How to Buy Ethereum in 5 Minutes without Feeling Like an Idiot

Over a course of a week I tried to get ETH by using as that was the suggestion everyone seems to be following. Below I show how you can actually do it in 10 minutes.

7 min readMay 30, 2017


If you’re new to cryptocurrencies, it might come as a surprise how confusing the eco-system is. More so, the apparent market leader is the most unreliable internet service I have come across since coming online in 1994. Not kidding. Apparently they had a bad week because of a surge in BTC trades, but that actually makes no sense because the entire daily trade volume of BTC is 250 million transactions. There is another narrative that makes much more sense, but it’s really negative so I’m not going to share it (at least not in this post). Instead I’ll show you how you can use state-of-the-art internet services, with impeccable user experience, and in 10 minutes have your ETH wallet ready for example to take part in an ICO.

The one I’m interested in is the Basic Attention Token ICO by the Brave guys. In case you’re interested, I’ve written many articles that explain why I like Brave’s vision and why I think that the team is working on something that has the potential for making a big difference. You can find the articles here.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not providing this information for investment purpose or for any kind of speculation with cryptocurrencies. It’s just for having fun with ICOs with a little bit of money for learning purpose. I don’t practice any form of investment, and if I would ever get any positive return, I would donate it all to charity. I encourage you do the same.

In fact, I think most online advertising related ICOs we will see are going to be schemes you really don’t want to be part of. You can read a more detailed analysis on that aspect in an article I wrote that answers the question what is adToken, another online advertising token based on Ethereum.

OVERVIEW: Getting Your Ethereum (ETH) in Few Simple Steps

First I will provide a simple outline of the steps that are required to do this.

  1. Get a wallet from (later MEW)
  2. Make sure that you can access your wallet ok
  3. Open an account in
  4. Go through the verification hoops in CEX.IO
  5. Deposit money from your credit card to CEX.IO
  6. Buy ETH with your money in CEX.IO
  7. Withdraw ETH to your wallet ID (do this with small amount first)
  8. Go back to MEW and confirm that the transaction have gone through
  9. Repeat with the actual amount you want to have in your wallet

IMPORTANT NOTICE: MEW is a wallet that you store on your own computer (and as a backup outside of your computer) and there is no way to recover your password if you lose it. In other words, if you lose your password OR your wallet file, you lose your money. There will be nothing you can do about it, so take care of it.

DETAILED WALKTHROUGH: Getting Your Ethereum (ETH) in Few Simple Steps

Step 1 — Get a wallet from (later MEW)

First go to

You will notice that there is no account to be created. Basically you create password, and then you get your wallet file.


Once you get to the next screen, follow the instructions and download your wallet file.


It’s probably a good idea to immediately have a backup outside of your computer (and no, your mounted external hard drive is not a good option). Do the same for your password, but better not store it in the same outside place as you store your wallet.

2. Make sure that you can access your wallet ok

Before doing anything else, let’s make sure that you can access the wallet ok. The file that you got in the last step is the UTC / JSON file in the first option, so choose that. Then you’ll be asked for your password, which is what you created in the previous step.

Successfully going through the process — which should not take more than 1 minute — yields a screen that looks something like this:

Note that I’ve masked the account balance and account address, so in your case you would see your own account address and initially your balance would be 0.00 ETH.

Make sure to take note of your wallet address. A long string that looks something like this:

3. Open an account in

First go to

The first thing you want to do is go through the process of creating an account. It’s very nicely streamlined and there is nothing out of ordinary…everything just works. Now go do it and I’ll see you in the next step.

4. Go through the verification hoops in CEX.IO

What you’ll need for this step is:

  • mobile phone that can receive SMS
  • your ID (I used passport)
  • your credit card
  • a webcam or some other means to take a photo

Other than that, these guys clearly have a lot of respect for their users as the verification process is by far the most painless in comparison to at least 7 other platforms I’ve done the same with. This is literally from a different planet in comparison to

5. Deposit Money from Your Credit Card to CEX.IO

Note that this might work with debit card as well. I only tried credit card so I can’t say for sure. When you add your card, you’ll first have to go through a verification step where you call your bank (or check your online statement via online banking though I think those rarely update in real-time) and they’ll let you know what is the amount in the test charge, and once you key that in to, you’re ready to go and use the card to deposit for example

6. Buy ETH with your money in CEX.IO

Now that you’ve deposited the money, you can buy your cryptocurrency (ETH or BTC and maybe). This is made very easy with CEX.IO and takes about 30 seconds to complete. Just choose the amount you want to buy and the kind of cryptocurrency you want, and that’s it.

7. Withdraw ETH to your wallet ID (do this with small amount first)

We’re getting very close now. If you had gone through as much pain as I had before getting to this point, you’re more or less sure something will still go wrong. Don’t worry, this s**t actually works.


Now key in your wallet address.


You should now see a notification about email having been sent to your email on associated with the account, and once you confirm it, the ETH will move :)

Once you’ve clicked the link in the email, you’ll see a screen like this:

That’s it…we did it. Now you have ETH on your wallet :)

8. Go back to MEW and confirm that the transaction have gone through

Now go back to

Just repeat the steps that you had taken before when confirming that your wallet works, and make sure that the ETH indeed now is in your wallet.

Finally, repeat step 7 with the full amount you want to transfer.

That’s it. Have fun!




Worked with machine intelligence for 15 years, and built the interwebs for 25. Nothing here is my own.