Buying Bitcoin or Litecoin (cryptocurrency, in general) is confusing at first. Here are 5 websites you can trust if you are interested in using cryptocurrency. It can be confusing and overwhelming at first, but once you get started, crypto, as it's called for short, is a lot of fun. Wondering if you should undertake this endeavor at all? See: Should I Buy Bitcoin?, my fairly glowing take on the subject, or a more sober (but still positive) view from the Wall Street Journal. Everyone agrees on this: Bitcoin is risky, and you shouldn't spend more than you can lose, but one could gain tremendously. That said, here's how it's done.
1. Buy Bitcoin in America Using Coinbase
Armed with only a bank account, you can join Coinbase and buy yourself some Bitcoin almost immediately. Not only is it safe, and widely trusted, it has even run out of Bitcoins due to so much buying.
2. Buy Litecoin in America... Using Coinbase
Surprisingly the easiest way to buy Litecoin (or LTC) is to buy Bitcoin first. Then, check out site number 3, BTC-E, to get your Litecoin.
3. Trade Bitcoin for Litecoin, USD, or Other Currencies on BTC-E
BTC-e is a trading platform with a famous chat room, dubbed the Trollbox. It's a lot of fun, and the easiest way to take your Bitcoin and turn it into Litecoin. Once you work out how to get money inside the exchange (withdraw from Coinbase and deposit into your BTC-e account), head over to the LTC/BTC trading section and sell all your Bitcoin for Litecoin. At that point, you can take your Litecoins out, or just keep them in BTC-E. Make ABSOLUTELY SURE that you enable 2-Factor Authentication, however. This is a key security measure that should always be taken.
You can also trade your Bitcoin (BTC) for other currencies including Peercoin (PPC), the third biggest cryptocurrency, Namecoin (NMC), a crypto that can also carry domain information, Euros, and Russian rubles.
Be careful and educate yourself before buying any of the other coins, particularly Ripple, which has been exposed as a non-decentralized currency. I don't claim to know enough to tell you what to buy regarding all the smaller "alt" currencies, but it goes without saying that you should do your research before you trade something as good and reliably gaining (but still risky) as Bitcoin before buying a smaller currency.
Oh, and if you're wondering why the price at BTC-E is consistently lower than MtGox.com and Coinbase, here's your answer to why BTC-E's price is less.
4. Ask Questions and Learn About Bitcoin at the Following Sites
Stack Exchange - Many Fascinating questions are asked and answered here.
Reddit.com/r/bitcoin - If you post, you may get downvoted, but there's always someone helpful to be found on Reddit.com.
Reddit.com/r/litecoin - Same situation here!
5. Learn The Advanced Side of Bitcoin at r/BitcoinMarkets
This subreddit can be more confusing and difficult than the other two, but it is a good resource for learning about cryptocurrency.
Good luck and happy Bitcoining.
Oh, and don't forget to use 2 Factor Authentication!
Need help? Drop me an email: danny at heavy dot com.