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How To Buy Altcoins Using HitBTC
DISCLAIMER: None of the following is intended to be investment advice. This is only meant to be a description of what has worked well for me so far, and my own opinions. Also, full disclosure, my links to Coinbase and Binance, etc., include referrals. It actually benefits you to use them because we will both get an extra $10 worth of BTC for free if you deposit at least $100 to Coinbase. Thanks in advance if you follow the links when you make your accounts — and even if you don’t, I hope this guide helps you out!
The crypto world is being slammed lately. Everybody and their mother seems to want to get into buying cryptocurrency. As an expert in computer science, I can tell you right now that “scaling” is a problem that must be solved in any software situation. What this boils down to is this: the more people using a system, the more burdened the system is. The more burdened the system is, the more robust the system must be to be able to handle this “load.”
Scaling has been debated quite a bit in cryptocurrencies themselves. Indeed, Bitcoin’s biggest fork “Bitcoin Cash” occurred due to disagreements about scaling. Scaling problems exist in other places in the cryptocurrency world as well, though. Exchanges — the websites where you “exchange” fiat money or cryptocurrencies for other cryptocurrencies — must be able to handle a truly ludicrous number of users at the same time. And lately, with the surge of interest in cryptocurrency, we’re looking at doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling the userbase of some exchanges in a very brief amount of time. It’s not uncommon for exchanges to disable new user registrations during times like these so that they can have some extra time to prepare their systems. Imagine running a restaurant and suddenly getting an influx of three times as many customers than you’re used to — I bet that would be a real problem!
At the time of this writing, my favorite altcoin exchange Binance has just announced that it will be temporarily disabling new user registrations in order to facilitate an upgrade of its infrastructure. It’s unclear how long this will last, but have no fear — if you’re new to cryptocurrency and want to get in on coins like FUN, XRP, or EOS, you’re not out of luck. I’m here to help! Since my articles usually focus on Binance as a means to purchase altcoins, I would be remiss not to quickly put out an alternate guide for those of you who want to get into the crypto world quickly. Thus, we’re going to learn how to use HitBTC, an exchange which advertises itself as “the most advanced Bitcoin exchange.” At the time of this writing this exchange offers excellent fees compared to many other exchanges.
But First: For Those Who Have No Cryptocurrencies
If you don’t have any cryptocurrency yet, altcoin exchanges like HitBTC aren’t going to help you until you first trade some fiat money (e.g., U.S. dollars) for a major coin like Bitcoin or Ethereum. You can skip this section if you already have some ETH or BTC to trade for whatever altcoin you’re trying to ultimately buy.
Coinbase is arguably the most trusted exchange currently on the market. You can think of them as the PayPal of the cryptocurrency world, with all the good and bad connotations that come along with that. There are some countries where this is not the case! For example, in Canada, one would probably want to use QuadrigaCX instead. Unfortunately, that’s outside the scope of this guide, but I do have a country-by-country guide which may help you if Coinbase doesn’t work in your area.
All you have to do here is go to Coinbase’s website and create an account. Security is incredibly important here — remember, in cryptocurrencies you are your own bank and so it is absolutely crucial that you follow good security practices. This means your password should be strong — and it should be a password you aren’t using anywhere else (including other exchanges). Google has a pretty good guide with some tips on choosing strong passwords. Keeping security in mind, it would also behoove you to turn on two-factor authentication once your account is created.
Once you are up and running there are a number of options when it comes to actually paying for coins via Coinbase. It is possible to link your bank account to Coinbase but actually transferring coins out of Coinbase will be impossible for a few days while the funds are clearing. This is obviously not ideal if you want to move quickly, as you would now have to wait several days to move your coins to an exchange where you can trade them for various altcoins.
Instead, I would recommend you link a credit or debit card to Coinbase. This will allow you to purchase some amount of coins immediately, and then immediately send them off wherever you want — your wallet, another exchange, etc. At the time of this writing Coinbase offers three coins: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).
What to Buy First?
In my opinion if you intend to buy altcoins, ETH is the best choice to buy here. Why? Well, with regards to LTC, the reason is clear: other exchanges like HitBTC offer direct trading pairs for BTC and ETH, but not LTC or any other currency. What this means is that you could directly exchange your ETH for XRP, or your BTC for XRP, but you’d have to perform another step if you wanted to trade your LTC for XRP (and that means more fees!). Obviously we don’t want to waste even one cent if we can avoid it, so LTC is out.
With regards to BTC, at the time of this writing there have been a lot of rumblings about high transaction fees, slow transaction times, etc. Exchanges often overpay these fees as well, and that means that you are again risking missing out on more money than you need to.
ETH is therefore currently the best choice for our purposes by default — fastest transaction speed, lowest transaction cost. So, to review: create a Coinbase account, link your credit or debit card, and purchase ETH.
Starting Out With HitBTC
First, we’re going to make HitBTC account. Just follow the link, then fill in your email and password before clicking “Start trading now.” Make sure that you choose a strong password (this should be different than the one you used for Coinbase or anything else!). Once your account is made, the first thing we want to do is fund it. Click the “Deposit” button at the top right of your screen and you’ll end up on a screen that looks like this:
This guide will assume you already have some ETH that you’d like to use to use to buy Ripple (XRP). Simply click the deposit symbol to the right of “ETH Ethereum” in the list. You’ll be presented with a “Wallet address” and a convenient “Copy” button which you can use to copy and paste this address.
Where I’ve placed a blue rectangle you’ll instead see a very long series of letters and numbers, which is the fundamental basis of most if not all cryptocurrencies. This “address” is simply the destination for funds — think of it like the account and routing numbers at the bottom of your checks. For many cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, it is possible to have multiple “receiving addresses” which point towards the same wallet. In this case, the address is where you will send your ETH so that HitBTC can add it to your balance, thereby allowing you to trade it for other cryptocurrencies like XRP. By the way, withdrawing coins from HitBTC is as simple as clicking the button in the “Withdraw” column instead, and inputting your wallet’s receiving address — more on this later.
Final Coinbase Step: Sending ETH To HitBTC
In your Coinbase account, navigate to the Accounts tab and then to your ETH Wallet. Paste in your HitBTC address. You should double check that the pasted address is the same one you saw on the page in HitBTC — you can never be too sure when it comes to security! Once you’re sure you’re sending to the right place, input the amount of ETH you’d like to send (if you just want to buy some XRP, you should send all of it) and click “Send.”
Optional Trick: Using GDAX To Save Money On Fees
GDAX, or “The Global Digital Asset Exchange,” is the actual exchange which backs Coinbase. You can use it to save a lot of money on fees if you’re willing to spend a few extra minutes getting verified. Follow this link and click “DEPOSIT.” Click “Coinbase Account” at the top and deposit all your ETH from Coinbase into GDAX.
Once you’ve done this, you can click “WITHDRAW” in GDAX and send your funds from GDAX to HitBTC. Fees are significantly reduced with this method!
Finally Buying Your Altcoin
Now that you have ETH or some other tradeable cryptocurrency in your HitBTC account, click “Markets” at the top and you’ll see a screen that looks like this:
Bear in mind that HitBTC does not trade all the same cryptocurrencies as other exchanges like Binance and KuCoin. This means that if you’re looking for coins like ARK, TRON, or IOTA, you might not find them here; this is one reason why I tend to recommend Binance over HitBTC. Regardless, it’s a good idea to have accounts at multiple trusted exchanges, especially for scenarios where your preferred exchange is down and you want to buy or sell coins quickly. In this example we’re trying to get some XRP, which HitBTC does support — so click on “XRP/ETH” under the Market column. Now you’re going to see something like this:
From here, it’s pretty straightforward to trade some ETH for XRP. Just click the number next to “Best ask” and the price will automatically be input. This number is a reasonable current average of the price — if you want to buy at a different price, you can put in whatever you want; just understand there has to be a seller who’s willing to sell at that price! Put a number in the “amount” field — this is the number of XRP that you’d like to buy. The “total” field will be automatically populated, and this is how much ETH you are spending for your XRP. Once you’re ready, click “Buy Limit” and you’re done!
Now, if you want to be totally secure, there are more steps to this process. For most cryptocurrencies, it is ideal for you to withdraw your coins from HitBTC and store them in an offline wallet for security purposes. Use an inexpensive Android phone with the Coinomi wallet app, or go ultra secure with a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S or Trezor. The details of these wallets are a little outside the scope of this guide, but I have discussed them in previous articles.
If you’re looking for more information about altcoins, take a look at my page — I’ve written a lot about this! If you’d like to read about more exchanges, I’ve also written about another alternative called KuCoin.
Come back soon because more content like this is always coming! If my work helped you or gave you something to think about, share it with others:
Sharing helps more people find my articles, and I’d love to be able to assist as many people as possible with cryptocurrencies. Also, if you have any ideas for future articles or specific questions, I’d love to hear them. One last thing: if you’d like to chat with me in real time, check out my Discord!
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