Top sites to Buy Bitcoin or AltCoins
A Rational Investor Review
Looking for a guide on how to buy cryptocurrency, but unsure on how to get started? Struggling endlessly searching for information on that one crypto exchange but haven’t found the right one, yet? Look no further, we’re here to help you navigate through the web of information to help you decide on the best exchange for you.
Market fluctuations notwithstanding, the burgeoning continuance of cryptocurrency presents a potential future in the next 10-15 years where the world transitions entirely from government fiat money (I.E. the Japanese yen, the U.S. dollar, the British pound and so forth) into digital money. Since technology plays a critical role in today’s society, cryptocurrency will have a place in the days ahead when it comes to future business transactions.
Currently, Bitcoin is still the oldest and most popular cryptocurrency that exists in the world, and its fame won’t be waning anytime soon. Even though historically it has been a volatile asset compared to fiat currency due to the non-inflationary nature of crypto prices, cryptotrader aficionados continue to invest in Bitcoin and its altcoin cousins in spite of the risk involved. As you continue reading, understand, we are not providing recommendations on what to buy, but instead giving the necessary information to help you make your own determination on what to purchase in the crypto market. We will review more than a few methods used to purchase Bitcoin or altcoins
Purchase Methods for Bitcoin
Depending on the type of digital currency along with the exchange that you intend to purchase from, it can be somewhat of a tedious process. Numerous websites that service buyers for cryptocurrency have vetting processes where you are required to submit credentials prior to beginning your purchases. These credentials are required in order to validate your identity prior to utilizing the brokerages themselves. There are three steps:
- Register on the exchanges and provide your information (I.E. your full name, cell phone number, email info etc.)
- Verify your identity on the brokerage (typically passports or driver’s license)
- Follow the 2-step process for verification. At this point, you’re secured from hackers that may attempt to break into your account.
Cryptocurrencies can be purchased through traditional methods. They can be bought using your bank accounts, credit cards, or cold hard cash. If you’re just starting out, you can purchase whichever online currency you want with your bank account via online fiat exchanges. The use of online exchanges are currently the most popular form of purchasing cryptocurrency today. When purchasing any type of crypto, you must take into consideration the following:
- What kind of payment options do the exchanges accept?
- What do other customers say about the exchanges? Are they genuine as far as their individual reputations are concerned? Do they provide quality services? Are they easy to use?
- Do the exchanges have the currency that you want to buy?
- Processing times for the vetting processes of the different exchanges; how long are you willing to wait before you can start purchasing currencies on the exchanges?
- How secure are the exchanges? Have they had a history of attempted hacks?
Current advantages and disadvantages of cryptocurrency:
Cryptocurrency offers superior advantages when it comes to monetary exchanges. Just like real estate and other forms of passive income, cryptocurrency can be bought in bulk in order to gradually build wealth.
In addition to it serving as an alternative form of currency, cryptocurrency offers a layer of security that is not available to conventional forms of payment. Fraudulent charges are still prevalent on credit cards today just as they were in the past, and fiat money can be counterfeited and produced en masse. The end result of the latter is that unless there’s a standard backing it, the value of fiat money decreases if too much of it saturates the market. These are issues that banks and governments alike are still dealing and often can create themselves. In addition, cyber threats continue to persist and are very real, as hackers can easily steal financial information through a vast array of means at their disposal, particularly through the use of phishing emails.
While there are boons to purchasing cryptocurrency, there are also downsides to them: cryptocurrencies are accepted only at select vendors, and not everyone in the world has transitioned to using them yet. The value of Bitcoins and altcoins are questionable, as how much they are worth tends to be subjective. Adding to that, there is no cut and dry approach when it comes to tax code regulations of all of the currencies. This makes it difficult to determine how much taxes should be paid (if any at all).
By their nature, cryptocurrencies tend to be far more volatile when compared to the regular stock market. Since no banks manage these currencies, if something happens there’s no way for them to step in and make necessary market corrections (though this differs from currency to currency). A perfect illustration of this is when Bitcoin was originally valued at $30 back in 2014, only to spike to $1000 that same year. Users need to be absolutely sure that they’re willing to invest their money into cryptocurrency as crypto prices are subject to market forces just like the regular stock market. The saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” still applies, as dumping all of your life savings in the hopes of making a quick buck can easily break you (this is the most extreme worst-case scenario). Transactions could potentially go wrong. If coins are lost, they are lost forever. If thievery of coins happen (which they can), there’s nothing anyone can do to correct the problem.
The Best CryptoCurrency exchanges
While there are numerous online exchanges where you can purchase the most popular cryptocurrencies, we have done our best to cherry pick the top ones. Although our opinion of what is the best crypto exchange is subjective, we have compiled and reviewed many of them at length so that you are provided the necessary information prior to coming to a decision on what to buy and who to buy it through. Here are some of the top sites which you can use to purchase Bitcoin along with other cryptocurrencies:
An introductory site for those starting out, Coinbase serves as the perfect beginner exchange. It is currently the largest exchange and most popular one to use. The exchange is based in California, and many consider it to be the most newbie-friendly of all the exchanges that exist today. As opposed to buying currency from other users, the crypto themselves are purchased directly from Coinbase.
The interface of the exchange is user-friendly. It accepts numerous payment methods, including PayPal and wire transfers. The exchange does charge fees, with the fees themselves usually dependent on where the customers live and what payment method they opt to use. One thing to bear in mind for Coinbase is that the exchange can only be used by people who live in either Europe, North America and Australia.
Another beginner-friendly exchange that allows the use of debit and credit card purchases. Currencies that are available from this exchange include Bitcoin, Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC) and a slew of others. They are available to most of the U.S. and many countries around the world.
A word of caution when purchasing from Coinmama is that its fees are 5.5% when you purchase with either a debit or credit card. However, when you buy delivery time is nearly instantaneous. Since Coinmama has near-worldwide availability, it also has the advantage of accepting local currencies.
Like Coinbase, Kraken is based in San Francisco. The Kraken Exchange is similar to its brethren in the sense that it’s one of the more reliable exchanges available to the public. It offers a high level of security that would make other exchanges envious. Stop-loss orders are available for advanced order types. Kraken offers Bitcoin, along with 15+ cryptocurrency pairs including Ripple, Monero, Zcash and more.
At this time Kraken has a high level of liquidity, so you can purchase currencies at low fees. Transactions within the exchange happen fast. The broker is harder for beginners as it requires you to already have a working knowledge of different order types and order books. It will have occasional uptime problems, but the benefits that Kraken provides usually outweighs the cons.
Bitstamp is another exchange for cryptocurrency which provides great liquidity. It is one of the oldest exchanges that exist today, dating back to its founding in 2011 in Luxembourg. Unfortunately it is not user-friendly compared to Coinbase and Coinmama. Despite this, they do provide customers with access to different cryptocurrencies and trading pairs, including Bitcoin, Litcoin, Ripple and many others. Even though the brokerage is based in Europe, people from other nations (including the United States) can send transfers worldwide for very low fees.
Headquartered in New York, this is another brokerage that offers both compliance and security. It has a high quality storage that holds data offline, layered authentication, and access controls. Originally only three currencies were available for trade at this exchange: Ethereum, U.S. dollars and Bitcoin. Keep in mind that Gemini is only available in some parts of the United States.
Binance is something of an unusual animal in the world of Bitcoinmarkets. Although headquartered in Malta, it has satellite offices situated in the United States and other nations. As the world’s largest exchange, it is open to many countries, and is continuing to show signs of rapid growth. Language support is very extensive, available to users in English, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and several others.
Its crypto coin prices are competitive, as large volumes of trading occur on a daily basis. Fees for crypto trading falls at the .05% range. Binance offers the best mobile apps for people that are looking to conduct trades on the fly (downloadable via iOS and Google Play Store). Keep in mind that Binance is not completely private, as you’ll have to register an account with your email.
A London-based website that offers the capability to trade across different platforms, On the operational side, it has very little downtime (minus a hacking attempt that affected its systems a while ago). However, CEX.io charges a hefty fee as far as its Bitcoin offerings are concerned.
Online broker exchanges aren’t the only means for customers to purchase digital currencies. Bitcoin ATMs and peer-to-peer exchanges also exist. While the Bitcoin ATMs are limited in number around the world, they are steadily gaining ground and continuously being deployed in order to better service customers that need cryptocurrency at a moment’s notice. The following is a step-by-step guide on how to buy Bitcoin from specialized ATMs.
- Find the ATM that’s closest to your location.
- When you do, verify your identity (only certain ATMs require this)
- Provide your phone number (if asked)
- The ATM sends a text message to you. Input the code provided into the ATM.
- Give the ATM your cryptocurrency wallet address. If you don’t have one on hand, the ATM will generate a new wallet for you.
Using Bitcoin ATMs come with certain advantages:
- It’s simple to use and very quick.
- If you want, you can use cash.
- You don’t need to use your identity (applies to most Bitcoin ATMs)
The Cons of Purchasing Through Bitcoin ATMs
- They aren’t in great abundance.
- Transaction fees tend to be high, usually in the range of 5-10%.
Finally, peer-to-peer platforms offer another route for buyers and sellers to exchange digital currency. They eliminate the need for third parties (such as Coinmama), as users can conduct their own transactions directly. An illustration of this would be two people trying to buy and sell on the Coinbase exchange, but do not want to give out their private information. P2P websites such as LocalBitcoins would serve this purpose perfectly, as they can conduct their exchange privately without giving away their identities (and avoid any fees during the process). If you want to buy and sell on P2P platforms, here’s what you need to do:
- First, you need to register for an account on one of the P2P websites. You can use localetherum.com for Ether and LocalBitcoins for Bitcoin.
- Search for listings on what you want to sell or buy. Buyers will have set prices on how much they’re willing to shell out for Bitcoin/Ether. By the same token, sellers will have prices that they are willing to sell Bitcoin/Ether for. You’ll also need to check the reputation of both the buyers and sellers in questions to ensure that they are trustworthy and will provide good services. Further, you will want to decide if you’re okay with giving them your identity or if you want to conduct your transaction with complete anonymity.
- When submitting trade requests, you’ll need to input all the necessary information. The listings normally ask what kind of currency you would like to pay with, how much you want to pay, and select a payment method based on the options available.
- When the seller asks for identification, you’ll need to do one of the following: either send a photo or scan in your driver’s license or government-issued passport. Or you can take a photograph of yourself holding your identification documents along with a piece of paper with something handwritten. You’ll be given instructions on what they want written on there.
- Once accepted, whatever quantity of Ether/Bitcoin that you ordered will be sent to the exchange’s escrow. The escrow is a secure place that no one has control of. When the trade’s terms and conditions are satisfied, the Ether/Bitcoin is then forwarded to the purchaser. If the opposite happens, the Ether/Bitcoin is returned to the seller. This is a measure that protects both parties from fraudulent activity. If on the other hand you’re purchasing via wire transfer, you’ll need to log into the app or website of your financial institution, set up a contact (with bank details that the seller provided), and then forward that money for Ether/Bitcoin to the new contact. A reference number will be needed for future input.
- The seller will see that you sent the reference number along with the amount of money you forwarded to them and use it for confirmation.
- The escrow releases the Ether/Bitcoin and forwards it to you.
The pros when it comes to conducting transactions on P2P platforms is that there are no fees. Some sellers allow you to buy cryptocurrency without the use of your IDs. In addition, you have the option of being able to buy your desired currency using cash. The cons to P2P platforms is that they are harder to use compared to regular cryptocurrency exchanges. Careful considerations must be made when choosing buyers. There is also a long wait time to account for when searching for interested sellers of your desired currency.
Serves as a peer-to-peer exchange platform. Trade occurs among users themselves without much difficulty, usually at low fees. Purchases resolve quickly, and a rating system is available for traders to rate their experiences. If privacy is a key concern for you, LocalBitcoins is the broker you can go to without any issues. You can buy Bitcoin from there face-to-face and your identity won’t be tied to the exchange.
The exchange is available in many metropolitan areas worldwide. Payment options available are Skrill, PayPal, Dwolla or cash wire transfers.
Another P2P platform that is known to be user-friendly. It allows people to buy and sell Bitcoins in exchange for other cryptocurrencies or fiat money. It doesn’t rely on a central authority to manage it, and there is no registration required. Accessibility is very rapid on this exchange, and the addition of security features makes it an excellent option for buyers and sellers to conduct their trades with each other in secrecy.
One thing that makes it unique among existing exchanges is that it provides an arbitration platform for trade disputes. This makes it easier for traders to conduct their business in confidence and reduces the likelihood of fraudulent activity.
Today, we have discussed the top methods and exchanges available to buy Bitcoin and accompanying cryptocurrencies for your own personal knowledge. The methods that are available are standard exchanges where you use a third party to purchase your desired currency, ATM-style machines that generate Bitcoin for you (though they are limited in quantity), and peer-to-peer platforms where buyers and sellers can trade in confidence. We also provided a listing of a fraction of the exchanges that you can go to online so that you can peruse through them and decide for yourself which one suits your needs best. While there is still a certain degree of risk involved, since the market is still in its infancy, it is safe to say at this point that it shows promise.
Take action today and prepare yourself for the future ahead. Change is coming at a breakneck pace, and by you purchasing cryptocurrency, you are taking the first preemptive steps in preparing for a future that is slowly getting ready to leave its past behind.
Additional Resources on Bitcoin Purchasing: