People are looking for ways to buy Bitcoin (BTC) without providing all of their personal information. To buy using government sanctioned exchanges requires you to provide copies of your personal identification and your bank account information. Some exchanges even require you to attend a video conference to prove you are who you say you are.
LocalBitcoins.com is a popular site used to connect Bitcoin sellers with buyers for purchases outside of the system. This guide will walk you through what you can expect from LocalBitcoins.
Step1. Head to LocalBitcoins.com and sign up for an account. This just requires a valid email address you will need to verify in the next step. Be sure to use a unique password for this account, as you would with any account you make a financial transaction with.
Step 2. Verify your account through your Email address.
Step 3. Head into your new LocalBitcoins account and look around. In your wallet under ‘Receive bitcoins’ you can see the Bitcoin address they have created for you to receive your BTC with. This address will be 34 characters. Mine below is:
You can provide your BTC address to anyone to send to and your Bitcoin will show up in your LocalBitcoins wallet. Please read the important information also provided about associated fees and transfer delays where applicable.
Many sellers require you to improve your account security by linking a phone number to your account using SMS verification. If you would like to do this, go to ‘Edit Profile’ and choose ‘Verify Phone Number’ for instructions. This also improves the security of your account.
Step 4. Open the ‘Buy Bitcoins’ page by clicking the link at the top. Once the page is open, enter the amount of BTC you want to purchase, the currency, and your country. You can choose your payment method also, or leave the last drop-down as ‘All online offers’ to choose from a list sorted by the lowest price. When done, press Search.
Step 4.5. It is important to note here there is also a Local Cash option available at the very bottom of the payment type list. This is the most anonymous, and slowest, way to buy Bitcoins. To use this option replace the country (‘United States’ above) with your nearest local large city, and choose ‘cash’ as the payment method. A list of local sellers will pop up and contact information will be made available when you choose one. You will arrange to meet someone and pay them cash for your BTC. They will then transfer your purchase to the BTC address you provide to them. Be safe. Meet in a public place such as Starbucks, and expect to wait patiently with the seller while the BTC makes its way to your account.
Step 5. A list of your options will pop up for you to choose from. There is important information here for you to use to decide who to buy from. AndyBrooks is the first seller (see screen shot below), and his information includes…
- Number of LocalBitcoins transactions – 3000+
- Feedback score – 100%
- Payment Methods accepted – This seller only sells for Litecoin, another digital currency.
- The BTC price he is selling for
- The minimum and maximum limits he will sell
- Click on his user name to see additional information
Step 6. Next you will be sending money to the seller. This may be done using their acceptable payment methods… just be sure to know what you need to do before you complete the purchase. For example, if you need to send funds via a Western Union location, be sure you are prepared to do so quickly. The price of Bitcoin is volatile, and sellers are not going to give you until tomorrow to pay. You will typically be given a short time frame by which your payment must be received to complete the transaction.
Step 7. After your payment is confirmed by the seller, you will receive your BTC in your LocalBitcoins wallet.
Step 8. It is important to leave feedback about your experience with the seller after it is complete. This will help others decide whether to use the seller’s services in the future.
Step 9. To transfer your BTC elsewhere, such as to a trading exchange or hardware wallet, you will need to know the BTC address you are sending to. This will be provided by the exchange or wallet, and will contain 34 random characters. Be sure to get the address correct. Open your LocalBitcoins wallet and choose ‘Send bitcoins.’ There are fees for transferring BTC off of LocalBitcoins. These are defined at the bottom of the page under ‘Outgoing Bitcoin fees.’
Populate the ‘Receiving Bitcoin address’ and ‘Amount in Bitcoins.’ Then press Continue. You will need to confirm the transfer via Email (and potentially via SMS if you set it up) before the BTC is sent.