Step-by-Step Guide to Setup a Coinbase Account to Buy Bitcoins, Ethereums & Litecoins

by: Tam Ging Wien

All examples and stocks quoted here in this article and on the ProButterflyTM site are for learning purposes; it does NOT constitute financial advice or a Buy/Sell recommendation. Contents are reflective of personal views and readers are responsible for their own investments and are advised to perform their own independent due diligence and take into account their own financial situation. All investments carry risk. The risk of investing in cryptocurrencies and blockchain related startups is extremely high and you may potentially loose all your investment capital. If in any doubt about the investment action you should take, you should consult a professional certified financial advisor.

This article is mean to help beginners quickly get their hands on small amount of cryptocurrency so that they can appreciate the concepts better through action.

It is NOT meant to be investment advice or sharing of trading strategy, but rather an early starting place to better appreciate the blockchain revolution. I believe that only by getting your hands dirty and using the system can you then truly appreciate how cryptocurrencies work.

In cryptocurrency lingo, there are Bitcoins and then there are Altcoins. The latter being a fusion of the words “Alternative to Bitcoins”. Examples of altcoins include Ethereum and Litecoin. Collectively, all crypotocurrencies are colloquially referred to as “coins”.

For the purposes of this guide, we will be setting up your fiat-crypto exchange which allows you to exchange your fiat currency with cryptocurrency.

Coinbase (or rather its sister exchange GDAX) is one of the largest fiat-crypto exchanges and has been around since 2012 and boast over 7.3 million users. It therefore also has a large number of buy/sell orders on its books which allows you to purchase your cryptocurrencies quickly.

Coinbase supports 3 major cryptocurrencies namely Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC). It also supports another cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash (BCH) which was forked from the original Bitcoin. If you would like more information about Bitcoin Cash (BCH), do head over to our previous article First Bitcoin, then Bitcoin Cash, now Bitcoin Gold?.

We will also be using credit cards in this step-by-step guide to make the purchase. Credit cards are good for low amount and fast transactions for cryptocurrencies, however do note that the transaction charges incurred could be in the range of 4% to 5%.

Before we start, here are the list of items which you will need to prepare before hand:

  • Smart phone with mobile camera
  • Government issued identification (eg Passport, NRIC, Drivers License)
  • *Credit Card with access online banking to verify charges

*Note: For Singapore based Credit Cards, we have tested a number of credit card issuers and found that DBS, UOB, OCBC and Citibank credit cards cannot be used. It appears that the issuers may be blocked their credit cards from being used to purchase cryptocurrencies.

Step 1: Register for a Coinbase account

We recommend that you use our Coinbase referral link below when signing up. After you have made a transaction at least US$100 worth of cryptocurrency, Coinbase will reward both of us with an additional US$10 worth of Bitcoins:

  1. Click on the registration link: to launch the registration page in your browser.
  2. Fill in your First Name, Last Name, Email Address and choose a password. (Note that Western names tend to have their First Name and Last Name in different orders. Do follow the order as per your identity to avoid problems later with the automated verifier)
  3. Click on the checkbox “I’m not a robot”
  4. Click on the checkbox to certify that you are above 18 years of age and agree to the agreements and policies


Step 2: Verify your email address

After you have successfully signed-up in the step above, an email will be sent to the email address that you had entered.

  1. Access to your email inbox and search for the verification email which Coinbase sent to you. (Note that if the email has not been received, it could be in the junk mail)
  2. Click on the “ Verify Email Address” to confirm with Coinbase that you email is valid.

Step 3: Verify your mobile number

After you have successfully verified your email address, you will be directed to verify your mobile number.

  1. Select your country (in order for Coinbase to know your country code)
  2. Enter your mobile number.
  3. Click “Send Code”.
  4. Check your mobile for the one time code.
  5. Enter the one time 7-digit code received.
  6. Click “Submit”.
  7. You will be receive a text message “Welcome to Coinbase” on your mobile.

Step 4: Update your profile

After successfully verifying your mobile number, you will be redirected to the Coinbase dashboard. Here you will update your identity in Coinbase, make sure your details are correct as per your identity documents as you will require to verify them at a later stage.

  1. At the dashboard page, click on “Settings”.
  2. Click on “My Profile”, complete your Personal Details and click “Save”.

Step 5: Verify your identity

This is the critical step that you must complete successfully, otherwise Coinbase will not permit you to make any cryptocurrency purchases. Please note that Coinbase is required to comply with anti-money laundering and terrorism financing regulations and therefore Know-Your-Customer (KYC) checks and verification are a standard procedure.

  1. Click on “Limits”.
  2. Click on “Submit ID”.
  3. Click on “Photo ID”.
  4. Click on “Mobile Camera”.
  5. You will receive a text message with a link to verify your identity in your smart phone.
  6. Follow the instructions to upload the Front & Back of your Photo ID
  7. After you have submitted both the front and back of your Photo ID, you will be presented with the following screen. Click on “Back to Limits”.

Your ID documents are now being verified against the identify profile that you had provided earlier using Coinbase's artificial intelligence software. Do note that verification could take between 5min to 15mins. Please be patient.

The steps above could also be used for "Passport" or "Drivers License" instead if you prefer to use those documentations.

Step 6: Link your credit card

After your documents are verified, you will be informed that your account is incomplete. To complete your account setup, you will need to link a payment method. For this guide, we will use credit card as the payment method.

  1. Click on “Settings”.
  2. Click on “Linked Accounts” then click on “Link a New Account”.
  3. Select the “Credit/Debit Card” option.
  4. Fill in your Credit Card details and click “Add Card”.

Step 7: Verify your credit card

You will be presented with a screen requesting you to input 2 values to verify your credit card.

  1. Proceed to login to the internet banking portal of your credit card issuing company.
  2. Check the latest transactions to your credit card. You should notice 2 transactions from Coinbase with a charge amount between $1.00 to $1.99 (similar to the screenshot below, note that your charge amount shown will be different from the screenshot). Note these charges.
  3. Key in the charges observed and click “Verify Your Card”.
  4. After your card has been verified successfully, you will receive a confirmation message with your credit card information linked.

Finally, you will receive a confirmation message that your "Credit card successfully verified!". You will now be able to begin your first cryptocurrency purchase!

Welcome to this brave new world of cryptocurrencies! Aren’t you glad you got started?

At ProButterflyTM, we encourage all our readers and subscribers to dabble a little into the cryptocurrency space as we believe that asset class has a long term potential and the wave has only just started. We encourage you to read our introduction to blockchains and cryptocurrencies as the following links:-


Disclosure Statement

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of Tam Ging Wien (“the author”) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position or view of the author’s employer, organization, committee, or other group(s) or individual(s).

The author at time of writing hold stakes in various cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.



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