Nov 292017

How to buy fractions of Ether
This is a guide to help you on how to buy fractions of Ether. Before starting, let’s get something straight – yes, you can buy fractions of Ether. Like other cryptocurrencies, Ethereum network’s native currency, Ether, is divisible. This is similar to how Bitcoin works, since you can also buy fractions of a Bitcoin. In fact, 1 Ether can be divided into 10^18 units, each unit called a Wei. Wei is the smallest fractional unit of Ether.

To write it out, 1 Wei = 0.000000000000000001 ETH. As you can see, there is ample scope to buy fractions of Ether!

As a quick refresher, the Ethereum network is created similar to Bitcoin, but has a Turing complete smart contract platform. This allows programmers to create decentralized applications that can be arbitrary complex. Bitcoin has a much more limited support for smart contracts. Ether is also fueling a lot of token sales, or ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). To participate in many of these ICOs, you need to buy Ether first, to send to a smart contract.

Buy Fractions of Ether on Online Exchanges

Now that we know how Ether fractions work, it’s time to buy some. The simplest way to buy fractions of Ether is via online exchanges. You will need to connect your bank account, so you can purchase Ether directly with fiat (USD, GBP, etc.) Here are your options:

  • Coinbase: Coinbase is the simplest way to buy fractions of Ether. It is perhaps also the most trusted source of buying digital currencies and storing them. It’s a venture backed unicorn (valued over $1 billion). The San Francisco based company started in the US, but is fast expanding in many other countries as well. If Coinbase is available in your country and you’re new to crypto-assets, Coinbase is your best bet. The list of countries that Coinbase supports are: Singapore, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Canada, United States, . You can see the full list here.
  • Bithumb: This is a Korean exchange, which at the time of this writing, does the most Ether trading volume in the world! Part of the reason for high volume is there’s no fees, so the volumes get inflated. If you’re in Korea, you don’t have access to Coinbase, so Bithumb would be your best bet.
  • Buy ETH with BTC: If you have some Bitcoin already and want to convert that to Ether, then there are other options to follow, such as Bittrex, Poloniex, and Binance. This may be a good strategy even if you’re completely new to crypto-assets. In many places, it is easier to buy Bitcoin with local fiat money, and then convert into Ether, than buying Ether directly with local fiat.

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