How to Buy Bitcoin in USA: 5 Best Ways

We may receive advertising compensation when you click certain products. Before jumping into this page, an important disclosure.

It's easy to buy bitcoin in the USA. Dozens of apps and exchanges make the process easy, whether you want to buy online or in person.

Key Takeaways

  • There are dozens of exchanges to buy bitcoins in the United States.
  • eToro, Kraken and Gemini are three of the best exchanges.
  • Most USA exchanges are online, however, you can also buy with cash at ATMs.

eToroeToro

eToro allows you to buy Bitcoin & crypto in the United States.

It offers a free wallet, app, and is easy and quick to use for purchases.

Limited-time offer: Get $10 free once you trade $100 worth of cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency is offered by eToro USA LLC (“the MSB”) (NMLS: 1769299) and is not FDIC or SIPC insured. Investing involves risk, and content is provided for educational purposes only, does not imply a recommendation, and is not a guarantee of future performance. BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com is not an affiliate and may be compensated if you access certain products or services offered by the MSB.

Visit eToro's Website

Pros
  • Trusted exchange with 25+ million users
  • Easy to use to buy
  • The interface is clean and many coins supported
Cons
  • You cannot deposit cryptocurrency, but you can deposit with other payment methods
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Ease of Use
Easy
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Privacy
Low
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Speed
Average
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Fees
Low
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Reputation
Trusted
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Limits
High

KrakenKraken

Founded mid-2011, Kraken is the one of the USA's largest exchanges.

Deposits can be made via debit card, bank wire, and ACH. Users can buy bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin and dozens of other coins. Visit Kraken's Website

Pros
  • Very low 0.25% taker fee, falling to 0.1% with sufficient trading volume
  • Very low maker fee, falling to 0% with sufficient trading volume
  • Highly-rated for security and data protection
Cons
  • Requires ID verification, so not private
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Ease of Use
Hard
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Privacy
Low
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Speed
Average
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Fees
Low
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Reputation
Trusted
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Limits
High

UpholdUphold

Crypto exchange established in 2015. United States residents can buy bitcoin & crypto via wire transfer, credit card, debit card and ACH transfer.

Visit Uphold's Website

Pros
  • Ability to also buy gold and silver
Cons
  • Requires ID verification, so not private
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Ease of Use
Easy
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Privacy
Low
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Speed
Average
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Fees
Low
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Reputation
Trusted
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Limits
High

Bitcoin IRABitcoin IRA

Bitcoin IRA allows United States customers to acquire Bitcoin in an IRA. Users can create new ones or transfer over existing accounts. Visit Bitcoin IRA's Website

Pros
  • Tax-advantaged Bitcoin savings
  • Easy to set up an account
Cons
  • Cannot custody the Bitcoin yourself
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Ease of Use
Average
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Privacy
Low
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Speed
Fast
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Fees
High
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Reputation
Trusted
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Limits
High

GeminiGemini

Gemini, based in New York, supports residents of the USA. It allows deposits via many payment methods, including:

  • Bank transfer
  • ACH
  • PayPal
  • Wire transfer
  • Bitcoin & crypto

Gemini is one of the largest and most popular crypto exchanges in the USA. Visit Gemini's Website

Pros
  • Trustworthy and regulated exchange
  • Instant deposit lets you buy coins quickly (but not withdraw them)
  • Some of the lowest fees in the US and Canada
Cons
  • Somewhat confusing to use for new buyers
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Ease of Use
Hard
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Privacy
Low
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Speed
Slow
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Fees
Low
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Reputation
Trusted
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Limits
High

CoinbaseCoinbase

Coinbase is one of the largest exchanges, with over 100 million users.

USA users can buy bitcoins and crypto fast and easily using Coinbase's free app or on its website.

Coinbase also offers a free wallet for its users.

Eligible US residents (excluding Hawaii) who successfully create an account and purchase crypto will receive $5 in Bitcoin (BTC) added to their Coinbase portfolio. Visit Coinbase's Website

Pros
  • Trusted exchange with 100 million+ users
  • Based in the USA; with a free wallet included
  • App available on Apple App Store & Play Store
Cons
  • Easy to use but fees can be high
  • Coinbase may track how and where you spend your bitcoins
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Ease of Use
Easy
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Privacy
Low
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Speed
Average
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Fees
Average
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Reputation
Trusted
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Limits
High

RiverRiver

River.com is a Bitcoin-only exchange based in the USA. It offers an easy way to buy plus advanced features for more experienced buyers. Visit River's Website

Pros
  • Very clean interface
  • Unique recurring buy feature
Cons
  • Bitcoin-only, no support for other coins
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Ease of Use
Easy
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Privacy
Low
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Speed
Average
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Fees
Low
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Reputation
Trusted
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Limits
High

PayPalPayPal

PayPal allowed users to buy and sell bitcoins starting in 2020. Starting in June 2022, PayPal allowed users to withdraw the coins from their accounts. PayPal can be a fast way to purchase coins if you are already verified.

Here is a video we made that shows how fast the process is:



The main issue we have seen is that some people experience delays when they try to send bitcoins out from their PayPal account.

Pros
  • Many people already have an account
  • Can be a fast way to buy if you're already verified on PayPal
Cons
  • Some users report delays with withdrawing bitcoins
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Ease of Use
Easy
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Privacy
Low
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Speed
Average
fees icon
Fees
Low
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Reputation
Trusted
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Limits
High

Coinbase Advanced TraderCoinbase Advanced Trader

Coinbase's exchange, Coinbase Advanced Trader (formerly called Coinbase Pro), is one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges in the United States. Users can fund their accounts via bank transfer, SEPA, or bank wire. Coinbase Advanced Trader offers good prices and low fees, but its confusing user interface may initially prove difficult to navigate.

Pros
  • Some of the lowest fees available for US and EU customers
  • Possible to buy bitcoins for 0% fees
Cons
  • The user interface is confusing for first-time buyers
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Ease of Use
Hard
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Privacy
Low
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Speed
Average
fees icon
Fees
Low
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Reputation
Trusted
limits icon
Limits
High

LibertyXLibertyX

LibertyX is an American service that makes buying bitcoins with cash simple. First, use LibertyX's app to locate a store near you that sells LibertyX codes. Next, enter your LibertyX code to the app, along with your Bitcoin address and you'll receive your bitcoins very soon after.

If you connect a Facebook account to your LibertyX app, your first $1,000 of purchases are fee-free. Otherwise, all purchases cost 1.5% + $3 in fees.

Pros
  • Easy and fast way to buy bitcoins with cash
  • Low 1.5% (plus store fee) rate for cash purchase method
  • The daily $1,000 limit is fairly high for a convenience service
Cons
  • Participating stores add their own fee
  • Some verification is required which lowers the expected privacy level of cash purchase
  • Attaching your Facebook account further degrades privacy
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Ease of Use
Average
privacy icon
Privacy
Average
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Speed
Average
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Fees
Average
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Reputation
Trusted
limits icon
Limits
Average

Bitcoin ATMsBitcoin ATMs

You can use our Bitcoin ATM map to buy bitcoins with cash. Bitcoin ATMs can be a quick and easy way to buy bitcoins and they're also private. That convenience and privacy, however, comes with a price; most ATMs have fees of 5-10%. View Bitcoin ATMs

Pros
  • Our map makes it super easy to find a Bitcoin ATM near you
Cons
  • Bitcoin ATMs often have 5-10% fees per purchase

How to Buy Bitcoins in the USA: Exact Steps

  1. Create an account on a US exchange
  2. First, you'll need to sign up on a USA-based exchange and create an account. Normally this takes a few seconds. Based on our experience, you will need to have an email and phone number ready.

  3. Verify ID / KYC using Passport or Driver's License
  4. Most exchanges in the USA require identity verification with either a driver's license or passport. You will be required to upload a picture of your license or passport, and/or a photo of you holding your ID/driver's license with you in it.

  5. Deposit USD or connect payment method
  6. Once your ID(s) are verified, you can select a payment method. This will be used to deposit USD into your exchange account. The USD will then be converted to Bitcoin or crypto in the next step.

  7. Buy bitcoins
  8. Once you verify your ID and the exchange confirms it, you can easily purchase Bitcoins.

    The most common payment and deposit methods for buying are:

    • Bank transfers
    • ACH transfers
    • Credit/debit cards

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Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Trading in the USA


Introduction to Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a digital currency introduced in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. The real identity of the creator remains a mystery. Despite initial hesitations, Bitcoin has secured a place in the U.S. financial markets.

Key Points on Bitcoin in the U.S.A.

  • Bitcoin has been utilized in the USA since its inception.
  • Its legality was questionable at first, but its decentralized nature posed challenges for direct regulation.

Defining Moments for Bitcoin in the U.S.

  1. 2013: The U.S. Treasury classified Bitcoin as a decentralized and convertible virtual currency.
  2. 2015: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) deemed Bitcoin a commodity, making it taxable as property by the Internal Revenue Service.
  3. 2016: U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan pronounced Bitcoin as a form of money, referring to a 2014 precedent set by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff.

Bitcoin's Presence in the U.S. Today

Bitcoin's integration in the U.S. market continues to grow, with various media resources available for those interested:

  • Bitcoin YouTube channels
  • Bitcoin podcasts

Purchasing Bitcoin in the U.S.A.

For those eager to purchase Bitcoin:

  • Several cryptocurrency exchanges are available, each with distinct transaction fees, withdrawal limits, payment methods, and verification procedures.
  • It's often mandatory to have a personal wallet before making a purchase. For enhanced security, consider a hardware wallet.
  • Bitcoin ATMs offer a more private purchasing method. Most only require a phone number for smaller transactions.

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Bitcoin Mining in the USA


Although most Bitcoin holders turn to crypto exchanges to get the digital currency, tech-savvy holders prefer to mine it.

All of the Bitcoins that have been generated to date were mined using special software. Miners need powerful computers and other related hardware to facilitate mining. For those who lack the resources or know-how, many startups offer communal mining services at a fee, though almost all of these are scams.

how to buy bitcoin in usa

Mining Bitcoin in the U.S.A. is both legal and convenient, yet potentially costly due to high power consumption.

  • Preferred States for Mining (affordable and cheap energy):
    • Louisiana
    • Idaho
    • Washington
    • Tennessee
    • Georgia
    • Texas
    • Arkansas
  • Most Expensive States for Mining (high energy and power costs):
    • Hawaii
    • Alaska
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
  • There's optimism about future advancements making Bitcoin mining more affordable and efficient in the U.S.

    Highlight: The largest mining farm ever established was a 300MW facility in Rockdale, Texas. Owned by Bitmain, it came with a price tag of $500 million and began operations in October 2019. However, its operations took a hit when Bitcoin's value dropped below $4k.


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Bitcoin Hacks and Scams in the USA


Once you buy bitcoins, it's important to keep them safe. We've outlined some common Bitcoin scams in the USA to help you keep your coins secure.

Fake Apps

  • In August 2021, Google removed 8 scam Android apps resembling legitimate cryptocurrency platforms, following a report by Trend Micro.
  • As cryptocurrencies grow in popularity, fraudulent apps mimicking genuine ones are on the rise.
  • Reportedly, over 10,000 users have downloaded these deceitful apps.

Prevention Tips:

  • Before inputting data, ensure the app name, logo, and description match the official website.
  • Watch out for misspellings or apps pushing for additional fees.
  • For safety, download apps directly from the official website of the wallet or exchange.

Scam History - 2020 Twitter Hack

In 2020, a significant breach affected Twitter, enabling an entity to control tweets from any account.

  • In 2020, a significant breach affected Twitter, enabling an entity to control tweets from any account.
  • The hacker broadcasted tweets from 130 high-profile accounts to solicit Bitcoin. Messages promised to double any Bitcoin sent and donate it to charity.
  • Compromised accounts included those of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mr. Beast, Bill Gates, and others.
  • Legal Actions:
    • 17-year-old Graham Ivan Clark from Florida faced 30 felony fraud counts, with each carrying up to 30 years imprisonment.
    • Two accomplices, 19-year-old Mason Joh Sheppard from the UK and 22-year-old Nima Fazeli from Orlando, Florida, were also charged.
  • The culprits allegedly accessed Twitter's admin dashboard through a phishing scheme targeting employee credentials. This breach granted them total access to Twitter's internal systems, including email and password resets.
  • Twitter re-secured control by manually verifying and resetting passwords for all its employees.

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FAQ


Does Coinbase work in the USA?

Yes, Coinbase is based in the US and supports US customers.

Citizens of the United States can convert, buy, and sell cryptocurrencies with fiat. Supported payment methods are:

  • Bank Account
  • Deposit
  • Paypal
  • Debit Card

Where Can I Find a Bitcoin ATM in the USA?

There are over 30,000 Bitcoin ATMs all across the USA. The USA is among the top countries for Bitcoin ATM availability.

You can use our Bitcoin ATM finder tool to find the one nearest you.

Is Bitcoin legal in the USA?

According to Wikipedia, Bitcoin is legal in the USA. Each US state will have different laws on how to approach Bitcoin, however.

What is the price of Bitcoin in the USA?

Bitcoin prices are changing every second.

The best way to find the most up-to-date price of Bitcoin is to check out our Bitcoin price page.

How do I cash out of Bitcoin in the USA?

Any exchange with a US Dollar trading pair will allow you to sell your Bitcoin for fiat currency. Coinbase Pro and Kraken have USD trading pairs for many popular coins.

You could also use a service like eGifter to sell your Bitcoin for gift cards.

Does Luno Work in the USA?

Luno now works in the USA but only for Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrencies.

Can you Buy Bitcoin At Walgreens?

At this time, you can't buy bitcoins at Walgreens. The best way to buy bitcoins at a physical location is at a Bitcoin ATM.

Can you Buy Bitcoin At Walmart?

The best way to buy Bitcoins at a Walmart is to find one that has a CoinStar machine. These coin machines will pay you out in Bitcoin, but you will need a lot of coins as well as be okay with paying a high fee.


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Bonus Information


Regulatory Climate for Bitcoin in the USA

Understanding the broader regulatory environment is equally crucial. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been particularly vigilant about Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to protect investors from potential fraud. They've yet to approve a Bitcoin ETF, mainly due to concerns about market manipulation and lack of overseas regulatory cooperation.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) requires exchanges to implement Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures, ensuring a more transparent and trustworthy trading environment. This has implications for user privacy and transaction speed, as exchanges adhere to these requirements.

Educational Resources for Bitcoin in the USA

Apart from YouTube channels and podcasts, there are many other resources for learning about Bitcoin in the U.S.:

  • Books: Numerous authors have written about Bitcoin's technology, economic implications, and potential future. Notable titles include "Mastering Bitcoin" by Andreas M. Antonopoulos and "The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains" by Antony Lewis.
  • Meetups and Conferences: Various cities host regular Bitcoin meetups and conferences, providing opportunities to meet fellow enthusiasts, share insights, and learn from experts.
  • Online Courses: Platforms like Coursera and Udemy offer comprehensive courses on Bitcoin and blockchain technology.

Security Precautions

Given the growing interest in Bitcoin and the highlighted scams, security cannot be overemphasized. Here are additional security measures:

  • Hardware Wallets: These are physical devices that store a user's private keys offline. By keeping the private keys disconnected from internet-accessible devices, they offer a high level of security against online thefts.
  • Multi-Signature Wallets: These wallets require multiple private keys to authorize a Bitcoin transaction, adding another layer of security.
  • Regular Backups: Ensure you back up your wallets regularly. This helps recover funds if your device gets damaged or lost.

Tax Implications

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies Bitcoin as property, meaning any sale can trigger a capital gains tax. If you've held onto Bitcoin for over a year before selling, you'll be taxed at the long-term capital gains rate. However, if you sell Bitcoin you've owned for less than a year, it's considered a short-term gain and is taxed at your ordinary income rate. It's essential to maintain proper records of all transactions to ensure accurate tax reporting.

Growing Institutional Interest

In recent years, institutional interest in Bitcoin has surged. Major financial institutions, such as Fidelity, have started offering Bitcoin-related services. This signifies a broader acceptance and a potential shift towards viewing Bitcoin as a store of value or "digital gold."

Local Peer-to-Peer Platforms

Apart from centralized exchanges, platforms like Bitquick allow users to buy or sell Bitcoin directly with other users. Localbitcoins is now out of business. These platforms can offer more flexibility in terms of payment methods and may enable users to transact without undergoing extensive KYC procedures, though this comes with its own set of risks.

Bitcoin Mining Energy Consumption Info

While mining could be a good alternative to buying, there are issues.

Bitcoin Mining Energy Consumption:

  • As of March 25th, 2023, Bitcoin mining demands 15.4 GW of power.
  • Miners use specialized hardware consuming significant electricity to add blocks and validate transactions.

Climate Impact Controversy:

  • Critics see Bitcoin's electricity usage as a major environmental issue.
  • Supporters argue it has potential climate benefits such as grid balancing and promoting renewable energy.
  • During winter storm Elliott in December 2022, 38% of the total Bitcoin network hash rate was curtailed, suggesting a significant portion of mining activity is in North America.

Empirical Evidence:

  • Study based on data from 13 publicly listed mining companies in the U.S., accounting for a quarter of the total network hash rate in 2022.
  • The carbon intensity found is almost equivalent to the U.S. grid average.
  • The annual emissions from these miners surpass the carbon emissions of the State of Vermont.

Contrast to Industry Claims:

  • Despite claims that 58.9% of Bitcoin mining uses sustainable energy, only 21.5% comes from renewables and 18.2% from nuclear in the U.S. energy mix.
  • Potential climate benefits include financial incentives that could reduce methane emissions.

USA Disclaimer: The cryptocurrency landscape in the USA is rapidly evolving. While we strive for accuracy in our research, the information presented here may become outdated. Always conduct your own research before making any decisions or investments.

Article Sources

BuyBitcoinWorldWide writers are subject-matter experts and base their articles on firsthand information, like interviews with experts, white papers or original studies and experience. We also use trusted research and studies from other well-known sources. You can learn more about our editorial guidelines.

  1. MIT - Climate Impacts of Bitcoin Mining in the U.S, https://climate.mit.edu/posts/climate-impacts-bitcoin-mining-us
  2. Brookings - The brutal truth about Bitcoin, https://www.brookings.edu/articles/the-brutal-truth-about-bitcoin/
  3. IRS - Frequently Asked Questions on Virtual Currency Transactions, https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/frequently-asked-questions-on-virtual-currency-transactions
  4. FINCEN - Statement of Jennifer Shasky Calvery, Director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, United States Department of the Treasury, https://www.fincen.gov/news/testimony/statement-jennifer-shasky-calvery-director-financial-crimes-enforcement-network

About the Author

jordan tuwiner

Jordan Tuwiner is the founder of BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com. He studied computer science at Towson University and holds an online degree in trading & cryptocurrency. Jordan has been writing about Bitcoin since 2015. His work has been featured in The Guardian, International Business Times, Forbes, VentureBeat, CoinDesk and many other top Bitcoin media outlets.



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