Want to buy some bitcoin? It’s no longer difficult to do! Here are some of my favorite ways of buying.
This isn’t a company-run money service like Coinbase or any of the other big name exchanges, this is a true marketplace. At Paxful you can trade all sorts of things for bitcoin. Not just dollars, but iTunes gift cards, Subway gift cards, PayPal, MoneyGram, Walmart Money Card, Steam Wallet code, the list goes on and on and on! This marketplace is a breath of fresh air for anyone without a bank account, not in the USA, or… Any situation! There are so many buying options here, there’s something for everyone.
The Paxful marketplace has a really nice flow to it. You enter your local currency, how much of it worth of bitcoin you want, and the method of payment you want to use. From there, you choose see a well ordered list of offers available, or have the system find you the best deal! Just like eBay feedback ratings, you get to see the seller ratings and their history so you know what you’re getting into. When you find the right seller, you get a super nice chat window where the seller can walk you through the payment steps. Easy!
Pros: Huge selection of payment methods. Helps you find the best bang for your buck. Lots of sellers to choose from. Great user experience which walks you through each step.
Cons: So many options seems daunting at first. Built-in wallet is in custody of Paxful. (store your bitcoin on your phone with a backup!) Clef integration is broken.
This is the most popular US based exchange I know of. All you have to do here is sign up, and add your bank account.
Pros: Easy to use, just like a bank website. Seamlessly intergrates with many merchant websites who accept bitcoin. Lowest fees I’ve found, just 1%!
Cons: If you don’t have a credit card, buying bitcoin has a 6 day hold time. If you store your bitcoin on coinbase, your bitcoin is not in your custody! Think of it like a bank for your bitcoin. (I always suggest storing your bitcoin yourself using an app like Mycelium or AirBitz, along with keeping a backup in a safe place, and large amounts of bitcoin should use a cold storage solution such as paper wallets.)
This is kind of odd, perhaps novel way to buy bitcoin, but it’s a pretty ingenious platform. The way this works is it’s a marketplace of two groups of people. The first group wants to buy stuff on Amazon using bitcoin. The second group wants bitcoin in exchange for gifting Amazon stuff to the first group.
If that didn’t make sense (It’s kind of hard to grasp at first) think of it like this. Joe has an Amazon wish list of items he wants to buy. Using your credit card and your Amazon Prime account, you buy Joe’s wish list for him, Amazon sends the items to Joe, and Purse.io makes sure you get Joe’s bitcoin in return.
Pros: A good way to turn Amazon gift cards into money. A fun process where you get to see what other people buy.
Cons: Difficult to find good deals. Requires an Amazon Prime account. Takes a few days for the seller to receive their items and release the items from escrow.
Other untested methods?
Here are a few that I have yet to try out, but look good, and I’ve heard good things about. I’ll update this in the future as I try them out. Until then, be very skeptical!
This is run by a hip Paris company. Their product is a gift card you buy with a credit card, which is then e-mailed to you. Print out the card, give it to your friend, and your friend then goes on the BitIt.gift site and redeems the card for actual bitcoin. EASY MODE 3000!
Assumed Pros: EASY. This is the kind of easy-to-use method I’ve been looking for. This is the type of thing I would recommend to non-tech savvy people who want to gift their tech savvy friend some BTC.
Assumed Cons: Custodial voucher for bitcoin. If BitIt goes under, you lose any un-redeemed bitcoin. Easy fix is just to redeem that bitcoin ASAP! (Store it on your phone and make a backup!)
The classic method everyone seems to recommend newbies. It’s like a CraigsList for only one thing, buying and selling bitcoin. But this way has bonus buyer/seller reputation!
Pros: Lots of payment options. (not only local, you can do PayPall or Skrill or MoneyGram, etc.)
Cons: Local can be a con if you’re like me and don’t like leaving the house!