Where Can I Buy Altcoins: Best Guide for Beginners

Published: 7th June, 2024 | Last Updated: 5th June, 2024

Markos Koemtzopoulos

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

This guide shows the best places to buy altcoins. Figuring out where and how to buy Altcoins can be a little overwhelming. In this guide, I break down how you can buy Altcoins, what some popular altcoins are, and where you can find them. 

What is an Altcoin? 

Altcoin stands for Alternative coin and by that, we mean alternative to bitcoin. So anything that is not Bitcoin is an Altcoin. But within altcoins, there is a range. 

Ethereum logo on a black screen, 3D image

Types of Altcoins

  1. The first category is established blue chip coins that use smart contracts, such as Ethereum and its competitors: Cardano, Solana, Polkadot, etc. There are platforms in which you can build decentralized apps. 
  2. The second category is decentralized apps such as Uniswap, SushiSwap, Compound, Yearn Finance, and so on. Each of these offers its own governance or utility token, which you can use on their app to avail of their services. 
  3. After that, you have alternative coins that are centered around a theme. Four main themes are popular at the time of writing: Decentralized Physical Infrastructure, Gaming, AI, and Real World Assets (RWAs). 
  4. Another category of altcoins is stablecoins. These are crypto assets that are pegged to a fiat currency, which is most often the US dollar. Investing in stablecoins means you are not exposed to the volatility of cryptocurrencies. At the same time, you can earn a yield on your stablecoins by lending them out or offering them up as liquidity on decentralized exchanges. 
  5. The final category is meme coins, such as dogecoin and Shiba Inu. Newer meme coins, such as Dogwifhat, are especially popular on Solana these days. I will tell you where you can buy those if you are interested. 

Where to buy altcoins

There are a few options. The smaller the coin, the more you have to branch out. 

Let’s start with centralized exchanges

Buying Altcoins on large centralized crypto exchanges

Tier 1 crypto exchanges

Large crypto exchanges such as Kraken, Coinbase, and crypto.com offer more than 200 digital assets to choose from. Binance, the largest crypto exchange globally, offers more than 400 coins. 

So if you are looking for mainstream altcoins, you will be able to find them on these platforms. Read my guide on how to buy crypto and how to go about it. 

Here are a few benefits to using them to buy altcoins:

  • You can deposit fiat money, such as euros or dollars, into your bank account. Deposit methods include debit cards as well as bank transfers. If you are based in the United States, it will be harder to use a credit card as many exchanges don’t accept them. 
  • You don’t need to worry about setting up a crypto wallet
  • They offer security measures such as storing the majority of funds in cold storage and offering two-factor authentication
  • The user interface offers a good user experience, usually in the form of a mobile app
  • They offer high liquidity, which means market orders execute instantly
  • You can download the pro version of the mobile app, that offers much lower trading fees and advanced trading features such as limit orders and margin trading. 

Tier 2 exchanges

However, if can’t find the altcoin you are looking for on those three exchanges, then you could consider the following altcoin exchanges:

  1. MEXC, with over 800 coins, often lists new cryptocurrencies with market caps below $100
  2. Gate.io and Kucoin sometimes offer coins that are not listed on the two exchanges above.

The benefits of using a tier 2 exchange are

  1. Some, such as MEXC, do not require you to verify your ID  when you deposit. They will only ask for this if you want to withdraw money from a bank account
  2. It’s easy to use a large exchange as your base where you store the majority of your assets and venture out to these smaller exchanges when you want to buy a specific altcoin that is not listed on the larger exchange

If you can’t find your coin on a centralized exchange, then things get more complicated, as you need to set up a wallet and hook it up to a decentralized exchange. This is not as scary as it sounds but you do need to invest some time to learn the ropes. 

Best decentralized exchanges for altcoins

The main benefit of using a decentralized exchange is that you don’t need to share any personal information. The drawback is that they have limited customer support and no one can recover your seed phrase if you lose it. 

3D-rendered image of blocks in a blockchain, decentralized

1. Uniswap

A screenshot of UniSwap's homepage for a mobile device.

Uniswap is the largest decentralized crypto exchange where you can swap ERC-20 tokens. To use Uniswap, you need to set up a wallet that is compatible with Ethereum. Most wallets, such as Metamask, Exodus, and Guarda as well as hardware wallets such as Trezor and Ledger devices. 

2. Raydium

A screenshot of Raydium's homepage for a mobile device.

Raydium is the largest decentralized exchange in the Solana ecosystem. To use it, you need a Solana wallet, such as Phantom. Raydium is especially popular these days, as you can trade Solana-issued meme coins. Because Solana is Ethereum’s largest competitor, many speculators are trying to find the next meme coins that will make it big. However, be very careful when buying such coins because the majority of them will crash to zero. Investing in meme coins is more akin to playing the lottery than anything else. 

3. Chainge Finance

A screenshot of Chainge Finance's homepage for a mobile device.

I have written an extensive review of Chainge finance. They are relatively new and the reason I mention them is because they want to be the Amazon for buying coins. Currently, you can’t buy all coins in one place. Change plans to change that, hence the name. Be aware that some users have complained of teething pains when using the app but it’s backed by experienced people in the crypto world. 

4. PancakeSwap

A screenshot of PancakeSwap's homepage for a mobile device.

PancakeSwap is a leading decentralized exchange (DEX) on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) network, allowing you to swap BEP-20 tokens. To use PancakeSwap, you’ll need a BSC-compatible wallet such as MetaMask, Trust Wallet, or Binance Chain Wallet. PancakeSwap stands out due to its lower transaction fees compared to Ethereum-based exchanges, making it attractive for frequent traders. It also offers features like yield farming, staking, and lotteries, enhancing user engagement. However, as with all DeFi platforms, users should exercise caution, do thorough research, and be aware of the risks involved in trading and investing in cryptocurrencies on PancakeSwap.

5. 1inch

A screenshot of 1Inch's homepage for a mobile device.

1inch is a decentralized exchange aggregator that searches multiple DEXs to find the best prices for token swaps. It supports various blockchains, including Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Polygon. To use 1 inch, you need a compatible wallet like MetaMask, Trust Wallet, or Ledger. By aggregating liquidity from multiple sources, 1inch aims to provide users with the most efficient trading routes and lowest slippage. Additionally, 1inch offers features like liquidity provision and farming. While it simplifies the process of finding the best trade prices, users should still be mindful of transaction fees and the inherent risks of trading on decentralized platforms.


6. Trader Joe

A screenshot of TraderJoe's homepage for a mobile device.

Trader Joe’s is a decentralized exchange (DEX) built on the Avalanche blockchain, offering fast and cost-effective trading of Avalanche-based tokens. To use Trader Joe’s, you need an Avalanche-compatible wallet such as MetaMask configured for the Avalanche network or the Avalanche Wallet. Trader Joe’s provides users with features like token swaps, liquidity provision, and yield farming. It stands out due to the Avalanche network’s high-speed transactions and lower fees compared to Ethereum. Despite its advantages, users should exercise caution, conduct thorough research, and be aware of the risks associated with DeFi activities and investing in cryptocurrencies at Trader Joe’s.

7. SushiSwap

A screenshot of SushiSwap's homepage for a mobile device.

SushiSwap is a decentralized exchange and automated market maker (AMM) originally built on the Ethereum blockchain but now supports multiple blockchains, including Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, and more. To use SushiSwap, you need an Ethereum-compatible wallet such as MetaMask or Trust Wallet. SushiSwap allows users to swap tokens, provide liquidity, and earn rewards through staking and yield farming. It’s known for its community-driven approach and innovative features, like the BentoBox lending platform. Despite its popularity, users should remain cautious and conduct thorough research to understand the risks involved in DeFi activities on SushiSwap.

How to buy altcoins on decentralized cryptocurrency platforms

To use a decentralized exchange (DEX) you need to set up a wallet. Hot wallets are digital wallets that come in the form of a mobile app or browser extension. These are the most convenient to use when plugging into a crypto exchange. Some popular wallets include

  • Exodus
  • Metamask
  • Coinbase Wallet
  • Kraken

Steps to buy altcoins on a DEX

  1. Make the wallet you plan to use compatible with the DEX you want to trade altcoins on. For example, MetaMask is only compatible with Ethereum-based exchanges. 
  2. Install the wallet extension in your Chrome browser
  3. Follow the instructions to set up a wallet and store your seed phrase somewhere safe
  4. Visit the website of the DEX you want to use. If you google the name make sure you don’t click on an ad because sometimes there are scams with misspellings
  5. In the top right corner of the website, it will say connected wallet. click on that and sign into your wallet. 
  6. Fund your wallet from a centralized exchange. On a centralized exchange deposit cash and buy a cryptocurrency. For example, say you buy Solana. Click on withdraw and enter your Solana wallet address.
  7. Now that your wallet has funds in it you can use those funds to trade them for the altcoin of your choice on the DEX you are using. 

What are the best altcoins?

At the time of writing, popular large-cap altcoins are

  • Ethereum. The SEC approved the application for Ethereum ETFs on May 23, 2024. This means that mainstream investors will be able to buy ETH, which should push its price up
  • Solana is a popular contender to ETH that has been growing faster in price. It’s a riskier bet,though, as Solana tends to crash from time to time
  • Polkadot was developed by the same person who wrote the code for Ethereum. They are doing a full revamp of their blockchain and 
  • Chainlink provides price fees and other real-time data to apps that use those fees to automate stuff. It’s considered one of the blue chips in the industry

What altcoins are hot?

I have a section on my site that analyzes the coins that are trending on social media. You can find research on the top trending coins there. 

How to invest in altcoins?

When investing in altcoins, you should be aware that they can be even more volatile than bitcoin. For example, if the price of bitcoin drops by 20%, it’s not uncommon for altcoins to drop double that percentage. For this reason, make sure you have a balanced portfolio. Place 80-90% of your assets in blue chips such as Bitcoin, Polkadot, Ethereum and Solana. Then place the rest in trending themes such as AI, RWA, and Gaming. Do not invest in meme coins. If you feel the FOMO, then invest a tiny bit just to take care of the emotions, but meme coins are more likely to result in you losing your money than anything else. 

Make sure you research the altcoin. Some things you need to look out for are 

  • Understand the Project: Read the whitepaper and understand the project’s goals, technology, and use case.
  • Team and Community: Look at the team behind the project and their credentials. A strong, transparent, and experienced team is a good sign. Also, check the community support and activity on forums and social media.
  • Market Potential: Evaluate the potential market size and the problem the altcoin aims to solve.
  • Competitors: Assess the competitive landscape and how the altcoin differentiates itself from others.
  • Partnerships: Partnerships with reputable organizations can indicate a strong project.

Also, withaltcoins,s make sure to have an exit strategy 

Decide in advance your profit-taking strategy and under what conditions you will sell your altcoins.

What to do with your altcoins after you buy them 

After purchasing altcoins, it’s crucial to store them securely to protect your investment. Transfer your altcoins from the exchange to a reliable wallet. Hardware wallets, like Ledger or Trezor, provide robust security by keeping your private keys offline. Software wallets, such as Exodus or Trust Wallet, offer convenient access on your desktop or mobile device. Ensure you back up your wallet and keep your private keys or recovery phrases safe and confidential. Storing altcoins in a secure wallet reduces the risk of loss due to hacking or exchange failures.

FAQs

What are the top 5 altcoins?

The largest altcoin after Bitcoin by market cap are Ethereum, BNB, Solana, XRP, and Dogecoin. That excludes stablecoins such as USDT and USDC. Top trending altcoin themes are AI, Gaming, Real world assets, and DePIN. 

What is altcoin season? 

Altcoin Season refers to a period in the cryptocurrency market when altcoins experience significant price increases and outperform Bitcoin. During this time, the market’s attention shifted from Bitcoin to various altcoins, leading to higher trading volumes and substantial gains in their market values. 

Can I use a crypto brokerage? 

Crypto brokerages such as Robinhood, eToro, and WeBull and great because you can manage stocks and crypto from one place. However, they don’t offer a wide range of altcoins to choose from. 

Can you buy altcoins on eToro?

Yes, eToro offers some altcoins, such as Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum. However, eToro only lists 21 digital currencies, so you are better off using a dedicated crypto exchange to buy altcoins. 

How do I find 1000x crypto?

To do this, you need a combination of luck and research. I outline a research methodology in my crash course on crypto. This consists of researching the quality of the team, the product, tokenomics, and price momentum. 

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

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