Cryptocurrency (digital currency) is taking off this year. New millionaires are being made almost daily now as Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, Stratis and other Cyrptocurrencies continue to reach new all time highs. It is becoming somewhat of a modern day gold rush.

As of the time of writing, Bitcoin’s “market cap” is 37 billion, with a value of $2281 per Bitcoin. For a coin that was once worth only pennies, Bitcoin investors have made serious money in the last few years.

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Bitcoin might be the oldest but it’s not the only Cryptocurrency on the block. In fact, majority of people getting into Cryptocurrency are flocking to Ethereum. Ethereum has had the most impressive gains this year after recently being the first Cryptocurrency to be backed by major corporations such as Microsoft, Samsung, JP Morgan Chase and others in what’s being called the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. Ethereum does for code and programming what Bitcoin did for financial transactions. For simplicity sake, think of Ethereum like a more advanced/sophisticated Bitcoin that is being backed and utilized by major corporations due to its technological advancements, and clear pathway to building a decentralized internet.

One Ether (Ethereum’s crypto token) was worth as little as $12 earlier this year, and is as of the time of writing is now worth $228 per coin with a total market cap of $21 billion. Ethereum is slowly but surely making gains on Bitcoin’s market cap. Many spectators believe that “the flippening” will happen sometime this year, where Ethereum becomes the most valuable (market cap) cryptocurrency in the world, overtaking Bitcoin in total value (total number of coins times price per coin.)

Ethereum isn’t the only new coin on the block, but it is definetely the most promising. Others to watch that I will explain and write about in future articles include Ripple, Litecoin, Statis, Siacion and others. All these coins have something unique and technologically innovative about them.

How to Buy Your First Cryptocurrency Coin

Buying Cryptocurrency is confusing for a lot of people. It’s not a stock, or a typical “investment.” It’s not anything like most people have ever seen or experienced so far. You don’t get shares, you instead get digital coins/tokens. The coins are “better” than a paper dollar bill because they are actually supporting a greater cause, like in Ethereum’s case, to build a decentralized internet and host code and apps on a decentralized platform. And coins help “fuel” that cause, so to speak, without getting technical.

For most people in the U.S., CoinBase would be the easiest option to buy Ethereum, Bitcoin or Litecoin (they don’t support any others yet.) After verifying your account, you can add a number of payment methods including Credit/Debit Cards, U.S. Bank Accounts or even wire transfer in funds to purchase with. Other options for exchanges that will take U.S. dollars for coins are Kraken, and Gemini in the U.S. Typically speaking you will need to verify your account with a Driver’s License and add other details to expand your buy limits. Since Cryptocurrencies are “hard currencies,” the exchanges don’t want to risk getting ripped off, since once its gone you can’t reverse a Cryptocurrency transaction.

If you are looking for some of the newer coins that are making big movement but haven’t made their way to the above exchange sites, you can look into Poloniex, or Livecoin. You can transfer Bitcoin or Ethereum to these platforms from Coinbase and then exchange that for any other digital currency that you want.

If you are outside of the U.S., here are a few options for exchanges that take your local currency: BTC Markets (Australia), Bitthumb or Coinone (Korea), CHBTC or Huobi (China), QuadrigaCX (Canada.) You can find a full list on this page of where to buy Ethereum for your local currency.