Coinbase is the easiest and most common place to buy and sell digital currency. You can hook up your bank account or credit card and buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and the recently added Bitcoin Cash. Coinbase does charge fees but if you know what you're doing you can avoid them fully! Find out how below.
You'll need to go to Coinbase and create your account. Once you're in, you can scroll down and see that there's still more steps to complete your account. Those steps include adding your bank account and verifying your identity. Make sure you add a bank account and NOT A CARD so you can deposit money and avoid fees.
Instead of buying Bitcoin or other currencies directly you will want to deposit USD into your coinbase account. Do this by navigating to "Accounts" at the top and then clicking "deposit" on your USD Wallet. You can transfer it directly from your bank account. If you do a wire transfer it costs $10. It will take a few business days for the money to arrive, so try and be patient!
Now it's time for you to meet GDAX, which is owned by Coinbase. GDAX is a trading platform so it's for people with a bit more experience. Visit gdax.com and login with your coinbase credentials.
I'm hoping you feel official now that all these green + red numbers and charts are on your screen! It can be a bit intimidating if you've never seen anything like this before but hang in there, it's easier than it looks. If you look at the top left of the screen you should see "BTC/USD". That means you are looking at the chart for Bitcoin and US Dollar. Below that you should see a "Deposit" button - click that. Navigate to "Coinbase account", make sure "USD Wallet" is selected, and enter the amount of USD you'd like to deposit. That amount will show up in your USD balance. Now, you'll need to know which currency(s) you're buying. You can select which currency to buy by hovering over "BTC/USD" in the top left and then selecting from the list. Make sure you select the "currency/USD" and not "currency/BTC". Then click "Limit" on the left side of your screen and make sure "buy" is selected. Check the current price of the currency on the chart, for example let's say it is $1000. Then enter $999 (or any amount that's below the current price) where it says "limit price". Then you'll need to enter the amount of the coin you want to buy. In this example, if you had $999 to spend you would buy 1 coin. The math can be a bit tough on this part but I recommend entering a coin amount, reading the "total USD" down below, and adjusting the amount of coin according to the amount of money you have available to invest. The last step is to click "Place Buy Order". You'll see it appear in "Open Orders" below. The order will fill once the coins price drops to the "limit price" you set. So, if the price goes up, you will find yourself waiting for the order to fill until the price drops back down to what you entered in "limit price". If you want to really dive into GDAX or need help with the limit order,
this is a good video. Limit order details are around 5:00 in the video.
Once you've purchased cryptocurrency you'll want to transfer that back over to your coinbase account for safer keeping. All you need to do is click "withdraw" inside of GDAX, select "Coinbase account", and then select your amount. Confirm that your currency showed up in coinbase - now it's safely stored in your coinbase wallet!
Step 6 (coming soon!):
If you want to invest in altcoins, that'll require you to create an account on an exchange, transfer your Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin to the exchange, and then convert that into altcoins. Another tutorial on this is coming soon!