Bitcoin is widely known as the first cryptocurrency to go mainstream. Today, thousands of alternative coins, otherwise known as altcoins, are proffering solutions to different problems in the crypto market. In this guide, we provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to buy altcoins with USD or other fiat currencies and list the best places to acquire these speculative assets based on our review.
How to Buy Altcoins - Quick Tutorial
- Create an account with a crypto. The first step is to register with a crypto exchange that supports altcoins. A popular choice for altcoins is Binance.
- Complete ID verification: Binance requires identity verification to use its services.
- Fund the account: The next step is to fund the account. The platform offers many options to make deposits, including the peer-to-peer marketplace.
- Buy the Altcoin: The final step is to visit the Markets tab to buy altcoins for low fees. Binance charges the lowest trading fees in the market.
Where to Buy Altcoins
Before understanding how to buy altcoins, knowing where to buy altcoins is a crucial part of the process. We have provided a brief overview of some of the best altcoin exchanges below based on our reviews.
1. Binance – Overall Best Exchange to Buy Altcoins
Binance is an excellent choice for those considering buying cryptos other than Bitcoin. The exchange has operated for almost a decade and is currently the largest in the market based on trading volumes. Binance operates in over 100 countries, including the United States, where it operates via its American subsidiary Binance.US. Binance offers a lot of benefits for anyone looking to buy altcoins. The trading platform supports over 600 altcoin projects to buy such as Ethereum, Solana, and many others making it an incredibly liquid platform for anyone looking to buy and sell altcoins.
To buy altcoins on Binance, simply sign up on the exchange and make a minimum deposit of $10. Depositing is the primary factor to consider when buying altcoins on Binance. It also has support for several payment methods including wire transfers, cards, payment processors, and e-wallets. As for fees, Binance charges a standard 0.1% fee for trades. However, traders can purchase BNB tokens to enjoy a 25% discount on trading charges.
It is worth noting that Binance isn't so easy for beginners to set up. The interface is not as user-friendly as other exchanges. The homepage can also be overwhelming. Despite these shortcomings, the exchange has an extensive library of resources that teaches and directs new users on how to maximize the platform. For more information on why we picked Binance as a great platform for those looking to buy altcoins, read our full review on Binance.
2. Coinbase - Good Cryptocurrency Platform for Beginners
Coinbase is another reputable exchange that has become a household name. The cryptocurrency exchange platform offers several services, including an exchange wallet, a dedicated trading service, staking, and even support for non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Coinbase is incredibly liquid, with support for over 9,000 crypto assets. The broker has a well-laid-out user interface that allows beginners to navigate easily. Crypto traders can start their altcoin journey and buy Solana or Cardano with a $2 minimum deposit.
Like Binance, Coinbase investors can access different payment methods including credit/debit cards, wire transfers, payment processors, and crypto deposits. The exchange also provides a debit card for customers in some countries, allowing them to enjoy 4% cashback on deposits using its Coinbase Visa Card.
The biggest drawback with Coinbase is the exchange's complex fee structure. The exchange charges fees for buying altcoins, which are calculated when a buy order is placed. Some factors determining fees include the order size, the chosen payment method, and market conditions (liquidity, volatility, etc.). For more information on the buying fees, read our Coinbase review.
eToro is the best social trading platform to buy altcoins. The crypto broker features an intuitive social trading arena, where beginners can bounce trading ideas off experienced traders. There's a news feed section and a copy trading feature that enables investors to copy the trades of other successful traders on the platform. Operating in over 50 countries, eToro is regulated by several top financial watchdogs such as the Australian Securities and Exchange Commission (ASIC) and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
eToro is a solid option for beginners thinking about buying an altcoin. The broker is easy to use, with a simple user interface and a quick registration process. US and UK investors can get started on eToro with a minimum balance of $10. The platform also offers zero-fees deposits. Investors can fund their accounts using various funding methods, including wire transfers, PayPal, debit and credit cards, without paying extra fees.
eToro supports over 80 cryptocurrencies, including the popular names Ethereum, Dogecoin and Cardano. Trading fees on eToro are pegged at 1%. The platform factors the fees immediately after an order is placed, so traders know how much they're paying upfront. Investors are free to withdraw their funds after selling altcoins to fiat at any time but the broker charges a $5 fee per withdrawal. Learn more about the broker in this eToro review.
4. Crypto.com - Simple App for Altcoins Trading
Investors looking to buy and earn returns from altcoins will be impressed with Crypto.com. The Singapore-based broker offers an impressive selection of assets and several opportunities to earn passive income and make investors’ coins work for them. With support for over 250 coins, Crypto.com is a suitable home for anyone seeking exposure to high-quality altcoins. Moreover, traders who purchase altcoins via Crypto.com can earn passive returns from the platform. The trading app has crypto interest accounts where altcoin traders can earn up to 12.5% APY on selected assets. The exchange also provides a debit card that offers up to 5% cashback on crypto spending.
Purchasing an altcoin on Crypto.com is simple as it has one of the best crypto apps going around. Crypto.com also allows users to choose their desired payment method; although traders should keep in mind that the minimum deposit is 100 USDC ($100), charges would apply depending on the funding option. The good news is that traders who use ACH transfers can fund their accounts for free.
As for fees, Crypto.com imposes trading fees based on tiers. While the platform’s Level One users are charged 0.4% on trades, Level Two users get to pay 0.35%. The broker also offers a 10% discount on fees if they are paid using its native CRO token. This doesn't mean that Crypto.com doesn't have its shortcomings. The platform accepts direct crypto and ACH deposits as the only payment channels, limiting users to these two channels alone. The minimum deposit of $20 is also slightly higher than what most brokers as identified in our Crypto.com review and comparison.
5. Kraken - Best Place for Altcoin Trading
Kraken is another top exchange in the market. The broker trades billions of dollars daily and offers a great way for beginners to enter the market. Based in San Francisco, the platform is regulated in several jurisdictions. The altcoins exchange is notable for its emphasis on security. The exchange keeps 95% of customers' funds in cold storage, encrypts sensitive information, and provides configurable account timeout to safeguard trading accounts against unauthorized access.
Kraken currently accepts over 126 altcoins and is a great place to buy XRP and other tokens. The exchange has a strong base of altcoins for traders to choose from. The lineup includes the likes of Cardano, Ethereum, Tether and Polygon. Traders looking to buy altcoins on Kraken can use the Instant Purchase option or the Kraken Pro platform. The fees for the Instant Purchases are 0.9% for stablecoin purchases and 1.5% for other crypto projects.
On the other hand, trades on the Kraken Pro are subject to either a 0.26% taker fee or 0.16% maker fee for transactions up to $50,000. Another area of interest is the funding options available on Kraken. The exchange supports bank wires, debit cards and e-wallet solutions, but their fees differ. For instance, Kraken charges 3.75% + 0.25c for card deposits, Apple Pay or Google Pay. ACH online banking purchases cost 0.5% + a Kraken fee of 1.5%, or 0.9%, is applied depending on the altcoins purchased.
As for minimum deposits, the broker has varying minimums based on the funding method chosen. For instance, the minimum deposit for SWIFT transactions is 100 USD. US traders can enjoy free deposits if they fund their Kraken account using a FedWire (MVB Bank) or FedWire (Signature Bank). Read our Kraken review for more information on its altcoin buying costs.
What Is An Altcoin?
A simple definition for the term "altcoin" is any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin. “Altcoin” denotes the combination of two words - “alternative” and ”coin”. Altcoin was coined by early cryptocurrency investors who saw the rise of Bitcoin and its ability to inspire the creation of other assets. Following Bitcoin's rise to the limelight, many individuals and companies decided to launch their cryptocurrencies. As the market began gaining more prominence, keeping track of all these other coins proved challenging. So, to provide a suitable nomenclature, industry insiders invented the term "altcoin".
Most altcoins are built on distributed ledger technology. Today, there are many blockchains available. For instance, Ether (ETH) was originally built to operate solely on the Ethereum blockchain, while the Binance Coin is resident on the BNB Smart Chain.
What Types of Altcoins Are There?
Altcoins can be grouped into different forms. Here are some of the popular ones:
- Stablecoins: These are altcoins created to be pegged to the value of a fiat currency. So, at every point in time, the value of one unit of that fiat currency equals the value of one unit of the stablecoin. USDT is a dollar-pegged stablecoin, so $1 always equals 1 USDT.
- Security tokens: These are assets designed to mimic traditional securities. They are usually gotten via dedicated security token offerings. A good example of this is tZERO.
- Utility tokens: These are altcoins that are used to provide services within a network. They could be used to purchase services, pay fees, or offer rewards. Filecoin (FIL) is a good example of this.
- Meme coins: Altcoins created to be parodies of other cryptocurrencies or whose existence is generally based on a joke or meme. These coins tend to catch on among investors and can be valuable down the line. Some of the top meme coins to buy are Dogecoin (DOGE and Shiba inu (SHIB) for example.
Why Buy Altcoins?
It's easy to think that Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency worth investing in. However, this belief is wrong. Altcoins are also highly valuable assets with meaningful use cases and potential upsides. Here are some reasons investors should consider how to buy altcoins:
- Opportunity to make quick profits. Perhaps the most obvious reason for buying altcoins is their value as investment assets. While Bitcoin remains the most valuable cryptocurrency, it might not always be the most profitable. Take 2021, for example. Bitcoin was seen as the market's poster child but its value only grew by 67.2% throughout the year. While this is a sizable gain, it doesn't compare to the gains witnessed by some altcoins. Solana (SOL), for instance, pumped by 12,200% in the same period. And several other altcoins saw similar jumps that were comparatively much better than Bitcoin.
- Rapid transaction times. Altcoins are also very useful in processing transactions and asset transfers. Thanks to coins like XRP and Stellar (XLM), international transfers are as easy and as quick as possible. An investor can download a crypto wallet and use these coins to send and receive money in seconds. While this functionality isn't fully formed because of the limited crypto adoption worldwide, it should take center stage in the future. As more countries adopt crypto, investors will have more opportunities to use their digital currencies to make it easy and quick. Here's a list of the fastest cryptos in the industry to send.
- Governance and Staking. There is another class of altcoins called governance tokens. Holders of these assets get voting power on the platform. Holders can use their coins to share their opinions on platform development and directions - just as shareholders can influence company decisions for traditional companies. Establishing governance is usually done through staking - a process where token holders commit funds to the protocols. Staking is also beneficial because holders can earn additional units of the altcoin through the process. We have detailed where to stake crypto in our best crypto staking platforms list.
What Are The Best Altcoins To Buy?
Investors looking to purchase alternative coins have many choices to select from. Here is a short list of promising altcoins to invest in with exciting futures ahead:
1. Ethereum (ETH)
The biggest altcoin to buy right now is Ethereum. The asset is the second-most valuable in the market behind Bitcoin alone, making it the frontrunner among altcoins. Ethereum is similar to Bitcoin in terms of performance. The asset has seen steady gains for years, and its value has continued to mirror that of Bitcoin. Ethereum is usually one of the first altcoins to see gains whenever the market flips bullish.
There are some exciting prospects for Ethereum in the long run as well. The Ethereum blockchain's developers are currently working on Ethereum 2.0 - an upgrade that will see the blockchain transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS). Besides the transition, the upgrade is expected to fix several scalability issues plaguing the Ethereum blockchain. This will make the blockchain more functional, improving its appeal to developers. Ethereum 2.0 is seen by many as the most pivotal development in Ethereum's history. All eyes are on the full transition to Ethereum 2.0.
2. Binance Coin (BNB)
BNB is the most valuable member of another class of altcoins called exchange tokens. These are coins developed by cryptocurrency exchanges to serve as their utility tokens. Popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance built BNB as a utility token on the platform. The crypto asset serves as a payment token for traders on Binance interested in discounted trading fees. Instead of paying the standard 0.1% fee, BNB holders can pay using the coin and get a 25% discount. BNB's use case has expanded to include settling fees on Binance Chain, processing payments, loans, and online purchases.
BNB has proven itself to be an incredibly valuable asset and investors can even stake BNB tokens to earn yield. The coin has coasted off Binance’s rise to enjoy impressive gains, and investors looking to keep earning profits can be sure of BNB’s reliability in that department. There are some exciting prospects for BNB. The asset's use case is bound to grow as the crypto market gains more exposure.
4. Cardano (ADA)
ADA is the native token for Cardano - one of the market's oldest and most popular blockchain platforms. While Cardano got popular among investors, it never particularly lived up to its potential as a blockchain because it didn’t support smart contracts - the critical feature that allows decentralized application (dApp) developers to build.
That changed in September when the Cardano Foundation implemented the Alonzo hard fork. The hard fork was a monumental success, implementing smart contracts for Cardano and making the platform more suitable for developers looking to build in the market. ADA’s price has since seen steady gains, albeit interrupted due to the current market downturn.
Cardano is also in the middle of another hard fork. Named Vasil, it is expected to be the most transformative hard fork in Cardano’s history since Alonzo. Among other things, Vasil is expected to improve the blockchain’s scalability while reducing transaction fees. In a market where developers are looking for the right platforms to build, Vasil improves Cardano’s allure significantly.
So far, ADA has been unable to deliver the type of gains many analysts expect due to the bear market. However, as the market works towards flipping bullish, this is one coin that investors should keep their eye on. For more information on where to buy Cardano, read this article next.
5. Dogecoin (DOGE)
Dogecoin is the most popular meme coin and the most valuable by market cap. The asset was created in 2013 as a joke on cryptocurrencies, with its developers looking to make a parody of how everyone seemed to be getting into the market. Interestingly, DOGE caught on among retail investors, and the asset’s profile rose.
Fast forward to 2020, and DOGE became a global phenomenon. A mixture of attention from investors on the Reddit platform and the endorsement of celebrities like singer Miley Cyrus and Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the asset to astronomical heights. Although its price has since dropped, investing in DOGE remains a popular choice among buyers. It has developed a cult-like following in the market, and its developers are now looking to make it a more functional coin.
In 2022 alone, several companies have accepted DOGE for payments. This includes Tesla, which currently accepts the coin for merchandise online. The Boring Company also accepts the leading meme coin for payment at its Loop in Las Vegas. The market expects more DOGE adoption as a payment method soon enough.
6. Polygon (MATIC)
Finally, investors can also consider the altcoin, MATIC. One of the most valuable coins by market cap, the asset is the native token for Polygon - a layer-two protocol built on Ethereum to help developers looking to build on Ethereum.
Interestingly, Polygon has also grown to become a suitable standalone blockchain platform. That stature has dragged many prospects through the front door. For instance, the platform was chosen by entertainment giant Disney as part of its Accelerator Program. Polygon is expected to help Disney incorporate new-age technologies, including NFTs and Web3, into its catalog. And as the market grows, platforms like these have brighter futures.
Guide To Buying Altcoins - Full Tutorial For Beginners
To get started with purchasing altcoins, the first step is to find and compare altcoin exchanges. A full list of the top-rated altcoin platforms can be found here, but for this tutorial, we will use Binance as an example to show each step in the buying process. For those that want to sell altcoins for cash, the methodology is very similar.
Step 1 - Create an account with a crypto exchange that supports altcoins
Visit the Binance home page and click on “Register” to create an account. Investors must type in their phone numbers or email addresses and their desired passwords. A link will be sent to the trader to verify their accounts and, subsequently, to access the trading platform.
Step 2 - Complete the identity verification process
Like other regulated brokers, Binance requires ID verification for users. Failure to do this could limit the feature accessible on the account. To complete the process, visit the “Identification” tab and provide proof of residence and a government-verified means of identification. This process takes just a few minutes. The process is required when buying altcoins with US Dollars or another fiat currency. Users can purchase altcoins on Binance with another cryptocurrency without completing ID verification, however, the withdrawal limits are reduced. Therefore, it is suggested to complete the basic verification level. If done correctly, it will take approximately 15 minutes. For more information, read this article on how long Binance verification takes.
Step 3 - Fund a wallet with Bitcoin or fiat currency
The next step is to fund the account. Binance allows investors to deposit using payment processors, wire transfers, bank deposits, and direct crypto transfers. The minimum deposit amount stands at $10. A deposit can be made by going to the "Payment" section and clicking "Add a new payment method". Alternatively, an investor could click the "Buy Crypto" button to choose a payment method and complete the deposit.
The alternative option is to fund an account with Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency such as a stablecoin (e.g. USDT or USDC) that can be converted into a specific altcoin.
Step 4 - Choose and purchase the altcoin
With a funded crypto wallet, the altcoin purchase can finally be completed. In the "Buy Crypto" section, enter their desired coin and the purchase amount to exchange fiat currency for crypto. After reviewing the terms, click on "Continue", and the purchase will be made. The altcoin will be stored in the user's Binance wallet that can be withdrawn to an external crypto wallet.
Related: How to withdraw crypto from Binance.
Frequently Asked Questions
An investor’s choice of an altcoin exchange depends primarily on supporting their desired cryptocurrencies. However, Binance is the best place for anyone looking to buy altcoins based on our reviews. The exchange is lauded for its liquidity and support for hundreds of cryptocurrencies. Traders looking for high-value assets would most likely find them on Binance.
Altcoins are incredibly functional. Many of them were built to serve specific purposes. At the same time, altcoins also provide impressive opportunities for gains. The best way to invest in altcoins is to buy the asset and stake or buy and hold to enjoy price appreciation.
New altcoins can be purchased on both centralized and decentralized crypto exchange platforms. However, it is worth noting that the newest of these altcoins usually hit the decentralized exchanges first before being listed on their centralized counterparts. Buying new altcoins on crypto DEXs can offer a great entry price point.
In summary, our guide has considered what altcoins are and how to buy them We also explored the best altcoins in the market and a few reasons why traders who already own Bitcoin should consider diversifying and investing in altcoins. For those that want to take the leap, our recommended platform is Binance which can get started with a minimum of $10.