This guide will help you purchase Siacoins using fiat currency (i.e. USD) or another cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. The steps to purchase Siacoins are mostly performed on various websites, so the examples given here should apply to all operating systems.
A Note On Availability
Siacoins are often difficult to acquire. Many cryptocurrency exchanges periodically close registrations to new users. If you are not already registered on a cryptocurrency exchange and registrations are currently closed, you will not be able to buy Siacoins on an exchange. Additionally, simple conversion services like Shapeshift sometimes run out of Siacoins. When this happens, you will not be able to acquire Siacoins through a conversion service.
If both of these options are unavailable, there is likely no way to acquire Siacoins at this time. You may have to check back later to see when one of the two conditions above has improved.
Ready to get started? Read on!
Prerequisite 1: Download the Sia-UI Client and Set Up a Wallet
You must first install the Sia-UI Client and create a wallet. If you haven't done this yet, instructions on doing so can be found in our Wallet Setup Guide.
Before you continue, make sure you've taken care of these steps first.
There are currently two ways to get Siacoins: on a cryptocurrency exchange, or through a conversion service. Both methods require that you first acquire another type of cryptocurrenty like Bitcoin, if you don't have any yet. Bitcoin can be purchased with USD and other fiat currency by debit card and bank account. Credit cards are generally not accepted.
The first part of this guide will walk you through buying some Bitcoin with USD. After that, we'll convert the Bitcoin to Siacoins. If you've already got Bitcoin or another type of cryptocurrency, you can jump to Conversion Method 1: Shapeshift or Conversion Method 2: Bittrex.
Step 1: Sign Up For Coinbase
Coinbase is the primary place online to purchase Bitcoin with USD and other fiat currency. You'll need to sign up for an account before you can use Coinbase.
- If you'd like to use our affiliate link, click here to sign up. This link will give both you and I ("I" being RBZL, creator of SiaSetup) $10 USD in free Bitcoin if you purchase $100 USD of Bitcoin or more. It's an easy way to help support SiaSetup if you plan on buying that much Bitcoin/Siacoin, and you get a bonus too!
- If you want to sign up without an affiliate link, click here for the regular sign-up page.
Notice: Coinbase signup screenshots are provided for your reference. The signup process may have changed since this guide was created; however, the process is fairly intuitive. Simply follow the steps from Coinbase as prompted.
Fill in the fields with your information, and click Sign Up or Create Account to continue.
Next, you'll be asked to verify your email address. You should receive a confirmation email at the email address you just entered. Click the link in the confirmation email to verify your email address.
Then, you'll be asked to enter and verify a phone number. Just like signing up for a bank account, Coinbase needs a good amount of information.
Finally, after jumping through all of those signup hoops, you should be ready to add a payment method.
Step 2: Add Payment Method
Now that we've got a Coinbase account, we need to add a payment method. As mentioned previously, we can buy Bitcoin with debit cards and bank accounts or wire transfers. Debit card purchases give us Bitcoin instantly; other methods take a few days because we don't get our Bitcoins until Coinbase receives the funds from our bank.
You should be prompted to add a payment method - if not, click on Settings > Linked Accounts > Link a New Account to add one.
Follow the instructions to add your payment method.
If Adding a Bank Account
You can add a bank account by entering the name of your bank and signing in with your online banking credentials for your bank, or by providing your routing and account numbers. Signing in usually results in instant account verification; manual entry of your account requires you to wait for two small verification transactions to show up in your bank statement, and then you'll return to Coinbase and enter the amounts.
Adding a bank account will allow you to make bigger transactions with a lower fee, but bank transfers take a few days to complete so you won't get access to your Bitcoin until then.
If Adding a Debit Card
Adding a debit card is straightforward - simply enter your card information and you'll be all set to go. Debit card transactions are processed instantly and you'll receive your Bitcoin right away, but the limits on how much Bitcoin you can buy are lower than bank account limits, and fees are higher for debit card transactions as well.
You may be asked to complete ID verification:
Like other financial institutions, Coinbase is required to follow certain financial laws and regulations. If you buy or sell over a certain amount of USD, Coinbase will ask you to upload your ID to verify your identity. Coinbase may also ask you to do this for other reasons, such as fraud prevention. Simply follow the steps to do so.
After you've finished adding a payment method, we're all set to buy some Bitcoin!
Step 3: Purchase Bitcoin
The hard work is done! Now we can actually buy some Bitcoin and get the process started.
Click on the Buy/Sell tab near the top of the page, and you'll see a screen like this one:
Make sure Bitcoin is selected at the top, as well as your preferred payment method. Enter how much Bitcoin you want to purchase in USD (or your local currency) - don't worry, you don't have to buy a whole Bitcoin! Remember that if you used our affiliate link and purchase $100 USD of BTC or more, you'll receive an extra $10 USD of Bitcoin. Coinbase will figure out how much your fiat amount equals in BTC, and advise you of any fees. Note that if you're trying to buy more than $100 of BTC for the $10 bonus, you need to buy closer to $105 total so that you end up with over $100 of BTC after the Coinbase fee. When you're ready to buy, click Buy Bitcoin.
Hooray! Now we've got some Bitcoin! Well, maybe... if we purchased with a bank account, we'll have some Bitcoin in a few days. If you used a debit card, you'll have your Bitcoin right away. Once you actually have your Bitcoin, you can continue to the next step. If you need to wait for your Bitcoin, bookmark this page so you can pick up where you left off.
If you got your Bitcoin instantly, keep Coinbase open somewhere because we'll need it in the next few steps.
Now it's time to convert our Bitcoins to Siacoins. There are two ways to do this:
- Conversion Method 1: Shapeshift - easier, no signup needed, fixed conversion rates
- Conversion Method 2: Bittrex - more complicated, requires signup, potentially better rates
Select an option and click on it for instructions on how to use it to convert your Bitcoins to Siacoins.
Shapeshift is the easiest way to convert one type of cryptocurrency to another. However, sometimes Shapeshift is "out of stock" of a certain type of coin, like Siacoins. When this happens, you may not be able to use Shapeshift to get Siacoins.
If you want to try converting Bitcoins to Siacoins using a cryptocurrency exchange instead, see Conversion Method 2: Bittrex.
Here are instructions on how to use Shapeshift to convert Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency to Siacoins. Examples will be given using Coinbase in case you just bought Bitcoin per the section above. If you're using another cryptocurrency, substitute your wallet with the Coinbase instructions.
Step 1: Visit Shapeshift.io And Select Coins
Click here to visit Shapeshift's website. You'll see a box with two cryptocurrencies.
Select Bitcoin for Deposit and Siacoin to Receive. If you're starting with another cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin, select it under the Deposit section instead - if you followed the Coinbase steps above, we bought Bitcoin so that's what we should select. The "Quick/Precise" setting can be left as-is. Click Continue to start the process.
Note: If you're unable to select Siacoin under Receive, Shapeshift is "out of stock" of Siacoins and you'll have to try again later or use another conversion method.
Step 2: Set Receiving Addresses
Next, you'll be asked to provide a few addresses. Shapeshift needs to know where to send your Siacoins, and they also need to know where to return your Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrency) if your trade can't be completed for some reason.
Warning: When dealing with addresses, be very careful to make sure the address is correct, even when copying and pasting! If you send coins to the wrong address, you'll likely never see them again.
Enter a Siacoin receiving address from your Siacoin wallet. In the Sia-UI, click on Wallet > Receive Siacoin and copy the address provided there. Make sure you copy the entire address, as the UI often cuts part of it off. If you mess up the address, you won't get your Siacoins.
Bitcoin/Other Refund Address
If you used Coinbase above to buy Bitcoin, log into Coinbase and click on Accounts at the top. Under BTC Wallet, click Receive and copy the address shown. Use that as your Bitcoin refund address in Shapeshift.
If you're using your own Bitcoin wallet or another cryptocurrency, use your wallet to generate a receiving address and use that as the refund address in Shapeshift.
Minimum/Maximum Trade and Fee
Notice the "Deposit Min" and "Deposit Max" in the top section - the amount of Bitcoin we send has to be within these amounts. Unless you're trying to trade a huge amount of Bitcoin for Siacons, this shouldn't be an issue, but just take note of the values and double-check. In our Coinbase example above, we bought about 0.0125 BTC, so we'd be fine to exchange that entire amount for Siacoins based on our Shapeshift examples here.
The conversion rate of Bitcoin (or another cryptocurrency) to Siacoin is determined by Shapeshift, but in our experience is usually very close to market averages and is pretty reasonable. Shapeshift also requires a small fee in order to facilitate this transaction, usually around 10 SC, which is a whole $0.10 or so (as of this writing) and not really significant.
Once you've got your adddresses entered, check the box to agree to the terms, then click Start Transaction.
Step 3: Send Bitcoin
Now it's time to send our Bitcoins and get our Siacoins! You'll see an order screen like this one:
You'll need to send your Bitcoins (or other cryptocurrency) to the address shown under Send to this address. If you used Coinbase to buy Bitcoin, log into Coinbase and click Accounts, then click Send under BTC Wallet. Enter the address that Shapeshift gave you to send your Bitcoins to, and send them. If you used another cryptocurrency, use your wallet to send your coins to the address Shapeshift gave you. Like before, make sure you copy the address correctly! If you send Bitcoins to the wrong address, they're probably gone and you're probably not getting them back.
Once your Bitcoin/other cryptocurrency is sent, watch your Shapeshift order page and your order should be filled within 10-20 minutes. Eventually you'll see your Siacoins show up in your Sia wallet! Remember that blockchain transactions take about 10 minutes to confirm, so the total process may take half an hour or so to complete. If there's a problem and your trade can't be completed, your Bitcoins (or other cryptocurrency) should be returned to your return address and you can try again later.
Congratulations! Now you've got some Siacoins! You can now start Renting on Sia, Hosting on Sia, or just admire them for a while! If you found this guide helpful and you're feeling generous, you can also support SiaSetup by throwing us a few Siacoins.
Notice: Bittrex is currently not accepting new user registrations, so it is not a conversion option right now. This guide will be updated when that changes.
If you want to try converting Bitcoins to Siacoins using a simple conversion service instead, see Conversion Method 1: Shapeshift.