If you live in the Philippines and you are familiar with Bitcoin, then you probably know how to use Coins.ph. It is by far the most convenient way to buy Bitcoin in our country.
Since there’s still no direct way to buy Ethereum tokens (Read: What is Ethereum?) in the Philippines and Coinbase is unfortunately not yet available here, we will be using Bitcoin from Coins.ph and convert them to Ether. As of today, thanks to the local crypto community for their collective support, you can now also buy Ethereum token along with Bitcoin directly from Coins.ph. Now I do need to update this entry when I have the time because it has already served its purpose. 🙂 The tutorial below will also be applicable if you plan to buy other cryptocurrency in general aside from Ether like Litecoin, Dash, Monero, NEO and so on. Continue reading below if you want to learn more.
If you prefer buying Ether directly from your credit or debit card, CEX.io is your best bet (please read the update below). It is the cheapest deal you can get if you opt to pay with credit/debit card. If you have any problem with them like verification process, their FAQs are pretty comprehensive and very helpful for new users.
IMPORTANT NOTICES, PLEASE READ: (UPDATED 03/17/18, 1:00 AM PST)
-CEX.io unofficially opened the registrations for new users after being closed for more than a month. My guess is that they secretly opened it on February 1st (or earlier) to avoid the influx of new registrations or it is just a bug (update: it is). So folks, secure your slot immediately in case they close it again! Create your new account here then click register on upper right corner.
– BTC blockchain fees of Coins and other platforms in general are now doing fine. Thanks to SegWit and Lightning.
You can proceed below to learn more about basic trading of Ether and other cryptocurrencies.
Setting up your Coins.ph account
If you are finished creating your account, you may have been notified to verify your identity. Unverified users can already use their account but with a limited cash-in and disabled cash-out. Verification process is very easy and it will only take two minutes of your time so go for it and remove the limit of your account. When you’re done then you are now ready to buy Bitcoins with your wallet. You can choose from over a dozen different ways to cash in like 7-Eleven outlets, SM Department stores, M Lhuillier and different banks like BPI, BDO, Unionbank, etc. I personally like to cash in with Unionbank because the cash in fees are rebated by Coins. There are many helpful FAQs on Coins’ blog if you are having a hard time navigating on their website. They also have an Android and iOS app.
Now that you have Bitcoins on your Coins.ph wallet, you can now transfer it to buy Ether(ETH), the token of Ethereum. I will discuss two options in converting your BTC to ETH. The first option is the easiest way and it involves coinswaps. If you don’t plan on trading ETH and other altcoins and just want to hold it for awhile, this is the best method. But if you want an extra opportunity to trade your coins (buying low and selling high) and profit even more, jump to option two. Be warned though, trading involves a high risk of losing your original investment.Please be aware that I will not be responsible for any of your trading decisions. Invest only what you can afford to lose. Do your research first when buying an altcoin, and don’t jump in to pump and dump coins if you don’t want to risk losing your funds. If you’re a beginner or even an expert, the best strategy so far is to just BUY AND HOLD.
The following tutorial are also applicable if you are planning to buy other popular cryptocurrencies aside from Ether.
Option 1: Coinswaps
There are currently two popular and trusted coinswaps available, ShapeShift and Changelly. They are both easy to use and the transactions are almost instant. But if you are only dealing with a small amount of BTC and prefer a lower fee and the best exchange rate for Ether, I suggest that you use Changelly. I compared these two websites for their fees and Changelly has obviously the lowest fee when dealing with a small amount like 2-3 ETH. (I also tried an amount of 1 BTC and Changelly still gives the best amount of ETH you’ll get despite the 0.5% fee so it’s up to you to compare which has the lowest fee. The price is subject to change.)
Whether what coinswap you use, the steps are pretty similar and very easy.
- Enter the amount of BTC you wish to convert to ETH then enter your ETH wallet where the funds will be sent. If you have no ETH wallet, click this guide to create one.
- After that, you will be given a BTC deposit address to send the BTC from your coins.ph account.
- Open your Coins account then go to your wallet (Peso and BTC wallet both works) and click Send. Enter the exact amount that you need to send then enter the unique BTC address you copied from Shapeshift/Changelly on the recipient text box. (WARNING: Always double check the BTC address) Choose your blockchain fee then click Continue. Review your transaction then click Send.
- The BTC transaction will appear shortly. Just wait till the transaction is confirmed. Check your ETH wallet to make sure it is completed. That’s it.
Option 2: Exchange Market
You can choose any Cryptocurrency Exchange site but I currently use Bittrex because it has an easy user interface for beginners plus you are not required to verify your identity unless your transaction limit (withdrawal) exceeds $100. You can easily raise your limit to 100 BTC by submitting an ID (I used my Postal ID) and a fresh selfie.
If you want a huge variety of altcoin pairs and cheapest trading fees (
0.1% 0.050% compared to 0.25% of Bittrex), try Binance(you can register here). I’m in the process of transferring all my trading funds to Binance and I will soon change my main example from Bittrex to Binance on this blog while Bittrex is not available yet. There’s no need for verification as long as your daily transaction does not exceed 2 BTC. More importantly, they have an app for both iOS and Android devices for your trading convenience. You can check the official download links here. There are a lot more exchanges to choose from, you can refer to this post to compare and select a digital exchange site that suits your taste.
NEWS 12-17-17: Bittrex temporarily halts registration for new users (For new readers, you can try Poloniex or Binance. They all have a similar UI with Bittrex so don’t worry. Poloniex service have improved so far but it is hard to bring back the trust they lost. Check this alternate tutorial for Poloniex: Trade ETH/BTC in Poloniex)
For old Bittrex users, check out my new post: How to avoid expensive withdrawal fees on Bittrex and other exchanges when cashing-out
Register an account on Bittrex and then follow this steps to transfer your BTC from your Coins wallet to your Bittrex account.
- After you have successfully created your account on Bittrex, click Wallets on the panel at the upper right side of the screen. A list of cryptocurrencies will appear in the page, find Bitcoin then click the (+) sign.
- Click Generate Address. Copy the unique BTC address that will appear. You can also use the QR code below the address for smoother transaction later at coins.ph if you are using your mobile phone.
- Open your Coins account then go to your wallet and click Send. Enter the amount of money that you will send then enter the unique BTC address you copied from Bittrex on the recipient text box. (WARNING: Always double check the BTC address, you can also send a small amount first like 0.001 BTC to test it) Choose your blockchain fee then click Continue. Review your transaction then click Send.
- Wait for coins.ph to process that transaction for about a minute until the transaction number appears. Please note that BTC transaction confirmation time can take about an hour up to a day at max (in contrast, Ethereum transaction can be confirmed in under a minute for a 1 peso miner fee, that’s why Ethereum is much better because it has a good road map for scaling in the future). After that, the unconfirmed transaction should appear on Pending Deposits shortly. Wait for the transaction to be confirmed.
- Your BTC should be credited by now. Go to the Market Page then find BTC-ETH pair on Bitcoin Market. Take note of the Ask price. That is the current price of the Ether that you can buy.
- On the Buy Ethereum box, enter the current Ask price on the Bid text box (entering the latest ask price will execute your order immediately but you are free to enter lower prices if you think it will go down). Enter the total amount of BTC you want to convert to ETH on the Total text box then click buy and Confirm. Your transaction will be instant if the price is updated to the current ask order. If you entered a lower price, it will be executed once the current price reached your ask price. If for any reasons your order doesn’t get through, go to Open Orders and cancel it then repeat this step.
- It is easy to grasp the UI of Bittrex if you plan on trading. Take your time to study every inch of the website. You can also verify your account in Settings to raise your daily limit. Enhanced verification works well with Postal ID, Passport and Driver’s license.
Congratulations! You have successfully bought your first Ether! Since this may become a valuable investment in the future, it is in utmost importance that you learn about the basic security of your digital coins here. Please take note that once you lost your digital coins, it is most likely lost forever so take proper precautions like enabling 2FA and switching to stronger unique passwords. Storing your whole funds on one exchange site for example is risky (Mt. Gox hacking and the recent seizing of BTC-e for instance). It is like trusting a complete stranger to hold your money. If you can afford it, just store a small amount on an exchange for your day trading and transfer your bigger stack to a secure wallet. This will teach you how to create your own Ethereum cold wallet to safely secure your investment. You must read this especially if you are new to this area.
Always remember the rule of thumb, don’t invest more than what you can afford to lose. Please take note that I am not in any way responsible for your financial lost due to carelessness, greediness or any human error. If you have encountered any technical problem on any platform mentioned here, leave a comment and we will try to investigate and warn other readers about this issue.
Read next: Creating your own Ethereum cold wallet
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