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Cryptocurrencies are experiencing a moment of unprecedented attention and speculation for a number of reasons.

1) The value of Bitcoin has been steadily climbing through 2017, with Ether seemingly poised to overtake the cryptocurrency giant any day;

2) Blockchain​ technology has uses above and beyond cryptocurrency, and has been hailed by some as the backbone of the future financial system;

3) The increasing number of people who see cryptocurrency as a form of investment similar to gold. If cryptocurrencies stabilize in value, buying Bitcoin or Ether has the potential to be a worthy venture. Coinbase

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If you want to trade in digital currencies, you are going to need a platform on which to trade them, and an intermediary to communicate with the network. Most of us do not have the technological wherewithal to communicate with the blockchain, or to store our digital currency. That’s where Coinbase comes in. Coinbase is a global digital asset exchange company (GDAX), providing a venue to buy and sell digital currencies, as well as send information about those transactions out to the blockchain network in order to verify those transactions.

Coinbase serves as a Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin wallet, too, where the digital currencies can be stored. The application operates exchanges of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, as well as other digital assets with fiat currencies in 32 countries, and Bitcoin transactions in many more countries.

Buying and Selling Cryptocurrency In order to purchase cryptocurrencies, Coinbase requires you to link a bank account, or credit or debit card to your Coinbase account. Using a bank account allows for higher limits ($100/transaction, $2,500/week), but it also takes longer to verify transactions, so you will not see money in your Coinbase wallet for two to four days (depending on your bank). And when selling Bitcoin, once the sale is confirmed, it takes two to four days for the proceeds of that sale to show up in your bank account. With a credit or debit card, limits are lower ($200/week), but you can purchase digital currencies by simply transferring funds from that bank account to the site. For these transactions, Bitcoin shows up in your Coinbase wallet instantaneously. You can also sell Bitcoin to your PayPal account, effectively cashing out, as your Bitcoin will be exchanged for local currency. This transaction, too, is instantaneous. Despite the intricate technology associated with and necessary for cryptocurrency investing, speculation and possession, Coinbase has created an apparatus that makes this process remarkably easy and familiar, almost like buying and selling stocks. This screenshot from the Coinbase site shows real-time cryptocurrency prices, and doesn't look too different from your ordinary online stock tracker.

BitCoin Chart

 

Buy and sell Bitcoin on Coinbase, very similar to online banking.