Placing a GDAX Buy Order

GDAX is a great alternative to using Coinbase to make purchases of cryptocurrency.  The fee structure is much better and it is even possible to place an order with $0 in fees.  Purchases can be made with cryptocurrency or fiat currency and the steps are the same for both.  There are also 3 ways to place a GDAX buy order and this guide goes over each of them. 

This guide assumes you have already funded your GDAX account with cryptocurrency or fiat currency.  If you need a refresher, check out this guide on how to make a deposit on GDAX.


Steps to place a GDAX buy order

1. Go to the GDAX website and login.

2. Choose the product from the drop-down list for the cryptocurrency you want to buy.  As of this writing GDAX only trades Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCC), and Litecoin (LTC).  In this example, I want to buy Ethereum with USD, so I chose the ETH/USD pairing. 

GDAX Homepage showing where to choose product pairs


3. Click the “BUY” button if it is not already highlighted (green).

Shows where to find the buy button to start the process of placing a GDAX buy order

Now you have 3 options for placing a GDAX buy order, which are:

  • Market – This will execute immediately and buy at the current best price.  No control over the price you will pay.
  • Limit – Specify the amount of the cryptocurrency you want to buy and the price you are willing to pay for each one.  This order then gets placed in the order book and may or may not get executed.
  • Stop – Specify the amount of cryptocurrency you want to purchase in USD terms and at what market price it should execute.

NOTE: Stop and limit orders easily get mixed up because they are very similar.  However, you would use a stop buy order to catch an upswing and a limit buy order to catch a drop.  Example:  If you expected a cryptocurrency trading at $0.90 to either skyrocket if it went past $1, you could place a stop buy order at $1.01.  This means when it gets past $1 your order would be executed and you would hopefully catch the upswing.  If you thought it would tank by not passing $1, you could place a limit order at $0.50 to catch the downswing.


Market Order

1. Fill in the “Amount” field with what you would like to buy in USD terms

2. Click the “Place Buy Order” button.

In this example, I am placing an order to buy $100 worth of ETH.

Placing a GDAX Market Order with numbered steps


Limit Order

1. Fill in the “Amount” of ETH you would like to purchase

2. Fill in the amount per ETH (“Limit Price”) you are willing to pay

3. Click the “Place Buy Order” button

In this example, I am placing a limit order to buy 1.5 ETH at a price of $700 each.  This brings the total to $1,050.

Shows the 3 steps to place a Limit Order on GDAX


Stop Order

1. Fill in the “Amount” of USD you want to spend overall

2. Fill in the price ETH has to reach in USD terms (“Stop Price”) before it executes

3. Click the “Place Buy Order” button

In this example, I am placing a stop order to buy $1,005 worth of ETH when the price reaches $1,001 per ETH.  Although ETH is trading at $750 at the time of writing, the thought would be if it passes $1,000 it is likely to shoot up way past $1,000.

Shows the 3 steps to place a Stop order on GDAX

NOTE:  There were “Advanced” options for the Limit and Stop orders.  Those will be covered in more detail in a later article. 


Once orders are placed, they will show up in your “Open Orders” section until filled and then move to your “Fills” section as shown below.

After you place a GDAX buy order they will show in the open orders and filled orders sections



GDAX is great for buying the “primary” cryptocurrencies due to the liquidity and low fee structure.  The ability to buy with fiat currency is also great since very few exchanges offer that.  Don’t forget to keep track of any trading in case your taxes require it.  Here is an article with 3 great resources for cryptocurrency portfolio tracking.


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