Buy Bitcoin in the United States

Trying to buy Bitcoin in the United States? Read this guide for all the information on Bitcoin’s status in the United States, plus what is the best exchanges to use.

Post summary

The United States is home to some of the largest Bitcoin companies, offering you plenty of options to buy and trade cryptocurrency. Although not considered an official currency, Bitcoin is legal in the US and continues to grow into the mainstream. To buy Bitcoin in the US, follow these steps:

  1. Register for a Coinbase account
  2. Deposit funds into your Coinbase wallet
  3. Choose Bitcoin from the buy and sell tab
  4. Enter the amount of Bitcoin you’d like to purchase and click buy BTC

Here are the top Exchanges for buying Bitcoin in the United States

Coinmama
Availability:
Worldwide
CEX.io
Availability:
Worldwide

Continue reading if you want an in-depth review of buying Bitcoin in the United States. In this article I will cover:

  1. Bitcoin legal status in the US
  2. Bitcoin popularity in the US
  3. Bitcoin communities in the US
  4. Buy Bitcoin in the US exchanges
  5. Buy Bitcoin in International exchanges
  6. Bitcoin ATMs in the US
  7. Conclusion

1. Is Bitcoin legal in the US?

Bitcoin gets a mixed reception in the US, with regulation tightening on cryptocurrency companies. Whilst it is legal and subject to the same taxes as any other currency, many companies have complained about confusing regulations.

This situation led to many operations removing their American services, at least for the time being, reducing options for users.

That being said, it is still home to some of the biggest corporations in the Bitcoin industry, including user-friendly easy options like Coinbase and Gemini.


2. How popular is Bitcoin in the US?

Bitcoin is very popular in the US, with the country holding some of the largest trading volumes in the world. The chart below shows the weekly trading volume for the United States on LocalBitcoins.

During 2018/2019 volumes regularly hover around and exceed the $6 million mark. Popularity and trading volume appear to have fallen since 2017, which peaked at $12.4 million. Some Bitcoin users have been spooked by the 2018 crash, while a lower asset price results in smaller reported volumes.

coin dance localbitcoins USD volume

Interest in Bitcoin in the US is shown below by Google Trends, using the search term Bitcoin. Interest score seems to hover steadily around the 25 line, with one significant spike occurring in the last 12 months. This June interest spike correlates to a price movement which saw Bitcoin return to over $10000. Low-interest preceeds this, once again correlating to a relatively low asset price point:

google_trends


3. Main United States Bitcoin communities

American’s have an abundance of  online communities with which they can stay updated about Bitcoin. Various forums and social groups provide support, information and discussion on a number of Bitcoin subjects. This includes gaining first-hand advice and reviews on Bitcoin exchanges and wallets. Here is a selection for you to check out:


4. US-based Bitcoin exchanges

US customers enjoy a strong selection of Bitcoin exchanges. This includes large well regulated options with high industry reputations.

Coinbase

Coinbase has been in operation since 2012 and is often considered as the place to go for first time Bitcoin buyers. As a US-based operation, US customers have extensive functionality for dealing with USD purchases.

Users can deposit funds via bank transfer, debit and credit card, plus PayPal withdrawals are also available. Fees are generally fair at just over 2%, although cheaper options do exist.

The platform is user-friendly for the ‘non techy’ amongst us. Bitcoin is supported, along with a selection of other coins. Coinbase is one of the biggest Bitcoin companies in the industry and therefore is fully regulated; complying with KYC and AML laws.

The only criticism is its lax customer support, which has trouble dealing with the requests of a huge customer base. You can read our full Coinbase review here.

Gemini

Gemini was launched in 2015 by the Winklevoss twins, the brothers who sued Mark Zuckerburg for the creation of Facebook. They’ve built one of the most trusted Bitcoin exchanges, and it’s even based out of the highly regulated state of New York.

In a unique move, Gemini built the exchange to comply with regulation and remains fully compliant. The company now works with regulators to develop new legislation.

Gemini’s trading platform is a little more complicated than Coinbase, with an order book trading style. Fees are cheap with at 0.25% combined with free deposits. You save a decent chunk for a little extra trading effort. You can read our full Gemini review here.

Kraken

Kraken is another stalwart of the US Bitcoin industry. Running out of San Francisco, it provides an advanced trading platform for Bitcoin and a huge selection of cryptocurrencies.

The trading exchange does lack accessibility for first-time buyers but fees are attractive at 0.26% for a standard Bitcoin trade. Deposits can be made via bank transfer.

Kraken operates across most of the USת with the exception of Washington State and New York where tighter licensing exists. You can read our full Kraken review here.


5. International exchanges available in the US

International exchanges offer added options to US customers with many supporting US dollar and helpful deposit methods. Here is a top selection available to you:

Coinmama

Coinmama may be based in Israel, but it’s available in a huge number of countries, including the US. It was launched in 2013, and it offers convenience: you can buy Bitcoin with a debit or credit card.

The downside is that the fees are on the high side at 5.5% per transaction and 5% per credit or debit card transaction. You can read our full review of Coinmama here.

CEX.IO

CEX.IO is available in most countries around the world. Founded in 2013 with its headquarters in London, this cryptocurrency exchange allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin as well as a selection of altcoins.

Both credit cards and bank transfers are accepted payment methods, with low fees of 0%–0.2% on trades. CEX.IO offers both a trading platform and a brokerage service, both entail different fees. You can read our full CEX.io review here.

Paxful

Paxful is a P2P marketplace, which allows buyers and sellers to meet online and trade Bitcoin directly with each other. Founded in 2015, by now they have offices in multiple cities around the world.

Sellers on Paxful accept over 300 payment methods, including bank transfers, Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal. If you’re buying Bitcoins on Paxful, you won’t have to pay any fee to the site itself, but the price of Bitcoin is traded at a premium because of this. You can read our full Paxful Review here.

Changelly

Changelly is a crypto only exchange, founded in 2015. Signing up for an account doesn’t require any personal information, and you’ll then have a quick and easy way of exchanging cryptocurrency from one wallet to another.

There’s a fixed fee of 0.5%, which is slightly higher than many other Bitcoin exchanges. You can read our full Changelly review here.


6. How many Bitcoin ATMs are there in the US?

As of 2019ֿ, there are over 3,500 Bitcoin ATMs in the US, according to CoinATMRadar. California is a particular hotspot with over 500 Bitcoin ATMs.


7. Conclusion

On the whole, Bitcoin has a positive reputation in the United States although it has got it’s issues. The general public and business sectors appear to be excited by the prospects of new technology.

However, there is still great resistance from banks and governments who are slowly building legislation. This is illustrated by the Facebook Libra project running into problems with the government.

Unfortunately, confusing regulation has led to many companies withdrawing their stateside service. There is still a decent choice of platforms to trade Bitcoin, but this has certainly been reduced during 2019 since the departure of Binance, Bittrex, Bancor, and others.

Happily, some US-based companies are working with regulators to build a brighter future, with Gemini and Coinbase leading the way.

Know of any change in Bitcoin’s legal status in the US? Do you have experience with the exchanges I’ve mentioned above? If yes, let me know in the comment section below.

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