A lot of you have asked me whether trading bitcoin is better than buying it. The answer depends on your goals, and experience of bitcoin trading. If you're looking to hold bitcoin as a long-term investment and check the price intermittently, it's better to buy bitcoin. This way you benefit from a small, one time exchange fee and the assurance that you hold a physical bitcoin in your wallet which can be spent at various retail stores.
Trading requires daily technical analysis and a sound understanding of trading platforms. I wouldn't recommend this unless you're experienced with eToro or an MT4 platform. That said, there are benefits to bitcoin trading. It gives you the option to quickly scale in and out of positions, and take profits at a desired price. When you trade bitcoin, you can take advantage of daily fluctuations in price. The CFD brokers used for trading are regulated, and your funds are arguably more secure than at an exchange like Coinbase. You will be charged spread (fee) on each trade, but you can execute a buy or sell order quicker. The biggest benefit to trading bitcoin is the limit - it's far easier to open a $100,000 position at a CFD broker than go through stringent checks and buy an equivalent amount on Coinbase.
My honest opinion? Do both - start off by buying bitcoin at exchange, but learn to trade bitcoin so you can better take advantage of price movements.
There are loads of places where you can buy and sell Bitcoin in the US. In fact, some of the world’s most popular Bitcoin exchange sites are American.
Coinbase is one of America’s most popular Bitcoin exchange site and probably the fastest and easiest way to buy Bitcoin in the US. The site has an ‘Instant Buy’ option for credit or debit card purchases and setting up an account is quick and easy with no long waits for verification (this can be an issue with some exchange sites).
If you wish to buy Bitcoin via bank transfer on Coinbase, it can take up to five days which is a bit annoying. Although, if you do buy using a connected bank account, Coinbase charges a much lower fee for purchases – it’s 3.99% for credit/debit card purchases and only 1.49% for bank transfer purchase.
I’d say Coinbase is the easiest way for newbies to buy Bitcoin because the site specifically caters to those who may not be all that familiar with cryptocurrencies. Admittedly, the fees are a little on the steep side compared to, say, LocalBitcoins and Kraken, but the good thing about using Coinbase is that you don’t have to worry too much about security.
Coinbase gives users the option to store coins in what it calls ‘the Vault’ (a more secure location because allegedly not even Coinbase can access coins in the Vault). This is good because security can be a concern with some of the lesser known sites. In short, Coinbase is a trustworthy brand and a safe and secure place to buy Bitcoin.
Oh, and additionally, Coinbase accepts payment via PayPal, which many sites are yet to cater for. As well as Bitcoin, Coinbase also offers support for Ethereum and Litecoin.
Of course, Coinbase isn’t your only option if you want to buy Bitcoins in the US. There are countless other sites, some of which charge lower fees than Coinbase so it’s worth considering other options.
Another popular option for US citizens is CryptoGo, the exchange is operational worldwide and caters for high rolling clients to beginners just looking to buy bitcoin for the first time. If you want more information, they have one of the best customer services of any exchanges, which can guide you through their process easily. They also appear to be able to handle to large influx in clients suggesting their framework is sturdy!
If it’s lower fees you’re after, LocalBitcoins is another good option because the site simply puts buyers and sellers in contact with one other and offers an escrow service to ensure nobody gets ripped off. It is solely for bitcoin trading but a benefit it has is that it operates in all countries and buyers can pay for Bitcoins however they like, though most pay via cash deposit. Just remember to follow the rules of the site and beware of scammers.
Finally, if you want low fees but still want to go the traditional exchange route, I’d recommend either Gemini, a New York-based site which offers some of the lowest fees around (but doesn’t operate in all states so check first to see if your state is catered for), or Kraken, which also charges low fees but can be a bit tricky for new users and the customer service isn’t all that great.
To be clear, I’ve only talked about sites where you can buy Bitcoin using FIAT money. There are other sites you can use if you already have another cryptocurrency and want to use that to buy Bitcoin.
If you are interested this is a good page to give you information on buying bitcoin the in the US.
At the time of writing, OKEx is the exchange with the largest bitcoin volume going through it. However, this changes on a regular basis.
With cryptocurrency exchanges moving locations (to avoid countries clamping down on them, namely China), the volumes of bitcoin traded at each one are often found to fluctuate.
Not only exchange locations but exchanges abilities to keep their trading functionality working is also another factor when looking at their volume. Binance, for example, recently stopped its trading services to update its systems. During that period, volumes were obviously completely down, however now they’re back, they sit second for the highest volume in the last 24 hours according to coinmarkepcap.com.
It is always worth keeping an eye on the news if you are interested in exchange volumes, watch out for regulation being introduced into different countries.
Bitcoin exchange fees are a pain, there’s no doubt about it. However, if you shop around you can avoid getting totally ripped off when you buy Bitcoin.
Bitstamp boasts deposit fees as low as 0.05% and, depending on how much Bitcoin you want to buy, you’ll be charged a transaction fee of between 0.25%-0.1%. If you deposit/withdraw your money via SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) you won’t be charged any hidden commissions, as is the case with some sites.
CryptoGo is another exchange that is changing peoples opinions on fees. They only charge a commission which is included in the price that you pay for the coins.
I’d say Kraken is also a good shout if it’s low fees you’re after. Their fee schedule can be found here: https://www.kraken.com/help/fees
The good thing about Kraken is you can buy using FIAT and they charge you next to nothing to withdraw your funds. Most other sites charge higher fees when you buy and then again when you withdraw so you get bitten twice, so to speak.
Coinbase’s rates are relatively low if you pay via a connected bank account (although the downside is this can take up to five days). When you buy via bank transfer, Coinbase usually charges a 1.49% commission on Bitcoin purchases (this varies slightly depending on what country you are in).
If you are in Europe and in a country which participates in SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area), you are charged next to nothing to withdraw funds (€0.15 with Coinbase) which is great. The same goes for all sites which support SEPA. Kraken, for example, charges €0.09 for withdrawals.
Unfortunately, if you’re in the US, Canada, Australia or most other parts of the world, you’ll be charged a bit more to withdraw funds. This is annoying because you’re effectively paying commission twice: once when you buy and once when you withdraw.
Lowest fees are probably on LocalBitcoins because you’re buying directly from other people and the site doesn’t take much, per trade. Using LocalBitcoins maybe requires a tad more technical know-how but the site is good and reliable and guides you through the process of signing up and initiating a trade nicely.
Local Bitcoins charges a flat 1% fee on each purchase.
There are some Bitcoin sites which allow payment to be made via PayPal. Coinbase, for one, offers support for PayPal. In fact, Coinbase is probably the most reputable site which allows payment via PayPal.
The easiest way to buy Bitcoin online is via exchange sites such as CryptoGo, Coinbase or escrow services like LocalBitcoins.
You need an internet connection to be able to use these services. Once you’ve purchased Bitcoin, however, you can store coins in an offline wallet for added security.
You can do this by storing the private keys which relate to the coins on either a paper wallet or a hardware wallet.
If you’re looking to buy large quantities of Bitcoin, you can use OTC (Over the Counter) exchanges. OTCs specialize in fulfilling large orders and, as such, can usually execute your order a lot faster than traditional exchanges can.
With OTC exchanges, you can essentially buy Bitcoin offline because you either phone up or more likely visit the offices in person.
This is a problem lots of people are now beginning to run into. With many exchanges there are high levels of verification to go through before even getting close to that sort of initial deposit.
CryptoGo is one of the only places I know that will actually accept first time clients buying bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency with a deposit over $100,000. They deal with high end investors that come to them from funds etc, whilst also catering for beginner cryptocurrency investors, one of their biggest selling point is the large amount of cryptocurrency you can buy through them.
If you are based in the UK, you can organise a meeting with them to discuss the best ways to invest larger sums of capital.
There are other exchanges out there that are specifically designed for high rollers, Cumberland mining will only accept clients who are looking to invest over $100,000. However for those in the middle I would recommend you check out CryptoGo.
Plenty of exchanges allow you to buy Bitcoin instantly but you’ll usually have to pay a bit more for the privilege.
Coinbase, for example, has an Instant Buy option but you must use a credit or debit card so the transaction can be authenticated instantly and they charge 3.99% per purchase, rather than the usual 1.49%.
Many other sites offer a similar service but, like with Coinbase, it will usually cost a bit more than to buy via a connected bank account or wire transfer.
LocalBitcoins is another great way to buy Bitcoin quickly. Setting up an account doesn’t take long and, as long there are enough sellers, it is usually pretty easy to execute an order.