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How to Buy Bitcoin (BTC)

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Want to jump straight to the answer? You can buy BTC on Gemini, eToro, Robinhood and Kraken.

Bitcoin
$48860

The world’s most well-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is currently worth over $54,000 and the total market cap exceeds $1 trillion. As influencer Elon Musk buys Bitcoin (BTC) over Dogecoin (DOGE), there’s never been a more exciting time to buy BTC.

First, you need a broker that supports cryptocurrency before you start investing. Our guide will help you choose a trading platform, open an account and get started with your 1st Bitcoin purchase.

Bitcoin Supply List

Before you can invest in Bitcoin or make your first purchase, you’ll need to have a few supplies and information available. 

Here are a few of the things you’ll need before you purchase any type of crypto:

  • A brokerage account: Though it is possible to purchase cryptocurrency outside of a major exchange, it’s significantly safer and easier to buy Bitcoin using a broker’s trading platform. A brokerage account allows you to place requests to buy and sell cryptocurrency through orders submitted through your broker. The broker then fills the order on your behalf, sometimes in exchange for a fee.
  • Your personal information: Like opening a stock brokerage account, your cryptocurrency broker will need to collect a little of your personal information before they can grant you access to the cryptocurrency market. You can use this information to accurately track your profits, as converting crypto to fiat and crypto to crypto are both taxable events.

The specific information you’ll be required to provide before opening your account will vary depending on which broker you work with. As a general rule, be prepared to provide your full legal name, your phone number, an email address, your physical address and your Social Security number to open your account. Most brokers also require you to scan a photo ID (like a driver’s license or a passport) to access higher funding tiers. You’ll also need some form of payment method to fund your account — most investors choose to link a credit card or bank account to their investing account for easy transfers.

  • A digital wallet: A digital wallet is a smartphone or computer app that allows you to safely store any cryptocurrency you purchase. Cryptocurrency wallets provide you with an enhanced layer of security for your tokens and limit the possibility of a hack or theft when compared to keeping your tokens on an exchange.

Get a Cryptocurrency Wallet (Optional)

A cryptocurrency wallet is an app that allows you to safely store your bitcoins off the exchange you purchased them on. Holding your bitcoin in a wallet is a more reliable choice for long-term storage because it limits the possibility of losing your tokens in an exchange hack.

Some of the factors you might want to consider when choosing a wallet might include:

  • Security features: Always choose a wallet that offers two-factor authentication and encryption to ensure that your tokens are secure. For the highest possible security, consider a wallet with multisig features, which requires multiple keys to access tokens.
  • Compatibility with your tokens: Not every digital wallet supports all types of cryptocurrencies. Be sure that you’re choosing a wallet that supports Bitcoin transfers before you open it or send your tokens.
  • Online vs. hardware wallets: If you store a large amount of Bitcoin, a hardware wallet might make sense for you. However, if you lose your hardware wallet, it’s virtually impossible to regain access to your tokens.

Not sure which wallet is right for you? Consider starting your search with a few of our favorite cryptocurrency wallets, listed below.

Open an Account

After you have your cryptocurrency wallet open and secure, it’s time to open an account with a broker for access to the crypto market. You can place orders through your broker to buy and sell Bitcoin and the broker fill them according to your instructions. Once your order fills, you’ll see your tokens in your brokerage account.

Dozens of cryptocurrency brokers operate online. Some of the factors you may want to consider when you choose a broker include:

  • The broker’s trading platform: Some brokers focus on offering a streamlined, easy ordering system. Other brokers take a more expert-aimed approach, providing you with a range of investment analysis tools, charting platforms and screeners to help you analyze market movements before you invest. Consider the type of platform and buying experience you’d prefer before you open an account.
Best For
New Investors
Overall Rating
try for free securely through Gemini Crypto’s website
Best For
New Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian that offers investors access to 26 coins and tokens. Founded in the US, Gemini is expanding globally, in particular into Europe and Asia. Offerings include both major cryptocurrency projects like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and smaller altcoins like Orchid and 0x.

Gemini is 1 of the only brokers with multiple platform options based on skill level. New investors will love the streamlined interface of Gemini’s mobile and web apps, while advanced investors might appreciate all the tools that come with ActiveTrader. 

In addition to a host of platform choices, Gemini users also have access to insured hot wallets to store tokens without worrying about digital asset theft. Learn more about what Gemini can do for you in our review.

Best For
  • New investors looking for a simple mobile and web app
  • Experienced investors who need a more advanced platform with more tools
  • Users looking for a 1-stop-shop to buy, sell and store all of their coins
Pros
  • Easy and quick signups — can get started in as little as a few minutes
  • Multitude of platforms to accommodate traders of all skill levels
  • Hot wallets include insurance to protect your from theft and hacking attempts
Cons
  • Charges both a commission and a convenience fee for users buying and selling through the desktop or mobile app
Best For
Crypto Investing
Overall Rating
Get started securely through Coinbase’s website
Best For
Crypto Investing
N/A
1 Minute Review

Coinbase is one of the Internet’s largest cryptocurrency trading platforms. From Bitcoin to Litecoin or Basic Attention Token to Chainlink, Coinbase makes it exceptionally simple to buy and sell major cryptocurrency pairs. 

You can even earn cryptocurrency rewards through Coinbase’s unique Coinbase Earn feature. More advanced traders will love the Coinbase Pro platform, which offers more order types and enhanced functionality.

Though Coinbase doesn’t offer the most affordable pricing or the lowest fees, its simple platform is easy enough for complete beginners to master in as little as a single trade.

Best For
  • New cryptocurrency traders
  • Cryptocurrency traders interested in major pairs
  • Cryptocurrency traders interested in a simple platform
Pros
  • Simple platform is easy to operate
  • Comprehensive mobile app mirrors desktop functionality
  • Coinbase Earn feature rewards you with crypto for learning about available coins
Cons
  • Higher fees than competitors
Best For
Crypto Trading
Overall Rating
Get started securely through eToro’s website
Best For
Crypto Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

eToro, headquartered in Cyprus, England and Israel, has provided forex products and other CFD derivatives to retail clients since 2007. A major eToro plus is its social trading operations, including OpenBook, which allows new clients to copy trade the platform’s best performers. Its social trading features are top notch, but eToro loses points for its lack of tradable currency pairs and underwhelming research and customer service features

Best For
  • U.S.-based cryptocurrency traders
  • Social and copy traders
  • Simple user interface
  • Community engagement and following other traders
Pros
  • Expansive network of social trading features
  • Large client base for new traders to imitate
Cons
  • U.S. traders can only buy cryptocurrency
  • Only 15 cryptocurrency pairs available
Best For
Buying & selling Bitcoin
Overall Rating
get started securely through Robinhood’s website
Best For
Crypto futures traders
Overall Rating
get started securely through Kraken’s website
Best For
Crypto futures traders
N/A
1 Minute Review

Kraken is a cryptocurrency that offers access to more than 50 supported coins and tokens, staking capabilities, futures trading and more. Kraken offers a variable maker-taker fee schedule, which often results in lower fees compared to flat-rate brokerages.

In addition to a wide range of crypto choices, Kraken offers customizable ordering platforms and mobile apps that you can use to fully refine your trading experience. There’s plenty to love about trading on Kraken. It appeals to both seasoned professionals and new investors looking to learn more about the market.

Best For
  • Cryptocurrency investors looking for a wide selection of supported assets
  • Crypto futures traders
  • Beginner investors looking for maximum account security
Pros
  • Wide selection of supported tradable assets
  • Straightforward platform is easy for new users to master
  • 24/7 customer service available via live chat
Cons
  • Maker-taker fee schedule may confuse some users
  • No option for phone or email customer service
Best For
No or Low Fees
Overall Rating
get started securely through BlockFi’s website
Best For
No or Low Fees
N/A
1 Minute Review

Maybe you think cryptocurrency is the future, or perhaps you were swept up in the initial waves of Bitcoin. BlockFi may be your next step if you’re ready to evolve as a crypto investor.

Whether you’re a native crypto user or curious enough to start investing, BlockFi seeks to bring institutional-grade financial products to crypto markets that often face restricted access. It strives to bring clients low-cost, simple applications designed to maximize the potential of crypto assets. Learn more in our BlockFi review.

Best For
  • Crypto native clients. You own Bitcoin now. You’re the friend who fills in the blanks when conversation turns to cryptocurrency, and you devour crypto literacy content like it’s your job (and maybe it is). BlockFi’s platform can help take your crypto assets to the next level.
  • Crypto fringe clients. If you’ve dabbled in buying alternative assets like crypto or know enough to be interested, BlockFi can help you take the next step.
  • Crypto curious clients. If you’re both intrigued by bitcoin and the type of person who obsessively learns everything you can about things you’re new to, BlockFi’s crypto asset platform might be the entry point you’re looking for.
Pros
  • Mostly fee-free platform
  • Market-best interest rates
  • Earn interest, trade and borrow from a centralized hub using the BlockFi app
Cons
  • Mostly restricted to those with a base knowledge of cryptocurrency
  • No dedicated relationship with an investment advisor, so best for those who have a solid handle on crypto trading

Select brokers (like Coinbase) focus on providing a streamlined platform and easy access to Bitcoin purchases.

  • Accessible assets: As the most well-known cryptocurrency on the planet, any investing platform that offers access to cryptocurrency will allow you to buy Bitcoin. If you’re only interested in purchasing Bitcoin, you’ll have a wide range of platform options to choose from. However, if you’re interested in investing in stocks or ETFs on the same platform, choose a broker that supports these assets.

Some brokers (like Webull) provide you with access to stock, metal and altcoin investments alongside Bitcoin.

  • Other crypto: You might also want to consider the other cryptocurrencies you can buy and sell through your broker of choice. Over 2,000 individual cryptocurrencies exist and no single broker will allow you to access all of them. It’s helpful to create a list of cryptocurrencies you want before you begin comparing platforms and account providers to ensure that you’ll have access to every asset.
  • Fees and commissions: Fees and commissions vary by broker and asset. If you plan to trade frequently, pay special attention to commission rates.

Trade or Invest

After you place your order and your broker fills it, you join the ranks as a Bitcoin owner! Now you’ll need to choose whether you want to be an active trader or a long-term investor.

Traders speculate on day-to-day (and sometimes hour-to-hour) price movements, attempting to sell their Bitcoin when prices rise and buy back when the price drops again. These investors focus on taking advantage of small, quick price movements to accumulate more Bitcoin over time. Cryptocurrencies can present plenty of opportunities for profit.

Investors take a more long-term approach, holding their Bitcoin for months or even years at a time before selling. Investors believe that the price of Bitcoin will rise over time and focus less on small price fluctuations. If you plan on investing over a long period of time, move your Bitcoin to a cryptocurrency wallet for enhanced security. These wallets offer less susceptibility to hacking attempts than exchanges.  

Other Ways to Buy Bitcoin

In addition to buying Bitcoin through an online exchange, you can access Bitcoin in 2 using a standard brokerage account.

Bitcoin ATMs

A Bitcoin ATM works in much the same way as the ATMs issued by your bank or credit union. Insert cash into the machine, purchase Bitcoin at the current market rate and transfer your tokens to a secure digital wallet. Websites like Coin ATM Radar can help you track down a Bitcoin ATM near you.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Exchanges

P2P exchanges like LocalBitcoins connect Bitcoin buyers and sellers together directly using a marketplace format. Users holding Bitcoin can post sales ads, while buyers can respond to the ads that interest them. 

The site facilitating the transaction offers escrow accounts that protect both the buyer and the seller. If you’re interested in buying Bitcoin with payment methods like Cash App or Zelle, a P2P exchange can facilitate these types of transactions. 

Add Bitcoin to Your Portfolio

With a long history of price improvements, Bitcoin can provide your investment portfolio with a unique layer of diversification. However, remember that unlike stocks or ETFs, cryptocurrencies are not regulated. It’s possible to lose 100% of your investment. 

If you do decide to buy Bitcoin, remember to never invest more money than you can afford to lose. Use our guide to help you add Bitcoin to your portfolio today.

Try Gemini

Gemini builds crypto products to help you buy, sell, and store your bitcoin and cryptocurrency. You can buy bitcoin and crypto instantly and access all the tools you need to understand the crypto market and start investing, all through one clear, attractive interface. Gemini Crypto Platform offers excellent account management options. You can manage your account at a glance, view your account balance 24-hour changes and percent changes. Get started with Gemini now.

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