How to buy bitcoin

Get your first bitcoin in minutes!

1. Download the Bitcoin.com Wallet app.
2. Setup your payment method (credit/debit, Apple Pay, etc.).
3. Follow the instructions to buy.

Table of Contents

  1. Key points to consider
  2. Not your keys, not your bitcoin!
  3. Why do I need to verify my identity to purchase bitcoin?
  4. What are the fees for buying bitcoin?
  5. Ways to buy bitcoin
  6. Buying bitcoin with the Bitcoin.com Wallet
  7. Buying bitcoin from the Bitcoin.com website
  8. Buying bitcoin from a centralized cryptocurrency exchange
  9. Buying bitcoin using a peer-to-peer trading platform

Key points to consider

The three key points to consider when buying bitcoin are:

  1. Payment method
  2. Platform/venue used
  3. Where your bitcoin goes

Payment methods range from credit card to bank transfer, payment app (PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.), face-to-face with cash, and even barter. Each payment method carries tradeoffs in terms of convenience, privacy, and associated fees.

Platforms/venues for buying bitcoin include digital wallet providers, centralized spot exchanges, OTC desks (private 'Over-The-Counter' exchange services used primarily by high-net-worth individuals), peer-to-peer marketplaces, and even payment apps like PayPal.

Of course, it's also possible to buy bitcoin face-to-face. For example, you could give cash to your friend in exchange for receiving an agreed amount of bitcoin.

As for where your bitcoin goes after you buy it, the options are:

  1. Into a Bitcoin wallet you control (ie. a 'non-custodial' wallet like the Bitcoin.com Wallet)
  2. Into a Bitcoin wallet someone else controls (eg. a centralized cryptocurrency exchange or a payment app like PayPal).

Not your keys, not your bitcoin!

When you hold bitcoin in a wallet you control (known as a 'non-custodial' wallet), you never have to ask for permission to use it. This means you can receive your bitcoin without waiting for a third party like a centralized exchange to approve the transaction. It also means you can send your bitcoin wherever you want, whenever you want.

By contrast, many custodial Bitcoin wallets impose severe restrictions on what you can do with your bitcoin. For example, you may be asked to register an address before sending bitcoin to it, and you may be required to wait several days before being allowed to make a withdrawal. In some cases (PayPal for example), withdrawals of any kind are simply not permitted. It's also not uncommon to have your account frozen altogether. If you've been deemed a security or fraud risk, for example, you may be locked out of your account with no recourse to action.

The best non-custodial Bitcoin wallets also enable you to customize the 'network fee' each time you send. This means you can save money on transaction fees when you're not in a rush, or pay more to send faster when you are.

Perhaps most importantly, non-custodial wallets are more secure. As long as you maintain key management best practices, you'll never have to worry about getting hacked, nor will you be exposed to counter-party risks like a centralized exchange getting hacked or going bankrupt.

If you don't have a bitcoin wallet yet, check the Bitcoin.com Wallet - easy-to-use, non-custodial Bitcoin wallet trusted by millions.

Read more: What's a Non-Custodial Bitcoin Wallet?

Why do I need to verify my identity to purchase bitcoin?

When you buy bitcoin with a government-issued currency through an exchange service, you're interacting with a regulated business. Such businesses must comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations pertaining to the transfer of money. These regulations require the collection and storage of customer information, including identity documents and sometimes proof of address.

What are the fees for buying bitcoin?

Fees for buying bitcoin depend on the payment method and platform/venue used. For example, if you're buying directly from a friend and settling in cash, you'll only need to consider the 'network fee' for sending the bitcoin from your friend's digital wallet to yours.

Learn about sending bitcoin, including information of network fees and more.

If you're paying with a credit card or bank transfer, you'll of course need to factor in the fees for using those payment methods.

Beyond that, exchange services charge additional fees for facilitating trades. These fees cover the exchanges' operating costs plus a small margin. In general, you'll pay lower overall fees for larger purchases, so it often makes sense to avoid making many small buys.

Read more: How bitcoin exchanges work.

Ways to buy bitcoin

Having gone through the basics of buying bitcoin, let's look in more detail at the methods and processes.

Skip ahead:

  • Buying bitcoin with the Bitcoin.com Wallet
  • Buying bitcoin from the Bitcoin.com website
  • Buying bitcoin from a centralized cryptocurrency exchange
  • Buying bitcoin using a peer-to-peer trading platform
  • Buying bitcoin cash using our peer-to-peer trading platform

Buying bitcoin with the Bitcoin.com Wallet

Crypto wallets allow you to buy bitcoin conveniently from within the wallet app, and the Bitcoin.com Wallet is no exception. Importantly, the Bitcoin.com Wallet is fully non-custodial. This means you're always in complete control of your bitcoin. Here's the process for buying bitcoin using our app:

  1. Open the Bitcoin.com Wallet app on your device.
  2. Select Bitcoin (BTC) and tap the "Buy" button. Note: you can also buy other digital assets.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to choose your preferred wallet for depositing. The Bitcoin.com Wallet actually consists of separate wallets for each digital asset we support (eg. BTC, BCH, etc.). Additionally, you can make as many individual wallets as you want, a feature that can help you to organize your funds. For example, you can make one Bitcoin wallet called My BTC Savings and another Bitcoin wallet called Everyday BTC Spending.
  4. If it's your first purchase, verify your identity. After your first purchase, which includes identification verification, future purchases are completed in seconds!
  5. Once complete, your purchase will proceed.

Of course, you can also use your Bitcoin.com Wallet to receive, hold, and use the bitcoin you've already purchased via a different method. Other methods for buying bitcoin include:

Buying bitcoin from the Bitcoin.com website

You can buy bitcoin from the Bitcoin.com website using your credit/debit card or other payment method (Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.). When you buy bitcoin from our website, you'll need to decide where to receive it. This means you'll need to input a Bitcoin 'address' when prompted.

For example, a Bitcoin address looks something like this:

3J57t1XpEZ73CZmQvfksriyiWrnqLhGTLy

Here's the process for buying from our website:

  1. Visit our Buy Bitcoin page.
  2. Select Bitcoin (BTC). Note: you can also purchase a range of other digital assets.
  3. Choose whether you want to pay in USD or another local currency, and enter the currency amount (eg. $100).
  4. Click the BUY button.
  5. Enter your wallet address. Here's where you'll decide where the bitcoin you're buying goes. For example, you can send bitcoin straight to your Bitcoin.com Wallet. To do so, you just need to know your Bitcoin address. To get the right address:

    1. Open the app
    2. Tap the receive icon
    3. Select Bitcoin (BTC) and choose the Bitcoin wallet you want to receive it to (eg. My BTC Wallet)
    4. Tap the copy button to save the address to your clipboard. You'll need to paste that address into the Bitcoin.com Buy website. If you're accessing the website from your desktop or laptop, you can, for example, email the address to yourself then paste it in the wallet address field on our site.
  6. Complete the purchase process by creating an account and providing your payment details.

Buying bitcoin from a centralized cryptocurrency exchange

With this method, the bitcoin you purchase will at first be held by the cryptocurrency exchange on your behalf. If you'd like to take full control of your bitcoin, you'll need to withdraw it from the exchange to a non-custodial wallet like the Bitcoin.com Wallet. When you withdraw bitcoin from an exchange, you'll be subject to the exchange's withdrawal policy and fees. In some cases, you may not be able to withdraw for days or weeks, and the withdrawal fee could be much higher than a Bitcoin transaction fee would normally be.

Read more: How to send bitcoin.

Here's the typical flow for buying bitcoin from an exchange.

  1. Visit a cryptocurrency exchange website like Bitcoin.com Exchange. Here's a curated list of other top crypto exchanges.
  2. Create an account and verify your identity as required.
  3. Follow the website’s instructions to buy your bitcoin (BTC) or other digital asset.
  4. Your bitcoin will appear in your exchange account.
  5. If you'd like to take full control of your bitcoin, send it from the exchange to your non-custodial wallet (like the Bitcoin.com Wallet).

Buying bitcoin using a peer-to-peer trading platform

A variety of platforms facilitate the trading of bitcoin and other digital assets by offering 1) a venue for buyers and sellers to post their buy and sell orders, and 2) an escrow and dispute resolution service.

Since these platforms principally help people find each other, in many jurisdictions they aren't technically classified as exchanges or 'money transmitters,' so in some cases they don't require you to reveal your identity in order to use them. For privacy-conscious buyers, therefore, P2P platforms can be an effective method for obtaining bitcoin despite being generally less convenient, and often more costly overall (it can be hard to get the "correct" market rate using this method due to lack of liquidity). Note however, that as a seller, using a peer-to-peer platform to engage in the commercial sale of bitcoin (beyond, say, a few small transactions here and there) may find you on the wrong side of the law in your country.

Read more: How does Bitcoin exchange work?

Most peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchanges integrate a reputation system, meaning they track and display the trading history of their users. If you're looking to buy using a P2P exchange, you'll want to choose sellers who have a good reputation, meaning they've completed several trades and never had a complaint.

The process for buying bitcoin using a peer-to-peer exchange is typically as follows:

  1. Browse through listings by payment type (eg. bank transfer, PayPal, etc.), amount, location of seller, reputation, and so on.
  2. Initiate a trade. Doing so locks up the bitcoin in an escrow account.
  3. Send the agreed payment amount via the agreed payment method. Note, this could potentially even mean meeting the seller in person and handing over cash directly.
  4. The seller then confirms receipt of the payment via the website or app .This triggers the bitcoin to be released from escrow to your Bitcoin wallet.
  5. In some cases, the purchased bitcoin will be released from escrow directly to the Bitcoin wallet of your choosing. In other cases, it will first be sent to your peer-to-peer platform account wallet (which is typically a custodial web wallet). In that case, you'd then want to withdraw it to a Bitcoin wallet you control. Note that this final step often incurs a fee, which typically constitutes the peer-to-peer platform's business model.

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