Buying bitcoin requires consideration of three factors:
- Payment method
- Platform/venue used
- Where your bitcoin goes
You can pay by credit card, bank transfer, payment app (PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.), or even face-to-face with cash. The convenience, privacy, and associated fees of each payment method differ.
You can buy bitcoin through digital wallets, spot exchanges, OTC desks (private exchange services used primarily by high-net-worth individuals), peer-to-peer marketplaces, and even payment apps.
Yes, you can also buy bitcoin in person. It would be cool if you gave your friend cash in exchange for bitcoins.
After you buy bitcoin, you can send it to:
- A Bitcoin wallet that you control (e.g. one you control yourself)
- You can also transfer your Bitcoins into a Bitcoin wallet controlled by someone else (such as a centralized cryptocurrency exchange or a payment app such as PayPal).
Keep it safe by following these steps
- Consider getting a “hard wallet”
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be kept in “wallets”, which are usually software applications you can run on your computer or access online. Bitcoin (or any other cryptocurrency) wallet applications keep a long string of characters called “private key” (like a really long password) on your computer or online. There’s a risk involved with both of these options, since hackers can take control of internet servers or install malware on your computer and “steal” your bitcoins.
It is safest to keep your private keys away from the internet so that hackers cannot get access to them. Many companies developed USB-like wallets for storing your Bitcoin offline with strong encryption and a PIN code (also known as “hardware wallets” or “hard wallets”). Consider using a “hard wallet” if you are thinking about purchasing cryptocurrencies.
- Invest in Bitcoin, Ether, or another cryptocurrency
Nowadays, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be purchased online with a credit card or via bank transfer (the latter is much cheaper than the former, if you are patient). To purchase
Bitcoin, you need to open an account on a popular exchange that accepts currencies like USD and EUR.
- Get your Bitcoins into a hard wallet
To transfer Bitcoin from an exchange to your hard wallet, you only need two things: the address of your hard wallet and the withdrawal feature of the exchange.
You must keep your Bitcoin (or any other cryptocurrency) in your hardware wallet, including your 24-word recovery passphrase, in case you lose your wallet or forget your PIN. Having your private keys in your hands makes it very difficult for someone to steal them, but be careful because if you lose them, you cannot recover your Bitcoins.