Are you ready to open a trading account with Coinbase? Maybe this is your first venture into the cryptocurrency market and you’re not sure what to expect when signing up with a cryptocurrency exchange. We wouldn’t recommend Coinbase if it weren’t an excellent platform, but every exchange is different, and a little help navigating their intricacies can go a long way. So, we put together the following step-by-step tutorial on how to start trading cryptocurrency on Coinbase.
You’ll need a few things before we begin, including:
- a valid email account;
- a bank account or debit card;
- a photo ID; and
- a valid phone number
Step 1: Name, email and password
Sign up using our referral link and you’ll receive $10 USD of free bitcoin when you buy $100 worth of any cryptocurrency. Start by entering your legal name — sorry, if you eventually want to buy and sell Bitcoin, no pseudonyms. If you’re interested in anonymity, there are ways to avoid prying eyes, but baby steps.
Next, enter your preferred email address. It doesn’t matter which, your junk mail account, your AOL account, your old Hotmail account from high school, so long as you have access.
Now, pick a password. No, not abc123. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently revised its guidelines for creating passwords. Keep them simple, long and memorable. Phrases, lowercase letters and typical words work well. No crazy tough p@55w0rD necessary.
However, if you don’t care what all the nerds at NIST have to say and want to stick with what works, present company included, keep your password somewhere secure. We recommend the online service LastPass. LastPass allows you to generate, store and seamlessly log in and go from anywhere. Many of the most popular browsers support the LastPass plugin, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and Maxthon.
Once you’ve selected a password and verified that you are in fact not an automaton hell-bent on human destruction, a verification link will be sent to your email.
Step 2: Verify your email
Move over to the inbox of the email you selected in Step 1. Do you see a verification email from Coinbase? Open it up and click the link. If that doesn’t work, copy and paste the link into your web browser. If your verification email hasn’t yet arrived, check your junk mail box first. Still not there? Give it a minute, even the internet experiences traffic jams.
Step 3: Add your payment method(s)
Once Coinbase has verified your account, visit the Dashboard and check the prices of the coins listed on the exchange. To purchase any of these coins, you’ll need to add a payment method. You can do this by clicking on Settings (the gear icon).
Currently, Coinbase allows you to either deposit fiat money via wire transfer or from a bank account. Alternatively, you can purchase Bitcoin directly using your debit card. Though the transaction fees associated with using your bank account are the lowest of the three options, just 1.49%, it will take several days to verify any transaction with your bank. No different than using a service like PayPal.
Now, you’ll need to verify your identification. This step is necessary to protecting both you, the consumer, and Coinbase. All you’ll need to do is take a photo of either your passport, driver’s license, or photo ID, and then upload the photo to Coinbase.
Don’t be deterred by the verification process — the same would be required of you were you opening a bank account. Coinbase is in fact obligated to collect this information by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to keep the company in compliance with KYC/AML laws related prohibiting money laundering and illegal activities.
Step 4: Enter Your Phone Number
When you go to make your first cryptocurrency purchase, you’ll be asked to verify your phone number. Again, this is done for your protection! In the event someone gains access to your username and password, you’re still protected.
Once you’ve confirmed you phone number, you are ready to purchase your first cryptocurrency on Coinbase!
Step 5: Activate Two-Factor Authentication and Download Google Authenticator
To finish securing your account, go to Settings and choose Enhanced Verification to activate Two-Factor Authentication. This will provide an additional measure of protection should someone attempt to hack your account. Next, install the Google Authenticator App to your smartphone. Once installed, open the app and click start. Click on the + sign and use your phone’s camera to take a photo of QR code provided by Coinbase, or activate the app using a code, which you can find under Settings then Security. It is strongly recommended that you activate Two-Factor Authentication, especially if you decide to store your coins in the Coinbase Vault.
Congratulations! If you haven’t already done so, you’re ready to purchase your first cryptocurrency on Coinbase.