Buying Bitcoin or any other form of cryptocurrency is very easy these days. However, buying Bitcoin anonymously, is getting ever more difficult due to surveillance measures that the regulators all around the world are passing by day.
What are thus the options for buyers, who do not want to give up their financial privacy and still want to own some bitcoins? Here are just a few possibilities on how to buy Bitcoin anonymously and without any need of KYC or ID.
To get Bitcoin anonymously, the best thing one can do is probably to get it in person through a friend or a trusted party in exchange for cash. This is however a bit difficult, since to buy Bitcoin anonymously and through peer-to-peer, one must trust the other side of the transaction. While these deals usually offer the best kind of anonymity, since there is almost no digital copy left, other than the transaction itself, it has its risks as well.
Peer-to-peer transactions are mostly based on trust, which means that it is always good to have at least some kind of a relationship with the other side of the transaction. Since in most of the cases of peer-to-peer transactions a real in-person meeting is necessary, safety can also become an issue, which is, yet again, why the trust in this case is very important.
Yet, once the trust between the buyers and sellers is built, peer-to-peer transactions are usually the best when it comes to buying non-KYCed Bitcoin anonymously. First of all, most of the time these can be handled in cash, unless a huge amount of bitcoins is being bought.
Secondly, it only requires a scan of a QR code, which means that it can go directly to the anonymous bitcoin wallet of the holder (the buyer), which in most cases does not need to be KYCed or connected to the identity of the buyer. This also means that the transaction goes to blockchain (or is completely off-chain in case of Lightning Network), but without any trace of the buyer’s identity.
Sometimes, it might be a bit hard to get connected with the fellow Bitcoiners who would be willing to do this kind of peer-to-peer transactions. Yet, there are always options out there, such as Bitcoin meetups or conferences, where it is not uncommon for people to get together to buy and sell BTC anonymously.
Another option is through different group chats. Messaging platform Signal is very popular in this sense due to its privacy features and encrypted conversations. Signal can become a very common ground for these kinds of people to either get together and meet or even proceed with online transactions. These are a bit less private, but if done properly, could still lead to a very high level of purchase anonymity for Bitcoin.
The advantage of all the P2P transfers is that most of the time, it is possible to try to bring the transaction fee down. Since these transfers are usually not automated and are between two people, it is possible to try to push the seller to lower the transaction fee. It is also possible to agree on a lower fee based on the number of purchases or the size of purchases, something that is not possible with automated systems.
If you have not yet found any likeminded Bitcoin individuals in your area or are not connected with them through chats, do not worry. There are options out there that will still allow you to buy Bitcoin anonymously. One of those options are anonymous bitcoin exchanges.
Two of the best known probably are Bisq and Hodlhodl, however, there are several others such as Paxful and LocalCryptos, but some people do not categorize these as decentralised exchanges. No matter the nomenclature, what is important is that these platforms usually offer a way for people to buy bitcoins anonymously, without any need of ID or KYC and they can do it from the comfort of their home, all online.
Most of these platforms offer Bitcoin purchases in a private and secure manner. Yet, they can get a bit more complex and are thus not completely recommended for newcomers. At least not from the start. This Coindesk article nicely captures how Bisq works and how to understand its trading mechanisms.
The advantage of this type of purchase is that sometimes, the coins at these exchanges are even discounted compared to the prices on other markets. While this does not happen often that does not mean it can't happen for you at all. And even if it did not, the fees are usually not that steep at these exchanges, ranging anywhere between 2 - 7% giving you a choice of whether or not to accept.
Bitcoin ATMs are still one of the best ways to buy bitcoin anonymously. Although many countries have already regulated the BATM market with KYC, some jurisdictions still allow possibilities of smaller purchases without KYC. For instance, some countries in Europe allow for the purchase of non-KYC bitcoins through ATMs to 1 000€.
Yet, these possibilities seem to be shrinking. With the growing regulation around cryptocurrency custody and KYC/AML processes especially in the European Union, people will have it more and more difficult to get to Bitcoin anonymously when it comes to Bitcoin ATMs.
Nevertheless, it never hurts to go around the block and try and find whether there are any Bitcoin ATMs that would provide this privacy feature. For instance, a Bitcoin ATM tracking website CoinATMradar can help with that.
It needs to be mentioned though that Bitcoin ATMs can usually have pretty high fees. In most cases they have a fixed fee of about 10 dollars, euros or pounds depending on the jurisdiction. But they also have another floating or variable fee that can be as high as 10% on top of the current price. Thus, it is necessary to have this in mind when using these devices.
Our last option is a bit more interesting and would involve at least some kind of understanding of how cryptocurrencies work. Crypto to crypto swaps can offer some form of privacy as well; however, it needs to be stated straightaway that the first (or the swapped) cryptocurrencies would ideally have to be bought privately as well. What does all of this mean?
Well services such as Changelly or Fixedfloat offer an option of swapping one cryptocurrency for another without any need of ID or KYC. This means that you will simply send one crypto and receive another, which in this case, should be Bitcoin. Which cryptocurrency you will send obviously mostly depends on you as well as platform’s options, but with Fixedfloat, for instance, you have almost 30 different options including Ethereum, Cardano, Tezos and of course Bitcoin and even Bitcoin on Lightning Network.
It also needs to be mentioned that while these services do not usually hold any information about the sender or the receiver, they are very rarely open-sourced. This means that you will need to trust them to some degree that they do not store the information of the transfers. However, if you got to any crypto anonymously and exchanged it through these means, your anonymity should be preserved.
The transfer fees for these platforms usually have about 0.5 – 2% fees, which considering what they offer, is a very reasonable price to pay.
While the regulators all around the world try to do their best in stopping people from making anonymous BTC purchases, there are still possibilities how one can buy bitcoin anonymously. This article by no means included all the options, but it covered the most important ones and the ones that should be accessible for everyone no matter their technical level, preference of buying in-person or online or for cash or wire transfer/card payment.
Would you like to send Bitcoin privately but don't have non-KYCed Bitcoin? Use Whir. A tool for an average Joe who wants to protect their privacy. Send from 0.001 up to 1 BTC privately, without KYC, using a privacy-enabled CoinJoin transaction.
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Disclaimer: This article does not serve as a piece of financial advice or encouragement and inducement for the usage of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Its primary role is informative, explanatory, and educational. The readers have to decide themselves whether to use or not to use these types of services.