Bitcoin can be bought on stock exchanges, or directly from other people through markets.
You can pay for them in a variety of ways ranging from hard cash to credit cards and bank transfer charges, or even with other cryptocurrencies depending on who you buy them and where you live.
1 – Setting up a wallet
The first step is to set up your wallet to store your bitcoin – you will need one, whatever your preferred method of purchase. It can be an online wallet (or part of the exchange platform, or through an independent provider), a desktop wallet, a portable or offline wallet (such as a hardware device or a paper wallet).
Even within these categories of wallets there is a wide range of services to choose from, so do some research before deciding on which version best suits your needs.
You can find more information on some of the wallets out there as well as tips on how to use them, here and here.
The most important part of any wallet is keeping your keys (string of characters) and / or passwords safe. If you lose them, you lose access to the bitcoin stored there.
2 – to open an account in exchange
Exchange Cryptocurrency Regulation and sell bitcoin on your behalf. There are hundreds of workers currently, with different levels of liquidity and security, new ones continue to appear while others end up closing. As with wallets, it is advisable to do some research before choosing – you can be lucky enough to have some decent exchanges to choose from, or your approach may be limited to one or two, depending on your geographical area.
The largest bitcoin exchange in the world currently in terms of US dollar volume is Bitfinex, although it is mainly aimed at spot traders. Other high volume exchanges are Coinbase, Bitstamp and Poloniex, but for small amounts, most reputable exchanges should work well. Writing, a wave of interest in bitcoin trading is placing effort on the most retail to buy and sell operations, so a measure of patience and caution is recommended).
With the clampdown on your customer know (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulation, many exchanges now require a verified ID for account setup. This will usually include an image of your official ID card, and sometimes also proof of address.
Most exchanges accept payment by bank transfer or credit card, and some are willing to work with Paypal transfers. Most charge exchange fees (which usually include the fees for using a bitcoin network).
Each exchange has a different procedure for both installation and transaction, and should give you enough details to be able to make the purchase. If not, consider changing your service provider.
Once the exchange has received payment, it will acquire the appropriate amount of bitcoin on your behalf, and post them in the wallet automatically generated on the exchange. It can take minutes, or sometimes hours due to network bottlenecks. If you want (recommended), then you can transfer your funds out of the wallet exchange.
Buyers with cash
2 – Select a purchase method
Platforms such as LocalBitcoins will help you find people near you who are willing to exchange bitcoin for cash. Also, LibertyX specs stores across the United States where you can exchange money for bitcoin. And WallofCoins, Paxful and BitQuick will direct you to a bank branch next to you that will allow you to make a cash deposit and get bitcoin a few hours later.
ATMs are machines that will send bitcoin to your wallet for cash. They work in a similar way Bank ATMs – you feed the bills, hold the QR wallet of code up to the screen, and the appropriate amount of bitcoin are beamed to your account. Coinatmradar can help you find ATM bitcoin next to you.