Now we‘re coming closer to the acquisition of your Bitcoin. In this part of our guide, we present you several common models that enable you to change fiat-money to digital cash – in Bitcoin. Each model has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- ATM: Maybe the easiest and most private method to acquire Bitcoins is a Bitcoin ATM. You know it, these machines where you can get money with your card. Some companies like Lamassu produce ATM-machines for Bitcoins, where you can buy Bitcoin with cash. If the operators of these machines wish, they can apply some KYC-rules, from mobile phone verification to biometric methods. On Coin-ATM-Radar.com you find a global map with these machines. Another kind of ATM is to just use an existing net of ATMs, like that from banks or train stations, to sell Bitcoins. This has been done for example in the Swiss, in Ukraine or in Spain. ATMs mostly have a relatively high fee of 3-6 percent or even more.
- Gift Cards/Voucher: This is another easy method to buy Bitcoins. You go to a kiosk or some other shop, buy a gift card or a voucher, visit a website, where you can use the code on the card to get your Bitcoin. This method is in use for example in Austria, Mexico, and South Korea. Like ATMs, gift cards mostly charge relatively high fees.
- Direct commercial exchanges/brokers: These vendors are like the exchange offices you might know from an airport, but digital. They buy Bitcoins on an exchange and sell it to customers. You visit a website, choose your means of payment, pay and get Bitcoins for prices set by the platform. For most of these platforms, you need your own wallet, while some, for example, Coinbase and Circle, give you the option to save and spend the Bitcoins with a wallet they provide. Since you can use a great variety of payment channels, even credit cards, and PayPal, such platforms might be the fastest and easiest way for new users to buy their first Bitcoin. The fees of direct commercial exchanges vary between 1 and 5 percent. Some of them earn money by using the spread between buying and sell. Most demand extra fees for some means of payment like credit cards.
- P2P-Markets: On P2P-marketplaces buyers and sellers of Bitcoin meet and trade with each other. The fees on these markets are relatively low with 0 to 1 percent; the spread depends on the liquidity of the market and the payment channel. Other than with direct you can not only take, but make an offer: You set a price and wait until someone sells you a Bitcoin. This enables you to buy relatively large amounts of Bitcoin at relatively low prices. The most famous P2P-market is LocalBitcoins. This worldwide platform serves a lot of currencies and lets buyers and sellers decide which means of payment they use. It is often used to facilitate anonymous exchanges, sometimes for extraordinarily high prices. Bitcoin.de, the largest P2P-market in the Eurozone offers good liquidity and is a nice option to easily change Euro to Bitcoin. The third famous P2P market is bitsquare, a completely decentralized market, which is nothing more than a software that connects people.
- Exchange platforms: If you want to buy regularly large amounts of Bitcoin to good prices or trade with Bitcoins you‘ll most likely choose an exchange platform. Exchanges act as an escrow for its clients and save both Bitcoin and Fiat-money on behalf of their customers. Here you can offer your own orders to buy or sell Bitcoin, and the Their trading engine of the exchanges cumulates these orders and s offers from buyers and sellers and processes trades. Often exchanges have more options to trade like margin trading. Usually, fees and the spread are low. But the process to start an account on exchanges can be complicated, requires privacy disclosing information and needs you to trust the exchange with your money.