- Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency and largest by market capitalization.
- Bitcoin is an open-source platform that issues cryptocurrency and manages transactions.
- Bitcoin can be traded peer-to-peer or on a crypto exchange.
If you want to know where and how you can buy Bitcoin today, this is the guide for you.
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Where to buy Bitcoin
Step 1: Choose an exchange that sells Bitcoin
Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency and is available on practically every cryptocurrency exchange in existence.
Before deciding which exchange to use, check what their fees are for depositing and withdrawing funds as well as their maker / taker fees. These can vary considerably between exchanges. We have a variety of side-by-side exchange comparisons to make it easier to narrow down your decision or you can just compare Bitcoin exchanges here.
Step 2: Sign up and get verified
Once you have chosen an exchange, you have to open an account and then confirm your identity. This usually takes just a few minutes to complete. Among the details you'll need to provide include your name, date of birth, and address. Some exchanges may require a phone number to enable 2FA and secure your account. Further proof of your identity may be required before you can buy. A copy of a government-issued ID like a driver's license is typically acceptable. You may need to provide an image of yourself while holding the ID.
Step 3: Set your budget
Decide how much you want to put into Bitcoin and avoid the temptation to spend more than you can afford to lose. Bitcoin is a very volatile asset that can experience sudden and extreme swings in valuation as the market, much more so than with stocks.
Step 4: Transfer funds
You can transfer funds to your exchange account in a number of ways. You can transfer fiat currency (USD) from your bank account, but exchanges may support payments from credit or debit cards, Payoneer, PayPal, Skrill, Venmo, etc. Note that it may take several days before cash is cleared into your account. If you already own some crypto, you could transfer that to your exchange account. Some exchanges require a minimum deposit.
Step 5: Buy Bitcoin
Once your account has been verified and funds cleared, you can buy Bitcoin. Optionally, you may be able to set up a recurring buy — if available at the exchange — so you can automatically buy on a regular basis and dollar cost average your position. You may also be able to set up an order to buy when the price hits a certain price, so, for example, any time Bitcoin's value drops to a certain price, your trade would execute automatically.
Where to store your Bitcoin
Just the way you store cash in a physical wallet, you can store Bitcoin in a digital wallet. Digital wallets can be either software-based or hardware-based.
These wallets store the information you need to make transactions. Though these wallets are described as a place to store crypto assets like Bitcoin, they are essentially inextricable from the blockchain.
Digital wallets are primarily of two types, i.e., hot wallets and cold wallets. While hot wallets are accessible online, cold wallets are intentionally kept offline to keep hackers from gaining access. Hardware wallets are also considered cold wallets because they have no direct connection to the internet and are the most secure way to store Bitcoin.