Welcome to Bitcoin!

Below you will find a few services you can use to purchase and sell Bitcoins. Many Bitcoin businesses appear and quickly disappear. The services listed below have been around awhile, seem to be responsibly run and/or are regulated, and seem to have the respect of the community.

Note also that we distinguish between services that mainly buy and sell Bitcoin, and professional exchanges that focus on trading and speculating on the price of Bitcoin. For those types of exchanges, please visit our Bitcoin Exchanges page.

Coinbase

Coinbase has been in operation since 2012 and is one of the best-known and trusted ways to buy Bitcoin. Their main business is to sell Bitcoin to the public.

They also run a merchant payment processing service (Overstock, Dell, Expedia, Dish Network, and Time Inc., among others is a customer), a fully-insured vaulting service for nervous Bitcoin holders, and an exchange.

They are most useful in the US and Canada, but operate in 32 countries. Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the New York Stock Exchange, and USAA are notable investors.

Coinbase is fully regulated and complies with AML and KYC laws. To purchase larger amounts of Bitcoin instantly, they will require you to provide identification.

In the US, UK and other supported countries, you can link you bank account for direct debit and deposit for sales and purchases. This makes Coinbase very easy to use. For other countries, they offer SEPA deposits.

UK and European countries can purchases with by credit card if it has 3D Secure. In the US, they only use the credit card for verification, debiting purchases from your bank account.

Coinbase charge a 1% fee for purchases.

Coinbase imposes buy limits and unverified customers must wait four or five days for the bitcoins to be delivered. Sales are instant and deposit time into your bank account is dependent on the banking system.

Some customers have complained that Coinbase cancels orders during the wait period before they deliver the coins if the price has swung too far in the customer’s favor.

Because they are fully regulated, Coinbase will suspend accounts if they believe the customer is using the bitcoins for illegal purposes.

Some review sites show a large number of complaints, but as Coinbase has taken sides in the recent blocksize debates, it’s unclear if these complaints are real or spoofed.

BitQuick

BitQuick has been in operation since 2013.

BitQuick is different than Coinbase in that it is primarily an escrow service allowing individuals to safely trade Bitcoins between each other. The seller loads Bitcoin into escrow with details of the sale, the buyer browses the order book and selects the order. The buyer then has three hours to make payment by depositing cash into the sellers account or by SEPA transfer.

BitQuick requires ID verification for large orders and monitors orders to prevent scams. They also post proof of reserves to reassure customers that they are able to fulfill all orders.

They are a BoostVC company and have many key partnerships, including CoinKite wallet and BitGo.

As stated in the overview, sellers deposit bitcoins into an escrow account and list their intention to sell in the order book. Buyers select the offers they want to purchase and have three hours to deposit the money into the sellers account or complete a SEPA transfer.

Buyers pay a 2% fee; sellers pay nothing.

According to BitTrust, some users complain of incomplete transactions and slow customer support. The incomplete transactions seem to be a feature of full blocks making transactions slow to confirm.

Local Bitcoins

Local Bitcoins was established in 2012 and is headquartered in Finland. It is a bit like Craigslist for Bitcoin in that it will help you search for people buying or selling bitcoins in your local area. The sellers list price, typically at a large premium over exchange prices, and payment methods.

There are two types of trades with LocalBitcoins, online and local. If the trade is online, the coins are held in escrow and released once payment is verified by the seller. If the seller runs off with the money, LocalBitcoins can release the coins.

Local trades mean that you are meeting the other person face to face to exchange money and coins in person.

LocalBitcoins charges a 1% fee from sellers when bitcoins are released from escrow and have a variety of small fees for sending money to non-LocalBitcoins wallets.

LocalBitcoins have been a long standing and generally trusted way to buy and sell bitcoins. However, because it is peer-to-peer, there have been reports of scams and thefts particularly with face-to-face trades.

In 2014, two Florida based traders were arrested and charged with violating money transmitting laws showing that there is a regulatory grey zone here.

Some review sites show a large number of complaints, but as Coinbase has taken sides in the recent blocksize debates, it’s unclear if these complaints are real or spoofed.

Paxful

Paxful is a relative newcomer to the Bitcoin space, coming online in August 2015. They made a name for themselves, though, when Backpage was blocked from taking credit cards for its adult services listings. Paxful went viral through the escort community as a way to skirt those rules and Bitcoin gained a whole new class of ardent user.

Paxful is a listing and escrow service where people can post their ads to sell or buy Bitcoins.

The Paxful interface is really easy. You select how much in Bitcoin you want to buy, the currency you are using, and the method you would like to pay by. The system will give you a list of sellers matching your criteria.

What’s really unique is the massive range of payment options, ranging from Visa credit card to Best Buy gift cards. Really, anything people are willing to trade for Bitcoin is on the table.

Once you initiate a trade, you have to complete payment within a certain time limit, set by the type of payment you selected, or the trade will be canceled.

Paxful takes a 1% fee from the seller.

LocalBitcoins charges a 1% fee from sellers when bitcoins are released from escrow and have a variety of small fees for sending money to non-LocalBitcoins wallets.

Paxful was originated in Estonia and is incorporated in Delaware. Delaware has very easy incorporation laws.

That being said, it’s our estimation that Paxful has been honest and upfront in their dealings to date and seem to have great customer support helping onboard new users who do not understand computers or Bitcoin very well.

NairaEx

NairaEx has been serving the Nigerian market since 2015. They’ve gone from a Reddit post saying they’re open to serving more than 60,000 customers in just two years, and the have lots more room to grow as Nigeria has 177 million people.

The service is pretty straight forward. After signing up, bank deposits and withdrawals can be conducted.

There are some complaints about their customers service, but no more serious claims. The CEO seems to be active responding directly to any complaints that arise.

Bitsquare

Bitsquare is a bit different than the other exchanges listed here. This is a decentralized exchanged run as a program on your computer.

Once you have the software running on your computer, you can post sell or buy orders. When a match is made, the Bitcoin go into escrow until payment is made via whatever method you work out with the other person. Once payment has been made, the funds will be released.

In the event of a dispute, a third part, arranged at the time of the sale, will intermediate and will decide which party will get the Bitcoins. They will receive a small fee posted along with the sale amount, but which is only paid if their services are used.

Bitsquare is still experimental, though it seems to be running smoothly and picking up steam. The developers also ran into a branding problem when they tried to register the name and have opted to change the name rather spend time an money on a court battle.

CoinMama

CoinMama is located in Israel, and serves the whole world. They will take payment in any currency, though their website will price purchases in only USD and EUR. They have been around for a number of years and are a recognized name.

You can fun a purchase by credit card, Western Union, and a few other options. They add a 8.25% fee to the total purchase which is reflected in the displayed price. Bitcoins are usually sent within a few minutes of purchase, but there can be delays after hours or on holidays.

We were able to find a few complaints about CoinMama, but most had to do with delayed sending of Bitcoins after purchase, which is something that would make anyone nervous. It seems that most of these complaints were handled to the customers’ satisfaction.