Connecting to a Crypto Exchange
Below, we will cover what cryptocurrency exchanges are, as well as walk you through the steps for creating your Coinbase account, purchasing your first crypto, and sending crypto to another wallet.

WTF is a Crypto Exchange?

A cryptocurrency exchange is a platform and marketplace that facilitates the trading of cryptocurrencies for other assets, including digital and fiat currencies.
The term “fiat” refers to any non-crypto, legal tender issued by a governmental authority. Some common fiat currencies that you might be familiar with include the USD, the Euro, and the Pound Sterling.
Crypto exchanges allow you to create an account, or portfolio, as well as a wallet, where you can buy, sell and trade currencies that live on different blockchains. Most exchanges allow you to purchase cryptocurrency by connecting your bank account, or by paying with a credit card.
There are two different types of exchanges: centralized, and decentralized.
Centralized cryptocurrency exchanges are managed by one organization. It makes it a bit easier to get started, particularly for beginners. They act as a third-party between a buyer and a seller. Since they are operated and controlled by one company, centralized exchanges offer more reliability. However, because it is centralized, this means that your assets are managed by someone else other than yourself. They are operated by companies that are responsible for the holdings of their users. A few leading centralized cryptocurrency exchanges include Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, Crypto.com, and BlockFi.
Decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges, on the other hand, allow users to execute peer-to-peer transactions without the need for a third party. This offers more transparency over your assets than with centralized exchanges. Decentralized exchanges tend to be a little less user-friendly, and they do not facilitate the trading of fiat currencies for crypto. This means that users cannot use their bank accounts or credit cards to purchase crypto, which is very difficult for beginners.
In this lesson, we’re going to walk you through how to connect to Coinbase, which is one of the most widely-used centralized crypto exchanges. Keep in mind that if you’d rather connect to a different exchange, the steps will look very similar.

Step 1

Step 1 will be to navigate to Coinbase.com. From here, click “Sign up” in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Select account type

Next, Coinbase will ask you if you’re creating an individual or business account. In our case, we’ll be creating an individual account. Select “Individual” and “Get Started.”
From here, you’ll be prompted to enter your personal information and set a password for your account. Enter the required information and click “Create account.”
Remember that it is safest to store your password somewhere non-digital.

Verify your email

Coinbase will then prompt you to verify your email address. Navigate to your email and click “Verify Email Address” in the email you received from Coinbase.
Clicking this link will take you back to Coinbase, where you will be asked to sign back in. This will complete the email verification process.
Once logged in, the next step will be to set up two-step verification by entering your phone number and clicking “Send code.”
Enter the seven-digit code Coinbase texted to your mobile device, and click “Submit.”

Verify your information

Next, Coinbase will have you verify your information and identity. The first step will be to select the country you are a citizen of. Once selected, click “Submit.”
You’ll then be asked to enter some personal information, such as your date of birth, address, employment status, and the last four digits of your social security number. Coinbase asks for your Social Security number to prevent fraudulent activity and identity theft. Once you’ve entered the information in the required fields, click “Continue.”
This will lead you to a page with two questions regarding your expected value of transfers over the next 12 months as well as the industry you work in. It’s okay to use an estimate for the first question if you’re not certain. Click “Submit” once you’ve answered the questions.

Verify your identity

Once you’ve submitted and verified your information, you will be led to your new Coinbase account homepage.
You’ll then be prompted to further verify your identity. Click “Verify Now” and follow the required steps.

Step 2

Congrats! You’ve now successfully created your Coinbase account. Next you’ll want to add a payment method to enable crypto purchases.
Click “Add payment method” in your account homepage.

Add a payment method

A pop-up window will appear giving you a few options for payment methods. Select your desired payment method and follow the steps.
Once you’ve successfully added your payment method, you’ll be ready to make your first crypto purchase!
We will walk you through the steps for purchasing Ether, otherwise known as ETH, which is the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain. It is also a common cryptocurrency used to purchase NFTs.
Click “Buy Crypto” to begin the process.

Buy crypto

Next, a new window will appear, which will allow you to select your desired cryptocurrency to purchase. In our case, we will navigate to the “Buy” section and change Bitcoin to Ethereum.
Once you have selected Ethereum as your chosen network in the “Buy” section, select the amount you’d like to purchase.
You can then preview your order. Once you’re sure everything looks right, click “Buy now.”

Send/receive crypto

Congrats! You’ve officially made your first crypto purchase.

Now, as a last step, we will show you how to send crypto from one wallet to another. Since you’ve already set up your MetaMask wallet, we will instruct you on how to send ETH from your Coinbase wallet to your MetaMask wallet.
In your assets page in your Coinbase account, click “Send/Receive” in the upper right-hand corner.
In order to send crypto to another wallet, you will need to do one last verification step. All of the steps Coinbase takes to verify the authenticity of your account helps ensure that your assets and identity stay safe. Click “Verify your account.”
Coinbase will ask you to provide a legal form of identification. Select the type of identification you’d like to upload to your account and follow the steps.
Once completed, you’ll be able to send crypto to another wallet. In the “Pay with “ section, again change Bitcoin to Ethereum.

Sending ETH to MetaMask

To send ETH to your MetaMask wallet, you will need to copy your wallet address in MetaMask so that Coinbase knows where to send your crypto. Copy your wallet address in MetaMask and paste it into the “To” section in the pop-up window within Coinbase. Click “Continue.”
Preview your order and click “Send now” once you’re sure everything looks right. Your ETH funds should appear in your MetaMask wallet within the hour.

Congrats!

Congrats! You’ve successfully created your Coinbase account, purchased your first crypto, and sent crypto to your MetaMask wallet. Well done!
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On this page
WTF is a Crypto Exchange?
Step 1
Select account type
Verify your email
Verify your information
Verify your identity
Step 2
Add a payment method
Buy crypto
Send/receive crypto
Legal form of identification
Sending ETH to MetaMask
Congrats!