The ethereum blockchain token known as ether (ETH) is one of world’s top three cryptocurrencies. As of April 2019, it has the third highest market value at $16.34 billion, falling behind bitcoin at $92.56 billion and ripple at $29.35 billion. 

Bitcoin, Ripple, and Ethereum.

Cryptocurrency assets have dwindled since their peak in December 2017 but there is still a great case for buying them as the market continues to see innovation. ETH’s value is trading at around $152 in April 2019. The primary appeal to the digital currency is its integration with the Ethereum Network. Essentially, ETH is the driving force behind the capabilities of the Ethereum Network overall. With the Ethereum Network offering vast opportunities for development, ETH is an investment that many see as more promising than bitcoin. Ethereum is also backed by multiple Fortune 500 companies and is being used by multiple financial institutions. For all of these reasons and more, many investors are rapidly adding ETH to their portfolios.

Here is how you can incorporate Ethereum into your investing.

1 Identify a Platform for Trading

As the basis for placing any trades it is important to identify the best trading platform for your needs. There are a few options when it comes to cryptocurrencies with some of the top platforms including: Coinbase, Kraken, Bitstamp, Gemini, Binance, and Bitfinex. All of these exchanges offer ethereum.

One of the biggest considerations for choosing a cryptocurrency trading platform is the type of exchange. Cryptocurrency trading platforms can be either fiat exchanges or cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency exchanges (C2C). As one of the three largest cryptocurrencies in the world, investors can trade ethereum easily on fiat exchanges. Some investors who want to trade multiple currencies or have the option to convert other currencies easily into ethereum may want to consider the C2C exchanges more closely. A lot of investors also have multiple accounts with both a fiat exchange and a C2C exchange.

Keep in mind that cryptocurrencies are highly unregulated with rapid innovation. This can create a great market opportunity but also increase the risks of fraud so it’s important to be sure you are confident in the credibility of the trading platform exchange that you choose. A few key questions to ask when considering an exchange include: Where is the headquarters?, Do they have a license?, How secure is their website?, How secure are your funds?, and Who are the managing executives?

Worldwide, Binance is the leading exchange by trading revenue. In the United States Coinbase tops the list. (For more on Coinbase see also: Coinbase: What Is It and How Do You Use It?)

2 Create an Account

Once you have decided on a trading platform that fits your needs then the next step is to open an account. This process is similar to opening an account with a brokerage platform. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, specified forms of identification, and more. Once you are confident with a site, the account opening process can usually be done pretty quickly

Verifying the account is usually the final step in the account opening process. Most all exchanges will require that you verify your account in one or more ways. This is where you will likely need to upload documents to verify your identity and ensure that your account passes regulatory muster. Verification can take anywhere from approximately one hour to potentially a day or two depending on the exchange.

3 Deposit Currency

You'll next need to deposit currency into your account. For fiat currency platforms this can be relatively easy after verification of your payment information. Simply add money through your bank account or debit card on file. Cryptocurrency exchanges do not generally have high minimum investments so you can invest as little as $5 or as much as $1,000 or more. Most exchanges have fees per trade so it can be best to trade large amounts at once.

Depositing currency in C2C exchanges can be slightly more difficult. These exchange require you to send cryptocurrency by code from one location to another. Ethereum is a popular depositing currency for many C2C platforms so holding large amounts of it can be beneficial. Code transfers take slightly longer to complete, typically up to an hour.

4 Begin Trading

With a verified account and money deposited into that account, you'll be able to begin purchasing ethereum and other cryptocurrencies via the exchange. Each exchange has an interface that works somewhat differently but be prepared to confirm transactions and then allow for processing time, which can also depend on the total number of transactions requested.

5 Withdraw ETH into a Wallet

Once you have purchased ETH through the exchange, you can withdraw that currency into your bank account or a wallet that you control. Fiat exchanges make it easy to withdraw ETH by simply selling and sending the proceeds to your bank account. C2C platforms take a longer amount of time. On a C2C platform you would need to code transfer your ETH to a fiat exchange and then sell to cash out. On all platforms you also generally have the option to send ETH to a wallet.