What is Ethereum?
Ethereum is an open source public blockchain based platform that makes it possible for any developer to build and run decentralized applications. Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, a blockchain platform that serves as a global computer for decentralized apps. Ether, the cryptocurrency on which it is based, has soared in value this year (Ethereum's market capitalization is currently about $30 billion).
Ethereum was designed to be adaptable and flexible. In a short period of time, Ethereum has grown to become a popular cryptocurrency and computing platform.
Ethereum platform can be used for many different decentralized activities. One of the most popular uses is the creation of digital tokens, which is what most ICOs are based on. Other than that, there are other interesting applications such as decentralized voting or governance systems, crowdfunding, blind auctions and much more. A great advantage of decentralized applications is that any services can be digitized, from real estate to computing power, so people can trade with each other without the need for middlemen or central authority to make sure everything goes as it should.
Ethereum has been called "the World Computer" because of the way it is designed. Instead of giving a set of limited operations like current online services, Ethereum allows developers to create potentially any operations they want. This makes Ethereum as close as possible to a "generic" blockchain system and, the future will show if this generalized design will be flexible enough to cover all the different ideas we can think about.
What is Ether?
ETH is the name of Ethereum platform's cryptocurrency. It is used to pay for transaction fees and computational services on the network. You can create new ETH tokens by running a "mining" program on your computer. There are markets where you can purchase ETH from other people using other cryptocoins or fiat currencies like US Dollars or Euros.
Ether is used by developers to pay for transaction fees and computational services on the Ethereum network. It's a currency similar to bitcoin that can be traded on cryptocurrency exchanges. Ether also powers the Ethereum network as gas (See more information in the "What is Ethereum?" section).
How do I buy Ether?
There are many services that allow you to buy Ether, but this guide will focus on how to get ETH using the most popular ones. The exact processes in place may vary depending on your location and payment method, so make sure to read the FAQ section of the service before signing up.
Bitit - With Bitit you can purchase Ether by giving them cash or a credit card in 45 different countries. You can also choose from more than 10 cryptocurrencies and purchase them directly. The fees for buying Ether with Bitit depend on the payment method you use, but they all come to about 8%.
Coinbase - Coinbase is one of the most popular services for buying and selling cryptocurrency like Ether. The process is fairly simple and straightforward, but you will have to go through a verification process in order to be able to purchase ETH with Coinbase. This can be done by submitting your ID or Passport and a picture of yourself holding your ID card or passport with visible information.
CEX - CEX is one of the most popular services for buying Ether. CEX allows you to purchase ETH with your credit card, debit card or bank account. The fees vary from 1% to 3%.
Kraken - Kraken takes a little more time to purchase Ether than the previous options because you will have to go through an online verification process before being able to buy ETH. You will need to set up your account, go through the verification process and fund your account with US Dollars or Euros depending on what you want to buy before you can use Kraken.
Once that's done, the service will allow you to deposit money using a SEPA transfer. This is a European bank transfer that usually takes up to 4 working days to reach Kraken. Once you have deposited money through SEPA, you can use the same account to purchase Ether with your credit card or bank account, as well as make a trade on their exchange page.
Since most of these services require some form of verification, it is not recommended to buy Ether anonymously unless you want to break the law.