Where to buy Bitcoins
When Bitcoin first came out, the only way you could acquire the cryptocurrency was by going directly to people who mined it or other early supporters who’ve got their hands on Bitcoin in a similar way. But nowadays you have almost countless buying options, each offering its own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what payment method you want to use but also how privately you want to purchase Bitcoins, you will find at least one of the following options suitable for your needs.
Buying from Bitcoin Exchanges
Bitcoin exchanges have become the most common marketplaces from where one could buy Bitcoins. Simply put, exchanges are markets that connect buyers who want to get Bitcoin at a certain price point and sellers who are willing to sell for that price. To provide you with that convenience, the exchange will charge a certain fee for each order you place.
If you decide to buy in an exchange, you will first have to learn the different types of buying/selling orders you can place. The most common order is a “market order”, which is an order for a certain amount of Bitcoins that gets executed immediately against the best market prices currently available. The second most common option would be to place a “stop order” or “limit order”, which get executed after the price reaches a certain point. There are also other available options to be explored, which you can learn more about at your chosen Bitcoin exchange.
Most Bitcoin exchanges will only accept a limited number of payment options. The most common deposit/withdrawal methods are credit/debit cards, bank transfers, and payments in other cryptocurrencies. Exchanges also apply fees depending on the volume of your purchases and sales as well as fees for withdrawals. If you use your personal payment methods to fund your buy, you will have to first verify your identity with the exchange by submitting documents like your ID and utility bills.
Buying from People
Buying Bitcoin from another person was one of the most common ways to get Bitcoins back in the day and it still is a popular option even today. To buy Bitcoin directly from a seller, you will have to find someone you know that wants to sell the amount of mBTC or BTC you want to buy. The price is negotiated between you and the seller directly and it is usually higher than with an exchange to compensate for the risk of the seller as well as the privacy you get when buying from a person.
There are also Peer-to-Peer (P2P) services like Paxful and Local Bitcoins which help you arrange a buy from other people in your area or buy directly from someone abroad without having to verify your identity. The way this process works is that you first register an account, search for suitable sellers that sell the amount you want to buy and accept the payment method you want to use, and then follow the instructions provided by each seller.
Some sellers only accept in-person buys while others prefer that you pay through the service before they send you coins directly to your wallet. The plus side of paying beforehand is that the Bitcoins you order will be put into escrow until you upload a proof of payment, guaranteeing you that you will not be scammed. On the downside, the prices offered are usually higher and there are also some sellers that ask for identity verification from their buyers.
Trading Your Gift Cards
Services like Local Bitcoins and Paxful also let you trade in your gift cards for some small amounts of Bitcoin. Sellers that accept gift cards usually set a limit on what gift card values they accept but also what type of cards they are interested in. In most cases, you will be able to trade in your Amazon and iTunes gift cards but there are also sellers that accept other types of cards. If you do want to trade in your gift card, Paxful will be the better option to use since they take a variety of cards.
Buying at an ATM
Another way to pay in cash and buy privately is to use an ATM to buy Bitcoins. Bitcoin ATMs are still a relatively new idea, being available since 2013, and as such, they are not as widespread as bank ATMs. Luckily, there are services online which can help you locate an ATM in your vicinity and learn more about the fees and the limits of your local machines.
If you’re buying at a Bitcoin ATM, you will first have to acquire a mobile wallet app or a paper wallet. Once you have that, it’s only a matter of placing an order, loading your cash into the ATM, and then scanning the QR code of your wallet with the ATM’s scanner. Some ATMs also require phone SMS verification before allowing you to buy. Whatever the case, expect to pay premium fees for buying instantly and privately.
What’s the Best Way to Buy?
Only you can decide what buying option is the best choice for you. If you cherish privacy above all, then buying through Peer-to-Peer marketplaces, an ATM, or arranging a buy in-person will be the best option. However, if you choose to go this way, expect to pay higher fees and have smaller buying limits. Also, keep in mind that by the time a buy is completed, the price may be considerably different than when you made the decision.
Exchanges, on the other hand, offer you immediate buying that is funded by credit cards and bank transfers. They can also be used to automate the buying process and purchase Bitcoin when it is at a lower price point. However, before you are allowed to buy/sell, you will first have to go through an identity verification process, which has become a standard procedure for exchanges. Also, most Bitcoin exchanges will not accept as many payment options as direct sellers will.
Whichever way you choose to go, it’s important that you understand how the whole buying process should work, be it at a Bitcoin exchange or an in-person buy. If you buy in-person, always meet at a public place and make sure to agree on the price and the terms of the buy beforehand. And finally, always make sure that you don’t get your wallet address wrong since Bitcoin transactions are non-reversible and that you transfer your Bitcoins to a more secure offline wallet after a buy.