Most people buy Bitcoin via cryptocurrency exchanges. Exchanges allow you to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency, and setting up an account is similar to opening a brokerage account—you’ll need to verify your identity and provide some kind of funding source, such as a bank account or debit card.
Major exchanges include Coinbase, Kraken, and Gemini. You can also buy Bitcoin at an online broker like Robinhood.
Regardless of where you buy your Bitcoin, you’ll need a Bitcoin wallet in which to store it. This might be what’s called a hot wallet or a cold wallet. A hot wallet (also called an online wallet) is stored by an exchange or a provider in the cloud. Providers of online wallets include Exodus, Electrum and Mycelium. A cold wallet (or mobile wallet) is an offline device used to store Bitcoin and is not connected to the Internet. Some mobile wallet options include Trezor and Ledger.
A few important notes about buying Bitcoin: While Bitcoin is expensive, you can buy fractional Bitcoin from some vendors. You’ll also need to look out for fees, which are generally small percentages of your crypto transaction amount but can really add up on small-dollar purchases. Finally, be aware that Bitcoin purchases are not instantaneous like many other equity purchases seemingly are. Because Bitcoin transactions must be verified by miners, it may take you at least 10-20 minutes to see your Bitcoin purchase in your account.