The Complete Guide on How to Buy Bitcoin and Where to Do it

Bitcoin is everywhere. Its rise in popularity over the last year has caused an increasing amount of people to become interested in cryptocurrencies. However, a lot of people still don’t know how to buy Bitcoin, or where to do so.

There are lots of options to choose from, though! With so many websites offering different services, it’s hard to know which option will be right for you.

That’s why I'm here to help!

In this guide, I will explain how to buy a Bitcoin, the best place to buy Bitcoins and how you can start investing today! We'll talk exchanges, ATMs, and everything in between. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of which buying option suits your needs.

How to Buy Bitcoin: So, What is Bitcoin?

Put simply, Bitcoin is a digital currency that you can use to buy and sell things. It is very different to physical money though, as it is completely digital. There is no government or bank that stores or creates Bitcoin.

It can be used for payments on the web, cheap international transfers, and is the first payment system that isn’t controlled by the government.

Instead, it is stored in a secure online database, also known as the blockchain. Rather than being printed, like traditional money (USD, JPY, EUR etc.), it is created by the computers that run the database. The computers verify the Bitcoin transactions and are rewarded with new Bitcoins! It’s a process known as mining, and the computers are known as miners.

How to buy Bitcoin: BTC coins.

For more on this, see this guide.

Bitcoin has been a great way to earn money for investors over the last 7 years or so.

So, you want to buy Bitcoin, but you don’t know where to start and keep wondering 'how to buy Bitcoin?'... Let’s explain then!

Let's Get This Straight... Can You Buy Partial Bitcoins?

Can you buy half a Bitcoin, a quarter of a Bitcoin, or even a tenth of a Bitcoin?

The simple answer to all those questions is… YES! You don’t have to spend your whole life savings to buy a full Bitcoin.

You have the option to either buy half a Bitcoin or even less than half. Each unit of a Bitcoin is called a Satoshi. Bitcoins can be split into 100,000,000 pieces.

Imagine that one Bitcoin looks like this: 1.00000000
Half of a Bitcoin looks like this: 0.50000000
A quarter of a Bitcoin looks like this: 0.25000000
One-tenth of a Bitcoin looks like this: 0.10000000

You can buy Bitcoin with however much (or little) money you'd like. In fact, Coinbase even allows you to buy $1 of Bitcoin! Now that you know the amounts, let's get started on actually explaining how to buy Bitcoin.

A quick fact: Satoshi comes from the name “Satoshi Nakamoto”, who is the unknown creator of Bitcoin.

Where Can You Buy Bitcoin with Credit Card or Debit Card?

The best way to buy Bitcoins is by using a Bitcoin exchange. These are websites that allow you to purchase Bitcoin using your bank card. The best options and the ones that I recommend are Coinbase, Kraken, and Binance.

All these sites are compatible using your desktop and mobile. It’s easy to sign up and they make the beginning of your Bitcoin journey much easier than other options.

When you find a crypto exchange that meets the requirements you want, go ahead and sign up!
Let’s walk you through the steps for setting up a Coinbase account and making the first steps on how to buy Bitcoin:

1. First, go to Coinbase and click “Sign Up”.
How to buy Bitcoin: Coinbase frontpage.

2. You will then be sent to the following screen:How to buy Bitcoin: how to create an account on Coinbase.

3. Confirm your first name and last name.

4. Type in your email address.

5. Create a password that you will remember!

6. Click to verify that you aren’t a robot.

7. Now, you need to log in to your email (the one you put into Coinbase). You should have an email from the platform — click the link in the email to verify your account.How to buy Bitcoin: Coinbase email verification.

8. Once you have logged in, you will need to confirm your mobile number for Two-Step authenthication.

9. You will then receive a text message to your mobile with a 7-digit activation code.

10. Type your activation code into on Coinbase.
How to buy Bitcoin: Coinbase phone verification.

11. Upload a form of ID (Passport, Driving license or another form of Photo ID).
How to buy Bitcoin: Uploading ID pictures on Coinbase.

12. Add a payment method.
How to buy Bitcoin: Payment methods on Coinbase.

13. Verify your payment method.

Now you’re ready to start investing!

Once you sign up to Coinbase, you’ll have access to a user-friendly wallet that allows you to purchase many different cryptocurrencies.

These options are some of the best ways of answering how to buy Bitcoins. However, once you’ve purchased your Bitcoin, you shouldn’t leave it on Coinbase as it isn’t the safest place to keep it.

Instead, you should transfer your Bitcoin to another wallet — there are many. The Ledger Nano S wallet is a good starting point if you’re looking for something secure and easy to use.

Once you have your Coinbase account set up, the next part is easy!

1. From the home page of Coinbase, click the option to “Buy/Sell”.
How to buy Bitcoin: Homepage of a Coinbase account.

2. Once you are on the Buy/Sell page, you are now ready to buy Bitcoin!

3. Select the Bitcoin option and enter the amount you would like to spend!

4. The amount that you enter will convert into the amount of Bitcoin it is worth. You can see from the image above that I am going to buy £100 worth of Bitcoin. £100 is worth 0.0117 BTC at the time of taking this image.

5. Click “Buy Bitcoin Instantly” and you’re finished!

You can then click the “Accounts” tab at the top and you will see that your Bitcoin is now in your wallet!

You can buy other cryptocurrencies here, too!

Other than Bitcoin, you can also buy Litecoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash from Coinbase. So, now that you know how to buy Bitcoin, you should be able to buy Litecoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash too!

Ethereum is the 2nd biggest cryptocurrency by market cap (Bitcoin is the 1st), and you can learn more about how it compares to Bitcoin in our Ethereum vs. Bitcoin guide.

Market cap: The total price of all coins added together. For example, Bitcoin’s market cap is the value of all Bitcoins added together.

How to Buy Bitcoins with Cash Anonymously

When you first think about buying Bitcoin, you might wonder how to do it anonymously. The easiest way to buy Bitcoins anonymously is by using LocalBitcoins.

Buying Bitcoin With LocalBitcoins

There is no verification needed when you sign up to LocalBitcoins, as it is a peer-to-peer platform. This means that you purchase Bitcoins from other people online.

LocalBitcoins allows you to buy Bitcoin online in the following ways:

  • You can buy Bitcoin with cash by meeting up with the sellers that live near you;
  • Choose to buy Bitcoin from other people by sending a bank transfer;
  • You can deposit money into the seller’s bank account by going to a bank and depositing cash into their account.

For bank transfers, some of the people who sell on LocalBitcoins might ask you to verify yourself before buying from them. Buying Bitcoin in person is the most common way to buy Bitcoin without ID on LocalBitcoins. So, now you know how to buy Bitcoin anonymously.

How to Buy BTC Using an ATM

Next, you have the Bitcoin ATM option. Another great choice if would like to buy Bitcoin without using your ID. At a Bitcoin ATM, you can buy Bitcoin with cash or with a debit/credit card.

How to buy Bitcoin: Bitcoin ATMs.Source: qz

However, Bitcoin ATMs are hard to find, and they are limited to only the countries that allow them. There are also many different types of Bitcoin ATMs, but most of them follow the same process:

  1. Click the option to “Buy Bitcoins”.
  2. Type your mobile number into the ATM.
  3. You will then receive a text message with a verification code.
  4. Type the code into the ATM.
  5. The ATM will ask you for your Bitcoin wallet address.
Note: If you haven’t set up a Bitcoin wallet, then click the option that says, “I don’t have a bitcoin wallet address”. The ATM machine will then create a new Bitcoin wallet address for you, which you can print out. This printed-out paper will have the public and private keys to your Bitcoin wallet on it. Please keep this extra safe!
  1. Enter your Bitcoin wallet address that you would like your Bitcoins to go to.
  2. Put your cash into the ATM machine.
  3. Press “Send” and Bitcoins will be sent to you immediately.

And there you have it, another way how to buy Bitcoins with cash! Simple, right?

Keeping Your Bitcoins Secure

Now that you know how to purchase Bitcoin, it’s important that you understand how to keep your Bitcoins safe.

Hardware Wallets

There are many ways for you to store your Bitcoins safely once you have bought them. So, now that you know how to buy Bitcoin, time to know how to keep them safe. The most secure way and the way I recommend is to store your Bitcoin in a hardware wallet.

Hardware wallets come with a price, but they are much safer. So, if you really, really don’t want to lose your Bitcoin, you should think about buying one of these:

Nano Ledger SThe Nano Ledger S allows you to store Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies! This is an easy-to-use hardware wallet with a lot more security than online wallets and software wallets. You can buy the Ledger Nano S for around $95.

Trezor Wallet – The Trezor wallet is one of the most secure ways to store your Bitcoins. It stores the keys to your wallet on a small piece of hardware – like a USB! However, this USB is different — it cannot be affected by viruses!

You can buy a Trezor wallet for around $99. Unlike online wallets and software wallets, the Trezor and Nano Ledger S are not always connected to the internet. They are only connected to the internet when you plug them into your computer. This makes it much harder for hackers to attack your wallet!

SSL Certificates

Whenever you sign up or log in to a website that you buy, sell or store cryptocurrency on, you should always check that the website has an SSL Certificate.

This is the green text and lock image that are to the left of the website address. In the image above, you can see that the SSL Certificate says “Secure” — this means we are probably on the real LocalBitcoins website.

An SSL certificate is a type of security that is used to keep your information secure. It makes sure that any information that is entered into the website stays private — this is very important for the safety f your information!

SSL certificates are there to protect your privacy and stop you from using a fake Bitcoin exchange site, and it will keep your Bitcoin wallet safe from hackers. If the website doesn't have an SSL knowing how to buy Bitcoin won't be very useful, as you might lose them.

A quick tip: If you’re going to use cryptocurrency website regularly, like LocalBitcoins or Coinbase, you should ‘bookmark’ the real website with the SSL certificate! This way, you can just click the ‘bookmark’ when you want to use that website — you always know it’s the real one without needing to check.

Two-Step Verification

When you have set up your exchange account (such as Coinbase), it will ask you to set up two-step verification. This keeps your account secure and I strongly advise that you set it up.

How to buy Bitcoin: 2-step verification on Coinbase.

You set it up using your cell phone by following the steps below:

  1. Enter your mobile number into the exchange website.
  2. The exchange will then send a text message to your mobile with a code.
  3. Enter the code into the box on the website.

Now, every time that you try to log in to your account, you will be sent an SMS code. You must enter it into the website to complete your login.

This adds extra security to your account; hackers will now need your mobile device, as well as your username and password. It is much safer way of how to buy Bitcoin!

This also works with email addresses: some exchanges use an email for two-step verification instead of an SMS/cell phone. It works the same way, but it is less secure because it is easier for a hacker to get your email password than your mobile device.

Google Two-Step Verification

Google two-step verification is very similar to text message two-step verification. The only difference is that Google’s two-step verification uses a Google app on your phone, instead of using your mobile number.

Not all sites offer Google’s two-factor verification, however, if it does then this is how you will set it up:

1. Go to your account settings.

2. Click “Two-Factor Authentication”.

3. Install the Google Authenticator app on your phone.

4. Enter the code from the exchange, or scan the barcode with the Google Authenticator app.
How to buy Bitcoin: 2-step authentication on Coinbase.

5. Then enter the code into the exchange website.

Done!

Now, every time that you log in to your exchange account, you will need to enter the code given to you from the Google Authenticator app. This code always changes though, so you have to open the Google Authenticator every time you log in so that you can receive your new code.

When to Buy Bitcoin?

Knowing when to buy Bitcoin isn’t easy. I recommend that you head over to CoinMarketCap. Here, you will find the Bitcoin price chart which tells you the current price of Bitcoin, as well as its price history.

Since you already know how to buy Bitcoin, let's get some insights about the 'when'. The price of Bitcoin changes all the time, and it should be your goal to buy Bitcoin at the cheapest price possible. This is to make sure that you make the best return on your investment.

For more on this, read our Bitcoin price prediction guide.

Pros
  • Super secure
  • Protection against physical damage
  • Supports more than 1500 coins and tokens
Pros
  • Can be managed from mobile device
  • Very secure
  • Supports more than 1,100 cryptocurrencies
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Free to register and keep crypto coins in
  • Decent fees

What is the Best Way to Buy Bitcoin? You Decide.

When buying Bitcoin with cash, you can remain anonymous by using a Bitcoin ATM or buying privately from a person on LocalBitcoins.

However, these options can take up a lot of your time. If you want to use an ATM, then you must spend time traveling to an ATM. Or, if you buy Bitcoin using cash on LocalBitcoins, then you must either travel to meet the seller or travel to a bank to send the cash.

Note: When you send cash via a bank, you still don't need your identity. This is only available in selected countries though.

So, those are the best ways of buying bitcoin without using your identity. If you're looking for speed, though, use Coinbase, Kraken or Binance. You will have to verify your identity, but you can pay with a debit/credit card.

How to buy Bitcoin: a pile of cryptocoins.

There is one thing left when it comes to answering how to buy Bitcoin question: your location. If you're based in the U.S., exchanges such as CEX.io are probably not the choice for you. This is because it is only available in a few U.S. states! Check their website to find out which ones.

Most of Asia, Africa, and South America cannot use Coinbase either. There's good news though - Coinmama is available in every country around the world!

Conclusion

So, for speed, choose an exchange like Coinbase, Binance or Kraken. If you live somewhere that can't use Coinbase or CEX.io, though, it'll have to be Coinmama!

Don't you want to use your identity? Choose LocalBitcoins or a Bitcoin ATM. If you want the extra security that comes with PayPal, Coinbase is the only option I recommend. As you know many answers to how to buy Bitcoin, which are you going to use? Let us know how it goes! If you have any questions, I will gladly answer them.

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FAQ

What is the best method of how to buy Bitcoin?

Surely, the best method of buying Bitcoin would have to be to do so via an exchange, such as Coinbase. Here, "best" simply means that it's the quickest and safest way to go about it. If you do things right, you can be sure that the transaction will pass without a hitch, and you'll have no issues with your purchase (or sale!).

Is buying Bitcoin worth it?

The answer to this question depends on the time when you answer it. Sometimes, buying Bitcoin is a very bad idea - this is especially true when the currency tends to tank down in price. Other times, however, it might be the best investment of your life - that said, nobody knows when that time comes! Your best bet is to make sure you're using only the top crypto exchanges, and try to do some extra research on the timing of the matter.

How to pick the best crypto exchange for yourself?

Picking out the best crypto exchange for yourself, you should always focus on maintaining a balance between the essential features that all top crypto exchanges should have, and those that are important to you, personally. For example, all of the best exchanges should possess top-tier security features, but if you’re looking to trade only the main cryptocurrencies, you probably don’t really care too much about the variety of coins available on the exchange. It’s all a case-by-case scenario!

Which cryptocurrency exchange is best for beginners?

Reading through various best crypto exchange reviews online, you’re bound to notice that one of the things that most of these exchanges have in common is that they are very simple to use. While some are more straightforward and beginner-friendly than others, you shouldn’t encounter any difficulties with either of the top-rated exchanges. That said, many users believe that Coinbase is one of the simpler exchanges on the current market.

What is the difference between a crypto exchange and a brokerage?

In layman’s terms, a cryptocurrency exchange is a place where you meet and exchange cryptocurrencies with another person. The exchange platform (i.e. Binance) acts as a middleman - it connects you (your offer or request) with that other person (the seller or the buyer). With a brokerage, however, there is no “other person” - you come and exchange your crypto coins or fiat money with the platform in question, without the interference of any third party. When considering cryptocurrency exchange rankings, though, both of these types of businesses (exchanges and brokerages) are usually just thrown under the umbrella term - exchange. This is done for the sake of simplicity.

Are all the top cryptocurrency exchanges based in the United States?

No, definitely not! While some of the top cryptocurrency exchanges are, indeed, based in the United States (i.e. Coinbase or Kraken), there are other very well-known industry leaders that are located all over the world. For example, Binance is based in Tokyo, Japan, while Bittrex is located in Liechtenstein. While there are many reasons for why an exchange would prefer to be based in one location over another, most of them boil down to business intricacies, and usually have no effect on the user of the platform.