If you want to buy Bitcoin privately, without taking pictures of your ID or verifying your identity, then you’ve come to the right place.
This guide will cover the best ways to purchase Bitcoin anonymously, which you can do either with cash or a credit card.
While buying Bitcoin is no sweat to people who are knowledgeable about the cryptocurrency, it’s much trickier if you haven’t done it before and want to buy some to hold as a long-term asset that hopefully appreciates. And it’s even more difficult if you want to remain anonymous in the process.
Here’s the good news – by the end of this guide, you’ll know several great ways to purchase Bitcoin without showing anyone your ID or going through a verification process.
Before we begin, note that you should have a Bitcoin wallet first. At many Bitcoin exchanges, you’re going to need a wallet before you can make a purchase. It’s also by far the safest way to store your bitcoins.
All the exchanges I mention in this guide are ones that I’ve researched and in some cases used myself, which means they’re safe and secure. If you decide to go with another exchange, read up on them first. There are scam exchanges out there that only want to get your credit card information.
Where to Buy Bitcoin without ID
The following exchanges may all work a bit differently, but one thing they have in common is that you don’t need ID or identity verification to buy Bitcoin through them.
1. CoinMama – Credit Card Purchases
If you’re looking for complete anonymity, then you’ll probably want to pay for your bitcoins in cash, and there are options on this list that let you do that. Credit cards can still be a very secure way to pay, though. If you don’t mind using your credit card, then CoinMama is an excellent choice.
Purchases go through immediately and you don’t need to provide verification up to $150 in bitcoin.
Yes, there’s a $150 limit without ID verification, which isn’t much. Just remember that most exchanges won’t let you buy Bitcoin at all using a credit card without verification, which makes CoinMama a clear winner. In some cases, users do need to take a selfie with their credit card to buy Bitcoin, but that is rare.
You can learn more about buying Bitcoin through CoinMama further below.
2. LocalBitcoins – Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Bitcoin Buys
LocalBitcoins is like the Craigslist or eBay of the Bitcoin world. Both buyers and sellers can create or respond to offers. For example, if you want to buy, you could post an offer with the amount you wish to buy, or you could find a seller with an offer you like.
From there, you and your seller can negotiate the deal and agree on all the terms. You can deposit cash to your account to make a purchase online, or you can meet your seller in person to complete the transaction.
3. BitQuick – Cash Purchases through Bank Accounts
Another way to make a cash purchase is BitQuick, where you’re depositing your payment into your seller’s bank account.
Like LocalBitcoins, BitQuick has a marketplace where buyers and sellers can post offers and come to agreements. Once a deal is made, the seller transfers their bitcoins to BitQuick, which serves as escrow.
The buyer receives the seller’s bank account information and deposits the correct amount of cash into the account. When the seller gets the payment, they notify BitQuick, and BitQuick gives the buyer their bitcoins.
4. Wall of Coins – Verify Via SMS
Another P2P exchange connecting buyers and sellers, Wall of Coins allows you to make cash purchases. You don’t need ID to use it, just a valid phone number for an SMS verification. It’s an option if you live in one of the following countries:
- The United States
- The Philippines
5. Bitit – Online or In-Store Purchases for European Users
With Bitit, you can buy Bitcoin online using a 3D secure credit/debit card. Alternatively, there are over 150,000 stores throughout Europe where you can pay in cash through Cashlib, Flexepin or Neosurf vouchers.
There’s a limit of 25 euros of bitcoin that you can buy with no ID. Regardless of whether you do ID verification or not, Bitit does require you to enter some personal information, including your name, date of birth, address and phone number. Only Europeans can use Bitit.
6. Bitcoin ATMs – The Most Private Option
I probably don’t need to explain how a Bitcoin ATM works, because just about everyone knows what an ATM does, and the only thing different about an ATM is the currency you’re getting.
All you need to do is insert your cash into the machine and tell it the address for your Bitcoin wallet. Verification typically isn’t part of the process, making this the best option in terms of privacy.
To find the nearest Bitcoin ATM, you can check a map that has them all listed.
The main drawback of Bitcoin ATMs is that the price is usually marked up by anywhere from 5 to 10 percent. If privacy is your chief concern, then you may not be worried about the markup so much. Otherwise, check how much you’re paying compared to the current Bitcoin price to make sure you’re not getting a bad deal.
7. BitFinex and ShapeShift – Exchange Cryptocurrencies without Verification
For transactions that only involve cryptocurrencies, BitFinex and ShapeShift don’t require users to verify their identities. For example, if you wanted to exchange your Ethereum for Bitcoin, you could do so on either anonymously.
A Step-by-Step Look at Buying Bitcoin in 15 Minutes or Less
Here are tutorials on a couple different ways to quickly buy Bitcoin:
Buying with Credit or Debit Cards from CoinMama
With this method, you’ll be able to purchase up to $150 in bitcoin with no verification.
- Register for a CoinMama Account
Go to CoinMama and proceed through the registration process, where you’ll need to enter basic information about yourself. CoinMama will send you a verification email, and the you can go to the site and log in to your account.
- Select the “Buy Bitcoins” Option
At the top of CoinMama, there’s a navigation bar where you can click “Buy Bitcoins”. This will take you to a page where you specify the amount you want. You can do so in bitcoins or dollars. If you want to do the transaction without verification, then you’ll need to enter an amount no greater than $150.
- Choose Your Payment Method
For a credit or debit card payment, you’ll want the “Credit/Debit Card via Simplex” option.
- Provide the Address for Your Bitcoin Wallet
It’s best to copy and paste this into the designated field to avoid any errors.
- Enter All Your Billing and Payment Info
First, you’ll need to enter your billing details, including your name, phone number and billing address. Then, you’ll need to enter your credit or debit card information.
- Confirm the Transaction Via Phone and Email
For security purposes, CoinMama will send a 4-digit code to your phone by SMS message and a confirmation email. You must verify both.
*In select cases, CoinMama also requires users to take a picture of themselves holding the credit or debit card they’re using. For the picture to be valid, your name on the credit card, the first and last four digits, and the expiration date all need to be visible. Most users don’t need to do this, but you could be one of the lucky ones.
- Wait for CoinMama
After you’ve gone through the steps above, you’re done. At this point, you just need to wait so that CoinMama can confirm your payment has gone through, and then it will send you a confirmation email. Your bitcoins should be in your wallet about 20 minutes from when you get the email.
Buying with Cash from a Bitcoin ATM
You can buy as much bitcoin as the ATM allows this way.
- Enter Your Address in a Bitcoin ATM Map
You can use an online map or download an app to view a map on your phone. Bitcoin ATM maps allow you to enter exact addresses or more general locations, such as a ZIP code.
- Locate a Bitcoin ATM in Your Area
Results will appear as pins on the map. Selecting an ATM will display more information about it, including its hours of operation, what cryptocurrencies it supports, fees and its limits.
- Visit the Bitcoin ATM
When you’ve found a Bitcoin ATM you like, you can visit it in-person and make your purchase.
Buying with Other Cryptocurrencies from ShapeShift
ShapeShift lets you trade one cryptocurrency for another. The biggest benefit is that all it does is facilitate the deal, and since everything is done through cryptocurrencies, it’s completely private. You won’t need to provide any personal information in the process.
- Choose the Cryptocurrencies to Trade
From the ShapeShift homepage, there’s a box to the right where you can choose the cryptocurrency you wish to deposit and receive in the deal you make. For example, if you have Litecoin, you would set that as your deposit and Bitcoin as what you receive. Then, you can click “Continue”.
- Enter Your Bitcoin Address and Refund Address
The Bitcoin address is where your bitcoins will go. Should there be any issues, the coins you deposited will get sent back to your refund address. Once you’ve entered both addresses, click “Start Transaction”.
- Send Your Deposit
ShapeShift will give you an address with both characters and a QR code. It will also provide the minimum and maximum amounts you can send. Send your cryptocurrency to that address, and you’ll receive your bitcoins in a matter of minutes.
What’s the point of buying Bitcoin without verifying my identity?
There are two common reasons why people want to buy Bitcoin without going through any identity verification:
- Identity verification can be a slow, arduous process
- They don’t trust Bitcoin exchanges with their personal information
Verification timeframes depend quite a bit on the Bitcoin exchange and how busy it is. It often takes a couple days, but there have been people who have had to wait weeks for an exchange to confirm their identity and let them buy Bitcoin.
During that time, they saw the price of Bitcoin go higher and higher, all while they had to wait to get in on the action.
Bitcoin exchanges don’t present a greater security risk than other sites, but there is still a risk there. Yahoo had personal information from 400-million accounts stolen when it got hacked. Equifax had a huge breach in 2017. Hackers also hit BitQuick, even though the exchange says that this didn’t compromise any user information. The reality is if you’re putting information online, there’s a chance it could be stolen.
Can you keep your bitcoins on the exchange where you bought them?
While Bitcoin exchanges typically allow you to do this, most experts would advise against it. If your exchange gets hacked, then you could lose your bitcoins. You have much better security when you use your own Bitcoin wallet for storage. If you need more information on why a Bitcoin wallet is the superior choice, I’ve gone into more detail below.
Why You Need a Bitcoin Wallet
I’ve never had any of my bitcoins stolen in years of buying and trading the cryptocurrency. I would say I’ve been fortunate enough, but the truth is that using a Bitcoin wallet has been the real key.
There are plenty of examples of people who used a Bitcoin exchange, kept their bitcoins there, and then lost it all after a hacking. It happened to Bitfinex and cost the users on that exchange about $70 million.
It happened to Mt Gox and cost those users at least $450 million. Those are just two of the more prominent examples.
It takes very little time to get your own Bitcoin wallet. If you’re not sure which one to choose, I recommend TREZOR, Ledger Nano S or KeepKey.
Besides not storing bitcoins on an exchange, make sure you also conduct plenty of research before you use a Bitcoin exchange. See what other people are saying about the exchange in reviews, forums, on Reddit and elsewhere. If you want to find an exchange quickly, I’ve put together a list of the best Bitcoin exchanges.
Watch Out for Scams
One last word of warning to take note of, particularly if you’re planning to make P2P Bitcoin deals. Be very careful about scams and robberies, especially if you plan to meet someone in person.
There have been many reports of people setting up Bitcoin deals, only for one side to rob or attempt to rob the other. One person on Reddit said that he met with someone in a café, and that person then threatened him with a knife, took his phone and started looking for Bitcoin apps.
Fortunately, the café owner noticed and contacted the police. They showed up shortly after and arrested the thief.
You don’t need to be paranoid about meeting someone for a Bitcoin trade, because the vast majority of those happen without incident. Just be cautious when you do. Meet in a public place, not the other person’s home or a dark alleyway.
If possible, have at least one friend with you (to make sure everything goes alright, not to jump the other person).
You have options if you’d like to make your Bitcoin purchases without verification. For large purchases, you’ll need to go the P2P route, find a Bitcoin ATM or exchange another cryptocurrency for bitcoins. If you only want to make a small purchase, you could try an exchange that lets you make small verification-free purchases with a credit or debit card.