How to buy crypto

Get your first crypto in minutes!

1. Download the multi-chain Wallet app.
2. Setup your payment method (credit/debit, Apple Pay, etc.).
3. Follow the instructions to buy.

Table of Contents

  1. Key points to consider
  2. Not your keys, not your coins!
  3. Why do I need to verify my identity to purchase crypto?
  4. What are the fees for buying crypto?
  5. Ways to buy crypto
  6. Buying crypto with the multi-chain Wallet
  7. Buying crypto from the website
  8. Buying crypto from a centralized crypto exchange
  9. Buying crypto using a peer-to-peer trading platform

Key points to consider

The three key points to consider when buying crypto are:

  1. Payment method
  2. Platform/venue used
  3. Where your crypto goes

Payment methods range from credit card to bank transfer, payment app (PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.), face-to-face with cash, and even barter. Each payment method carries tradeoffs in terms of convenience, privacy, and associated fees.

Platforms/venues for buying crypto include digital wallet providers, centralized spot exchanges, OTC desks (private 'Over-The-Counter' exchange services used primarily by high-net-worth individuals), peer-to-peer marketplaces, and even payment apps like PayPal.

Of course, it's also possible to buy crypto face-to-face. For example, you could give cash to your friend in exchange for receiving an agreed amount of a cryptocurrency.

As for where your crypto goes after you buy it, the options are:

  1. Into a crypto wallet you control (ie. a 'self-custodial' wallet like the multi-chain Wallet)
  2. Into a crypto wallet someone else controls (eg. a centralized crypto exchange or a payment app like PayPal).

Not your keys, not your coins!

When you hold crypto in a wallet you control (known as a ‘self-custodial’ or 'non-custodial' wallet), you never have to ask for permission to use it. This means you can receive your crypto without waiting for a third party like a centralized exchange to approve the transaction. It also means you can send your cryptoassets wherever you want, whenever you want.

By contrast, many custodial crypto wallets impose severe restrictions on what you can do with your crypto. For example, you may be asked to register an address before sending crypto to it, and you may be required to wait several days before being allowed to make a withdrawal. In some cases, withdrawals of any kind are simply not permitted. It's also not uncommon to have your account frozen altogether. If you've been deemed a security or fraud risk, for example, you may be locked out of your account with no recourse to action.

The best self-custodial crypto wallets also enable you to customize the 'network fee' each time you send. This means you can save money on transaction fees when you're not in a rush, or pay more to send faster when you are.

Perhaps most importantly, self-custodial crypto are more secure. As long as you maintain key management best practices, you'll never have to worry about getting hacked, nor will you be exposed to counter-party risks like a centralized exchange getting hacked or going bankrupt. Red more about these risks here.

If you don't have a crypto wallet yet, we encourage you to consider the multi-chain Wallet. It’s the easy-to-use, self-custodial crypto wallet trusted by millions.

Read more: What's a self-custodial crypto wallet?

Why do I need to verify my identity to purchase crypto?

When you buy crypto with a government-issued currency through an exchange service, you're interacting with a regulated business. Such businesses must comply with Know-Your-Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) regulations pertaining to the transfer of money. These regulations require the collection and storage of customer information, including identity documents and sometimes proof of address.

What are the fees for buying crypto?

Fees for buying crypto depend on the payment method and platform/venue used. For example, if you're buying directly from a friend and settling in cash, you'll only need to consider the 'network fee' for sending the crypto from your friend's crypto wallet to yours.

Learn about sending crypto, including information on network fees and more.

If you're paying with a credit card or by bank transfer, you'll of course need to factor in the fees for using those payment methods.

Beyond that, exchange services charge additional fees for facilitating trades. In general, you'll pay lower overall fees for larger purchases, so it often makes sense to avoid making many small buys.

Read more: How crypto exchange works.

Ways to buy crypto

Having gone through the basics of buying crypto, let's look in more detail at the methods and processes.

Skip ahead:

  • Buying crypto with the multi-chain Wallet
  • Buying crypto from the website
  • Buying crypto from a centralized crypto exchange
  • Buying crypto using a peer-to-peer trading platform

Buying crypto with the multi-chain Wallet

Cryptocurrency wallets allow you to buy cryptoassets conveniently from within the wallet app, and the Wallet is no exception. Importantly, the Wallet is fully self-custodial. This means you're always in complete control of your crypto. Here's the process for buying crypto using the Wallet app:

  1. Open the Wallet app on your device.
  2. Select the cryptoasset you wish to purchase. For example, Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and tap the "Buy" button.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to choose your preferred wallet for depositing. The Wallet actually consists of separate wallets for each cryptoasset we support (eg. BTC, BCH, etc.). Additionally, you can make as many individual wallets as you want, a feature that can help you to organize your funds. For example, you can make one Bitcoin wallet called My BTC Savings and another Bitcoin wallet called Everyday BTC Spending.
  4. If it's your first purchase, enter your credit card information and verify your identity. After your first purchase, which includes identification verification, future purchases are completed in seconds!
  5. Once complete, your purchase will proceed.

Of course, you can also use your Wallet to receive, hold, and use the cryptoassets you've already purchased via a different method. Other methods for buying crytpo include:

Buying crypto from the website

You can buy a range of cryptocurrencies from the website using your credit/debit card or other payment method (Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.). When you buy crypto from our website, you'll need to decide where to receive it. This means you'll need to input an appropriate crypto address when prompted.

For example, a Bitcoin address looks something like this:


An Ethereum address looks like this:


Here's the process for buying from our website:

  1. Visit our Buy page.
  2. Select the cryptocurrency you wish to purchase. For example, Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH), and tap the "Buy" button.
  3. Choose whether you want to pay in USD or another local currency, and enter the currency amount (eg. $100).
  4. Click the BUY button.
  5. Enter your wallet address. Here's where you'll decide where the cryptoasset you're buying goes. For example, you can send cryptocurrency straight to your multi-chain Wallet. To do so, you just need to provide the right cryptocurrency address. To get the right address:
    1. Open the app
    2. Tap the receive icon
    3. Select the cryptocurrency our want to receive (eg. BTC, BCH, ETH) choose the crypto wallet you want to receive it to (eg. My BTC Wallet, My ETH Savings Wallet, etc.)
    4. Tap the copy button to save the address to your clipboard. You'll need to paste that address into the website. If you're accessing the website from your desktop or laptop, you can, for example, email the address to yourself then paste it in the wallet address field on our site.
  6. Complete the purchase process by creating an account and providing your payment details.

Here’s a video showing how to find your cryptocurrency address in the Wallet:

Buying crypto from a centralized crypto exchange

With this method, the cryptocurrency you purchase will at first be held by the crypto exchange on your behalf. If you'd like to take full control of your crypto, you'll need to withdraw it from the exchange to a self-custodial wallet like the multi-chain Wallet. When you withdraw crypto from an exchange, you'll be subject to the exchange's withdrawal policy and fees. In some cases, you may not be able to withdraw for days or weeks, and the withdrawal fee could be much higher than a crypto transaction fee for that network would normally be.

Read more: How to send crypto.

Here's the typical flow for buying cryptocurrency from an exchange.

  1. Visit a crypto exchange website.
  2. Create an account and verify your identity as required.
  3. Follow the website’s instructions to buy your cryptoassets, such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).
  4. Your purchased cryptocurrency will appear in your exchange account.
  5. If you'd like to take full control of your cryptoasset, send it from the exchange to your self-custodial wallet (like the Wallet).

Buying crypto using a peer-to-peer trading platform

A variety of platforms facilitate the trading of cryptocurrencies by offering 1) a venue for buyers and sellers to post their buy and sell orders, and 2) an escrow and dispute resolution service.

Since these platforms principally help people find each other, in many jurisdictions the platforms themselves aren't technically classified as 'money transmitters,' so in some cases they don't require you to reveal your identity in order to use them. For privacy-conscious buyers, therefore, P2P platforms can be an effective method for obtaining cryptocurrencies, despite being generally less convenient, and often more costly overall (it can be hard to get the "correct" market rate using this method due to lack of liquidity). Note however, that, as a seller, using a peer-to-peer platform to engage in the commercial sale of cryptoassets (beyond, say, a few small transactions here and there) may find you on the wrong side of the law in your country since you may be considered a money transmitter operating without a license.

Read more: How crypto exchange works

Most peer-to-peer crypto exchanges integrate a reputation system, meaning they track and display the trading history of their users. If you're looking to buy using a P2P exchange, you'll want to choose sellers who have a good reputation, meaning they've completed several trades and never had a complaint.

The process for buying cryptoassets using a peer-to-peer exchange is typically as follows:

  1. Browse through listings by payment type (eg. bank transfer, PayPal, etc.), amount, location of seller, reputation, and so on.
  2. Initiate a trade. Doing so locks up the cryptoasset in an escrow account.
  3. Send the agreed payment amount via the agreed payment method. Note, this could potentially even mean meeting the seller in person and handing over cash directly.
  4. The seller then confirms receipt of the payment via the website or app. This triggers the cryptoasset to be released from escrow to your crypto wallet.
  5. In some cases, the purchased cryptoasset will be released from escrow directly to the crypto wallet of your choosing. In other cases, it will first be sent to your peer-to-peer platform account wallet (which is typically a custodial web wallet). In that case, you'd then want to withdraw it to a crypto wallet you control. Note that this final step often incurs a fee, which typically constitutes the peer-to-peer platform's business model.

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