- What is Bitcoin?
- How to Buy Bitcoin in U.S?
- Bitcoin Trading
- Where can I Use Bitcoin in U.S?
- Bitcoin ATMs in the U.S.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency created by Satoshi Nakamoto in a bid to remove the centralized issues that face fiat money.
Digital currencies such as Bitcoin exist in the virtual world of the web and not in physical form and sit away from the control of governments and central banks.
Bitcoin’s software was released in 2009 following the global financial crisis and is considered revolutionary. It’s blockchain technology taking the tech world by storm.
Bitcoins are created through a process called mining. Bitcoin’s decentralized public distributed ledger (the “blockchain”) records each and every transaction. Miners verify these transactions on the blockchain and are then rewarded with Bitcoins. The verification is required because the ledger is not located in one centralized location but on each and every computer within the Bitcoin network.
In the interest of shifting away from an ownership structure, the verification process is an independent one. Each verification leads to the inclusion of accepted transactions that are entered into a block that links to the blockchain. The block holds all of the information on transactions for that particular period of time.
While miners look to earn Bitcoin from mining, the Bitcoin world has evolved into a major investment asset class, with Bitcoin exchanges, ATMs, and even face-to-face transactions now the norm in the Bitcoin world.
With the liquid Bitcoin exchanges in place, Bitcoin holders are able to buy and sell Bitcoin in exchange for other currencies, including fiat money, or exchange Bitcoin for products and services.
How to Buy Bitcoin in U.S?
There are a number of ways to buy Bitcoin in the U.S, the most common method being via a Bitcoin exchange while the other main method being via cryptocurrencies brokers. Most exchanges have developed mobile phone apps to make it easier for those looking to buy and sell Bitcoin. There are many exchanges and it could be difficult to differentiate the exchanges in terms of reliability, fees execution, etc.
One of the top leading and reliable Bitcoin exchanges is , the exchange has a low trading fee of just 0.2% and allows customers to buy Bitcoins with credit cards, bank transfers, SEPA transfers, cash or AstroPay. Credit card purchases are immediate. Below is a complete guide to buy Bitcoin via in 4 easy steps.
Step 1 – Open a Digital Wallet
A digital wallet is where you hold your cryptocurrencies and interacts others via the blockchain technology. There are many providers of digital wallets, however, it is important to make a deep research before you decide which one is the best for you. Currently, the most popular digital wallets provider is Blockchain.info.
Step 2 – Register & Open an Account
Once you enter , register and open an account that can provide you with their service.
Step 3 – Receive the 2FA Code
This is the authentication code as well as your password when you access CEX.IO. The code will be generated by an application and will be delivered to you by SMS.
Step 4 – Purchase Bitcoin
Now you can easily purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Note that you can always buy fractions of Bitcoin and CEX.IO allows you to choose fixed amounts with your own currency.
Choose the payment option that is most convenient for you.
In order to complete the purchase, the broker will ask you to verify your identity with documents and various details.
Apart from CEX.IO, there are other Bitcoin exchanges that provide their services in the US:
Coinbase: Supports 32 countries with more than 10m customers served. U.S customers can buy using credit and debit cards, with fees of 3.99% for purchases. Alternatively, for lower fees, U.S customers can use a connected bank account, the fees being just 1.49%. The connected account method delivers coins after 5-days, whilst purchasing by credit/debit card is immediate.
Coinmama: For purchases of under $150, there is no requirement to verify identity, though there is a transaction fee of around 6% for customers buying Bitcoins with credit or debit cards, which is very high.
GDAX: Considered to be one of the larger U.S Bitcoin exchanges and customers can transfer funds via bank transfer, SEPA or bank wire. The exchange is also considered competitive from a fee perspective.
Bitstamp: They make buying and selling easy, requiring those looking to buy Bitcoin to simply create an account, make a fiat currency deposit via SEPA wire transfer or other deposit method and then simply purchase Bitcoins once the funds have reached the newly created account. Credit card purchases are also permitted, though fees are on the higher side (8%) on small transactions. Trading fees are also considered low at between 0.1% and 0.25%, depending upon trading volumes.
While trading Bitcoin via exchange might be a complicated process for some, other methods to buy and sell Bitcoin are much easier and faster. As with any asset class that has value, trading will be ever present and with Bitcoin, trading has certainly evolved over the years.
Trading platforms have made it a lucrative business for the more experienced trader, who is able to stomach the volatility that has been seen in Bitcoin prices in recent years. As demand for Bitcoin has grown, so have the number of Bitcoin exchanges that provide the necessary platforms for traders to buy and sell Bitcoin on an intraday basis.
Traders will be investing with their own source of funds and as a result, are particularly interested in what Bitcoin exchanges have to offer.
Low fees, security and the shortest possible time for funds to be received in the event of a sale or for Bitcoins to be sent in the event of a purchase are of particular importance. Liquidity on the exchange and security are other important considerations.
As always, Bitcoin exchanges have evolved their product offerings. Traders are now able to trade in Bitcoin CFDs with various brokers, buying long or short positions and even leverage on margin, some exchanges offering as much as 20x leverage.
On the plus side, the increasing number of exchanges has led to reduced fees for traders, with spreads between bid and offer prices particularly narrow when compared with other asset classes. This is in spite of the riskiness of the asset class and the volatility that persists.
Where can I Use Bitcoin in U.S?
Unsurprisingly, with Bitcoin’s growth in the U.S, buying goods or services in the U.S is also particularly popular. More and more merchants are beginning to accept Bitcoin including real estate agents.
SpendBitcoins gives those looking for merchants or service providers who accept Bitcoin across the U.S and beyond.
Another interesting platform that exists in the U.S and a handful of other countries including Japan, China, India and Spain is Purse.io. Here, shoppers can shop for any item available on Amazon using ‘Buy Now’ and save 5%, or purchase goods from Purse.io’s purse merchants and use Bitcoin at checkout. There is also a Name Your Discount method, where Bitcoin holders buy Amazon gift cards from ‘earners’ using Bitcoin, with discounts of between 10-33% on purchase prices on offer. Here Bitcoin holders can propose a discount for an item and wait for an earner to accept the discount in exchange for Bitcoins.
The market is ever evolving and some are ahead of others. The U.S looks to be an integral part of the Bitcoin revolution.
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Bitcoin ATMs in the U.S.
Unlike the traditional bank ATMs that allow people to directly access the banking system for banking services, including the withdrawal and deposit of fiat money, Bitcoin ATMs have been established to facilitate the buying and selling of Bitcoins.
Bitcoin ATMs are linked to the internet as opposed to a bank’s centralized system and provide the buyers and sellers with the anonymity that Bitcoin prides itself on.
Such transactions accompanied by complete anonymity come at a price, however, with transaction fees significantly higher than Bitcoin exchanges that require additional information when purchasing above a relatively small investment size.
There are a total of 1,172 Bitcoin ATMs in the U.S, with the largest concentration of ATMs being in California (205), Florida (122), Georgia (105) and New York (118).
Not all Bitcoin ATMs are dual functioning, with a large proportion only offering the platform for buying Bitcoins, though some also allow Bitcoin holders to sell.
There are a number of different ATM types designed by different companies, but the process of buying a Bitcoin is similar and alike across the different models. A simple verification process, including the provision of Bitcoin address details, is required after which cash can be inserted and Bitcoin’s are released to the buyers’ Bitcoin wallet.
As mentioned, the fees are significantly higher than on exchanges and limits are also on the lower side. On a global basis, the average purchase fee is 8.54% (based on 1,126 ATMs that support the purchase of Bitcoins) and the average redemption fee is 7.03% (Based on 410 ATMs that support the sale of Bitcoins)
In the U.S, the buying fees are more competitive than the global average at around 6%, while the fees for the sale of Bitcoins range from between 5-10%, more aligned with the global average.
To find the nearest Bitcoin ATM, Coin ATM Radar is a good website to search for the nearest Bitcoin ATM. For many, the distances will certainly too great to travel in order to buy or sell Bitcoin, which would leave buying and selling via an exchange or on sites such as LocalBitcoin.
The U.S Bitcoin market has certainly evolved and is considered to be one of the more advanced in the world. The number of Bitcoin exchanges and merchants accepting Bitcoin is impressive and we will expect the Bitcoin market to continue to evolve as Bitcoin becomes more widely accepted as an alternative to fiat currencies.
From a cost perspective, trading and transaction fees are more competitive and the bank’s acceptance of Bitcoin exchanges has facilitated the growth of exchanges in the U.S, though questions remain on when regulators will begin to take a close look at the exchanges and the anonymity associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.