How To Buy Bitcoin in USA – BTC Buying Guide
Alright, so you want to buy some Bitcoin (aka BTC). First things first, a quick crash course on buying crypto in general.
Cryptocurrencies are bought through exchanges. Once you’ve signed up with one, you can log in, and use your preferred payment method to buy and trade cryptocurrencies like BTC on cryptocurrency trading platforms in the USA.
Our favourite exchange is Coinbase, it’s easy to sign up and they have an incredible app which makes trading a breeze.
How To Buy Bitcoin in the USA
- Register for an account with Coinbase.
- Verify your identity/account.
- Choose a payment method.
- Click the “Trade” button.
- Enter the amount USD you want to trade for BTC, or how much BTC you want to buy.
- Review the details.
- Click “Buy Bitcoin”
How To Get Started With Coinbase
Setup Your Account
As mentioned above, Coinbase is our go-to for trading cryptocurrencies in the USA, definitely if you're starting out. It's the most trustworthy exchange available and it makes trading buying and selling coins incredibly easy.
Verify Your Account
Before you do anything on Coinbase you'll have to verify your account. It has the fastest verification process we've tested so it won't take long.
Click on "Verify your account"
You'll have to verify your email, mobile number and identity to begin trading.
You will then have to fill in all of your personal information including documents, don't be alarmed uploading this information, every exchange requires it. It's to ensure your safety and make everyone on the platform accountable.
Add a payment method
You'll first need to add a payment method so you can buy an sell cryptocurrency. You can also deposit Bitcoin straight into the platform if you already have some and would prefer trading with that.
Click on "Add payment method" or the Trade button in the top right which will take you there as well.
Once your account is verified and you've added a payment method, you can start buying and selling cryptocurrency.
Click on the blue Trade button in the top right
Then you can click on the coin name to see all the possible cryptocurrencies you can buy/sell.
Once you've decided what you want to buy you can indicate how much USD you want to buy.
Easy as that! You now have bought some cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin Price USD
Find the BTC USD price below:
Where To Buy Bitcoin
We highly suggest using Coinbase to buy and sell Cryptocurrency. We've done a comparison of the top 10 exchanges in the world for the US to use and Coinbase clearly deserves the top spot.
How to Pay for Your Bitcoin
As a way for Bitcoin to enter mainstream usage, crypto exchanges offer more payment options than before. Today, each and every US trader can find a method that works for his/her investment strategy. This could be a regular bank transfer, an instantaneous card purchase, buying a Bitcoin voucher for friends, trading anonymously, or over-the-counter for large purchases.
The most important thing is to be aware of the advantages and shortcomings of all these options so that you make a well-informed decision. This is where we come to help!
Buying Bitcoin With Your Bank Account
Bank transfers have always been a popular option for Bitcoin traders in the States. They usually take from one to five days to complete and incur low or no additional fees at all. Nowadays, there are plenty of payment providers that can speed up this process as well.
The transfer is even quicker if you’re using a local platform such as Coinbase, the most popular crypto exchange in the US. Here, you can make USD deposits via bank transfer (ACH) by registering and linking your US bank account with your Coinbase account. Once the exchange approves your request, you can make the deposit and wait 2-3 days before your money is reflected in your account balance.
Gemini is another trustworthy exchange that supports local bank transfers from US banks. Some platforms like Kraken, for example, have partnered with custody services (in this case, Etana Custody) where you create an account and link it with both your bank and Kraken account to receive deposits faster.
For comparison, to buy Bitcoin on international exchanges you have to make a wire transfer or SWIFT payment. These cross-border payments could take a week which is why we don’t recommend this option for bank account payments.
Buying Bitcoin With a Credit Card or Debit Card
Credit and debit cards are widely used as payment methods across the world because of their convenience and practicality. It’s no wonder that so many traders opt for this option when making a Bitcoin purchase. So, which exchanges support “paying with plastic”?
For US traders, we recommend using Coinbase, Coinmama, or Gemini if you want to buy Bitcoin with a credit or debit card.
Even though these platforms are known for their competitive fees, you should keep in mind that card purchases always incur higher fees. But if you’re pressed for time and don’t mind the extra costs, these payments might be your best option. Simply create an account and add your card in the Payment section.
On Coinbase, there’s a fixed 3.99% fee on every transaction you make, but remember that you can only pay with a debit card and not credit. Moreover, there’s a buying limit of around $7,500 per week on card purchases.
If you want to use your credit card, you can do that on Coinmama. The fee is slightly higher (5.00%) but you access higher tiers of $5,000 per day or $20,000 per month and you buy Bitcoin at a locked market rate. The cards have to be either Mastercard or VISA.
Buy Bitcoin With Cash
Some traders consider buying Bitcoin with cash as a secure and slightly more private option because they want to avoid transactions that require authorization from third-parties, in this case, banks.
While no Bitcoin purchase can be completely anonymous, there are still a couple of decent options available to US traders.
First of all, there are the Bitcoin ATMs, available at restaurants, retail and grocery stores, and airports. In the US, there are over 6,500 BATMs according to Coin ATM Radar, 1,000 of which are in Delaware only. Although most of them accept cards, you can use this site to find the nearest BATM that accepts cash.
The second option is to use a peer to peer exchange such as LocalBitcoins or Paxful. These platforms help you find a match for your order, i.e. they link buyers and sellers worldwide and let them agree on the trading conditions among themselves.
For example, you can look for a seller that would agree to meet you in person (preferably somewhere public and crowded!) so that you can pay him/her in cash. If they find this meetup too risky, you can ask for the seller’s bank details and visit the corresponding bank to fill in a deposit form and pay in cash.
In the end, you’ll take a photograph or scan the bank deposit receipt to prove the platform that you have paid the seller successfully.
Buy Bitcoin With PayPal
PayPal is a well-respected American payment system that has helped customers make swift money transfers for years using their email address. A lot of Bitcoin traders are using PayPal, so naturally, they want to use the money on their PayPal Balance to purchase Bitcoins.
Unfortunately, not many platforms support this payment method because of potential chargeback frauds that could be detrimental for the exchanges. The ones that do, offer limited options and high fees for this service.
For example, CEX.io allows you to connect your CEX account with a Visa/Mastercard that you own and link that same card to your PayPal account. This way, the three of them are linked together, and you can pull your money from PayPal to your card and purchase BTC indirectly.
If this seems too complicated, you can always turn to a decentralized exchange like Paxful where you can browse through their PayPal offers and find one that you like.
Buy Bitcoin With Another Crypto
Buying Bitcoin with another cryptocurrency is even easier than buying it with fiat. This option is particularly attractive for experienced traders whose field of interest goes beyond the Bitcoin market.
If you happen to be one of them, Binance and Bittrex are the best options for US traders who want to sell their altcoins for Bitcoin. As global high-volume exchanges, these platforms have over 100 tokens on their list, and over 400 trading pairs to mix and match as you please.
The best thing of all is that you don’t have to worry whether or not they’ll have the trading pair you want because, as the most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin can be traded against any other token.
Let’s say that you want to trade 100 LTC for BTC. Log into your account and find the “Buy BTC” section. Here, look for the BTC/LTC pair and specify the amount of LTC you’ll be selling in exchange for BTC. If you want to execute the order straight away, choose “market order”. If you’re not satisfied with the current rates, you can choose a “limit order” and specify the limit price.
Buy Bitcoin Anonymously
In their effort to fight off cybersecurity thefts and successful hacking attacks, exchanges are doing their best to enhance the level of security of their platform and users’ accounts. One of their measures includes performing a KYC check where users fill in a form with personal details such as full name, address, utility bill, and even a copy of a government-issued ID.
For many traders, however, this contradicts the very nature of cryptocurrencies, i.e. decentralization and privacy. The main motivation to create Bitcoin was to cut off the intermediaries from our money transactions and reclaim the power over our finances.
If you’re looking for a way to buy Bitcoin anonymously in the States out of the same ideological reasons, there are still some options that you can consider such as Bitcoin ATMs available in your vicinity or peer to peer exchanges such as LocalBitcoins. The drawbacks are either higher fees or higher purchase limits.
Even centralized exchanges give you some liberty if you buy Bitcoin with other cryptos but you can’t avoid the KYC check if you want to make a fiat deposit.
Buying Bitcoin OTC (Over-The-Counter)
Crypto exchanges should be used by retail traders who normally make small Bitcoin purchases. If you’re seeking to trade large amounts of Bitcoin (e.g. 500 BTC), you better join the OTC market instead.
The advantages of a Bitcoin OTC desk over regular crypto exchanges are numerous. First of all, the lack of intermediary. Centralized brokers oversee customer transactions whereas OTC desks simply connect buyers and sellers who then continue their communication in chat groups or over the phone to complete the trade on their terms.
Next, OTC desks offer high liquidity meaning you can buy Bitcoin without slippage. The order is made at a fixed rate which is pretty useful when moving large sums of money around the crypto market.
But best of all, they provide anonymity (they hide the order depth) and have no limit on purchases.
Right now, some of the most popular OTC brokers are Circle, ItBit, and Genesis. Moreover, large exchanges such as Kraken are slowly expanding their services to include OTC desks as well, so we should expect this market to grow and become more competitive.
How to Store Bitcoin
When it comes to storing your Bitcoins, it’s not really the coins that need to be stored someplace safe but the private key, i.e. the encrypted address that gives you access to your Bitcoin balance. Bitcoin wallets are very similar to bank accounts as an interface to the Bitcoin network where you manage your transactions.
The most popular type of Bitcoin wallet is the online wallet provided by custodial crypto exchanges (custodial because they store your data and funds) or other third-party wallet providers.
However, as a general rule, these wallets can be vulnerable to hacker attacks so you can’t trust them with a life-saving worth of Bitcoin. Look into hardware wallets instead.
The main advantage of hardware wallets is that they keep your private key separate from online devices which minimizes the risk of malware infection given that cyber-criminals can’t gain access to the device’s software. One potential drawback is that they’re not free.
The most popular devices on the market right now are Ledger Wallet Nano S, Ledger Wallet Blue, and Trezor. The first two are newer and more expensive, but their technological security is more advanced and they support additional cryptocurrencies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Easiest Way to Buy Bitcoin?
In the States, the easiest and quickest way to buy Bitcoin is by using a cryptocurrency exchange. Since there are many options on the market, you need to narrow them down based on your trading needs. Focus on the metrics that matter to you. If you’re a beginner, you’ll need an exchange that supports fiat deposits. If you’re planning to purchase large amounts of Bitcoin, you should use a larger global exchange or an OTC desk. If you want more privacy, opt for a decentralized exchange that doesn’t have mandatory KYC checks.
How Do You Get Bitcoins?
You can only get Bitcoins if someone gifts them to you, either directly or through a gift voucher/ Amazon gift card that you can use in exchange for BTC. Otherwise, you have to earn Bitcoin yourself. This can be done by purchasing coins in exchange for USD on fiat to crypto exchanges, trading another crypto for Bitcoin on crypto to crypto trading platforms, or mining Bitcoins using suitable mining hardware.
How Much Is It to Buy Bitcoin?
You can view the live price of Bitcoin on our Bitcoin page. This is neither the highest nor the lowest value Bitcoin has ever had. In December 2017, the coin experienced its all-time high of almost $20,000 per 1 BTC!
Where Is the Best Place to Buy Bitcoin?
The best Bitcoin exchange for US traders is the California-based broker Coinbase. What sets this platform apart is its focus on prominent cryptocurrencies evaluated against a strict framework that denies support to volatile unstable tokens and convenient payment methods with the option to buy Bitcoin instantaneously via debit card. Moreover, US traders get insurance on their funds up to $250,000. The Coinbase team efficiently solves customer queries and takes extra care to protect their account from fraudulent activities.
Who Is The Youngest Bitcoin Millionaire?
Erik Finman, a 21-year-old from Post Falls, Idaho, is reported to be the youngest Bitcoin millionaire. Finman heard about Bitcoin while he was accompanying his older brother at a protest following the 2008 financial crisis. He was only 12 at the time, but after doing some research and discussing matters with his brother, he decided to invest in what he thought was the next big thing. Finman used the $1,000 his grandmother gave him for his scholarship fund and bought around 100 BTC. Back then, 1 BTC was worth around $10-12. Today, Finman holds around 440 BTC worth over $4 million! He’s working at Silicon Valley on crypto and other fintech projects.
Can You Mine Bitcoin for Free?
No, you can’t mine Bitcoin for free. Even though the software you need to mine Bitcoins is free and open-sourced for anyone to use it, you still need to purchase fast and expensive mining hardware. In the past, Bitcoin used to be mined with GPU miners, but nowadays the increased mining difficulty requires more powerful ASIC miners.
How Many Bitcoins Are Left?
As of July 2020, more than 86% of the total Bitcoin supply has been mined. That’s 18,434,262 BTC in circulation! Bitcoin’s founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, hard-capped Bitcoin’s supply at 21 million BTC which means that there are 2,565,738 BTC left. The reason he set an upper limit was to prevent inflation and add scarcity. However, experts predict it’s unlikely that the last Bitcoin will be mined before 2140.
Can I Buy Bitcoin for $1?
Technically, yes. It’s possible to buy a small portion instead of one whole Bitcoin because Bitcoin is divisible to the eighth decimal, i.e. it can be split into 100,000,000 units called a satoshi. Therefore, if you want to buy Bitcoin worth $1, you should use a crypto exchange where you’ll specify the fiat amount you want to spend on buying BTC and receive your tiny Bitcoin unit. However, there might be a service fee you need to cover as well.
Can I Buy $500 Worth of Bitcoin?
Yes, you can buy $500 worth of Bitcoin on most crypto exchanges. For example, Coinbase allows you to specify the exact amount of USD you want to give in exchange for Bitcoin. Again, be aware of the additional transaction fees and the fact that you won’t own a whole Bitcoin but just a fraction of it (satoshi).
About The Author
Disclaimer: Digital currencies and cryptocurrencies are volatile and can involve a lot of risk. Their prices and performance is very unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consult a financial advisor or obtain your own advice independent of this site before relying and acting on the information provided.