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Basically there are three ways to get cryptocurrencies: mining, trading, and airdrop.
Airdrop is like a gift from someone or some organization. It’s a common way to promote a certain altcoin or a certain crytpo exchange. But you rarely get free gifts of those major crypto, such BTC, ETH, or stablecoins like USDT. Don’t expect to get a lot of valuable crypto by this means.
Mining is big. It’s creation of the coin on the blockchain. The first Bitcoin was mined in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. Since then, more and more people entered the playground. But nowadays, mining is not for an ordinary investor. It has become million-dollar investment projects.
The most realistic way to acquire crypto is through trading, i.e. buy crypto from the market.
Two ways are possible, depending on your resources or preference. If you know someone who already has some crypto you want, you can negotiate a price with him, pay the money and get the crypto. This is what we call an OTC trading. There are platforms for such peer to peer trading, such as Remitano, LocalBitcoins, and Paxful.
The other way to convert fiat money to cryptocurrency is through an exchange. It’s similar to buying stocks on a stock exchange. Let’s see how it works.
First, it’s recommended that you sign up with a crypto wallet provider, as this is where your cryptocurrencies will be stored. Although many exchanges provide crypto wallets, they don’t primarily focus on wallets. Their job is to enable users to buy or sell cryptocurrencies. Hacking and regulation issues may cause unnecessary risk to your assets.
Next, you then need to register with an exchange service. Most established exchanges offer payment methods, such as debit/credit card, PayPal, bank transfer, or via other payment services, depending on the business decision of the exchange and the jurisdiction where you are based.
One more thing you must be aware of: although registration is easy, such exchanges usually require you to submit ID, proof of address or even proof of funds before your can access their fiat on-ramps. This is what is called the KYC policy (Know Your Customer) and AML policy (Anti Money Laundry). The verification process may take some time.
Let’s look at some exchanges.
Kraken is a global leader in crypto exchange services. It is one of the largest providers and accepts bank transfers from almost every bank. It accepts fiat deposits in USD, EUR, CAD, GBP, JPY, and CHF through debit/credit cards or bank transfers.
Binance is another excellent platform with over 166+ cryptocurrencies available. Both beginners and advanced traders can take advantage of their trading platform. Binance has the best liquidity in crypto-to-crypto trading, but it does offer options for fiat deposit. It also has an OTC platform alongside of the main exchange where you buy and sell crypto with another individual just like what you do on LocalBitcoins. Keep in mind, Binance is not regulated in many jurisdictions it operates. There could be regulation risks.
Changelly is a direct cryptocurrency exchange that provides an exchange rate for every pair. This simple version works like a bank which offers buy and sell prices for a certain foreign currency. Besides the simple version, it also has a pro version where you can do more analysis and trade with multiple order types. It accepts USD, EUR, and GBP for buying cryptocurrency with debit/credit card or PayPal as a payment method.
CEX is a multifunctional exchange service that allows users to convert fiat money with multiple payment options. CEX.IO accepts payments in USD, EUR, GBP, and RUB. Their layout is quite clean and straightforward. A very good option for a beginner.