When Elon Musk adds #Bitcoin to his Twitter bio, you will know that buying bitcoin is back in style.
Cryptocurrency is pumping, perhaps not too coincidentally, as investment app Robinhood has been criticized for censoring the stock and crypto trading in response to the Wall Street Bets saga.
While Robinhood takes the heat, Coinbase basks in the glow.
Coinbase’s popularity has reached its highest level since 2017 and is now the ninth most downloaded application on Apple’s US App Store (AAPL).
The centralized exchange is one of the oldest in the game and has historically been the U.S.’s first choice for buying Bitcoin and its cohort of altcoins. Because buying on Coinbase is straightforward and there have been so many market cycles already, the service has strong brand awareness and network effects, making it a routine referral to newbies looking to buy Bitcoin.
As the influx of new users shows, Coinbase is very popular. But a lot has changed since Bitcoin’s last market frenzy, and there are plenty of opportunities for beginners to buy their first Bitcoin besides Coinbase, some of which offer lower startup fees.
Note that all exchanges are prone to failure when volume increases. Neither of these exchanges is necessarily better than Coinbase. This is just a selection of a few alternative options.
Bitcoin broker based in the USA
Below are ways to buy Bitcoin that are exclusive to the US and only offer Bitcoin buy and sell. Their fees are comparable to or lower than Coinbase’s and they generally have better availability, even during times of high market volatility.
These platforms act as brokers who buy and sell bitcoin for their customers rather than real exchanges where users can trade with one another.
For US users, the Square (SQ) Cash app is probably the easiest and fastest place to buy Bitcoin. You can set up your bank account, which can take a few days on board, or use your debit card, which you can use to start buying Bitcoin right away.
The Cash app, available on mobile and on the web, allows you to buy up to $ 100,000 per week in Bitcoin and withdraw $ 2,000 per day and $ 5,000 per week.
The Cash app also offers automatic recurring purchases and has a debit card that holders can use to receive bitcoin back rewards. The purchase fees vary between 1% and 3% depending on the order size (the larger the order, the cheaper the fee). The Cash App does not charge a fee for withdrawals.
Continue reading: Bitcoin Trading Fees for PayPal, Robinhood, Cash App, and Coinbase: What You Should Know
The US-exclusive River Financial is a relatively new Bitcoin-only broker that focuses on offering its customers a full suite of Bitcoin-related customer services. It’s not as easy as downloading the Cash app, but River’s financial suite offers a number of services that make it a standout part of Bitcoin exchanges.
For example, River enables deposits and withdrawals from the Lightning Network. This means you can deposit or withdraw your Bitcoin instantly from River for zero (or near zero) network costs. You can also integrate your hardware wallet (s) to keep track of the bitcoin you keep on your River account in the cold store. As with the Cash app, you can automatically schedule recurring Bitcoin purchases.
River is designed for larger purchases as the minimum purchase is $ 100 and only purchases can be made through a US bank account. River has no withdrawal fee and charges between 1% and 3% on purchases depending on size.
Swan Bitcoin is not a traditional bitcoin on the ramp.
The bitcoin-only service has become popular with bitcoiners as its users can set daily recurring car purchases to as little as $ 10. Swan users can also set a wallet for automatic withdrawals. Designed for bitcoiners looking to set an average daily or weekly purchase, it offers some of the lowest (if not the) lowest fees for spot bitcoin purchases in the United States
Weekly purchases of $ 50 or more are subject to a 1.19% fee unless the buyer pays their fees upfront through an annual savings plan. In this case the fees are 0.99%. Swan does not charge any withdrawal fees and only links to a bank account.
International Bitcoin Exchanges
Whether you are inside or outside of the US, here are some centralized exchanges that cater to an international clientele.
Each of the exchanges listed below offer a mobile app (for Android and iOS) to manage your account on the go and allow fiat currency deposits via bank transfer or credit / debit card. They have also activated Bitcoin’s Lightning Network (or plan to do so in the near future), which means customers can use this network to avoid high fees in the chain when they keep themselves safe.
The trading fees on these Bitcoin exchange platforms are lower than those of Coinbase and other brokers and are usually around 0.1% to 0.5% per trade. But the experience of buying bitcoin may not be that easy for newbies as these exchanges, which include many altcoins, are primarily set up as trading venues. As a result, those who are not used to layouts for exchanging cryptocurrencies may be more difficult to navigate than other options.
Bitfinex is one of the oldest exchanges in the industry and supports trading in US dollars, euros, British pounds, Japanese yen, China’s yuan and all major stablecoins.
As a plus for power users, Bitfinex also offers deposits and withdrawals via the Lightning Network from Bitcoin and the Liquid Sidechain from Blockstream.
Bitfinex’s withdrawal fees for Bitcoin are static at 0.0004 BTC.
Kraken is one of the oldest US exchanges and offers spot trading for Bitcoin and Altcoins as well as leveraged trading. The exchange supports deposits in USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, GBP, CHF, JPY and major stablecoins.
Withdrawal fees for Bitcoin are set at 0.0005 BTC.
Kraken Exchange informed CoinDesk at the end of 2020 that the integration of the Bitcoin Lightning network for deposits and withdrawals was planned for this year.
OKCoin is an international exchange that accepts deposits in USD, EUR and Singapore dollars (SGD) as well as important stablecoins. The exchange is in the process of integrating the Lightning network, which should go online in February.
As with other exchanges at the moment, OKCoin Bitcoin withdrawal fees are 0.0004 BTC.
Decentralized Bitcoin Exchanges
These Bitcoin exchanges do not require KYC (Know-Your-Customer) identity verification and allow users to trade directly with one another without revealing their private keys to any third party (unlike the centralized exchanges described above). Since you never give your private keys to the exchange, no third party can freeze your money for these services.
With non-KYC exchanges, customers can buy Bitcoin under the radar so they don’t give out sensitive personal information to anyone. As can be seen from the Ledger and BlockFi security breaches, not every hack ends with a loss of funds. Exchanges and services that store KYC information are a honeypot for hackers selling stolen personal information such as emails and physical addresses on the dark internet.
You will jump through more hoops if you buy Bitcoin this way, and it will be more difficult than the typical route, but the Bitcoin will be more “private” as a result (although it usually comes with a high premium cost).
Hodl Hodl is a global peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange that uses multi-signature wallets to transfer trades between users.
The Hodl Hodl marketplace offers merchants the ability to support any payment method they want (cell, PayPal, bank transfer, Altcoins, SWIFT, credit cards and gift cards). Once the payment for a trade is completed, each party signs the end of the multisig wallet to release funds. In the event of a disagreement, the Hodl Hodl team decides.
Since Hodl Hodl does not require a KYC, Bitcoin is usually sold with a premium of 5% compared to other exchanges.
Trading fees are split between buyer and seller, 0.3% of each trade.
Like Hodl Hodl, Bisq is a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange, but it is not hosted on the internet.
Bisq is Bitcoin’s only self-hosted decentralized exchange. This means that each Bisq user has to download the switch software and run a Bisq node in order to trade the service. A multi-signature wallet is used for escrow business.
The exchange offers Bitcoin and Monero trading (XMR) with limits between 0.25 and 2 BTC for each trade, depending on the payment method (similar to Hodl Hodl). The market maker fees are 0.1% and the taker fees 0.7%. When users pay fees in BSQ, a bitcoin-colored coin that acts as a Bisq exchange token, they are 0.05% for manufacturers and 0.35% for buyers.