Where do you buy Bitcoins in the US? There are several different ways to do it, depending on an interplay of privacy and cost. Right now, in the Bitcoin market, there exist considerable price differences with different sources. You need to be intelligent about buying Bitcoins in the US because you can usually get a much cheaper rate than at MtGox for instance. Here are some best ways to buy Bitcoins in the US that I found –
1. Coinbase: Extremely convenient, not anonymous, best price
If you’re not looking for anonymity, Coinbase will give you the best price, period. I found the price here to be lower than even the in-person meetups where people had made a market in BTC/USD. It is also usually about 10% cheaper than MtGox price, so there is really no reason to buy on MtGox ever (even including the 1% fees charged by Coinbase). The only reason you might want to move away from Coinbase is if you want to buy Bitcoins anonymously.
I have the highest confidence in Coinbase also because it is backed by some of the biggest Venture Capital firms, so I know they are not pulling a scam.
Also, if you complete all the identity verification processes, you can buy up to 50 BTC instantaneously each day. That means you don’t even have to wait for confirmations to spend your Bitcoins that you bought. I think it’s a great service.
2. Bitcoin Brokers: Completely anonymous, Premium Pricing
This is a completely anonymous service. You deposit cash into the bank account of the seller of the Bitcoin and you’ll get your Bitcoin when the seller confirms or within 48 hours of this. The price is based on the MtGox price plus a premium, usually 2%-3% so it is definitely much more expensive than Coinbase. However, you don’t need to disclose any identities in this case. The service itself acts as an escrow and you pay a 2% fees.
This is a good method to buy Bitcoins in the US if you’re located far away from a city or a place where it is hard to meet people in person and you still want to maintain your anonymity. Or for whatever reason, you don’t want to meet sellers face to face to confirm transactions.
3. LocalBitcoins: Convenient, semi-anonymous, average pricing
Localbitcoins is a site that aims to bring buyers and sellers together. The price is usually higher than what Coinbase offers, but you have relative anonymity here because you don’t really need to reveal your identity when buying Bitcoins. That being said, there’s always an element of risk when you’re dealing with this locally because someone might try to scam you. Keep your guard up and always meet at a public place and wait for at least one confirmation of the transaction before you part with your cash.
If you live in a place like New York, you can buy Bitcoins in New York from a very enthusiastic little group of people who meet at Union Square every Monday from 5pm onwards, called now the Satoshi Square meetup. There are similar meetups in a number of larger cities all over the country. This can be a good place to buy some Bitcoin and network with the community.
These are the three easy ways to buy Bitcoins in the US. Have you tried any of these? Do you know of other ways? Let me know.
Photo Credit: bfishadow