Buy Stuff On Bitcoin Marketplaces

buy stuff for bitcoin

You can get some good deals when buying items for Bitcoin directly from other people. As long as you take certain precautions, buying on an online marketplace can be a great way to spend your bitcoins.

How Does It Work?

Buying on a marketplace for bitcoins is just like buying stuff on Craigslist or Ebay using national currency. Sellers post advertisements on the marketplace describing their item(s), and buyers contact the seller or place bids on the listed items.

If the items you’re buying are downloadable or small enough to be shipped, you never have to meet the seller in person. If you’re looking to buy a larger item (car, real estate, etc.), you’ll probably have to schedule an appointment to meet the seller and finalize the deal.

Who Goes First?

Should you send the bitcoins first? Or should the seller ship the item to you first? As a Bitcoin buyer, you are especially vulnerable to fraud because Bitcoin transactions are irreversible, and if you get ripped off, there’s probably no way to get your money back.

That’s why you should you only make purchases from sellers with a good reputation, and use escrow when making the payment. Escrow will hold the funds until you release them, and offer some recourse if the seller doesn’t deliver what was promised.

Using Escrow

Using a 3rd party escrow service may cost a small percentage fee of the total transaction, but it helps protect both buyers and sellers from scammers. The escrow service, being a reputable and indifferent 3rd party, handles the funds and resolves any disputes that may arise. Most buyers and sellers insist on using an escrow service for deals with new individuals. It works like this:

  1. The buyer deposits the amount of bitcoins for the item with a reputable 3rd party escrow service. This proves they have the funds to make the purchase.

  2. The escrow service notifies the seller that the bitcoins have been deposited in full. At this point the escrow service usually takes their fee (which may be paid by the seller, the buyer, or a fifty-fifty split by both).

  3. The seller ships or hands over the items to the buyer.

  4. Once the buyer receives the items and inspects them, they contact the escrow service to release the bitcoins to the seller.

  5. The escrow service sends the bitcoins to the seller. Done deal.

If there are any disputes (i.e. the buyer claims the goods they received were damaged, not as described, or never even arrived), it is up to the escrow service to resolve it. As a buyer, you should keep records of the seller’s advertisement and the stated condition of the goods. Then take photographs of any received goods so they can be provided as evidence to the escrow service.

A List of Bitcoin Marketplaces

Below is a list of every reputable Bitcoin marketplace and online classifieds site where you can buy stuff with Bitcoin.

Glyde“Simply buy and sell your games, iPads, iPhones, and more”
Description Glyde is a marketplace for people selling and buying used smartphones, tablets, video games, and other gadgets. Sellers can choose to have their earnings withdrawn in Bitcoin, to a bank account, or via paper check. However, buyers cannot make purchases using Bitcoin, only with a credit card. When selling an item, Glyde suggests a median price for the item, and limits the maximum and minimum amount you can ask for it.
Auction System
Escrow System
User Feedback System
Fees
  • When an item is sold, sellers pay a 12% fee on the first $100 of the sale price, and then 8% fee on the remaining amount.
  • A buyer protection fee of up to $10 applies is charged to sellers for items that go unshipped without being promptly canceled.
Other Notes
  • Additional Glyde policies available here.
Cryptothrift“Bitcoin and Litecoin Marketplace and Auction Site”
Description Cryptothrift is the Ebay of Bitcoin. The site features both auction and “Buy It Now” type sales, and supports payments in both Bitcoin and Litecoin.
Auction System
Escrow System
User Feedback System
Fees
  • Sellers pay a 2.5% flat rate of the price of the item, or the Bitcoin/Litecoin transaction fee (whichever is higher).
  • If escrow is used, the buyer pays an additional 1% fee on the final price of the item.
Other Notes
  • Sellers must offer escrow, buyer determines whether or not to use it.
Bitcoin Classifieds“The Biggest Bitcoin Classified Advertising Site”
Description Bitcoin Classifieds is kind of like the Craigslist of Bitcoin. It’s free to create an account and list an ad. The site claims not to police or review posted listings, though its terms state that items of illegal nature (drugs, porn, etc.) are not allowed.
Auction System
Escrow System
User Feedback System
Fees None.
Other Notes
  • Even though the site has a user feedback system, it’s definitely recommended to use a 3rd party escrow when making a purchase.
Bitcointalk MarketBitcointalk forum’s marketplace
Description The Bitcointalk Market is a subforum of the Bitcointalk forum that lists a wide variety of goods, services, and investments. Buyer beware though: this subforum has been rife with scams in the past, it’s best to always use escrow when making a purchase.
Auction System
Escrow System
User Feedback System
Fees None
Other Notes
  • To list an item, you’ll need a bitcointalk.org account.
  • Buyers are highly encouraged to use a 3rd party escrow system when making a purchase.
reddit.com/r/BitMarket subreddit“… for buying and selling virtually anything with Bitcoin.”
Description BitMarket is a subreddit where users can post both items for sale and items they’d like to buy. The barrier to entry to list is high though: your reddit user account must be 100+ days old and have 100+ combined comment karma.
Auction System
Escrow System
User Feedback System
Fees None
Other Notes
  • To list an item, you need a reddit account, and it needs to have 100+ combined comment karma and be 100+ days old.
  • Buyers are highly encouraged to use a 3rd party escrow system when making a purchase.
  • Post titles explained:
    • [WTS] = Want To Sell
    • [WTB] = Want To Buy
    • [SCAMMER] = scammer alert
    • [META] = post about the BitMarket subreddit: policies, suggestions, etc.
BitPremier“The Bitcoin Luxury Marketplace”
Description BitPremier is a marketplace for fancy goods with very high prices. Since it’s mainly a place for Bitcoin rich folks to shop, their inventory is very limited.
Auction System
Escrow System
User Feedback System
Fees
  • Sellers pay a 5% transaction fee when an item is sold.
Other Notes Items are manually reviewed by the BitPremier team, and are limited to the following:
  • real estate
  • autos ($50,000 or higher)
  • jewelry and watches ($5,000 or higher)
  • home goods and travel ($5,000 or higher)
  • handbags and accessories ($5,000 or higher)