Investing in Bitcoin is all the rage but how exactly does a beginner get started?
Do you need to already have Bitcoin to invest?
Or do you transfer money from your bank account to somewhere and convert it to Bitcoin? What does that look like?
We’ll answer all of these questions and list 10 popular websites for investing in Bitcoin.
Going forward, we’ll use BTC, which is the symbol for Bitcoin on exchanges and trading platforms.
If you just want to earn a high return with crypto, you might consider a crypto savings account. These accounts pay up to 12%, but do come with risks (just like regular crypto investing). Check out the best cryptocurrency savings accounts here.
How To Invest In Bitcoin
Investing in BTC is similar to investing in stocks, except far more volatile because of the daily swings in BTC. Here are the steps to invest in stocks from the beginning:
- Open a brokerage account at a firm that allows crypto investments
- Deposit funds from your bank into the brokerage account.
- Buy a stock using deposited funds (cash balance).
- Later sell the stock for a gain or loss. Funds are returned to your cash balance.
The main difference with BTC is for step three; you buy BTC or another cryptocurrency instead of stock.
With BTC, the above flow is similar in most cases but it depends on the exchange or trading platform. In some cases, you can buy BTC using your credit card or by transferring funds from your bank account.
For other platforms, you must transfer BTC directly. This is known as a direct deposit of BTC.
We’ll discuss how to invest in BTC for US citizens. The methods vary across countries because of differences in laws and regulations. Some countries require more private information than others to verify you are legitimate.
How To Deposit USD To Buy Bitcoin And Crypto
Coinbase is one of the most popular platforms and has a straightforward process. Some of the mentioned websites below will follow this same process. We love Coinbase because you get $5 if you invest $100.
With Coinbase, you open a Coinbase account and link your bank account or credit card. Then transfer funds from your bank account to purchase BTC or purchase using your credit card. Credit card purchases of BTC are the most expensive.
The mechanics of purchasing BTC involve entering a USD amount or a BTC amount. The website will then convert the other currency.
For example, if you enter in 500 USD, the website will fill in the BTC side with 0.0357 (or what ever the current BTC exchange rate is).
Once you have the amount filled in, click to purchase your BTC. While credit card transactions cost the most, they are also the fastest to complete BTC transactions.
Bank accounts can take up to a few days. Keep in mind that you will get the exchange rate at the time you purchased BTC.
If BTC goes up 1000 by the time your transaction completes three days later, you’ll miss out on the rise.
Where exactly does the BTC you’ve purchased go? After all, you haven’t invested it yet. Your BTC sits in what’s called a digital wallet. Most all exchanges have their own wallet that you use to contain your BTC.
Going back to the brokerage example, your cash balance is used to trade stocks. BTC in your wallet is used to trade BTC.
What about your USD?
Your wallet has a space for BTC and USD. If you deposit 10,000 USD and buy 5,000 USD of BTC, your wallet will look like this:
Wallets are a big topic of discussion when talking about cryptocurrencies. We won’t go into depth with them but you can use a stand-alone wallet if you don’t want to use the exchange’s wallet. Electrum.org is one example of a stand-alone wallet. This can be desktop, mobile or website based.
You can even use a hardware wallet such as LedgerWallet.com.
Once you’ve deposited funds with the exchange of choice and purchased BTC, you’re ready to invest. Trading platforms on the exchanges look very similar to brokerage platforms.
You’ll have a chart and buy/sell buttons with the amount of BTC to trade.
When trading in BTC, you can exchange into other cryptocurrencies, which is another method for selling BTC. Or you can exchange out of another cryptocurrency and into BTC, which is the same as buying BTC.
Direct Deposit Of BTC
In the case that the exchange doesn’t allow purchasing BTC by transferring funds or using a credit card, you can deposit BTC from another exchange.
This is done by getting your wallet address from the target exchange. Then enter it on the source exchange along with the amount of BTC to transfer to the new exchange.
The transaction takes a few minutes for the exchanged BTC to appear in the target wallet.
Top 10 Most Popular Bitcoin And Crypto Investing Sites
Here is our list of the 10 most popular Bitcoin and Crypto sties.
As we mentioned above, Coinbase is by far the most popular because you can invest directly with USD. You can currently purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin and 30+ other coins and tokens on the platform. Furthermore, you can earn interest on your USDT, and you can earn token rewards by completing various activities.
Plus, when you open a Coinbase account and deposit $100, you get a $5 bonus!
Read our full Coinbase Review here.
Get $5 free!
Gemini is a popular platform to invest in crypto because of its focus on security and transparency. Unlike some exchanges that appear vulnerable, Gemini makes it a focus to protect its customers.
Plus, when you open a Gemini account and deposit $100, you get a $10 bonus!
Read our full Gemini review here.
Get $10 free!
BlockFi is a cryptocurrency investment platform that allows you to lend and earn interest on your holdings. Also, instead of selling your coins and tokens, you can also borrow against your holdings.
If you're just looking to hold your tokens, you can also just let them earn interest for you.
Bonus Offer: Get up to $250 bonus when you make a $25 deposit and maintain it for the specified period of time.
Check out our full BlockFi review here.
Get up to a $250 bonus!
Robinhood offers free crypto trades on their platform. They are starting in just a few states, and with just Bitcoin and Ethereum, but they plan on expanding this quickly. There are limitations, but it's free!
Plus, when you open a Robinhood account, you get a free share of stock!
Read our full Robinhood review here.
Get a free share of stock!
eToro has been around for a while in the UK and throughout Europe, but they are now allowing traders in the United States. They offer a huge variety of digital assets to buy and sell on their platform, and even better, they have a practice trading account so you can give it a try before you actually use real funds.
Bonus Offer: Right now, you can earn up to a $500 bonus when you open a new account and open $5,000 worth of crypto trades by January 31, 2021. Open an account here >>
Read our full eToro review here.
Get a $500 bonus!
This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd. and eToro UK Ltd.) & USA (by eToro USA LLC); which is highly volatile, unregulated in most EU countries, no EU protections & not supervised by the EU regulatory framework. Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal.
6. Bitcoin IRA
Bitcoin IRA is a little different than the other platforms here. Unlike most exchanges and wallets, you're basically just exchanging currency and are subject to paying taxes on your gains (learn how taxes on your cryptocurrencies work here).
With that being said, Bitcoin IRA combines the best of being a crypto wallet and exchange, with also being an IRA. That means that your gains inside the account are tax free or tax deferred.
Advertised as the most advanced Bitcoin exchange. Not as easy to use as some of the top platforms on this list.Try Hitbtc here.
Note: Binance is not longer allowing US citizens to open an account.
Allows margin trading. Not as easy to use as some of the top platforms on this list. Try Kraken here.
Coinmama differentiates itself by letting you buy crypto with a credit card, debit card, Apple Pay or bank transfer. It supports most the the popular tokens. Not as easy to use as some of the top platforms on this list. Read our full Coinmama review here.
Try Coinmama here.
Investing in BTC isn’t much different from investing in stocks. With BTC, you need to open an account with an exchange. With stocks, you open an account with a brokerage. Then you deposit funds.
The only difference with investing in BTC is that you have to purchase BTC, first using deposited funds, before you can trade BTC. Although, your initial purchase of BTC is your first opening trade.
Have you ever used any of these sites?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.