The Best Way to Buy Bitcoin in 2018: The Ultimate Guide

best way to buy bitcoin 2018

Are you interested in buying Bitcoin, but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered, and even if you have already bought Bitcoin we’ll show you the new ways you can buy bigger quantities in a more anonymous way. In this guide we will cover all the major methods for buying Bitcoin and will pick the best ones for each situation. You should read the whole article if you want to become a guru in the Bitcoin-buying process or you can just directly go to the section that is of interest to you.

First of all, do you know whether or not Bitcoin is legal in your country? If yes, proceed below. If not, you can find it out on this Wikipedia page about Bitcoin-related regulations in different countries.

If you want to remain completely anonymous when buying BTC, then we’ve got you covered there as well.

We have summarized the main methods for buying BTC in both cases below.

So, what is the best way to buy Bitcoin if…

Bitcoin is regulated and legal in your country

If your country has cryptocurrency regulations in place and you can legally buy Bitcoin, then that’s great! In this case, virtually all methods to buying Bitcoin are open to you, and you can choose the best one according to your interests.

bitcoin regulations

What is the best way to buy Bitcoin if it is regulated and legal in your country? Click To Tweet

You don’t have to worry too much about your anonymity during the buying process. At least, no legal issues will be involved if you buy Bitcoin.

If you still want to be anonymous when buying Bitcoin, please refer to the “If you want to remain anonymous when buying Bitcoin” part of the guide as we gathered the ways to buy BTC anonymously there.

So, if you are okay with exposing your identity when buying Bitcoin, the whole process will be very easy. We’ll now guide you through the whole process in greater detail.

bitcoin

You are new to the crypto-industry and want to buy Bitcoin for the first time

If you want to buy Bitcoins for the first time, you probably don’t want to buy a lot. And even if you do, it’s better to “test-drive” a cryptocurrency with a small amount first to see how it goes.

Thus, this part of the guide covers ways to buy Bitcoin if you don’t need insanely big amounts. We assume that 0.1 BTC or even 1 BTC will be enough for a good start.

Cryptocurrency exchanges

coinbaseIt’s the most popular way to buy cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, as the exchanges usually reflect market rates, have low commissions, and can be used from anywhere. Many exchanges are out there, and we even wrote a whole guide about them.

They have certain differences, and here are the ones worth worrying about in your case:

  • Transaction fees – They should normally be around 0.1%-0.2%. If you encounter an exchange where the fees are higher than 0.2%, it’s not worth buying BTC through that platform, as you will spend relatively that much money on transaction fees.
  • Supported countries. Not all exchanges work worldwide. Before registering on an exchange, you should check whether it supports the registration of citizens from your country.
  • Deposit methods. If you are a first-time buyer of BTC, you probably don’t have any other cryptocurrencies and thus need to buy BTC with fiat money through a wire transfer or debit card. Not all exchanges support these options, so check for that as well. The most convenient way to buy Bitcoins is if you can use your credit or debit card to do it (or a wire transfer, but these ones usually take longer as it may take up to several days while a bank is processing the transfer). So look out for exchanges that support debit or credit cards.

    Note that depositing money with cards usually requires a verification of your identity. You will usually need a photo (not a scan) of your ID documents, a selfie with it, and sometimes additional documents like proof of residence. The exact rules vary from platform to platform. The verification process can take up to a week, so be prepared to wait before you can finally buy some BTC.

Our top exchange picks for first-time buyers are:

cexCoinbase – It is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. It supports all major payment methods, including debit and credit cards and wire transfers. Coinbase works in Singapore, USA, Canada, and select European countries.

CEX-IO – This popular exchange is somewhat similar to Coinbase in terms of supported payment methods and commissions. What’s great about it is that it works worldwide. We highly recommend it as an alternative to Coinbase if your country is not supported there.

Top exchange picks for buying Bitcoin for the first time are @Coinbase and @CEX_IO Click To Tweet

ATMs

Bitcoin ATMs are another option for you to buy BTC, if these machines are installed where you are located, that is. You can find out more information on that here.

The major perk is that you can buy Bitcoin instantly with cash or card. Also, these machines do not require verification if you use cash, so if you buy BTC with cash through an ATM, it is done anonymously.

If you buy $BTC with cash through an ATM, it is done anonymously Click To Tweet

This method, however, has a major drawback: the rates on the ATMs are usually 5-15% higher than in a market. So if you don’t need BTC instantly and don’t care about anonymity, it’s still better to go with crypto-exchanges.

Cash exchanges

On cryptocurrency exchanges you can buy Bitcoin only with other cryptocurrencies or fiat money through a wire transfer or a debit card.

localbitcoinsIf you for some reason prefer buying with cash, go for a peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange platform like LocalBitcoins. On such platforms you can find someone who is interested in selling BTC for cash and then schedule a meeting with them or agree on some other method to transfer money. As you are connecting with other people directly on LocalBitcoins, security might be a concern (well, you are meeting someone and handing them some cash in exchange for BTC). Read this security guide from LocalBitcoins before connecting with sellers on the platform.

If you don’t need anonymity, this method certainly loses to cryptocurrency exchanges. It’s only perk is that when there is a downward trend on the market, the prices on P2P exchanges tend to be better than on crypto exchanges.

When there is a downward trend on the market, the prices on @LocalBitcoins tend to be better than on exchanges Click To Tweet

Besides LocalBitcoins, other popular P2P exchanges are BitQuick and Wall of Coins. However, note that LocalBitcoins works globally, while BitQuick only works in the US and Wall of Coins in the US, Canada, and certain European countries.

PayPal

If for some reason you want to buy BTC from your PayPal account, it’s doable, although a bit complex. PayPal does not allow buying BTC directly.

If you want to buy $BTC from your PayPal account, it’s doable using #VirVox Click To Tweet

The best way would be doing it through VirWox. It’s an online marketplace where you can buy Second Life Lindens – a digital currency used in a video game called Second Life. The trick is that VirWox allows payments through PayPal and then you can exchange your Lindens for BTC. The method is a bit complicated and does not have any major perks. So unless you are a huge admirer of PayPal or have some money there and want to avoid PayPal’s withdrawal fees, it’s safer to go for cryptocurrency exchanges.

TLDR: if you are a first-time buyer and you do not need to stay anonymous when purchasing Bitcoin, the best way is to buy BTC from Coinbase or CEX-IO cryptocurrency exchanges. The choice here depends on whether your country is supported by Coinbase.

You are already a “coiner” and simply want to buy many Bitcoins at a time

If you want to buy many Bitcoins at a time, some of the methods listed above won’t work for you. For instance, it is not worth buying a lot of BTC through an ATM because of the difference between its rate and the market rate. PayPal also does not seem feasible as this method is way too complex. You can risk it and go to the cash exchanges, but if you want to buy a lot of BTC at a time, then you will have to give a lot of cash to the person you are buying BTC from.

If privacy is not an issue for you and you can buy BTC through a wire transfer or a debit card from an established crypto exchange, then we do not recommend going for cash exchanges. Imagine meeting an unknown stranger with 10 BTC worth of cash in your backpack to pay them for Bitcoins. Risky, right?

Cryptocurrency exchanges seem to be the best option in this case. What you have to pay attention to are the withdrawal limits, transaction fees, and trade volumes. The latter is important because unless the trade volume of the exchange is high enough, you might wait for a long time for your order to be filled when you are buying a lot of Bitcoins.

Cryptocurrency exchanges seem to be the best option if you want to buy many Bitcoins at a time Click To Tweet

bitfinexSo, what are the best crypto exchanges in this case? The answer is, the ones without withdrawal limits, with high trade volumes, and low transaction fees. In this case, Bitfinex and HitBTC fit this definition perfectly.

TLDR: We find that the best crypto exchanges for people who want to buy a lot of BTC, and are okay with giving up their anonymity in the process, are Bitfinex and HitBTC. Both of them don’t have withdrawal limits and the transaction fees are around 0.1%.
However, Bitfinex does not work in the US and HitBTC does not work in regions with no AML/CFT laws). If Bitcoin is regulated in your country, however, you should be fine buying it from HitBTC. Both exchanges support debit cards and wire transfers as a means of payment and have very high trade volumes.

If you want to remain anonymous when buying Bitcoin

If you want to be anonymous when buying Bitcoin, you have far less options open to you. For instance, buying BTC with a card or through a wire transfer is definitely not an option for you. But still, there are methods to purchase BTC anonymously.

What is the best way to buy Bitcoin if you want to remain anonymous when buying it? Click To Tweet

You are new to the crypto-industry and want to buy Bitcoin for the first time

If you are new to crypto, we assume that you don’t want to buy a lot of BTC for the first time and that you need fairly easy options to purchase it.

Cash exchanges

This is probably the easiest option for people who want to buy BTC for the first time and keep their anonymity.

The easiest option for people who want to buy BTC for the first time and keep their anonymity is @LocalBitcoins Click To Tweet

We have extensively outlined what such exchanges are and how they work in the previous section of the article. Please refer to it for details. You can also just go directly to LocalBitcoins, the most popular P2P exchange where you can find a person willing to sell you some BTC for cash.

buy bitcoin

ATMs

This method won’t work if you live in a country where crypto is illegal – there are simply no Bitcoin ATMs there. But if Bitcoin is legal in your country and you want to stay anonymous, go for it.

If Bitcoin is legal in your country and you want to stay anonymous use an ATM Click To Tweet

Once, again, refer to the details to the previous section or just find the nearest Bitcoin ATM here, and go buy some BTC from it.

TLDR: If you are a first-time buyer and want to stay completely anonymous when buying BTC, your best bet are cash exchanges like LocalBitcoins. Crypto exchanges won’t work for you because if you are a first-time buyer, you certainly don’t have any cryptocurrency, and buying BTC with fiat on the exchanges requires identity verification, which is also not an option for you.

You are already a “coiner” and simply want to buy many Bitcoins at a time

In case you need a lot of BTC and still want to remain anonymous, you should first and foremost make sure that you already have some cryptocurrency at hand as if you want to buy BTC anonymously on the exchanges (to buy it with fiat you have to go through an identity verification process). That is, of course, unless you are willing to go into the risky business of buying BTC for tons of cash from an unknown person through a peer-to-peer exchange such as LocalBitcoins.

So, if you have some cryptocurrency already, you can buy BTC anonymously from almost any cryptocurrency exchange out there (to make sure, consult the list of exchanges we compiled). When buying a lot of BTC, you need to look for exchanges with high trade volume, otherwise you’ll have to wait for a long time until your order is filled.

hitbtcMost cryptocurrency exchanges have withdrawal limits for unverified accounts (those that have not undergone the procedure of ID verification). The exceptions are Bitfinex and HitBTC. HitBTC, however, only works in the countries where AML/CFT laws are in place, and Bitfinex works everywhere except the US. These two exchanges are great in terms of trade volumes and commissions, as we noted in the previous section, so you can go for them if they work in your country.

idexAn alternative, especially for those who desire increased anonymity, would be decentralized exchanges (these ones are not owned by a single entity and are run on a distributed public ledger, just like cryptocurrencies. You can read more about them in our guide on cryptocurrency exchanges). The one with the highest trade volume now is IDEX. It works everywhere and has no withdrawal limits as well. So if you need to buy a lot of BTC from a decentralized exchange, that would be your best bet.

If you need to buy a lot of BTC anonymously, your best options are @Bitfinex and @HitBTC, or a decentralized exchange such as #IDEX Click To Tweet

TLDR: If you need to buy a lot of BTC anonymously, your best options are the crypto-exchanges Bitfinex and HitBTC, or a decentralized exchange such as IDEX. This method, however, will only work if you have some crypto already in hand. If not, you can go for P2P exchanges like LocalBitcoins and find someone willing to sell you the desired amount of BTC for cash, but this method can be quite risky.

buy bitcoin
Coinbase, CEX-IO, LocalBitcoins, Bitfinex, HitBTC, IDEX

If you are new to Bitcoin we hope that our guide gave you useful information on making your first investment with confidence. And if you decided to use our recommendations for your next large purchase, we hope that you saved some money because of it. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced “coiner,” we hope this guide was helpful!

Please feel free to share your opinions with us in the comment section below, or on our forums by participating in our 10K Question Challenge!

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