One of the most surprising things that people first discover about Bitcoin is that it is not anonymous.
Sure, your name isn’t on your Bitcoin private or public address, but every road eventually leads to a fiat on or off-ramp, and that’s when your name is connected with your Bitcoin transactions.
Most people know how to buy Bitcoin from exchanges. The problem with exchanges, however, is that they ask you for your details when you sign up.
You can’t partake in buying and selling Bitcoin unless you give your government issued ID. Big Brother wants to know everything.
But there are ways of buying Bitcoin anonymously, and if you prefer to remain private and not to let anybody know what you’re buying, read on…
Why Become Anonymous?
Many people don’t understand why any law-abiding citizen feels the need to remain anonymous. They think if you have nothing to hide, no problem.
Everybody is different and most people are willing to give away every part of their online footprint for convenience.
But we’re not talking about Facebook, or Twitter. Bitcoin is real value, and with it being an open ledger and traceable, somebody knowing you own Bitcoin can put you at risk.
Every Bitcoin address associated with your name reveals how many bitcoins you have, when you received them, who sent you them, and who you sent them to, unless the sender and receiver took careful steps to remain anonymous.
So, buying and selling Bitcoin anonymously isn’t just for the drug dealers or the terrorists, it’s for those that value their privacy and safety.
How To Buy Bitcoin Anonymously
Bitcoin is not the best form of payment for anonymous transactions. If you really want to transact anonymously, you’re better off giving cash to somebody while nobody else is there.
You see, every Bitcoin transaction is on an open ledger, and anybody can view any transaction that has taken place at anytime in the history of Bitcoin.
A person’s identity is not associated with a Bitcoin private address, but their name is associated with their exchange accounts.
And once a name is linked to any address, an investigation can be made with the right resources, to discover many things about the person’s holdings.
Some see this as a weakness for Bitcoin, but the truth is, it’s not easy to piece together all the links, but if illegal activity has taken place, and the police think it’s worth the resources, then Bitcoin can help the police.
But if you really want to be anonymous, and buy Bitcoins anonymously, then there are cloaked ways to do it.
To use Bitcoin anonymously, you’ll have to take precautions to prevent your true identity from being associated with your transactions and addresses
Use a Pre-Paid Debit Card
The best way to buy bitcoins anonymously is to use a pre-paid debit card.
You can get these online or from most supermarkets or pharmacists.
Once you have one, you simply top up the card with as much money as you need and use it as a normal debit card.
I’m not going to recommend any because the rules are always changing, but if you look hard enough you will find pre-paid debit cards that you can top up.
Some of them have a lower than normal limit, but as with everything you want to do anonymously: they try to make it inconvenient.
Buying Bitcoin Anonymously on Marketplaces
Most Bitcoin exchanges require your details. They have to comply with Big Sam if they want to run a centralized business in that jurisdiction, and so they want your details to give to the government.
But there are some exchanges, or marketplaces, that are decentralised to a degree and don’t require your details, if you don’t want to give them.
Paxful is a peer-to peer Bitcoin marketplace that facilitates anonymous Bitcoin buying and selling.
It’s different to other exchanges. In fact it’s not an exchange, it’s a marketplace. A bit like AirBnB for Bitcoin trading.
And you can buy Bitcoin with pretty much any currency the other person is willing to accept.
Basically, you find somebody who is willing to sell to somebody anonymously. Not everyone likes to, but there are many sellers that will.
Then you come to an agreement on the price, and you send your cash from your pre-paid card, and he sends the Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin and cash are held in an escrow until you’re both satisfied that the other person has carried out his side of the deal.
Paxful is also useful for buying Bitcoin with cash (the best form of buying bitcoins anonymously).
You have to be pretty local, but if you can find yourself a seller within a distance you’re willing to travel, then you both come to an agreement, and go and meet up.
This sounds a little shady, but many people choose this way, and there’s nothing illegal about it at all.
Just make sure you meet in a safe environment, and that all transactions are completed before you both depart.
Buy Bitcoin Anonymously With A Bitcoin ATM
Another way to buy Bitcoin anonymously is to buy it using a Bitcoin ATM. It’s probably the easiest way to buy anonymously too, if you live close enough to one.
Bitcoin ATMs aren’t commonplace like their fiat counterparts yet, but there is at least one in every decent sized city, and their locations are not hard to find.
In fact, according to Coin ATM Radar, there are now 8321 Bitcoin ATMs in 72 countries around the world.
There are 6303 in the U.S., 779 in Canada, 269 in the U.K., and almost 1000 across Europe.
So, if you want to remain anonymous and find a Bitcoin ATM, you will find one, quite easily.
The thing with Bitcoin ATMs, however, is that they ask you for your private key to send you your Bitcoin.
Remember, your private key is usually connected to your name somewhere down the line, so if you really want to protect your trail, just say you don’t have a private key.
The ATM will then print off a paper wallet for you, which you can then send to yourself when you get back online.
Be warned, however, that ATM charges are a bit higher than exchanges. Another thing you have to put up with for not wanting to be watched.
You Can Buy Bitcoin Anonymously, But It’s Inconvenient
Buying Bitcoin anonymously isn’t straightforward. Our governments want to know everything we do, so they make privacy inconvenient, and awkward so we all fall into place.
Buying Bitcoin on the open market isn’t dangerous by any means, but if you take to social media and tell everybody you have Bitcoins, you are putting yourself at risk of being hacked.
Remaining anonymous, or pseudonymous at the very least does protect you, and as Bitcoin becomes more valuable, your protection from all types of theft is critical.
It might be inconvenient to remain anonymous, but like everything else, you get used to it.
Author: Tommy Limpitlaw