How to Buy Bitcoin and Altcoins in the USA | Get Crypto with Dollars (USD)

Introduction to Bitcoin Trading in the US

Before you invest in Bitcoin in the USA, you should understand what Bitcoin is. Bitcoin is a digital currency, with value determined by market factors, which is issued by a decentralised global technology called “blockchain”.

Bitcoin was created in 2008. Since then, it has become a disruptive technology and payment method that defies the current financial status quo. If you want to learn more, visit our Bitcoin Guide.

Buy Bitcoin US
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Recommended places to buy Bitcoin in the USA

Preamble on US Bitcoin

The first thing you need to know before you invest in Bitcoin in the USA is what is actually is. By definition, it’s a digital currency that has a set value assigned to it at any given time.

It was formulated originally in 2008 as a disruptive technology and payment method that defies the current financial status quo. If you want to learn more, visit our Bitcoin Guide.

The US Bitcoin Market

If you’re still unsure about investing, here are a few interesting facts about the current US cryptocurrency market:

A US survey found that only 14% of people have ever owned Bitcoins, while 40% of Americans said they were open to the idea. The study found that younger people were more likely to view Bitcoin favorably than older people.

Bitcoin Usa 2

What this means is that there’s currently huge, long-overdue growth in the market as more young people are interested in investing in BTC. So, a small purchase now before the market explodes in popularity could potentially pay off in just a few short years for Bitcoin sellers in the USA as more people drive an increase in demand for this popular financial product.

Crypto derivatives in America

At present, there are no Bitcoin CFD trading options allowed in the US, but there’s an ongoing push by US bank regulators to legitimise Bitcoins by giving it and firms that trade in it a national licence. Avatrade and Admiral Markets, for example, have started to introduce Bitcoin Cash CFD trading.

If this performs well perhaps in the future we could see Bitcoins being used to pay for everything, from your groceries to car repairs, and even banks that buy and trade solely in online currency.

However outside of those two options, for now, most Bitcoin USA traders will have to stick with setting up a cryptocurrency wallet. For those that aren’t familiar, cryptocurrency wallets are software programs that store a number of private and public keys that interact with blockchains to allow users to send or receive various types of digital currency across a secure network.

CFDs USA

What about the USA?

However outside of those two options, for now, most Bitcoin USA traders will have to stick with setting up a cryptocurrency wallet. For those that aren’t familiar, cryptocurrency wallets are software programs that store a number of private and public keys that interact with blockchains to allow users to send or receive various types of digital currency across a secure network.

For example, if someone transfers a digital currency, it goes to a set address, usually another wallet. Once it arrives, in order for someone to unlock the funds, the private key that’s stored in the wallet must match the public address that the currency has been assigned to. That way you can’t send Bitcoins to the wrong account by accident. If the two keys match, then the exchange is complete and the balances of both parties are adjusted accordingly. Below is a chart showing the growth of Bitcoin addresses from exchanges and independent user wallets.

blockchain wallet count

Blockchain.com

It’s a simple and secure system that can guarantee your money is kept safe during any transaction. As millions in value are transferred via Bitcoin each day, its ease of use and security become obvious.

Bitcoin versus Dollar (BTC/USD)

Many global currencies are compared to the dollar, but what does the format BTC/USD actually mean?

When presented like this, the first currency is known as the “base currency”, whilst the second currency is known as the “term currency”. In this format (BTC/USD) the base is always equal to 1 and the term is the price fluctuation. You can check more information in our Bitcoin Price Guide.

The future of Bitcoin Trading in the US

Major US exchanges were given the “go-ahead” by the regulator to trade financial investments directly associated with the value of the Bitcoin. This essentially has given large commercial investors the chance to trade Bitcoin futures contracts.

bitcoin futures cme

As of December, 18th, the first Bitcoin future began trading. Having some of America’s biggest exchanges allowing Bitcoin investments to be traded on their platforms can only be a good thing for long-term Bitcoin investors. This is an example of true global adoption, establishing Bitcoin as a currency and store of value.

The birth of a futures contract also allows investors to bet against Bitcoin. This brought past Bitcoin “bubbles” to an end, though Bitcoin has always grown to new heights in their wake.

How to Buy Bitcoin in the USA

It’s incredibly simple to buy Bitcoins, but for those that are still unsure on how to get started, we’ve provided a helpful step-by-step guide to get you through the process, so you can start trading and selling as soon as possible.

Step 1) Choose Your Wallet

Before you start buying Bitcoins you need to choose what kind of wallet you want to store it in.

There are many different kinds of wallets to choose but for this guide, we’re going to stick to the two main types, the software, and the web wallets. The software wallet is installed on your PC or mobile and is perfect for those who want to use their Bitcoins on-the-go.

The other option is a web wallet which is hosted by a third party website commonly referred to as an ‘exchange’. There are plenty of exchanges to choose from like Coinbase, LocalBitcoins or GateHub and each one comes with their own features and benefits that will allow you to make the most of your money.

Step 2) Create Your Account

We will look at Coinbase. This is the easiest part of the process all you need is your name, email address and a password of your choice. You’ll then be sent an email that will prompt you to provide a cell phone number to verify your account.

Coinbase Sign Up

Step 3) Add Payment Options

Once your account has been validated you will then need to link your payment type to your Bitcoin Wallet. You can use a range of payment options as most exchanges accept everything from credit/debit cards to PayPal and Neteller. The example below is Coinbase, who offer bank transfer, credit & debit card and for US citizens only, Paypal.

Once you have registered your payment options you can then start to buy Bitcoin instantly in the USA. It’s really that simple for Bitcoin USA users to get started with this cryptocurrency.

Step 4) Identity Validation

One thing worth noting is that most Bitcoin Wallets normally have a limit in place to the amount you can spend; this is usually to prevent fraudulent activity on accounts.

For most, it’s capped at $2,000. But to go over this amount you will need to validate your identity before you can start going for a larger Bitcoin price.

But, this step is fairly simple as all that’s required is you send proof of identification to the website. This can be anything from a passport to a bank statement. Most US Bitcoin wallets can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to validate your account, so it helps to check in advance which exchange works best for you before you sign up.

Below is the Coinbase example.

coinbase verification

Top 7 U.S. Based Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Coinbull

Coinbull is a cryptocurrency CFD brokerage source that has been in operation for about a year. Though not formally licensed, Coinbull’s user interface is slick and performs well. We’ve tried trading on Coinbull and have done general research throughout the web.  The coins they offer are well-chosen, representing some of the most exciting assets in the space. We’ve concluded that Coinbull is a legit way to trade crypto CFDs. If you try it now and sign up for the Blue or Platinum account types, you’ll get a trading bonus and personal support. Sign Up in Coinbull now!

Coinbase

For those of you in search of a trusted US Bitcoin exchange to buy the digital currency fast and without too much hassle, Coinbase will probably tick all your boxes. An easy 4-step process allows you to buy the digital coin almost instantly, especially if you are using your credit or debit card as the preferred payment method. If you are willing to pay the price (Coinbase charges 3.99% fees for credit/debit card purchases), then you will enjoy impressively fast transactions. However, you may also opt for PayPal or bank wire deposits and withdrawals. Finally, a payment option available only for US customers is using a connected bank account (1.49% fees). For a more in-depth look, read our Coinbase Review.

Coinmamaa

Coinmama is a solid platform to buy your cryptocurrency using your credit card and a Bitcoin exchange that boasts over 200,000 customers. Their main focus is Bitcoin; however, you may also buy Ethereum, which is the second most popular virtual currency, provided you have completed the identity verification process. If the overall worth of the purchased Bitcoins does not exceed $150, though, then you won’t need to verify your identity. This gives you the chance to enjoy easy and fast (yet small) purchases. Finally, if you need to sell your Bitcoin or ether, you will have to use a different service as you won’t be able to sell your cryptocurrency through the site. Check our Coinmama Review.

BitQuick

If you prefer to buy Bitcoins using cash deposits, then BitQuick will please you greatly. The company operates in all US states except for New York, due to BitLicense, and can deliver Bitcoins to buyers within an hour of payment. When it comes to fees, sellers are not charged any fees while a 2% fee weighs on buyers, which is a tad high for cash purchases of Bitcoin. However, if you consider that you get your BTC so quickly, the scales probably balance nicely.

Kraken

Founded in 2011, Kraken is the largest Bitcoin exchange in the USA and Europe, based on its daily average trading volume and liquidity, and one of the oldest Bitcoin exchanges on the market. Besides Bitcoin, the highly-respected digital currency exchange also offers a wide range of altcoins to traders almost all around the world. Kraken’s platform was clearly designed with the serious and sophisticated trader in mind and provides a plethora of much-appreciated features, such as deep liquidity, fast execution speed, and margin trading. Plus, the crypto investor has a unique ability to trade BTC against fiat currency, including USD, CAD, GBP, EUR, and JPY (Japanese Yen).

VirWox

VirWox is a centralised digital convertible currency exchange based in Austria. It was founded in 2007 and was originally designed to provide SSLs (SecondLife Lindens), be it L$, Linden Dollars, or SSL, rather than an exchange per se. Nevertheless, it allows people to purchase cryptocurrency, Bitcoin included, after depositing a certain amount of fiat money, mainly for online gaming purposes.

Gemini

Gemini is a New York-based, licensed Bitcoin exchange that operates a total of three order matching engines – one per trading pair offered (BTC/USD, ETH/BTC, and ETH/USD). It has customers in 49 US states while it is also open to residents of Canada and Singapore, among others.

Bitstamp

Bitstamp is a very well-known Bitcoin exchange in the USA and across the world. It is licensed by Luxembourg’s Ministry of Finance and is a good option for traders that are purchasing large amounts of BTC. You can make deposits through international bank wire, bank transfer, credit cards, and SEPA transfer.

Wall of Coins

Wall of Coins is another US-based peer-to-peer digital currency exchange that offers low fees and helps its customers to trade BTC for cash via a unique SMS system that walks traders through the entire process of buying BTC. That alone makes Wall of Coins a great choice for first-time buyers interested in purchasing BTC with cash deposits. It operates in 12 countries, including the USA, and has a good customer support service, featuring a live chat box ready to assist with any issues that may arise during the buying process.

Pros:

  • No buying limits
  • Allows purchases as little as $5 worth of BTC.
  • Coins are usually delivered within 15 minutes after the buyer confirms the payment.
  • Quite low fees (around 1%).
  • No verification required – only phone number. So, fairly private way to buy BTC.
  • Easy to use.

Cons:

  • Not available worldwide.
  • The speed of delivery varies and depends on when the seller confirms the payment so it might take a while (at times).
  • Difficult to find sellers willing to sell a large amount of BTC.
  • Fees are included in the buy price rather than being publicly displayed.

PaxForex

PaxForex is a great provider for US clients as it is a team filled with professional traders and backed by investors. The owners have extensive knowledge of the Forex, crypto and other financial markets, which makes the platform easy to use for both beginners and experienced traders.

PaxForex is a platform for the trader, with brilliant customer support that includes round the clock, 5-days a week Live Chat, Skype, Email, Call Back Request and Telephone. Contacting them is very easy!

Pros:

  • Excellent customer service
  • Tight cryptocurrency spreads (the spread is the difference between the buy and sell price, this is the small mark up the provider charges the user)
  • Web-based platform and MT4 integration

Cons:

  • Not regulated

Buy Bitcoin and Altcoins with USD using a broker

The process to buy Bitcoin with USD using a broker is quite similar. The main difference is the type of asset you get since brokers actually offer derivatives of the actual asset (underlying assets, futures, contracts for difference or CFDs, etc.). That being said, you don’t get real BTC, but you invest in the possibility that the price changes. We’ll give an example of buying BTC in the US using eToro. This broker was recently accepted in the US, so you can start trading Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and many other altcoins from a regulated environment.

Invest in Bitcoin and Altcoins using eToro

eToro is a trading broker that offers several crypto trading services. Though CFD trading is not allowed in the US, American cryptocurrency investors still have plenty of use for eToro’s products.

Remember that you’ll be able to also buy Litecoin in the USA on eToro. The broker has expanded its portfolio and now the users can also trade Bitcoin CashBinance CoinStellarRippleDashEthereum ClassicCardanoIOTAEOSNEO and ZCash.

Between the eToro Wallet, the upcoming crypto exchange eToroX, and eToro’s Social Trading, eToro may be the most versatile way to trade cryptocurrency in the US market.

eToro is also a trusted regulated broker, which is a safe bet for new and experienced users alike. The eToro sign-up process is very easy and user-friendly, as shown below. As eToro US expands its service offerings (such as upcoming cryptocurrency exchange eToroX) and adds new crypto assets in the future, we’ll update this guide:

    1. Once you have created an account, which takes no time at all, you need to click ‘Deposit Funds’.eToro - Paypal Step 1
    2. Choose your favourite payment method and provide the requested data.eToro - Paypal Step 2
    3. You can then decide how much you want to deposit. Click ‘Submit’ and you are done.
    4. Now, look for the crypto you want to buy on the search bar above. Let’s say you’d like to buy Ethereum in the USA using eToro:
      Buy Ethereum in the USA
    5. Take a closer look at the asset page to analyse it and set your strategy. Once you’re ready, you can open a short or long position by clicking on “Trade”:
      Trade Ethereum eToro USA

And that’s it. Additionally, eToro now allows you to convert your derivatives to real crypto through the eToro Wallet. Note: CFDs can still not be purchased in the US, even through eToro, though they are available through eToro elsewhere.

Bitcoin Facts Worth Knowing

Bitcoin USA Commissions

Once you’re up and running in the Bitcoin USA market, there are a few things you might want to learn first to make your digital currency work for you as best it can.

First, the most important thing is that, when you invest in Bitcoin in the USA, most websites will charge you a commission for the exchange and the amount you pay will vary from each site.

Coinbase, for example, will usually charge 1.49% on both the purchase and sale of Bitcoins across their site. However, LocalBitcoins USA users will find that there’s no commission to pay to use their platform, although they have introduced a deposit fee of 0.00066 BTC per transaction to cover the rising network fees they need to pay.

Bitcoin USA: Verification

Other than the Bitcoin price USA users will also find that the verification process for each website can also differ drastically, with some sites taking a lot longer than others.

Coinbase, for example, can take up to several weeks to verify your account. By comparison, eToro only takes a few days to get you up and running, making it the fastest way to buy this cryptocurrency, although unfortunately, it’s not available to Bitcoin USA users at the moment.

When you’re starting with cryptocurrency, we recommend being aware that if you plan to buy Bitcoin in the USA, you will need to check which website will give you the best return on your investment.

Other countries

Check our countries page for further information on how to buy Bitcoins in other countries.

Coinlist’s Recommendation

As you can see, buying Bitcoin is incredibly simple and easy. There are numerous ways to start, and each one will guide you through the process, making it as painless as possible. Plus, you can do plenty with your digital dollars. There are also the most Bitcoin ATMs in the USA than any other country.

usd bitcoin atm

If you’re starting out, our recommendation for the best way to buy Bitcoin in the USA is to go through one of the many strictly-controlled and regulated brokers we’ve mentioned as they can guarantee your cash is kept safe. You can use a cryptocurrency exchange, but these might be more difficult to comprehend for first-time users, and there’s not always someone to speak to if you run into any problems.

If you feel like you understand the market, we recommend buying Bitcoins directly from an exchange, but for beginners, it’s best to stick to a safer option that requires less financial risk. After all, in the long run, it’s all about making the most of your investment.

Whilst buying Bitcoin in the US is getting easier, for those that are living in other countries around the world, buying Bitcoin can be harder, due to different countries having different regulations about cryptocurrencies. We look at some of the countries that have jumped on the crypto bandwagon and explain how you can buy Bitcoin in those countries.

Recommended places to buy Bitcoin in the USA

FAQ Section

We have enlisted some frequently asked questions for your information, below. You may find some relevant answers to your query after reading them.

How do I exchange USD for Bitcoin?

Answer

The majority of trading platforms give you the option to trade USD fiat currency against bitcoin. That makes exchanging between BTC and USD extremely easy. You can use your USD balance (be it of your bank account or credit card) to buy bitcoins, but it is also possible to use your PayPal account for the same reason. Other payment methods allowed in the US are Neteller, Skrill, and OKPay.

Is Bitcoin Regulated in the United States?

Answer

Compared to other countries, the United States falls a bit behind in the regulation of bitcoin, mainly because the US government only stated its position on bitcoin a short while ago (in 2014). Some minorities consider that Bitcoin is illegal or too risky. At some extent, this has changed now and the positions of 13 states in regards to the cryptocurrency and the blockchain industry have been clearly defined. However, the money transmitting regulation is still much stricter in the US rather than in other countries. This limits the capabilities of bitcoin service providers significantly.

What is the Taxation of Bitcoin like in the United States?

Answer

Bitcoin regulation and taxation vary across states. For example, it is explicitly required to have a money transmitting license in New Mexico and Hawaii if you want to trade with cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, of the 3 bitcoin-friendly states (Tennessee, Kansas, and Texas), Texas officially stated that selling bitcoin doesn’t require a money transmitting license. Montana and South Carolina have no regulation or money transmitting laws on bitcoin. The IRS considers cryptocurrencies as digital currencies, so they are treated as property. For that reason, they need to be taxed for gains and losses.

What if I don’t want to use an exchange? Is there another way to trade bitcoins in the United States?

Answer

You could consider an escrow service like LocalBitcoins, which matches bitcoin sellers and buyers. Cash deposit is the typical method of payment; however, you may advertise trades for whichever payment method suits you best. You can purchase bitcoins via a one-on-one meeting secured by LocalBitcoins.

Is it more difficult to buy Ethereum in the USA?

Answer

Actually, since the popularity of ETH, it is almost as easy to get ethers in the U.S. as BTC. Most platform offer trading for Ethereum in US Dollars.

What is the risk associated with the purchasing of Litecoin with USD?

Answer
 The price of Litecoin is uncertain. It can go as low as zero. Therefore, you need to consider this element before you invest your money in Litecoins.

Why sometimes it takes longer than usual to buy Litecoin with USD?

Answer

It is because of the complex authentication process of the banking system. This is, however, not the case in an exchange with other cryptocurrencies. It works quite fast. On the other hand, bank transfers take 05 days on average in the US.

Which method of payment is the fastest to buy crypto in the US?

Answer
 If you want to buy altcoins instantly, credit or debit card would be great. Banks transfers would work fine too if the amount is large.

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