Comprehensive Ethereum Buying Guide (Best ETH Exchanges 2020)

Ethereum is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world and a viable contender for the Bitcoin throne. Ethereum takes much of what Bitcoin offers and improves upon it with faster transactions, smart contracts and native apps.

Our Recommended Crypto Exchange for Buying Ethereum (ETH)

Coinbase is our recommended exchange for buying Ethereum. You can view our in-depth reviews of alternative exchanges on our best cryptocurrency exchanges listings page.

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  • User-friendly
  • Great customer service
  • Low services fees
  • Diverse and consistently updated choice of coins
The Benefits PRO's
  • Massive developer following
  • Innovative smart contract system has revolutionized the industry
  • More utility than than the average cryptocurrency
  • Faster transactions than Bitcoin
  • Backed by reputable individuals in the cryptocurrency world
The Downside CON's
  • Transactions aren't as fast as some of the newer alt-coins
  • Smart contracts are subject to human error
  • Can be confusing to new users thanks to its many platforms

Ethereum General Overview

Ethereum might sound like just another cryptocurrency but it’s actually a globally operated super computer. It might sound like science fiction but it’s true. Much like Bitcoin’s network, Ethereum is run on millions of computers around the world. The main innovation of this decentralized cryptocurrency network was the unique capacity to run smart contracts on its blockchain. Most people, however, still use Ethereum primarily as cryptocurrency. It remains one of the most popular altcoins in the world and a darling amongst developers and investors alike.

Best Exchanges for Buying Ethereum

You can buy Ethereum at many cryptocurrency exchanges, including:

Best Ethereum Wallets

You can store Ethereum with most cryptocurrency wallets, including:


Ethereum Ratings


All-Time Low : $ 0.420897 USD (Oct 21, 2015)
All-Time High : $ 1,432.88 USD (Jan 13, 2018)

Market Capitalization:

Current : $15+ billion


Current : 108,725,102 ETH

Network Speed:

Ratings: Average
Average transactions per second: 25-30


Rating: Low
Reason: Ethereum pre-mined 72 million before the blockchain began running. The pre-mined tokens were distributed to the three founders, and participants of a crowd-sale.

Developer Engagement:

Rating: High
Reason: Ethereum has the largest developer community on the planet, only being rivaled by the grassroots developer community of Bitcoin.


Rating: High
Reason: Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, making it one of the most widely accepted and accessible cryptocurrencies on the market.

History of Ethereum

Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by one of its founders, Vitalik Buterin. It was later picked up and pursued by co-founders Joseph Lubin and Gavin Wood. During July and August in 2014, Ethereum raised money through a crowdsale, and then formally launched the platform in July 2015.

Ethereum was largely responsible for the cryptocurrency bubble that took place in 2017. This bubble inflated the price of Ether to $1432.88 USD. Ethereum, as a platform made it very simple for people to create their own token, or cryptocurrency. This in turn fuelled a rally in the industry, with most projects raising millions of dollars for their project with nothing more than just a whitepaper. Much like when a company is taken public in an Initial Public Offering (IPO), the cryptocurrency equivalent is called the Initial Coin Offering. ICO’s became very easy to build, launch, and implement with Ethereum as a base platform.

The ease of creating new tokens came from engineering a “template coin” or token that allowed for anyone with a basic understanding of Ethereum to launch their own token. This template standard is known as ERC20, and thus you will frequently read that a token or coin is an ERC20 token.

With many projects choosing Ethereum as a platform in which to run their newly crafted cryptocurrency, problems with scaling the network became an issue. Ethereum can process between 20 and 30 transactions per second. When comparing this number to VISA or Mastercard, Ethereum falls short of being able to handle a global load of transactions.

The Ethereum Foundation, which is the governing body that guides the development of Ethereum have planned several milestones and upgrades to the Ethereum network that in theory, will allow the network to scale to become the global transaction supercomputer that it originally promised to be. These upgrades are dubbed Byzantium, Constantinople, and Serenity. The upgrades range from support for secure random numbers, to sharding. Once completed and deployed, these upgrades will form the Ethereum 2.0 network.

Advantages of Ethereum

Ethereum has a thriving developer, and user ecosystem. This is the largest advantage of using Ethereum. Community involvement and activity should not go under valued, as having a community of users to aid and assist you in your crypto journey is important when you come across situations and questions that you need answered.

Ethereum also has a thriving dApp ecosystem. This is another advantage as it allows for a wide range of things that you can do with your Ethereum tokens. It is fairly easy for anyone to create or publish their own tokens on the Ethereum Blockchain. This reduces the barrier to entry to fundraising, as well as implementing a proof of concept.

Disadvantages of Ethereum

Ethereum is not without its faults. It is important to know about the various issues with Ethereum before getting involved. Ethereum has trouble with scalability, meaning the relative number of transactions per second is low. VISA can process 65,000 transactions per second, which makes it capable of handling a global load of transactions. Ethereum is at the lower end, able to process only 25 transactions per second.

There are more than a dozen instances of Ethereum smart contract hacks that have taken place since the inception of Ethereum. It is important that you are aware of this, when trusting a smart contract with your funds. Although this hinges on a lack of security, it is important to take note that the developer community has been over top of mending such hacks as they occur.

Ethereum FAQ

About the Author

Keegan Francis, CryptoVantage

Keegan Francis

Keegan Francis is a cryptocurrency knowledge expert and consultant. He recognized the opportunity in cryptocurrency early in his career and has been invested in it since 2014. His passion led him to start the Atlantic Blockchain Company which consults on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency know-how.