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How to Buy and sell Bitcoin. Selling bitcoin online or selling bitcoin in person. A simpler way to buy and sell bitcoins

When deciding how to sell your bitcoin, you first need to consider which method best suits your situation: selling bitcoin online or selling bitcoin in person. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. 

Selling bitcoin online is by far the more common way of trading your bitcoin. 

Bitcoin is not anonymous. But at the same time, it can provide more privacy than paying with a credit card or other electronic payment. Like cash, you can transfer bitcoins from one person to another, or to a company, without attaching your name or other personal information to it. It creates a measure of pseudonymity. 


Unlike cash, the bitcoin public ledger keeps a record of all transactions. If someone knows your bitcoin address, and you only use that address to make transactions, anyone can see your transaction history. 

Buying bitcoin also has varying degrees of anonymity. When I bought bitcoin through LocalBitcoins, I didn't have to share any personal information online. It was very close to a cash transaction. 

There are now three ways to go about selling bitcoin online. 

1. The first way involves a direct trade with another person, an intermediary facilitating the connection. 

2. The second way is through an online exchange, where your trade is with the exchange rather than another individual. 

3. New peer-to-peer trading marketplaces that allow bitcoin owners to obtain discounted goods with their bitcoin via others that want to obtain the cryptocurrency with credit/debit cards. The two groups are brought together to solve both problems in a kind of peer-to-peer exchange. 

Websites that offer this type of selling structure include Coinbase and LocalBitcoins in the US, and BitBargain UK and Bittylicious in the UK. 

On these sites, you will usually have to register as a seller. This involves verifying your identity, which we will discuss again later. Once you have registered, you can post an offer, signalling that you want to sell, and the website will alert you when a buyer wants to trade with you. From there, your interaction is solely with the buyer, but you use the website to complete your trade. 

The process of selling on Bitbargain UK and (more so) Bittylicious can be quite involved and requires some patience. However, support at the former site has been great in our experience. Bitcoin users with bank accounts in the United States should consider using Coinbase , which has won many fans with its simplicity. 
The other way to sell bitcoins is to register with an online exchange. You will still have to verify your identity, but in this case you won't have to do as much work when it comes to organizing the sale. 

Exchanges act as an intermediary who holds everyone's funds. You place a 'sell order' (just as you would place a buy order), stating the volume (amount) and type of currency you wish to sell (eg: bitcoin), and the price per unit you wish to sell for. 

As soon as someone places a matching buy order, the exchange will complete the transaction. The currency will then be credited to your account. 

The downside that accompanies this ease of use is that, if you are selling bitcoin for fiat currencies, you will need to withdraw those funds to your bank. If the exchange is facing liquidity problems or issues with its banks, it can take an inordinate amount of time to receive your funds. 

Mt. Gox became infamous for this problem before it went bankrupt , and BTC-e has recently been plagued with reports of similar difficulties. Therefore, you should carefully research the exchange you intend to use before committing funds. 

Alternatively, you could use a pure cryptocurrency exchange to change bitcoin for another cryptocurrency. It's less likely that anyone would want to do this, but there are reasons such as arbitrage, or the rare occasion if a shop accepts something other than bitcoin (for example, Bitcoin Shop now accepts litecoin and dogeoin too, for a wide range of goods). 

In addition, you'll have to pay a fee to use some exchanges. BTC-e charges a flat 0.2%. For overviews of what fees are charged by the various cyrptocurrency markets and what volumes are being traded, see CoinCompare and Bitcoin Charts for up-to-date information. 

Another consideration is that there will be some limit to the amount of money you are allowed to store (subject to change over time) on an exchange. Regardless, it is not wise to use exchanges to store your entire pot of coins , even though it can appear to be the easy option if all you are doing is speculating. You should take responsibility for your own funds, and store any unneeded amounts on your own devices or offline, rather than trusting an exchange that might one day be hacked. 

A new development in the bitcoin space is the advent of sites like Purse.io, which set out to bring together two groups of people with specific and complementary needs. The first group are individuals who want to be able to use bitcoin to buy goods from sites which do not yet directly accept digital currencies. The second comprises of others who would like to buy bitcoin with a credit or debit card. The marketplace brings together individuals with matching requirements to effectively sell bitcoin to one and provide discounted goods for the other. 

The marketplace acts as an intermediary, offering users the platform, bitcoin wallet and escrow for transactions. How it works: 

1. Alice posts her required Amazon wish list on the marketplace, stating the discount she would like (normally up to 25%). 

2. Bob has a credit/debit card and wants to buy bitcoin matching the value of Alice's purchase(s). He accepts the trade and, through the marketplace, buys the Amazon goods and requests they be delivered to Alice's address. 

3. Once the goods are delivered, Alice notifies the marketplace and Bob's bitcoin are released from escrow and arrive in his wallet, minus Alice's agreed discount and a small fee for the marketplace. 

This system does mean that Bob will be paying a relatively high fee for the service, but also means he will be easily able to acquire bitcoin via bank card. 

The universal way to move money around the world is international wire transfers. Most (if not all) online bitcoin markets support this method of transferral. 

Another way to transfer money to your bank after selling bitcoin is via the "Single European Payments Area" ( SEPA ) system. SEPA was designed to make international transfers between member states of the European Union more efficient. Some exchanges (such as Kraken and BTC-e) support these payments. 

However, transfers take a very long time (around four days), and can incur large charges – potentially making trading prohibitively expensive. HSBC, for example, charges £4 per SEPA payment made via online banking and £9 per WorldPay transaction. Barclays charges £15 per SEPA payment and £25 for other international transactions. 

If you are opening an account with the specific purpose of receiving funds from bitcoin trading, you may find high street banks refuse to do business with you. HSBC has explicitly refused the author of this guide accounts for bitcoin trading. 

You can also use third-party payment processors to withdraw and receive fiat funds.The numbers of these services is dwindling, however. OKpay recently stopped engaging with bitcoin businesses , and PayPal has never officially dealt with bitcoin businesses. Note, though, that LocalBitcoins does show PayPal as a payment option. 

While many of the bitcoin markets mentioned here require very little identification from buyers, they require a lot of proof of identity from sellers. There are few legal requirements from bitcoin markets to record who their users are, but most (if not all) are pre-emptively collecting identity data in anticipation of forthcoming regulations. To make becoming a seller easier, it is worth at least considering completing the identity verification process when you first join the site.Getting this step out of the way can remove barriers to selling if and when you're ready to make the move. 

Expect markets to ask you to upload scans of two utility bills displaying your name and address, along with a photo ID (such as a passport or driving licence). Some (such as BitBargain UK) may even ask you to take a selfie including your photo ID and the name of the market on a piece of paper! If you are not comfortable uploading such personal documents to an (effectively) untrusted business, then you will have a difficult time finding somewhere to sell bitcoin online. 

Selling bitcoin in person can, in many ways, be the easiest way to pass on your digital currency. Simply scanning a QR code on another person's phone and accepting cash-in-hand is about as easy as a bitcoin transaction can get. 

If you have friends or family who want to buy bitcoin, the process is simple. Set them up with a bitcoin wallet, send them the bitcoins and collect your cash. 

There are several things to be aware of when selling bitcoin in person.  Agree a price: Decide on a rate works for you. 

  1. · Some sellers apply a percentage on top of these rates to cover costs and as a convenience/anonymity premium. 
  2. · You could use a mobile app to calculate prices. Popular apps include Zeroblock and BTCreport. 
  3. · It helps to be aware of local fluctuations in price. Price can vary from country to country, often due to difficulties in obtaining bitcoin with the local national currency. 
Stay safe 

· It is always wise when carrying a large amount of cash to meet in a public place and/or go with a friend. 

LocalBitcoins 

  1. · Alternatively, you could advertise yourself as a bitcoin seller to a wider audience.. This website allows users to rate each other, so one may assess the trustworthiness of a potential trade partner.You may be able to sell with a premium attached once you have a reliable reputation. 
  2. · You do not need to verify your identity as on other sites. 
  3. · Again, if you are setting yourself up for an in-person meeting using LocalBitcoins, you must always think about the general safety rules for meeting a stranger from the Internet. 
  4. · LocalBitcoins also supports escrow transactions, however, these are for online transactions, not face-to-face deals. Therefore, do not comply with requests for someone who asks for escrow for a face-to-face transaction. 

Bitcoin is not the shady underworld that some have reputed it to be. But, there are opportunities for scams and illicit transactions. Bitcoin's reputation has suffered several blows, thanks to such news as the government's crackdown on the online marketplace Silk Road, the arrest of one of bitcoin's proponents on money laundering charges and the sudden shutdown of Mt. Gox . The US Securities and Exchange Commission also has released a warning that bitcoin "does not have an established track record of credibility and trust" and could be ripe for scammers.
My limited experience with bitcoin was anything but shady. Instead, I encountered a number of people and businesses who wanted to help me learn about and transact in bitcoins. 

Some illicit bitcoin sites do exist, such as online illegal drug and weapons markets that are the descendants of Silk Road, and Assassination Market, which uses bitcoin to crowdfund bounties for the murder of public officials. But there are many other sites and businesses that want to prove bitcoin is legitimate and viable. 
Still, there are no guarantees when transferring bitcoins or working with bitcoin companies. For instance, when I sent bitcoin to a company to buy pizza, I had no way to ensure that my bitcoin would be used to buy my pizza. (My pizza did arrive as promised.) 

Unlike credit card transactions, where you can dispute a purchase, bitcoin transactions are not reversible, so there is little recourse if someone improperly takes your bitcoins. Similarly, if you store your bitcoins with a company and that company goes under (see: Mt. Gox), you could similarly be out of luck. 

Buying the things you need with bitcoins is not easy. A growing number of companies are now accepting bitcoins, but the network of businesses doing so is still small. I'm based in Bankrate's North Palm Beach, Florida, office. Here, local vendors that accept bitcoins are fairly limited but do include a florist, car dealership, screen repair company and computer repair firm. Most have had none or only a few bitcoin sales. 

There are people who have successfully lived on bitcoins, including Forbes senior editor Kashmir Hill and a newlywed couple from Utah who have done a documentary of their bitcoin journey. 

Bitcoin enthusiasts want you to also love bitcoins. Riley Alexander, co-founder of PizzaForCoins, says there's "a lot to be desired in ease of use for the everyday consumer," but says the Internet was also difficult to navigate when it first started. "People kept playing, kept building and we have arrived at something that's so easy now that my 80-year-old grandparents go online, send emails and can figure things out," he says. Bitcoin is not yet ready for his grandparents, but it's getting there, he says. 

As bitcoins become more mainstream, bitcoin companies will begin to act more like mainstream financial institutions. One of the benefits of bitcoins is that they are able to circumvent traditional systems and third-party intermediaries like banks. But, companies like Coinbase are acting very much like the banks of the bitcoin world. 

"By introducing banks and third parties into bitcoin, it makes it more reliable and offers more consumer protections, but you do take away some of the benefits of the currency," Hill says. 

She says bitcoin users and companies are eager to show they are legitimate, so they act more like traditional financial institutions, working carefully to avoid breaking any laws or regulations.

Hill cited a recent example of a marijuana shop in Seattle that began accepting bitcoins through Coinbase. Coinbase shut the account down, saying that although pot is legal in Washington, it's not legal nationally. 

We will see more innovations and news coming from the bitcoin community. Even in the short time that I was doing this story, politicians began accepting campaign donations in bitcoin. Xapo, a bitcoin wallet company, announced it will soon introduce a debit card linked to users' bitcoin wallets. 

There's no guarantee that there won't be a repat of Mt. Gox, so tread wisely, but if you want to start buying and selling Bitcoins, here's 10 exchanges you should take a look at . Recommended Reading: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of Bitcoin Security 

Kraken is a feature-rich cryptocurrency trading platform . It combines Forex trading and Bitcoin exchanges into one comprehensive service. Kraken has advanced order forms such as Stop-Loss, Trailing Stop and Take Profit, meaning that you can trade exactly how you want. To match these trading features, Kraken has big-picture security , including full reserves, extensive legal council and strong relationships with banks. 

Kraken supports USD and EUR . However, trading with national currencies requires level 2 verification. There are four tiers of verification on Kraken. The amount Kraken charges for deposits and withdrawals depends on the currency. Transaction times also differ. Full lists are available in the FAQ . Kraken also supports Litecoin, Namecoin and Ripple. 

Bitstamp is a Slovenian-based Bitcoin exchange, previously the second-largest exchange behind Mt. Gox . It doesn't offer a lot of advanced buying or selling order forms. Bitstamp has an instant buy/sell order that buys and sells your coins at the lowest and highest offered price respectively, as well as a limit order that limits maximum purchase and minimum selling prices. 

Bitstamp only supports USD . The site charges a nominal fee per transaction , with the size of the fee changing based on a 30 day trading history. Withdrawals are also charged a fee, ranging from 0.90 Euro if you're part of the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) to a $15.00 minimum fee for those 

Bitfinex is second only to Bitstamp in terms of transaction volume, and is definitely one of the most advanced Bitcoin exchanges currently operating. You can go short or long , exchange and even trade Bitcoins with leverage, if you so desire. All Bitcoins are stored in a cold wallet and the database is backed up once a day. In addition, Bitfinex works with security company Arcui to detect and prevent intrusions. 

Bitfinex only supports USD . It has a relatively complex fee structure , with different fees based on the amount of Bitcoin you've traded over a 30-day period. These fees start at 0.15% and can go as low as 0.1%. Withdrawals in Bitcoin and Litecoin are both free, with a $10 fee charged for international wire withdrawals. 
BTC-e is one of the larger Bitcoin exchanges on the Internet, behind only Bitstamp and Bitfinex. BTC-e is shrouded in anonymity , with no clues regarding the identities of the individuals behind it and where the exchange is truly based. BTC-e is built on the MetaTrader 4 platform and intends to start publishing audited financial statements in the near future. 

BTC-e supports USD, EUR and Russian Rubles . BTC-e charges a 0.2% fee for every transaction conducted on the site, although the site does mention that this fee may be different for each individual account. Aside from Bitcoin, BTC-e also trades in Litecoin, Namecoin, Peercoin and Primecoin. 

Justcoin is a Bitcoin exchange from Norway. It positions itself as an easy-to-use exchange , and so doesn't have any advanced trading or exchange features. Security-wise, Justcoin stores its bitcoins in encrypted offline wallets , which are then stored in secure bank vaults . Justcoin also provides two-factor authentication. 


Justcoin supports USD, EUR and Norwegian Kroner , and charges a 0.5% trading fee for all transactions. It also supports Litecoin and Ripple, although you can't buy these currencies directly . Instead, you'll have to buy Bitcoins first and then exchange for either of the two currencies. 

Coinbase is more than just a Bitcoin exchange; it's a comprehensive digital wallet that can be used to store, spend, buy and accept Bitcoins. In a sense, Coinbase is trying to be thePayPal of Bitcoin , letting merchants accept Bitcoin as well as helping users buy, use and store the currency. It claims to offer bank level security and the payment industry best practices, including two-factor authentication. 

Coinbase only supports USD and is only for users in the United States. It charges a flat 1% fee on all transfers to and from USD, but doesn't charge for Bitcoin to Bitcoin transactions.Coinbase also has a mobile wallet app for Android as well as an SMS-based mobile wallet. 

BTCChina is China's leading Bitcoin exchange , both in terms of trading volumes and the amount of liquidity. BTCChina has a number of notable security features going for it, including its new Picasso service, which offers offline storage of Bitcoins. Since BTCChina focuses on a specific country, it also provides SMS verification for added security. 

BTCChina only supports Chinese Yuan . The exchange charges a 0.1% trading commission fee . However, limit orders not executed immediately get a 0.1% rebate upon completion. In addition, "market-makers" that add to market liquidity are exempted from trading commission and get a 0.1% market-maker rebate . 

CampBX is a United States-based Bitcoin exchange with a number of advanced trading features . Some of these features include Spend-X trades, short selling and margin trading, although the latter two are not yet active. CampBX promises 99.99% uptime and is audited daily by security auditor McAfee. CampBX also has Google TOTP two-factor authentication. 

CampBX only accepts USD at the moment, but they are working on accepting EUR . Fees for both quick and advanced orders are 0.55% , with bulk discounts available. CampBX also has its own Testnet version, which lets users practice trading with easily-obtained coins akin to play money.

Cryptsy is the exchange to go to for trading between different cryptocurrencies . Cryptsy lets you trade over 60 different types of cryptocurrencies, from the more popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Litecoin to less-popular cryptocurrencies such as QuarkCoin, ZetaCoin and, yes, Dogecoin. As of now, Cryptsy focuses on coin-to-coin trading, but it intends to allow users to trade in USD soon. 

Cryptsy also plans to expand its service offerings and establish escrow services , further establishing itself as a service for merchants looking to start accepting cryptocurrencies.Cryptsy charges a 0.2% fee on purchases and a 0.3% fee on sales . 

Bter is a lot like Cryptsy in that it's more of a large altcoin exchange rather than a place to buy and sell Bitcoins. Bter was one of the first altcoin exchanges to support Primecoin.Unlike Cryptsy, Bter also enables you to buy and sell coins using Chinese Yuan . Bter includes security provisions such as manual withdrawal confirmation and Google TOTP two-factor authentication.

Bter only supports Chinese Yuan . It also developed its own desktop cryptocurrency trading software , BterTrader. The software lets you track trading values, Moving Average indicators and market depth, all from your desktop. Bter charges a 0.2% fee for both sales and purchases.