How do I actually buy Bitcoin?

tecate

Frequent Poster
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580
I've zero interest in buying bitcoin but how do you even aquire it?

Are there ETF, s which track that market?
There is no Bitcoin ETF despite repeated attempts to get one approved via the SEC. That's even less likely to happen anytime soon given that Democratic Senator Brad Sherman is now Chair on the sub-committee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship & Capital Markets (Sherman is a vocal critic of Bitcoin and says it is a threat to the US dollar).

You can gain exposure to Bitcoin via Grayscale's Bitcoin Trust (GBTC). It does however trade at a premium and there is an annual fee.
Otherwise, you can simply buy Bitcoin directly via cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase Pro, Kraken, Bitstamp, Bitfinex and others.

Bitcoin futures are available via the CME and Bakkt. Options are now supported via the CME and FTX.

As regards the notion that its necessary to hang around for 10 minutes for transaction confirmation, that may be necessary on the mainnet but it's not necessary for Lightning Network transactions which are pretty much instantaneous. Bitfinex has recently launched support for Lightning and we should see further inroads being made as 2020 progresses.
 
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Brendan Burgess

Founder
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38,901
Hi Tecate

I have moved these posts to a new thread.

Fancy expanding on your answer and doing a detailed "How to" post. Step by step for those who want to buy Bitcoin or a derivative.

You might also cover
  • How to store Bitcoin
  • Mistakes to avoid
  • How not to get scammed
and whatever else you consider important.

Brendan
 

tecate

Frequent Poster
Messages
580
Fancy expanding on your answer and doing a detailed "How to" post. Step by step for those who want to buy Bitcoin or a derivative.

You might also cover
  • How to store Bitcoin
  • Mistakes to avoid
  • How not to get scammed
and whatever else you consider important.
Will do Brendan - just caught up with a couple of things right now but will come back later and post.
 

tecate

Frequent Poster
Messages
580
Brendan, this isn't all that you asked for but it's a start. I'll try and come back again and do a separate post on crypto storage/scam avoidance. As regards the options below, I have not lived in Ireland for a couple of years now, so I have a different set of options open to me. I have not used all of the options listed below (or used them recently) so others may be able to give better feedback and we can wiki this up with greater accuracy.

Buying via crypto exchange
You can purchase Bitcoin via the crypto spot exchanges such as Bitstamp, Kraken and Coinbase (among others). If you open an account with Coinbase, upgrade the account to Coinbase Pro to avail of lower fees.
By and large, SEPA transfer in/out is needed.

You *can leave crypto on account with the exchange. However, there is no guarantee in the case of the exchange going bust or being hacked that you’ll be left with your crypto afterwards. On that basis, crypto should be transferred in and out - just at the times you plan on selling/buying. It's a case of 'not your keys, not your coins'. There are a number of ways you can self custody your crypto. If it’s a significant amount that’s at stake, its something that you have to invest some time into getting a better understanding of.

Buying from an Irish exchange
The crypto space is now dominated by large international players and that’s where the bulk of the trade happens - with the sector continuing to consolidate. If you feel more comfortable with buying from an irish exchange, try Cork-based Bitcove.ie . They have a non-custodial business model so they’re not going to lose your crypto. However, you will need to take responsibility for storing - so you’ll need to understand how to go about that.
My understanding is that purchase is via SEPA transfer. They have to use overseas banking as one by one, the irish banks pulled the carpet out from under them.

Buying with credit card
You can buy Bitcoin with a credit card through exchanges such as Coinbase and Bitpanda and usually the app based offerings (see below). Whilst you can get your hands on your crypto faster this way, the fees are much higher.

Buying via ATM
Bitcove (and others) have established a few Bitcoin ATMs in Ireland. ATMs generally are not going to be an option for investment purposes as rates naturally won’t be comparable with other means. However, it’s a good option for someone that wants to simply buy €50 worth of Bitcoin - simply to get used to working with a digital currency and to learn about it.
This site tracks crypto ATMs worldwide (may not be 100% up to date as I think there’s one or two missing from that irish map).

Buying via App
Revolut: Revolut support Bitcoin purchase (for premium account holders). However, you don’t get a crypto wallet and you can only buy (and not sell) Bitcoin. My understanding is that rates won’t be the best - this is not going to be a competitive means of sourcing Bitcoin. Furthermore, you can send it to other Revolut users but can’t sell it - so it’s a very limited offering. Additionally, there’s no guarantee in place that covers their storage of your crypto.
Abra: The app allows you to buy/sell/store/invest in crypto and traditional stocks. Through Abra, you can buy crypto via credit card - as well as SEPA transfer.

Buying via ‘Crypto Banks’
Bitwala: One of the first ‘crypto banks’ has opened in the form of Berlin-based ‘Bitwala’. It facilitates regular banking - with the ability to buy/sell crypto alongside your conventional euro account. The bank guarantee applies to your Euro. Insofar as I’m aware, there’s no such guarantee on their storage of your crypto. App based banking/trading is provided.

Other options developing or already available on that integrated banking theme include Wirex and Bankera. It’s early days but we can expect this to develop further (particularly offering crypto storage and guarantees in the fullness of time…as self custody is not for everyone).

Peer to Peer Purchase
Local Bitcoins: Local Bitcoins has been the main P2P marketplace for Bitcoin for a number of years. Buyers are paired with sellers and a reputation system is used. Crypto can be purchased via bank transfer and the marketplace runs an escrow system to protect buyer and seller.
It used to facilitate those that didn’t want to go through KYC/AML but that’s changed since last year. It used to be possible to find sellers and pay in cash. Naturally this comes with risks.

Bitcoin Futures/Options

(* I can't say for sure if these are all available in Europe nor do I have any experience with derivatives).

OKEx
Bakkt
Deribit
FTX
CME
Bitmex

Bitcoin ETF
The subject of much speculation over the past couple of years, as yet the SEC has not approved a Bitcoin ETF in the US despite ongoing applications from VanEck, Bitwise, SolidX, The Winklevoss twins' Bitcoin Trust and others. Probably unlikely to see approval in the short term.

GBTC
It's not strictly an ETF but investors can get exposure to Bitcoin via Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) without having to mess about with crypto exchanges. However, it does trade at a premium and there are annual fees.
 
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