Now that Bitcoin (BTC) has a couple of years under its belt, it has developed several real-use cases and is now more accessible than ever. For that reason, everyone is trying to get their hands on it.
Luckily, there are a ton of exchanges and marketplaces that’ll allow you to easily buy Bitcoin. Adding to that, the wide variety of payment options available on these platforms allow you to pay with almost any form of payment you can think of—including gift cards.
To buy Bitcoin with gift card may seem a little unorthodox to those that are new to the space, but to those that have been dabbling in trading, it may be their bread and butter. If you’ve got a few spare gift cards lying around, maybe you should consider trading them for your start in Bitcoin.
5 peer-to-peer marketplaces to start with
Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces, although they’re a relatively new player in the game, have made a name for themselves in the Bitcoin space. Compared to traditional exchanges—where, more often than not, you’ll have to link your bank account—these marketplaces can cut costs, speed of transactions, and allow you to pay with basically whatever you want. They’ve become some of the most popular ways to buy Bitcoin—with more even allowing you to store Bitcoin with a crypto wallet directly from the platform.
If you’re just getting started, we’ve put together a list of some of the best P2P exchanges on the market:
Now with nine million users worldwide, Paxful has become one of the world’s leading peer-to-peer marketplace on the planet.
One of the platform’s biggest selling points is its wide variety of payment options with over 350 available—ranging from bank transfers, e-wallets, and a huge selection of gift card brands. The best part is that there are zero fees charged whenever you buy Bitcoin, allowing you to get your start at lower costs.
You even get a free Bitcoin wallet upon registration—the Paxful Wallet—with state-of-the-art security systems in tact. Additionally, the thousands of trusted traders available on the platform are vetted by Paxful’s moderators, giving you all the tools you need to start trading safely with some of the best in the business.
The only con to the number one peer-to-peer platform is that with all these options made available to its users, it can get overwhelming for those that are new. Luckily, you can start with as little as 10 USD and learn the ins and outs of the platform before graduating into higher amounts. Additionally, there are a ton of educational materials available and a 24/7 customer support team to help you out at any moment’s notice.
LocalCoinSwap is very similar to Paxful. Although it doesn’t offer as many ways to pay—300 payment options compared to Paxful’s 350+—it functions very similarly.
There are no buying fees when you’re choosing from a list of offers, but there is a 1% fee when you create your own offer to sell Bitcoin. On LocalCoinSwap, you’re also protected by escrow services, a 24/7 customer support team, and other microfeatures like reputation score and 2-factor authentication.
On this platform, KYC/AML rules are at a bare minimum—which could be a double-edged sword. On one hand, you can pretty much start trading without having to provide any sort of identification. However, on the other hand, it means that there may be bad actors lurking around the platform—it’s all up to you to be able to spot them.
Hodl Hodl, a clever play on the popular Bitcoin slang, is a peer-to-peer marketplace that, just like the other platforms on this list, allows its buyers and sellers to execute the trades themselves. On top of that, they also have mutli-sig contracts to protect the transactions.
Where Hodl Hodl differs, however, is the fee structure. On the platform, there’s a multi-tiered trading fee system: everyone starts at a 0.6% fee per transaction. To lessen that fee, you can do specific actions.
For example, if you wanted to bring it down to 0.55%, you’d have to bring other people to the platform and get them to sign up using your referral code. If you want to bring it down further to 0.5%, you’d have to complete the full verification process. It can be a little confusing at first, but luckily, you can check how much your trading fees are at any time on your profile.
Being one of the longest-standing platforms on this list, LocalBitcoins has grown to be one of the most popular peer-to-peer marketplaces in the world. They’ve been around since 2012 and have built a good reputation for themselves among traders.
LocalBitcoins is very similar to Paxful and LocalCoinSwap in the sense that it has a wide variety of payment options—60 payment methods compared to LocalCoinSwap’s 300 and Paxful’s 350+. It also has a similar fee structure: buying Bitcoin is completely free while there’s a 1% fee when you create an offer.
The biggest con to LocalBitcoins is that you’ll need to stay vigilant on the platform to protect your money. There will be bad actors on the platform and you need to make sure that you can spot them.
Probably the most different in structure, WhalesHaven is more auction-based compared to the other platforms on this list. It has a unique swapping process that lets you trade different tokens from different networks without having to set up an account and provide any personal information.
Basically, this means that you don’t even need to have an account to start trading. You can get started as soon as you get your own multi-sig wallet—a wallet that requires two or more sets of private keys to make transactions.
Ready to get started?
With all the platforms we’ve laid out for you, you should have a general idea of where you want to start trading Bitcoin. At this point, it’s all a matter of personal preference.
If any of these piqued your interest, remember that these are just general pros and cons—make sure to take a deeper dive into each platform before putting any money in. Trust us, when it comes to any sort of investment, knowledge is power. You’ll want to learn everything you can before putting your money in any sort of risk. Take your pick among the five we provided, do a deeper dive, get a grasp of how the platform works, then put your money in. A little homework can go a long way.