most cryptocurrency prices are uncomfortably volatile and could still potentially go to zero.

That said, now I’m going to have to set aside the completely sound notion that your investments should probably be more stable than mine given our different ages and taking into account the years until we each plan to retire. Then, I’ll need to disregard the fact that plenty of your peers are screaming “BUBBLE” from the rooftops at the top of their lungs.

Sure, mom, maybe they’re just getting old. No, mom… of course you’re not getting old!

Alright, ok, I’ll just focus on the fact that you’re an adult and you can do what you want with your husband’s money. (Besides that, this can’t really be any worse than your infamous shopping sprees…)

Ok, disclaimers presented – check. Conscience cleared – check.

Let’s go ahead and get started.

Step-by-step, how to buy Ethereum (if you’re a forwarding-thinking trail blazer), Bitcoin (if you want something to talk about at parties) or Litecoin (if you only have less than $100 to spend and irrationally desire a “whole coin”):

  1. You need to get on the internet. On your laptop, open your browser. If you’re reading this, then you’re already in your browser… so you can simply open another tab (hold ctrl and t at the same time — remember?)
  2. In your new tab’s address bar, type:
    coinbase.com?r=56841914d1c68c04630001a6
    …or you can hold ctrl on your keyboard and click on my link above. Yes, the “?r=” part is a referral link. If you buy $100 worth of cryptocurrency, then you’ll immediately get 10% back on your money! Unfortunately, it’s capped at $10 and you must buy $100 worth of cryptocurrency in the next 90 days. I’ll get $10, too, which would be nice, because this write-up is taking longer than I anticipated.
  3. Be sure to double-check the url. We’re dealing with money here. Make sure you get the green lock in the address bar.
  4. Then, click on “Sign Up” in the top right. I’ll attach a screenshot for steps 3 and 4, because you need to be sure that you’re on the right website!
  5. Fill in your information. The password you choose shouldn’t be the cat’s name smashed together with your birthday. This involves money, remember. You’ll get a screen that looks like this:
  6. Go ahead and verify your email, as it instructs. If you’ve forgotten the password for your email address, or even your email address itself, you can find it in the yellow notebook next to the… you better call me, then.
  7. Provide your phone number and then enter the verification code they’ll send you. Having your phone number on file is a good idea if you’ll have any cryptocurrency sitting on the exchange. Which, you will, at least until I can get around to writing another guide.
  8. Click on “Verify Phone Number” in the bottom right. If something happened and you can’t get your verification code, or you misplaced your phone again and would like to proceed anyway – then you can click “Skip, I’ll do this later”.
  9. Now you’ll need to decide how you want to pay for your cryptocurrency. You’re given two options. You can either pay with a bank account or with a credit/debit card. And you’ll have access to your cryptocurreny in a few minutes or a few days, respectively.The Credit/Debit method is much quicker, but carries an additional 3.99% fee! Since you’re probably in no hurry to send your cryptocurrency anywhere, “Bank Account” will be just fine.

    Whichever method you choose here, the last step, buying, will be the same.

  10. If you have an online bank account, then you’ll select your bank and verify yourself with them. The Bank Account method goes more smoothly if you are already signed up for an online banking account (yes, mom, you are) through a major bank. If you weren’t, then you would need to scroll to the very bottom of the bank list and click “Other Bank”. Then you would need to enter your account info from your checkbook. Going the latter route could possibly take a few extra days for verification of your bank account.
  11. Buy! Buy! Buy! This is what you wanted, remember? Just ten short steps ago. Pick your cryptocurrency of choice at the top (you’re a trailblazer, so you’ll pick Ethereum, no doubt), and enter the amount of USD you want to spend or the units of cryptocurrency that you want. Then, click buy!
  12. You’re done. Your price is locked in, but your cryptocurrency will take a while to be delivered. No worries though, because now you can spend that waiting time daydreaming about becoming a cryptocurrency millionaire!

CONGRATULATIONS, mom, you are now a cryptocurrency speculator!

Uhm, sorry, I meant… investor. Definitely – cryptocurrency investor!

Enjoy the roller-coaster and being part of the inevitable future of the internet. (The inevitability being the blockchain technology itself… not necessarily, unfortunately, the crytpocurrency that you invested in.)

Now you have to learn what it means to hodl.

I’m passionate about blockchains. I’m excited about decentralization, autonomous organizations, cryptocurrencies, and uncensorable dApps.

I’m also overwhelmed – with questions about these cutting edge technologies. I want to understand the tech, the politics, and the implications of the blockchain revolution.

Most of all, I want to share what I discover – because broader understanding will lead to greater participation, more rapid adoption, and, subsequently, a better world.

Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet