How To Buy Bitcoin in Person
Most people buy Bitcoin (BTC) from a cryptocurrency exchange online. After all Bitcoin is money created on the Internet, but you can buy Bitcoin in person if it’s your preferred way.
Buying Bitcoin in person allows for more privacy, which ultimately lessens any risk involved when buying and hodling your own BTC.
There are many different ways to buy Bitcoin in person, such as Bitcoin ATMs to meeting in person or buying from a Bitcoin merchant.
Of course, there are dangers with meeting a stranger somewhere. Carrying a lot of cash also carries its own dangers, but there are ways to minimise risks if buying Bitcoin in person is your preferred way.
Things To Consider Before Buying Bitcoin In Person
There are different ways of buying Bitcoin in person, and depending how you carry it through will determine whether you need to set up your own public address before buying BTC.
Your public address is a string of letters and numbers generated from within your wallet, and is needed for anyone to send Bitcoin to you.
Your wallet can be anything from an application downloaded onto your device, or hardware device. I recommend a secure hardware wallet as they’re safer than any application downloaded on your device.
If you’re actually buying the Bitcoin in person without any third party mediator, make sure the person you’re getting it from from types in your full public address and sends it to you before handing over your cash.
Make sure the seller shows you the transaction ID before handing over your cash. Once you know its been sent and is in the process, it’s safe to say your Bitcoin (BTC) will arrive in your wallet.
Rather than write down your Bitcoin public address, it’s probably a better idea to have a digital copy of it or a QR code, so the sender can easily send your Bitcoin. After all, typing in case sensitive letters and numbers can be time consuming.
*Every Bitcoin wallet will have a public and private addresses. Only share your public address!
Any Bitcoin sent to your wallet will need to be confirmed before it’s spendable. It depends which wallet you use, but it’s usually about 3 confirmations.
If the transaction is sent using the main Bitcoin blockchain, it should take between 10-20 minutes, although in some cases it takes longer.
If Buying Bitcoin In Person Meet In A Busy Public Area
If you’re buying Bitcoin in person, make sure you agree to meet the seller in a busy public location. This will protect you both and should give you both confidence the other isn’t out to scam.
Don’t invite anyone to your home or workplace, or any other place you frequently visit. Most people intend no harm, but you can never be sure, so meet somewhere safe and neutral for both of you.
Paying Premium Rates For Your Bitcoin
Buying Bitcoin in person offers many benefits: You won’t have to complete a KYC, you will be able to buy Bitcoin anonymously, and you will ensure your privacy remains in tact. However, you are likely to pay a premium for choosing this method.
Most sellers will only sell Bitcoin to verified users. After all it cuts out some of the risk for them. Other sellers are willing to bypass verification and sell to anyone wanting to buy Bitcoin in person, but will charge a slight premium for it.
If you meet someone on social media or even your friends friend, you might get the Bitcoin for face value, but if you buy it using a marketplace, you will likely pay a premium.
If you don’t mind paying a few percent more for your Bitcoin, it’s safer to use a marketplace, as these offer registered sellers, who have built a reputation and have given their details to the platform.
Platforms That Bring Buyers and Sellers Together
The most common way of buying Bitcoin in person is by agreeing terms on a peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplaces such as FastBitcoins and Paxful.
To do so, you will need to create an account on either platform. When you do, you will be automatically be given a Bitcoin wallet within the platform. It’s not advisable to keep BTC on here long term.
These platforms bring buyers and sellers together and offer a variety of ways to get hold of Bitcoin. You can buy Bitcoin in person with cash, you can go to physical stores and buy your BTC, and you can even use tools like the Walmart MoneyCard to get hold of some.
It all depends on you and the seller coming to an agreement.
FastBitcoins – Thousands of Physical Bitcoin Merchants
FastBitcoins is a platform that takes out the risk of buying Bitcoin in person from a random stranger. Instead, FastBitcoin hosts thousands of merchants signed up that allow users to go and buy BTC from a physical store.
FastBitcoins is a global marketplace and has about 10,000 merchants that all sell Bitcoin. It’s not in every location, but there are merchants in many of the big cities in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and has a growing presence in Europe and Asia, too.
The FastBitcoins platform has a store locator to help you find your nearest store. It gives you the store address, opening times, the maximum and minimum amounts you can buy Bitcoin, and also tells you whether you can spend your Bitcoin in the store.
FastBitcoins uses Lightning Network to power its transactions so they are extremely fast, and any Bitcoin you buy this way will be deposited in your FastBitcoins wallet.
If you are a merchant and are interested in offering this service, FastBitcoins is looking to expand. Contact FastBitcoins and get signed up, it’s a great way to get involved in Bitcoin and earn some free Bitcoin commission.
Paxful – A Peer-to-Peer Bitcoin Marketplace
Paxful is another platform that brings buyers and sellers together. There are hundreds of ways for buying Bitcoin on Paxful, and if buying Bitcoin in person is your preferred method, you will definitely find someone close to you.
Once on the Paxful platform, click ‘Buy’ tab and choose the ‘Cash in Person’ option. It will then show you any sellers close to you.
Paxful is like the AirBnB for buying and selling Bitcoin, so any user builds up a reputation on the platform. And because buying Bitcoin in person is more risky, it’s imperative only to buy from a recommended seller who has many positive reviews.
Once you have found a seller, simply fill out the form and the process will begin. A live chat will open between you both, so come to an agreement with everything, and the seller’s Bitcoin will automatically be sent to the Paxful escrow.
When you meet, in a safe place, make sure you’re both happy with everything. Only when you both are happy with everything, ensure the seller triggers the release of the Bitcoin from the escrow, and you hand over the cash.
Buying BTC this way does carry a bit more risk, but as long as you’re vigilant, there should be no problems.
Buying Bitcoin In Person Offers Many Benefits
There are certain risks and some downsides to buying Bitcoin in person, but there are also many benefits.
You should always take necessary steps to ensure your safety and confidence to complete any deal you strike up. If you’re buying BTC from a person, meet only in neutral and public places, and only buy from reputed sellers.
If you choose to buy Bitcoin in person from a merchant on FastBitcoins, there should be no problems whatsoever.
For the convenience of buying Bitcoin anonymously, you will pay a premium. But for those who wish to remain private a few percent extra is worth it.
What is the point of Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a decentralized money. A money that nobody can control or manipulate, and a money that nobody can print and devalue. It’s also not necessary for any third party to verify transactions, so it makes it much faster and cheaper to send value. It’s also money built on the Internet: a society of almost 5 billion people.
How much does it cost to mine 1 Bitcoin?
There is no exact science for the cost of mining a bitcoin, because the price will change every two weeks maximum. This is because there’s a Difficulty Adjustment that ensures it takes about 10 minutes to mine a block. And with other costs, such as your mining equipment, electricity, and other costs, it’s estimated that the average price to mine a bitcoin is around $12,500.
Can you buy less than 1 Bitcoin?
Yes. Every Bitcoin can broken down into 100 million bits. They are known as satoshis, after the pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto. And some companies will let you buy as little as $1 worth of Bitcoin, which at time of writing is worth about 11,000 satoshis. There are many companies that have a system for dollar cost averaging (DCA). This is a great way to buy Bitcoin, and is known in the space as ‘Stacking Sats’. Basically, what you do is set up small automatic, recurring payments to buy Bitcoin (or sats), and you DCA over time.
How can I earn free Bitcoin?
Nothing is really free, because even when you earn free Bitcoins you’re giving up your time, which is precious. But you can earn free Bitcoins. If you are a gamer, there are games that allow you to win satoshis. Or there’s Carrot – a platform where you can earn free Bitcoin for doing tasks. Or you can save your Bitcoin in an interest bearing account and earn some BTC interest. Be careful with these, and only go with legitimate companies, though. I recommend Blockfi, you can read the review here.
A Bitcoiner since 2017 and a Bitcoin Maximalist since 2018, Tommy is our main writer and editor at Bitcoin Maximalist. Other than researching and writing about Bitcoin, Tommy loves spending time with his family and supporting his beloved Leeds United.