How to buy altcoins: the simplest guide online [updated monthly]

Considering the recent Litecoin price spike we can say with confidence: altcoins are here to stay as an investment. Altcoins is a term that generally means all cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin. The term is a bit obsolete because previously Bitcoin was the only point of entry into altcoins, which is not the case anymore (later on that). Also, the project support quality and innovation vary greatly from cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency, so do your background checks on the altcoin projects you invest in.

This guide is for anyone willing to invest into altcoins and goes through all ways of buying them from worst to best.

The (currently)worst way to buy altcoins

Previously this was the only way to get your alts: through a cryptocurrency exchange. You’d have to figure out how to buy bitcoin, send it over to an exchange like Poloniex, Bittrex or Bitfinex, trade your BTC over altcoins and then withdraw your alts to their respective wallets. This way of buying altcoins is bad because you are spending too much on fees, you are likely to get into a withdrawal jam at an exchange, and you waste too much time doing it all.

In addition, there is a security issue: you never know which exchange is going to limit your account or get “hacked” with all your funds evaporating. This could be the cheapest way to buying altcoins, but it’s the exit that may cost more.

The generally OK way to buy altcoins

…would be to buy Bitcoin, put it into a wallet you own & control, and then exchange it into altcoins using services like ShapeshiftChangelly or decentralized exchanges like Altcoin.io (launching any day) or Bisq network. This is a valid way to diversify your cryptocurrency investment portfolio, but it requires several extra moves and a bit of a learning curve.

Use this option when you prefer NOT to use a credit card but opt for any other payment method. Buy your Bitcoin at Localbitcoins (cash, local payment methods) or Coinbase (if you have to make a good old bank transfer) – and then exchange it for altcoins @ShapeshiftChangelly or Altcoin.io (not live yet). This way of getting into alts is pretty good, though you will probably spend a bit extra money on fees and some time on waiting.

Now over to

The best way to buy altcoins

As of January 2018, us (and our readers) have concluded that the best way of buying altcoins to store them in the long run is through a credit card purchase of BTC and a consequent exchange into alts. This is not the cheapest way to buy altcoins, but it’s the safest method where you control every link in the transaction, plus it’s a pretty smooth experience. Here’s how it’s done:

1) Go to Indacoin and purchase your Bitcoin, sending it to your wallet (here’s how you select one)

2) Go to Shapeshift or Changelly and exchange your Bitcoin into an altcoin, sending the result to your alt wallet.

That’s it. The whole operation should be definitely taking you less than 24 hours, there are no wallets owned by third parties, and you do not need to verify your identity. /this is definitely not 100% anonymous though, since you will be using your debit or credit card/

You can even calculate your exact Bitcoin purchase in exchange for USD or EUR with this widget:

Hit “buy now” and you’ll go to secure Indacoin’s website to complete the purchase.

As of January 2018 Indacoin -> Exchangers is the best way of buying altcoins. All other options will remain in the article since things change so often in crypto space – check back for updates and sign up to our mailing list to stay updated.

>>>> Bonus #1:

Buying altcoins directly via Changelly:

Using Changelly for a direct credit card purchase of a coin you need is convenient, and it used to be our #1 option, but it’s been costing a fortune in fees lately.

The thing is, Changelly uses Indacoin’s API to sell you Bitcoin. As a result you have to pay a bit more and wait a bit more. But there is one upside: you can buy altcoins directly with a credit card here.

In fact, Changelly allows a direct purchase of dozens of altcoins with a credit card, and in each individual case the price could be good, even though the general consensus is that Changelly charges way too much. In any case, this is something to experiment with and see if there’s any gain compared to other altcoin purchase methods. If you have the time, that is.

Visit Changelly now and see for yourself.

Full list of altcoins you can buy with a credit card there: ETH, ETC, EXP, XEM, LSK, XMR, GAME, STEEM, SBD, ZEC, NLG, STRAT, ARDR, REP, LBC, LTC, BCN, DOGE, NXT, DASH, RADS, XDN, NBT, FCN, POT, GNT, WAVES, USDT, SWT, MLN, DGD, TIME, SNGLS, XAUR, PIVX, TRST, EDG, RLC, GNO, DCR, GUP, SYS, LUN, STR, BAT, ANT, BNT, SNT, CVC, EOS, PAY, QTUM, BCH, NEO, OMG, MCO, MTL, ST, ADX, ZRX, PTOY, STORJ, CFI, MYST, HMQ, NMR, SALT

>>>> Bonus #2

Buying Ethereum and exchanging it for other alts

Ether is probably the most popular altcoin (well, in the long run), so many companies sell it directly alongside with Bitcoin for credit/debit cards. You can buy Ether at CoinMama and BitPanda with a credit card and then change it via ShapeshiftChangelly or Altcoin.io (launching soon) just like we described above. This could work better for you in terms of fees, since it’d be based on ETH rate.

>>>> Bonus #3

Buying alts directly with a credit card if you’re in the EU

Bitpanda is a great service helping EU citizens get into crypto. They sell several alts directly for credit card payments, right now they are: Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash. Visit their website to get these alts and hold them or exchange for other altcoins on ShapeshiftChangelly or Altcoin.io (launching soon).

How to store altcoins?

If you are after long-tern altcoin investments, you need to store them just the way you’d store your Bitcoin: in wallets you have full control of. Every altcoin has respective wallet apps and websites, so google away and find your best options.

If you are storing major altcoins like Litecoin, DASH, Zcash, BCH, BTG, Ethereum, ETC, ERC-20 tokens, Expanse, UBIQ, NEM (XEM) then hardware wallets like Trezor or Ledger (+ Ark, Doge, Digibyte, Hcash, Komodo, Pivx, PoSW, Qtum) are your best and most secure options.

And of course it’s not a good idea to use third-party wallets, e.g. exchanges, to store ANY coin for longer than one week.

8 Comments
  1. […] Had to put together an altcoin purchase guide that packs better advice, to make sure newcomers don’t get stuck with coinbases and bittrexes: http://coinvigilance.com/how-to-buy-altcoins-the-simplest-guide-online/ […]

  2. Conamechanics says

    Yes, except CHANGELLY takes 24 hours to exchange and will give you the worst rate possible. Everyone who has used changelly has sworn never to go near it again.

    1. Staff says

      Yeah, well high rates are a given nowadays. It’s either you get something really slow or you get it fast and expensive. I think after the whole fall’17 turbulence it’ll settle down, rates will normalize and new actors will appear.

  3. Jade says

    10x for the intersting infos,
    So if i resume, changelly is quick but expensive? but comparable in fees of bying bitcions then exchanging them?
    And my second question, if i want to exchange Altcoins to dollars directly (without passing by bitcoins), is it possible? changelly dont propose that.
    Sorry for my English and questions, im starting to be curious to invest

    1. Staff says

      Thanks for the question. BUYING altcoins with a credit card is no problem, in addition to this post we have added a bunch of other options reviewed: http://coinvigilance.com/buy-bitcoin-instantly-with-a-credit-card-know-your-options-in-2018/ (e.g. Bitpanda selling Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin).

      BUT, withdrawing your altcoins directly to a plastic card is more problematic. If you want a quick way of converting your altcoins into fiat cash, consider using a prepaid crypto debit card that has altcoin wallets tied to it. E.g. a Uquid debit card has 80+ cryptocurrencies supported (reviewed in this comparison: http://coinvigilance.com/bitcoin-debit-cards-prepaid-visa-and-mastercard-comparison/)

      In that case your workflow would’ve been: 1) Buy alts with a credit card 2) transfer your alts to the prepaid card wallet 3) withdraw cash from ATM when you need. It’s a workaround if you need cash often.

  4. tony says

    Thanks for this info!

    1. Staff says

      You’re welcome Tony! Check back often 😉

  5. Donix says

    you can make it faster at Binance https://goo.gl/BcBQnK

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