How to buy Ether

A 101 guide to buying Ethereum (ETH)

A beginner’s guide to buying and trading Ether in Australia.

Ethereum is a unique altcoin with several distinctive design features. Like bitcoin, its price skyrocketed in a short time, and its value has multiplied in a very short time.

Unlike bitcoin, Ethereum is built to offer some unique features and can do a lot more than simply being bought and sold.

Here, you can find a list of places to buy Ether and learn more about what makes it different. If you’re planning to purchase, it’s worth knowing more about the coin’s unique features and its pros and cons.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

Quick guide: How to buy Ethereum in Australia

  1. Register for an account with CoinSpot.
  2. Enable 2-factor authentication.
  3. Verify your account.
  4. Click “Deposit AUD”.
  5. Transfer funds into your account.
  6. Click “Buy/Sell” at top of screen.
  7. Search for Ethereum and click on “Buy ETH”.
  8. Enter the amount of ETH you want to buy or the amount of AUD you want to spend.
  9. Review transaction details.
  10. Click “Buy ETH”.

Where to buy and trade Ether in Australia

The most straightforward way to get Ether (ETH) might be to buy it on an exchange or through a brokerage service.

Depending on the service, you might be able to make a bank transfer, pay by credit card, use PayPal or POLi or even pay with cash at a smart ATM or bank branch.

Name Product Deposit Methods Fiat Currencies Supported Cryptocurrencies
Cash, BPAY, POLi, Cryptocurrency
AUD
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CoinSpot is an Australian-based marketplace that allows you to easily buy, sell or trade more than 100 cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency
BTC, XRP, USDT, ETH, NEB, XVG, TRX, NEBL, ETH, NEO, FUN, ETC, BCC, POE, DASH, ELF, ICX, BNB, ZRX, APPC & 80+ more
Trade an extensive range of reputable coins on this world-renowned exchange, popular for its high liquidity and multi-language support.
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency
AUD
BTC, ETH, BCH, ETC, LTC, POWR, ELF, IOST, CTXC, DTA
Special offer: Get a $10 bonus when you create a verified account through finder. Payouts every 10 business days. T&Cs apply.
Link your bank account to buy and sell 10 cryptocurrencies with Australian dollars.
Credit card, Debit card, Neteller, PayPal, Skrill, WebMoney, Yandex Money
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BTC, BCH, DASH, ETC, ETH, LTC, XRP
Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform.

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies can widely fluctuate in prices and are not appropriate for all investors. Your capital is at risk.
Note that 65% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Cash, Electronic Funds Transfer, POLi, Cryptocurrency
AUD
BTC, ETH, BCH, EOS, ZRX, AE, AION, REP, DGD, ICX, IOST, OMG, PPT, SNT, TRX, VET, ZIL
Buy 15+ cryptocurrencies using POLi, cash or Electronic Funds Transfer.
Credit card, Debit card
AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, CNY & 50+ more
BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC
Get US$10 in free bitcoin when you buy US$100 or more of any crypto. T&Cs apply.
Buy and sell bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
Electronic Funds Transfer, SWIFT, Cryptocurrency
AUD, NZD, USD
BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, XRP
Trade AUD and other fiat currencies against 5 different cryptos at competitive rates.
Cryptocurrency, Wire Transfer
New account holders must now deposit fiat/crypto equivalent to US$10,000 to trade.
USD, EUR
BTC, BCH, BTG, IQ, TRX, GNT, AVT, DASH, DATA, EDO, EOS, ETC, ETH, ETP, LTC, MIOTA, NEO, OMG, QTUM, SAN, USDT, XMR, XRP, BAT, ZRX, FUN, MANA, SPANK, TNB, RLC, RCN, REP, ELF, AID, SNGLS, SNT, QASH, YOYO, MITH
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Bank transfer, POLi, Cash deposit* *Westpac Bank branches only
AUD, GBP, USD
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HiveEx.com is a global over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency brokerage specialising in high-volume trades of $10,000+.
HiveEx.com and finder.com.au are members of the Hive Empire group of companies.
Cryptocurrency
BTC, XBT, ADA, BCH, EOS, ETH, LTC, XRP
Losses can exceed deposits.
Trade cryptocurrency derivatives with high liquidity for bitcoin spot and futures, and up to 100% leverage on margin trading.

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HiveEx.com is an over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency platform specialising in high-volume trades.

  • Tap into HiveEx.com’s global network of high liquidity trading partners
  • Trade between $50,000 and $100m for a fixed price
  • Access competitive rates compared to traditional exchange trading
  • Receive your coins in your wallet fast, with same day settlement options
  • As an AUSTRAC registered company, HiveEx.com is fully compliant with industry-standard AML and CTF obligations

Other ways to get ETH:

  • Get paid directly in ETH. You may be able to get paid directly over the Ethereum blockchain. For example, if you’re a content creator, you could request payment in ETH.
  • Trade another cryptocurrency for it. You could trade bitcoin or another cryptocurrency for Ethereum at an exchange.
  • Mine for it. You could mine for ETH by dedicating computing power to solving problems on the blockchain, executing smart contracts and carrying out transactions. However, you might need a lot of processing power to start earning worthwhile returns, and the Ethereum mining system is being reworked, which makes returns on mining less certain.
  • Other. There are other ways you might buy into the Ethereum blockchain, ranging from winning a bet online with ETH to participating in affiliate programs or buying into another system on the same blockchain. Ethereum's features mean there might be more ways to find yourself holding ETH than other currencies such as bitcoin.

Smart contracts: What are the features of Ethereum and how do they work?

Ethereum’s aims to let users set up “smart contracts.” These can do almost anything a user wants, with anonymity, with no set point of failure and with complete trustworthiness and reliability.

This essentially lets you cut out the middleman in any kind of transaction, while still making the transaction with complete reliability, security and trustworthiness.

  • It’s transparent. All parties can see the details and conditions of the transfer. It’s a transparent program that’s set up to do exactly what it says.
  • It’s extremely flexible. You can program it to do almost anything you can imagine, such as making a transfer when specific conditions are met at a certain time in the future or dividing funds between different parties depending on other factors. There’s no real limit other than one’s need and imagination.
  • It has all the usual blockchain benefits. Like other cryptocurrencies, you can make transfers relatively cheaply and quickly compared to going through banks or other third-party services.

This makes it possible to do things that simply weren’t an option before.

You can read our full guide to Ethereum here.

Making the impossible possible

Imagine an international organisation that charges nominal membership fees, like an online fan club.

Ethereum’s blockchain and smart contracts system makes the impossible possible.

With smart contractsWithout smart contracts
  • Low-cost transfers mean you can charge very low membership fees that people might be willing to pay.
  • The costs and limitations of international transfers make it impossible to collect small amounts of money from individuals overseas. It needs to be pooled first.
  • No one person is “collecting” the money. Instead, it can be securely gathered without letting anyone in particular access it.
  • The money will be going to a bank account, which will typically be under the control of one person.
  • The money can be moved with group consensus. For example, a smart contract might automatically send the funds to a certain charity based on the results of a members’ vote.
  • The group treasurer has control. They might take the money and run, veto anything they don’t like or otherwise misbehave.
  • Everyone can see the exact conditions around where, when and how the funds will be moved.
  • No one has a choice but to trust whomever has control of the funds.

There are already plenty of real-life examples of people using it in ingenious ways. For example, a company has created its own tokens to trade for electricity on the Ethereum blockchain, and individuals have started using it to source funding for their own projects without paying a cut to middlemen like Kickstarter or Patreon.

How its special features affect the price of Ether

The coin itself, Ether (ETH), is the fuel for smart contracts. In simple terms, it’s used to pay the miners who donate computing power to process transactions and execute smart contracts.

Traders will need to decide whether the value of Ether will increase as more people start using smart contracts and the Ethereum blockchain becomes more widely used.

Quick glossary

Definitions

Ethereum. The name of the blockchain. Often used to refer to “Ether” and the system in general.

Ether (ETH). The coin on the Ethereum blockchain. Sometimes referred to as “gas” because it fuels transactions.

Ethereum classic (ETC). A similar type of coin that came about due to a previous hard fork on the Ethereum blockchain.

Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). The network of miners whose computing power processes transactions and executes smart contracts.

How to hold Ether

Like other cryptocurrencies, you hold ETH in a cryptocurrency wallet. However, not all wallets are compatible with it.

Some of the options include the following:

It’s worth taking the time to compare the various options and features of each wallet if you plan on holding ETH.

Read our guide on the best wallets for Ether.

Things to consider with Ethereum

There are several issues that traders will want to take into account when considering Ether.

Smart contracts are easier said than done

The first problem is that writing a “bulletproof” smart contract is easier in theory than in practice. The hard fork that created Ethereum Classic (or Ether depending on how you look at it) came about as the result of a loophole in a contract, which led to the theft of about US$50 million worth of ETH.

A report from Microsoft pointed out that a large-scale analysis of published contracts on the Ethereum blockchain would most likely reveal a lot of vulnerabilities.

This is being addressed with the creation of publicly available “templates” of sorts, and users simply getting more experienced with time.

Performance issues

All smart contracts are stored publicly on every node of the blockchain. This helps drive transparency and security, but can also lead to performance issues.

As more users get involved and smart contracts become increasingly common and complex, performance issues might get worse.

Worse performance can lead to slower transaction times and increased transaction costs, which could undermine the point of it all.

There are several proposals in place to address these issues, but to date there’s no solid timeframe or detailed plan.

Ethereum price forecast

When forecasting the price of Ether and the value of the Ethereum blockchain, you might want to consider the following:

  • The potential applications of smart contracts and how likely they are to be widely used in the future.
  • Whether current issues are likely to be resolved and how long it might take.
  • Whether competition from other coins might impact the value of Ether.
  • How many other tokens and applications will take advantage of the Ethereum blockchain.

How to sell Ether

  1. Visit the exchange platform you used to purchase your Ether. If you have it in a digital wallet, then pick a platform from the list above that you'd like to complete the purchase with.
  2. Follow the platform's instructions on selling your Ether.

For more detailed instructions, take a look at our step-by-step guide to selling ETH.

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com, comparing products, writing guides and looking for new ways to help people make smart decisions. He's a fan of insurance, business news and cryptocurrency.

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