Ether Quick Start Guide: Buying And Selling Made EasyEther is the internal currency of the Ethereum platform and price has been advancing strongly recently:Click on the chart to update price. Until recently buying Ether has been complicated. The new official wallet now has ShapeShift integrated. You can buy Ether from inside the wallet using any cryptocurrency supported by ShapeShift.Getting Started On WindowsFirst you will need to download and install the official Ethereum wallet from GitHub. You need to download the latest Wallet 0.6.2 (Beta 13) release which is Homestead ready. Ethereum hard forked to the next phase called Homestead at block 1150000 the middle of March.After you install and let the wallet sync you need to set up an account. Remember to use a password. This account will show up in the GUI as Etherbase. You can receive and send Ether from Etherbase. You do not need to concern yourself with wallet contracts yet.Once you have an Etherbase click on it to enlarge and you will see your receiving address. Click on the button on the right called Deposit using Bitcoin. A Shapeshift popup will appear letting you send bitcoin or one of 32 other altcoins to Shapeshift.They will then convert and send Ether to your Etherbase address. Your newly bought Ether will show up in your Etherbase shortly. Here is how your Ethereum Wallet will look after you have received your first Ether coin:Converting Back To BitcoinShould you decide to sell your Ether you can transfer to an exchange or use ShapeShift again:Just fill in the address you want your Bitcoin sent to in the Your payment address at lower right and click on the I agree to terms. To start the process click on the green start arrow. You will be presented with a new screen:Follow simple instructions, send from Etherbase to the Shapeshift deposit address and you will receive Bitcoin in your Bitcoin wallet in a few minutes. The process is usually quick but can be delayed when ShapeShift is very busy.Wallet ContractsWallet contracts are “smart contracts”. They provide advanced features such as transaction logging, multi-sig, and withdrawal limits. In order to create a wallet you need Ether, which you should now have in Etherbase. Also realize that most exchanges and Shapeshift do not support receiving Ether from a contract wallet yet so you will need to use your Etherbase account. You can buy, send and store Ether just using your Etherbase. However contract wallets can list incoming transactions; something Etherbase accounts cannot do.For details on creating your first wallet contract see the Ethereum-Mist Wallet User Guide (Unofficial). More details on the latest Ethereum release can be found at the Ethereum Homestead documentation FAQ.