There are a few different ways to get cryptocurrency for the first time, but the most common option usually involves the use of a Bitcoin exchange account. Whether you’re interested in obtaining some Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, or another cryptocurrency, digital currency exchange will be the easiest, most user-friendly choice to get on board with the crypto ecosystem.

Most people are going to need to use a cryptocurrency exchange to get their first coins because it’s unlikely that your place of work will offer crypto as a payment option and none of your close friends may have any cryptocurrency they could send to you in exchange for cold hard cash.

Basic Steps for Setting Up an Exchange Account

While not every cryptocurrency exchange setup is the same, there is a general registration process that tends to be rather similar at each crypto trading platform. Coinbase is a fantastic exchange for beginners who are looking to start buying cryptocurrency. You can read through our comprehensive reviews of alternative exchanges to Coinbase on our best cryptocurrency exchanges listings page.

The sign-up process usually goes something like this:

First, you will need to provide a small bit of personal information, which could be nothing more than a name and an email address. The exchange will then send you an email to confirm that you are in control of the associated address.

You will then need to add a payment method that can be used as a mechanism for deposits and withdrawals.

For some users, the above three steps will be enough to get the job done. However, depending on the exchange, and the level of your engagement, you will need to go through a more extensive “Know your Client” (KYC) process, which is just identity verification.

If you’re interested in making larger trades, then you’ll need to verify more information about yourself. Different trading tiers are available to users based on the amount of information the exchange has collected about the customer. Additional verification could come in the form of an address, phone number, government-issued identification, and even a selfie of you holding that form of ID.

What You Need to Get Started

In addition to digital currency exchanges offering different tiers of trading to their customers, the laws regarding user verification can also vary between jurisdictions. This is why instant sign-up is possible on some exchanges while others may take some time to get you verified for trading.

For the crypto trading platforms that have more stringent requirements for knowing about their customers, the following information may be required:

1. Full, legal name

2. Date of birth

3. Email addresses

4. Phone number

5. Address

6. A copy of a utility bill sent to that address

7. Social security number

8. Driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued ID

9. A selfie of you holding that government ID

10. Some exchanges may even ask you about the nature of your interest in cryptocurrency.

In general, starting an account on a cryptocurrency exchange isn’t that hard. It generally just takes a little patience and follow-through. The great thing is that once you’ve got your account up and running you’ll generally be set for as long as you continue doing business with the company.