pRIMARY EXCHANGES

At this time, Monero is primarily available for Bitcoin through three primary exchanges: ShapeshiftPoloniex, and Bittrex.  (Note: There are currently no direct methods by which one can purchase Monero with fiat currencies on an exchange)

Shapeshift:

Shapeshift is currently the easiest way to buy Monero.  Follow the steps below to in order to complete a successful transaction: 

  1. Firstly, you must possess Bitcoin, which is acquirable through vendors such as Coinbase and Circle, or exchanges like BTC-E, Bitstamp, or Huobi.  
  2. Next, you must have a Monero address at which to receive your funds.  The easiest way of acquiring an address is through Mymonero, which has been described above.
  3. After you have an address, go to Shapeshift, select Bitcoin as the "deposit" currency and Monero as the "Receive" currency.
  4. Paste in a Bitcoin return address (in case your transaction to Monero does not go through), and paste your Monero address in the following box.
  5. Finally, send your Bitcoin to the deposit address Shapeshift provides for you, and that's it! After the transaction is processed and the new funds are sent you are now the proud owner of some Monero!

Poloniex and Bittrex:

If you would like to buy Monero through Poloniex or Bittrex, follow their instructions for setting up an account and depositing funds.  As cryptocurrency exchanges, Poloniex and Bittrex offer a different environment for acquiring Monero in that you must buy it by fulfilling other traders' sell orders.  This means that prices may vary, sometimes widely.  If you are uninterested in trading Monero and would prefer a platform that temporarily guarantees a certain price, then Shapeshift is a better alternative.

A note about exchanges:

While we would all like to believe that cryptocurrency exchanges have our best interests at heart and practice sound security measures, it is highly recommended that you never keep a significant portion of your funds on an exchange in the event of a hack or other calamitous event.  By doing this, you practice good security and retain control of your private keys, therefore retaining full control of your funds.