11 May, 2024

5 Easy Ways to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously in 2024

Susan Oh
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Susan Oh
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Susan Oh is a leading figure in the integration of AI and blockchain for social good, serving as the CMO for BeOmni by Beyond Imagination and a civic technologist dedicated to creating scalable solutions. She is a board member of the Blockchain Commission For Sustainable Development supported by the UN GA Office of Partnerships, and...
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DeFi Dave is a notable figure in the crypto sector, recognized for founding Flywheel DeFi, a podcast, and co-founding PIF Labs, a blockchain-focused incubator. Born in 1994, he showed leadership early as a high school captain and pursued an education in Political Science at the University of Massachusetts. Dave's early career spanned various roles, but...
buy bitcoin anonymously

Buying Bitcoin anonymously used to be easy. But these days, most exchanges must abide by strict know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

At the same time, it’s not ideal to hand over all of your personal info to these exchanges and payment processors. The risk is data breaches across various companies worldwide—like Binance, Ledger, and more—have become scam targets.

If risking your sensitive personal data is not your cup of tea, don’t worry! I’ll walk you through a few of the best options for buying Bitcoin anonymously so you can keep your identity to yourself.

How to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously

1. Bitcoin ATMs

One of the quickest ways to buy Bitcoin anonymously is through a Bitcoin ATM.

Yes, ATM, as in an automated teller machine! These are just like your old-school banking ATM machines, but they are designed to accept or spit out Bitcoin instead of cash.

Unfortunately, most Bitcoin ATMs these days are located in the US and will have hard limits on anonymous purchases – if they allow them at all. Many Bitcoin ATM providers have been forced to use identity verification processes like exchanges.

General Bytes Bitcoin ATM machines
General Bytes Bitcoin ATM machines | Source: CoinATMRadar

However, you can still use an online directory like Coin ATM Radar to find a KYC-free Bitcoin ATM near you. The only downside is that you might need to check it out in person to see if that particular machine will ask for identity verification.

2. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Platforms

Peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms help you connect directly with other people to buy (or sell) Bitcoin, using a variety of payment methods. Although a ton of different payment types can be used, the majority of these transactions are either face-to-face with cash or via electronic payments such as bank transfers.

Escrow services or multi-signature (multisig) addresses further enhance the security of these trades, by holding onto the Bitcoins until the payment has been completed. This makes sure that the buyer doesn’t run away with the Bitcoins before paying.

3. P2P with Cash (Face-to-Face)

P2P, face-to-face cash purchases are quite self-explanatory. You’re simply meeting up in real life with another person, to buy their Bitcoins for physical cash.

LocalCoinSwap is one platform that lets you search your area for available sellers and price offers, for buying Bitcoin with cash. Whether or not a seller wants to ID you is up to them – you’ll be able to see that on their listing before initiating a trade.

LocalCoinSwap is one P2P platform that supports buying Bitcoin P2P with cash
LocalCoinSwap is one P2P platform that supports cash | Source: LocalCoinSwap

As with any real-life meeting with a stranger, make sure you take the right precautions to maximize your safety and minimize your risk.

Meet in a safe public area during daylight hours, bring a friend, and make sure that the user has positive feedback.

4. P2P with Electronic Payments

Electronic P2P purchases involve buying Bitcoin via an electronic payment method, which is done remotely. You won’t need to meet with the person face-to-face.

The seller will lock their Bitcoins in escrow or a multisig address, not releasing them until they receive your payment. You can’t touch these Bitcoins until they confirm you’ve paid them, and they also can’t get them back out of escrow if they take your money.

Two platforms you can use for P2P:

Bisq

Bisq is an open-source application that lets you buy or sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for fiat currency. For security, the coins are locked in a multisig address until the payment is confirmed.

    Bisq only matches you with other buyers or sellers, meaning that they never hold any of the money. This lets them avoid having to verify their users’ identities.

    Bisq is a P2P application that links Bitcoin buyers and sellers without registration
    Bisq is a P2P application without registration | Source: Bisq.network

    HodlHodl:

    HodlHodl is similar to Bisq. The platform matches buyers and sellers of Bitcoin for electronic fiat payments but lets them complete the trade independently. Once again, this is done through multisig addresses to ensure smooth, anonymous trades for both parties.

    You won’t need to verify your identity on HodlHodl either.

    HodlHodl allows to buy Bitcoin anonymously with electronic payments, P2P
    Buy Bitcoin anonymously with HoldHold | Source: HodlHodl

    5. Prepaid Cards

    You can take an extra step to preserve anonymity on electronic P2P purchases by buying prepaid debit cards with cash. You can then use these cards to purchase your Bitcoin via one of the platforms mentioned above.

    You’ll typically be able to find these prepaid cards in physical stores, such as major supermarket chains or convenience stores.

    Unfortunately, the limit on these is typically low. But if preserving your anonymity is important to you, it may be worth the hassle.

    What Are the Best Anonymous Bitcoin Wallets?

    The best type of wallet for keeping your coins anonymous is any type of non-custodial wallet, which I would recommend to everyone regardless.

    Non-custodial wallets require you to store and manage your own private keys, meaning that no company or other party is holding your Bitcoins for you. However, not all non-custodial wallets are built equally for this purpose.

    Here are some of the options:

    • Hardware wallets: Amazing physical devices for storing your own coins, but you’ll have to give up your details to the manufacturer to buy the device and have it shipped to you. Although this doesn’t tie directly to your wallet address, you’re still giving up some degree of anonymity.
    • Paper wallets: Physical copies of public and private keys, which are literally printed on paper. You can print these on your own, which is great – but they’re not very durable.
    • Non-custodial software wallets: Handy for managing your coins on your phone or computer, but you still need to save your private keys somewhere offline. Some of these, such as Wasabi Wallet or Samourai Wallet, preserve the privacy of further transactions that you make.

    Overall, you should be safe with any one of the above options. The pros and cons you decide to take on are up to you.

    In any case, you can never go wrong with a Ledger Nano S.

    Currencies
    • 1,000+
    IOS/Android App
    • Yes
    Purchase Cost
    • $79

    More details

    Ledger Nano S Plus is a fortress-like protection for your digital wealth, sporting an affordable price point. This crypto wallet supports many cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks, making them easily managed via the reputable Ledger Live app. Despite its significant advantages, some users have noted the lack of storage capacity.


    • Support for up to 5,500 cryptocurrencies.

    • Private keys are always offline.

    • Integration with other hot wallets.

    • Support for staking.

    • NFT support.

    • High fees for Ledger Live crypto purchases.

    • Limited app space.

    • Small display.

    Risks Of Buying Crypto Anonymously

    Buying Bitcoin anonymously has its risks. 

    One major issue is the higher chance of fraud and scams. Scammers benefit from being anonymous – getting away with theft is easier when nobody knows your name. 

    Always check the seller’s reputation carefully before going ahead with a transaction. 

    There are also often higher costs or mark-ups associated with anonymous purchases, along with lower transaction limits. This is because sellers take on more risk with fiat payments sometimes being reversed in the case of fraud. 

    We also recommend using a VPN for a final added layer of privacy. A VPN hides your internet activity, making it harder for anyone to track your purchases or steal your information. Check out our list of the best VPNs for crypto trading we have tailored for our users.

    While buying Bitcoin anonymously is generally not illegal, you should still make sure you understand and abide by the laws and regulations in your particular region.

    Keep in mind that these rules are still developing in several parts of the world – the laws that applied today may be different tomorrow.

    We hope that by understanding these methods a little deeper, you can make more informed decisions about buying Bitcoin anonymously.