How to Buy Bitcoin in
the US (BTC)

Making Crypto Simple
Liam Kemp — Last Updated on June 2, 2021
If you are looking for a quick way to buy bitcoin in the US you can find our easy step-by-step below. We have a full in-depth comparison here if you want to compare the different exchanges you can trade on in the United States. For the below guide we’ll be showing the process on our most recommended cryptocurrency exchange.

How To Buy Bitcoin in the US

  1. Register an account on Coinbase
  2. Verify your identity/account
  3. Choose a payment method
  4. Deposit USD
  5. Click on “Trade” in your dashboard
  6. Enter the amount of USD you want to spend or how much USD you want to buy
  7. Click “Buy BTC”
  8. If you have any trouble with the above steps, you can reach out to their support team 🙂

If you are looking for more detailed guides, you can find them below.

Disclaimer: This site is supported by its users. We may receive commissions for purchases made through the links on our site. This does not impact our reviews or comparisons, you can learn more about our Affiliate Disclosure.

Where To Buy Bitcoin
in the US

We’ve reviewed over 100 exchanges across the globe and have been doing this for many years. We are confident that Coinbase is the best exchange in the world for people in the USA to use.

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Coinbase Exchange

We highly recommend Coinbase as the best exchange in the US. It is widely known as the largest exchange and their platform is unmatched.

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Learn More About Bitcoin

Are you still having doubts about investing in Bitcoin? Do you feel like you need to learn more about this cryptocurrency before you feel comfortable to make your first purchase? Don’t worry, we know exactly how you feel.

Giving yourself enough time to research the market and design an effective trading strategy is a crucial but sometimes overlooked step on your Bitcoin adventure. To show you just how important this is, we’ve created an introductory guide not only on Bitcoin itself but on ways to buy BTC in the US. 

What’s Bitcoin?

Bitcoin (BTC) is a special kind of digital coin or cryptocurrency based on cryptographic proof. It’s the first decentralized currency that’s not regulated by any state or government. Some people use Bitcoin to make purchases, others for its investment value, or as a utility token for blockchain-based services.

The History of Bitcoin

The idea to create digital money appeared in the late ‘80s and continued to gather followers well into the twenty-first century. Designing both a decentralized and a stable digital asset was quite a demanding and challenging task for developers.

Finally, in October 2008, Bitcoin’s white paper was published by an individual using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakomoto. Subtitled “A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System”, the paper explains the technology behind Bitcoin in great detail and the mechanisms that hold the peer to peer network together.

The key to reliable transactions immune to double-spending is rooted in a timestamp server that requires time and energy-consuming cryptographic proof of work performed by Bitcoin miners who generate new coins and verify transactions. 

The first Bitcoin transaction took place in January 2009, when Nakamoto sent 10 BTC to his colleague and crypto enthusiast Hal Finney who was among the first Bitcoin investors at the time. Later that year, the New Liberty Standard published the first Bitcoin exchange rate judging that 1 BTC equals around $0.0007 based on production costs. 

The following years saw an increased interest in Bitcoin which is why its price was constantly hitting new heights. Bitcoin was slowly entering mainstream consciousness as more and more individuals and businesses were chasing the trend.

Why Was Bitcoin Created?

Bitcoin was launched at a time when the world was dealing with a global financial crisis caused by the ineffectiveness of the financial system and the lack of regulation and supervision which allowed centralized financial institutions to forsake customers’ funds.

On the other hand, Bitcoin was proposing a solution that included implementing a decentralized financial system built on cryptographic proof instead of trust in third-parties and intermediaries. It promised privacy, transparency, a fraction of the existing expenses and service fees, and a strong infrastructure.

People liked the idea of having power over their own money, instead of depending on the mercy of banks and other payment providers. Moreover, at a time when information is shared instantaneously from one corner of the world to another, it seemed ridiculous having to wait for days just to make an international transfer.

Even though people relied on banks to keep their money safe, the financial crisis made them lose their trust in these institutions when they saw them going bankrupt. In comparison, it would take an incredible amount of computing power to take control of Bitcoin’s blockchain.

Bitcoin’s Pros and Cons

Perhaps the most appealing thing about Bitcoin is the potential of this technology to continue expanding its use cases in different areas. 

This makes Bitcoin applicable not only as a currency for exchanging goods in a more functional global financial system, but also as a digital ledger, used to track goods in supply chains or rethink the way businesses negotiate by introducing the “smart contract”.

Many people are hesitant to adopt Bitcoin because they don’t understand it completely and fear the anonymity that this technology offers. They believe Bitcoin will be primarily misused for purchasing illegal goods or engage in other seedy activities. 

Once more people become acquainted with Bitcoin, they’ll see that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

How to Store Your Bitcoin

All over the world, Bitcoin enthusiasts use cryptocurrency exchanges to buy and trade Bitcoin. These platforms offer a secure trading environment, high liquidity, and lots of trading options to choose from.

The United States is not immune to this trend. The majority of US traders tend to use centralized crypto exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken, and Gemini to buy digital assets at a reasonable market rate. 

Now, when buying Bitcoin, the platform that you’re using will ask you to provide a wallet address in order to send those coins to you. That’s why it’s a better idea to look for a digital wallet in advance. 

While there’s a great variety of wallets online, what they all do is generate a public key and a private key. The public key is an encrypted wallet address that you share with the exchange or a trader who wants to send you BTC. The private key is the one you use to unlock your wallet if you want to spend some coins, so it’s super important to keep it safe!

If you’re not familiar with the different types of wallets, here’s a quick introduction to the three most popular ones:

Online wallet

This wallet is the most popular choice for US traders. The main reason they prefer this one over other wallets is that it can be used on your computer or even mobile phone, as long as the platform comes with a mobile app. 

The only drawback of these wallets is that they’re connected to the Internet, so your private key might get stolen in case of a security breach. That’s why we advise you to use this wallet only temporarily.

Desktop wallet

Desktop wallets are very similar to online ones in terms of their design. However, instead of keeping your private key online, now you have a chance to store it offline on your computer. You should have no security problems as long as you keep your computer safe from malware.

Hardware wallet

The last and by far the best option is to purchase a hardware wallet. Even though it will cost you a bit more than using a regular online wallet, this revolutionary device that looks a lot like a USB stick keeps your private key safe from any greedy hands! 

The hardware wallet remains disconnected from the Internet in order to stay away from phishing scams and other fraudulent activities. During the activation, the device generates a seed phrase that you need to write down and hide it somewhere safe. This phrase is the ticket to reclaiming your BTC if you happen to lose the wallet or someone steals it from you.

Alternative Ways of Buying Bitcoin

Centralized crypto exchanges are not the only place where you can buy Bitcoin nowadays. Take a look at our list of alternative ways of buying BTC in the US, and make your choice:

Peer to Peer Exchanges

To those of you who don’t want to compromise their privacy when buying (and trading) Bitcoin, peer-to-peer exchanges might be a better alternative. To register for an account, you just need to sign up with your email address. Simple as that!

These platforms are also known as decentralized exchanges because they lack a central authority that governs and protects your funds. Privacy comes with taking responsibility for your own money. It means searching for the right BTC order and trusting the seller who sends them to you.

Instead of centralized exchanges playing the escrow role, here, transactions are protected using preprogrammed contracts called smart contracts.

Bitcoin ATM

Similarly to traditional automatic teller machines, Bitcoin ATMs, or BATMs for short, allow people to withdraw BTC as easily as they can withdraw cash. You can find them at the airport, in supermarkets, or major retail shops.

Now, you don’t actually end up with BTC in your hand, as these coins are digital and exist only as computer code. The Bitcoin ATM simply connects to any crypto exchange to buy the BTC and then transfers them to your wallet address. You can pay in cash or use a credit/debit card. Just don’t forget that there’s an added 5-10% fee for the service.

Despite the high fee, people use BATMs when they’re traveling and can’t get connected to the Internet. They search for Bitcoin ATMs in advance, using popular sites like Coin ATM Radar. This website shows nearby machines on an interactive map. Luckily for you, the US has over 6,000 BATMs in various states.

Amazon Gift Cards

Our final recommendation is to buy Bitcoin with the help of an Amazon Gift Card. A lot of people are surprised when they find out that these cards can be exchanged for BTC because it hasn’t crossed their minds before.

Next time you need a last-minute birthday gift, consider buying a $10, $25, $50, or a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Just don’t forget to include a note with platforms that support this trading pair (e.g. Price, Paxful).