How to Buy Bitcoin in December 2023?
Since its humble beginnings in 2009, Bitcoin has grown from a fringe alternative currency worth pennies to a globally known asset, with a single Bitcoin now worth tens of thousands of dollars. Many in the investment space see continued growth in the Bitcoin market. If you’re a new investor who wants to learn how to buy Bitcoin, we’ll explain the best ways to get started.
This guide covers the basics of investing in Bitcoin, including the best places to buy Bitcoin. We’ll also explore ways to secure your Bitcoin investment with a crypto wallet and other strategies for Bitcoin investing.
Let’s dive in.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a finite digital currency that allows people to store and transfer value to others without an intermediary. Unlike traditional currencies issued by governments, Bitcoin is independent and controlled by a decentralized worldwide community of node operators. To change the Bitcoin protocol, Bitcoin node operators accept any changes by choosing to install a new version of the Bitcoin Core software that implements the changes. If they don’t adopt the new version, the protocol does not change.
Bitcoin was founded by an anonymous person or team who using the name Satoshi Nakamoto.
What started as a whitepaper outlining a proposed peer-to-peer money system and drafted during the great financial crisis in the late 2000s became a worldwide phenomenon, an alternative currency that ensured transactions could not be reversed and that balances could not be spent twice. This stood in stark contrast to what appeared at the time to be a deeply troubled traditional financial system.
The Bitcoin network itself is now distributed worldwide, with each full node hosting a copy of all blocks and transactions, checking each against the network’s consensus rules.
Bitcoin’s appeal centers on critical characteristics, including a fixed supply and proof-of-work consensus. To date, there are about 19.54 million Bitcoin in existence, with a fixed cap of 21 million. The last bitcoin is expected to be mined in 2140. Scarcity drives Bitcoin’s value, but its consensus method also attracts sound-money fans. Bitcoin uses proof of work to validate transactions, a cost-intensive method of solving for a hash value when mining a new block of transactions. As new blocks are added to the blockchain, it becomes financially inviable to reverse a transaction that has already occurred.
Where to Buy Bitcoin
In this guide, we’ll discuss how to buy Bitcoin, including the best places to buy BTC. The most common options include cryptocurrency exchanges and brokers. Exchanges provide a platform for traders to transact with each other – or with each other’s orders more accurately. Brokers transact with the trader directly. The end transaction, however, often looks very similar because both offer a way to buy or sell Bitcoin.
Best Places to Buy Bitcoin
- MEXC: Best Crypto Exchange With 0% Spot Trading Fee and Over 1,000 Cryptocurrencies
- OKX: Crypto Exchange With Trading Bots and Bot Marketplace, and 350+ Cryptocurrencies
- Binance: World’s Largest Crypto Exchange With 350 Cryptocurrencies and Futures Trading
- Coinbase: Publicly Traded Crypto Exchange With 250+ Cryptocurrencies and Advanced Trading
- eToro: Low-Fee Broker With Copy Trading, Smart Portfolios, and 80+ Cryptocurrencies
1. MEXC: Best Crypto Exchange With 0% Spot Trading Fee and Over 1,000 Cryptocurrencies
MEXC is the best crypto exchange not only to buy Bitcoin but to buy over 1,000 other cryptocurrencies that aren’t listed on other major exchanges like Coinbase and Binance. Buy or trade cryptocurrencies with a 0% spot trading fee and trade crypto futures with a 0% fee for limit orders and 0.02% fee for market order. This is by far the lowest fees you can find with a crypto exchange.
Moreover, MEXC offers advanced trading tools and charts, including integrated TradingView charts, as well as order book view, which should be more than enough to cater to seasoned crypto traders.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that beginners aren’t welcome. On the contrary, beginners can easily buy Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency either via bank or SEPA transfer, depending on the country, or by purchasing crypto with card or Apple and Google Pay via third-party services like Moonpay and Mercuryo.
Grow your crypto portfolio with MEXC Savings. This is similar to crypto staking where you lock your coins for a certain period of time to accrue interest in the form of more coins. For example, USDT has an APR of up to 8.8%, while Bitcoin has up to 1.8% APR. There are some amount limitations, though, such as you earn the maximum APR on amounts up to $300 for some coins. Make sure to read about them before you lock your coins.
Hands-off investors who don’t want to actively participate in the market and trade crypto themselves can use the copy trading feature where you can follow successful traders and let them trade your funds on your behalf. This could be a useful tool to potentially increase your portfolio in addition to buying and holding Bitcoin.
MEXC Fees and Pricing
|Cost to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin||$0|
|Debit card or PayPal fees||Depends on the third-party provider|
|Minimum Deposit/Trade||$50 minimum deposit via third-party providers|
- Beginner-friendly Bitcoin investing
- Over 1,000 cryptocurrencies available
- MEXC Savings with up to 8.8% APR on USDT
- Copy trading to follow successful traders
- Advanced charts and tools
- Not available in all countries
- Can’t withdraw fiat
2. OKX: Low-Fee Crypto Exchange With Trading Bots and Bot Marketplace, and 350+ Cryptocurrencies
OKX is the second largest crypto exchange based on derivatives trading volume. This means that not only OKX is an excellent exchange to buy Bitcoin, but to trade Bitcoin and derivatives as well because of OKX’s low trading fees.
Those looking to buy Bitcoin can buy it directly on OKX with a card, Apple Pay or Google Pay once you open an account and verify it.
You can then hold it on the exchange and maybe even use OKX Earn where you lock your coins for a select period of time and earn rewards in the meantime. Currently, you can get up to 5% APR on Bitcoin with a flexible lock. This means you can unlock whenever you want.
OKX is also one of the best exchanges for spot and derivatives trading as it comes with 0.08% spot trading fee for limit orders and 0.1% for market orders. If you hold OKB coins or have a certain amount of assets in USD, you can further lower the fees.
The exchange is also famous for its bot marketplace. This means you can subscribe to trading bots or build your own and sell it to subscribers to earn additional income.
OKX Fees and Pricing
|Trading Fee||0.08%-0.1% maker/taker fee|
|Cost to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin||$0.08-$0.1|
|Debit card or PayPal fees||Depends on third-party providers|
|Minimum Deposit/Trade||Depends on the deposit method|
- Low-cost fees for Bitcoin purchases
- Over 350 cryptocurrencies available
- Trading bot marketplace
- High APR with OKX Earn
- Not available in all countries
- Limited customer support
3. Binance: World’s Largest Crypto Exchange With 350 Cryptocurrencies and Futures Trading
The cheapest way to buy Bitcoin in this roundup is through the Binance exchange.
However, location plays an important role. In the US, traders can only access Binance.US, which has transitioned to a crypto-only exchange. To buy Bitcoin on Binance.US, you have to first load your account with USDT (a popular stablecoin valued at $1) through a third-party provider, which you can then trade for BTC (with zero trading fees). We priced this out, and the cost was close to $112 to buy $100 worth of USDT. Fees may vary based on region and network demand.
While Binance.US is easy to use, the extra step of buying crypto off-platform before you can buy Bitcoin makes it less attractive for US users than Coinbase.
If there’s a downside to Binance’s Advanced Trade, it might be that there are too many advanced features if all you need to do is buy BTC. Advanced Trade is loaded with trading tools, including margin trading, so you can trade with leverage (borrowing against your investment capital). Other advanced features include trading bots, which can make trades for you automatically, and futures trading, which allows you to speculate on the future price of Bitcoin or other crypto assets.
But for power users, it isn’t easy to match the trading options available on Binance.com
Binance Fees and Pricing
|Cost to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin||
|Debit card or PayPal fees||Up to 3.5% for debit card transactions|
|Minimum Deposit/Trade||$15 minimum trade|
- Low fees for simple and advanced trades
- Futures and leverage trading
- Trading bots
- Wide selection of trading pairs
- Many features not available in the US
- Can be overwhelming for newer traders
- Regulatory concerns
4. Coinbase: Publicly Traded Crypto Exchange With 250+ Cryptocurrencies and Advanced Trading
With over 100 million users worldwide, Coinbase is the largest publicly traded exchange on the planet. The company trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker COIN. Coinbase’s initial purchase offering (IPO) valued the company at $86 billion, helping to build a stable platform for trading and crypto-economy services, including crypto storage, lending, and staking services.
Being publicly traded brings benefits to users as well in the form of transparency and regulation. Coinbase’s SEC filings and earnings reports provide an up-to-date view of the company’s financial health while also adhering to regulations in the US and in other markets where Coinbase is registered.
You’ll save on trading fees by using Coinbase Advanced, a full-featured trading platform with TradingView charts that offer 100+ trading indicators. But advanced doesn’t mean difficult to use. Coinbase places trading controls within easy reach and offers well-placed help tips.
Trading fees for Coinbase Advanced come in lower than on eToro, with limit order trading fees at just 0.6%.
Coinbase Fees and Pricing
|Cost to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin||
|Debit card or PayPal fees||2.5% for PayPal deposit (waived when depositing while placing orders)|
|Minimum Deposit/Trade||$2 minimum trade|
- Buy Bitcoin with PayPal
- Buy Bitcoin with debit card
- 250+ cryptocurrencies
- Low-cost advanced trading platform
- High fees for simple trades
- Confusing simple-trade fees
5. eToro: Low-Fee Broker With Copy Trading, Smart Portfolios, and 80+ Cryptocurrencies
eToro isn’t an exchange, so you’re not interacting with the order book. Instead, you’re buying from or selling to eToro, which then interacts with its own market makers. While the process seems more complicated when described, it’s actually much easier for newer traders to get started with eToro compared to many exchanges.
There’s no need to learn the ins and outs of complicated trading tools. One easy-to-use trading box does everything you need, and trading fees are dead simple at 1% of your trade value. eToro was founded with the goal of making investing simple and transparent.
The platform also enables copy trading, an easy way to find successful traders and copy their trades automatically. With copy trading, you choose the investment amount for the trade and can also set a trigger to protect against larger losses if the market turns against the trade. Copy trading can eliminate the need for technical analysis, and the platform lets you view the historical performance of other traders before you choose who to copy.
eToro Fees and Pricing
|Trading Fee||1% + spread|
|Cost to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin||$1 + spread|
|Debit card or PayPal fees||No additional fees for deposit|
|Minimum Deposit/Trade||$10 minimum trade|
- Beginner-friendly Bitcoin investing
- Over 80 cryptocurrencies available
- Trade stocks and ETFs alongside crypto
- Copy trading to follow successful traders
- $100,000 demo account
- $5 withdrawal fee
- Inactivity fee after 12 months
- Slow BTC withdrawal process
How To Buy Bitcoin
Exchanges are the most common way to invest in Bitcoin, but you have several other options. Which is the best way to buy Bitcoin? The answer depends on your goals and how you plan to use your Bitcoin.
A centralized exchange like Coinbase or Kraken offers a convenient onramp and offramp for crypto assets, allowing you to exchange cryptocurrencies for traditional currencies or trade crypto for crypto.
On a centralized exchange, you’re trading against an order book, which is a list of open buy and sell orders on the exchange. Your exchange acts as an intermediary in that it creates the trading environment and provides storage for your crypto after you make a trade.
A decentralized exchange (DEX) like Uniswap or Balancer offers a way to trade cryptocurrency without an intermediary. Your trades, typically called swaps, happen from your own crypto wallet, so you don’t have to deposit crypto with a third party to make a transaction. Decentralized exchanges use computer programs that run on the blockchain to execute transactions.
While decentralized exchanges don’t support Bitcoin natively, you’ll find wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) on every popular DEX. WBTC is a tokenized version of Bitcoin that tracks its value and can be swapped 1:1 for BTC on many centralized exchanges.
It’s helpful to have some trading experience and research the trading risks before using a DEX to build your Bitcoin investment.
A broker is a go-between. On a centralized exchange, you’re interacting with orders placed by other traders. Although the transaction looks similar in that you can buy or sell Bitcoin, in a brokerage transaction, you’re transacting with the broker rather than other traders.
The broker sources the assets for purchases and takes the inventory when you sell.
eToro, for example, is a broker, although the buying experience is very similar to what you’d find with a basic exchange platform. Robinhood is another example of a broker that offers Bitcoin and other cryptos.
Many popular payment apps now offer crypto purchases. Some, like Cash App and Strike, only offer Bitcoin. Others, including PayPal and Venmo, offer several popular cryptocurrencies, such as BTC, ETH, and Litecoin.
You also can buy Bitcoin from other people directly. Several exchanges, including Gemini and Binance, offer peer-to-peer trading. Bisq, a popular open-source application, allows you to buy Bitcoin without using a centralized exchange.
Payment methods vary based on the preferences of the seller. Bisq uses BTC security deposits to help ensure safe trading between users.
Almost as easy as using a vending machine, Bitcoin ATMS let you buy BTC with a debit card or cash. The operating network then sends Bitcoin to your Bitcoin wallet address. Buying fees for Bitcoin machines can be much higher than you’ll find with exchanges or brokers.
Many crypto wallets offer ways to buy BTC or other cryptocurrencies through third-party providers. Exchanges and brokers typically provide a more cost-effective way to invest in Bitcoin, but the option is available with many hardware and software wallets. We’ll cover crypto wallets in just a bit.
Depending on which method you choose when you buy Bitcoin, you may have several payment options available to you. Bitcoin ATMs take cash or debit cards, for example, whereas centralized exchanges usually support bank deposits, debit cards, and possibly credit cards.
You can buy Bitcoin with any of the following, depending on where you trade.
- Cash: Local sellers on apps like Bisq may take cash. Bitcoin ATMs offer another way to buy BTC with cash.
- Bank transfer: Centralized exchanges like Coinbase support bank transfers.
- Debit card: Most leading centralized exchanges and brokers support debit cards. Read the fine print on debit card fees.
- Credit card: Although not as common as debit cards, many exchanges also support credit card purchases. Again, check the fees before you confirm the transaction.
- Wire transfer: You can wire money to an exchange or brokerage account in many cases.
- PayPal: Coinbase and eToro both support PayPal for transactions.
- Neteller/Skrill: In some regions, you can use other payment apps like Neteller to fund your trading account on an exchange or brokerage account.
- Other cryptocurrencies: Crypto-only exchanges like Binance.US and decentralized exchanges require that you trade crypto for crypto.
- Fiat currencies like USD and GPB aren’t supported directly, but you can use a third party to buy crypto with fiat or trade with crypto you already have.
Start Investing In Bitcoin Today With MEXC
In the earlier parts of this guide, we discussed where to invest in Bitcoin. Now, let’s look at how to invest in Bitcoin. We’ll use MEXC in this example because the platform is easy to use, and MEXCs simple trading fees are 0% of your trade.
Step 1: Open an account with MEXC
Visit MEXC to open a trading account. At this step, you can use an email or you can sign up with your MetaMask wallet, your Telegram or Google account.
Step 2: Fund your account
Depending on your country, you can buy Bitcoin with a SEPA bank transfer. You’ll need to verify your ID, however. If your country isn’t supported for such transfer, you can purchase Bitcoin with a credit card via third-party providers such as Mercuryo and Moonpay. You may have to pass an ID verification at these providers as well.
Step 3: Buy Bitcoin
Select Bitcoin from the dropdown menu and enter the amount of money you wish to spend. Select the provider with the best rate and click “Continue”. Follow the prompts and complete the transaction. Alternatively, you can buy “USDT” and then buy Bitcoin on the spot market with 0% fees.
How Much Is Bitcoin Worth?
At press time, Bitcoin is worth about $37,000, meaning each coin has a value of nearly $40,000, considerably less than its all-time high of over $65,000 in 2021. However, BTC has more than doubled in the past year, recovering from its lows.
Bitcoin’s current market cap is over $700 billion, making it more valuable than Visa, which has a $512 billion market cap and nearly twice the size of Mastercard’s $375 billion market cap.
Don’t be intimidated by Bitcoin’s value when investing, however. Much like you can buy fractional shares in stocks, you can buy part of a Bitcoin. While the total supply of Bitcoin is capped at 21 million coins, the smallest denomination of Bitcoin is a satoshi (1/100 millionth of a Bitcoin). Currently, one penny in USD equals 28 satoshis, making the smallest unit in Bitcoin much smaller than the smallest unit in US currency.
For one satoshi to reach the value of one penny, the price of one Bitcoin would have to rise to $991,172.
How Much Bitcoin Should I Buy?
Because Bitcoin is divisible, you can buy small or larger amounts, depending on your budget.
To date, Bitcoin is legal tender in two countries, which makes it a speculative investment. Governments around the world could slow the growth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and in some countries, cryptocurrencies are illegal. For instance, China banned cryptocurrency trading.
All this is to say Bitcoin and other crypto assets are risky investments. However, they also might outperform other assets significantly.
Here’s how Bitcoin’s performance compares to the S&P 500 index over the last ten years.
|Nov 2013 Value||$434||1790.62|
|Nov 2023 Value||$36,478||4411.55|
$1,000 invested in the S&P in 2013 would be worth $2,460 ten years later. By comparison, the same $1,000 invested in Bitcoin in 2013 would be worth $84,050 after ten years.
Many in the industry see cryptocurrencies as a young asset class, one that will continue to grow, perhaps replacing some traditional assets. However, it’s important to match your investment to your budget and never invest in cryptocurrency unless you’re willing to risk losing your investment.
Storing Your BTC
If you buy Bitcoin through an exchange like Coinbase or MEXC, the trading platform can hold your crypto for you, much like a bank holds your deposits.
However, there’s a big difference between banks and crypto exchanges. Crypto balances are not insured by the government and exchanges get much less oversight compared to banks. To safeguard your investment, you may want to move your larger balances to a self-custody crypto wallet.
As a digital asset, Bitcoin can’t be stored physically. Instead, your Bitcoin is held at a wallet address on the blockchain. A crypto wallet holds the private keys that control the assets at that address.
When an exchange holds your crypto for you, your crypto is still secured by a wallet, but the exchange has the keys. If the exchange becomes insolvent, as was the case with FTX, or your account login is compromised, your crypto is at risk. Instead, it’s often wiser to store your Bitcoin with a self-custody wallet like Electrum or Sparrow or even use a hardware wallet like a Ledger or Trezor wallet.
Hot Wallets vs Cold Wallets
Software crypto wallets like Electrum and Sparrow are also called hot wallets because the private keys for the wallet are generated on a device connected to the internet. If you’re a technical user, there is a way to build a cold wallet with Electrum, however.
A cold wallet means the private keys for the wallet are generated and stored on a device that’s not connected to the internet. Typically, this points to a hardware wallet, which is a device that generates the wallet’s private keys and stores them offline.
Hardware crypto wallets either connect to another device via USB or Bluetooth, although some devices use airgap technology instead, using QR codes to approve or decline transactions. In both cases, hardware wallets act like a form of two-factor authentication, and no transactions for the wallet’s assets can be approved without confirming the transaction with the device.
What Can You Buy With Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is now a household name, and many merchants are more comfortable accepting cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as payment for products and services.
If you find a willing retailer or service provider, you can use Bitcoin to buy any of the following:
- Video games
- Gift cards
Some well-known merchants that accept Bitcoin for select products and services include:
Alternatively, tools like Coinbase’s Visa debit card let you spend your crypto just like cash just about anywhere.
Should I Invest in Bitcoin?
The financial world still centers around traditional assets, but the growth of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is hard to ignore. Whether to invest in a speculative asset is an individual decision, and with a digital asset like Bitcoin that challenges traditional finance and government control of currencies, there’s reason to be cautious.
If you think Bitcoin deserves a place in your portfolio, match your investment to your budget, knowing there’s a possibility it all goes to zero. If you’re still ready to invest, you can use one of the exchanges we detailed earlier. But there are also some ways to invest in Bitcoin while still keeping two feet planted in the traditional investment world. Let’s look at some possibilities.
Indirect Ownership of Bitcoin
Owning stock in companies that hold Bitcoin makes you a Bitcoin owner. This strategy also allows you to diversify with one investment because the stock price is driven by both the value of the Bitcoin assets held by the company and the company’s performance.
Coinbase and MicroStrategy are two well-known companies with tall, wobbling stacks of Bitcoin. MicroStrategy Inc. (MSTR) holds over 158,000 Bitcoin.
Here are some companies with significant holdings.
|MicroStrategy Inc. (MSTR)||158,000+|
|Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA)||13,000+|
|Galaxy Digital Holdings (GLXY)||12,000+|
|Tesla, Inc. (TSLA)||10,000+|
|Coinbase Global, Inc (COIN)||9,000+|
You may also be able to invest in Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) depending on where you are in the world. Exchange-traded funds allow investors to trade in and out of assets by trading shares of the fund. For Bitcoin ETFs, that asset is Bitcoin. The fund buys and sells Bitcoin as investors buy and sell shares in the fund.
Early iterations of Bitcoin ETFs used the futures market to approximate the value of Bitcoin, but a new breed of ETFs will use the Bitcoin spot market to buy and sell the real asset rather than a derivative.
As the most widely traded cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is ubiquitous on trading platforms. Which platform you choose depends on what you need from the trading experience. Traders who need more tools like futures trading can choose a full-featured exchange like MEXC, Binance or Coinbase.
We recommend MEXC because it offers 0% spot trading fees and it has over 1,000 cryptocurrencies to choose from should you wish to diversify your crypto portfolio.
How do beginners buy Bitcoin?
Buying Bitcoin is similar across all platforms. To get started, open an account and verify your identity. Then, you can connect a funding source like a bank account or debit card, choose an investment amount, and make a purchase.
How much do you need to start buying Bitcoin?
Platforms like Coinbase allow you to make trades as low as $2, but fees can be much higher as a percentage if you’re using the simple trading interface. Instead, you can use the advanced platform, where fees are lower, or choose a platform like MEXC, where spot market fees are fixed at 0%.
How can I buy Bitcoin instantly?
Many exchanges, such as MEXC, Binance and Coinbase let you buy Bitcoin directly with a card. But you will have to open an account and verify your ID first in most cases.
Where is the best place to buy Bitcoin?
The best place to buy Bitcoin depends on your preference mostly. Coinbase is an excellent choice for US citizens, while MEXC and Binance are best for buying Bitcoin in other regions.
Should I buy Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is gaining acceptance beyond the core crypto community but remains a speculative asset. If you’re unsure about investing in Bitcoin, it may be safer to invest a small amount as you continue to learn about the asset and gauge its long-term potential.
Is it safe to buy Bitcoin?
Buying Bitcoin brings both price risk and regulatory risk. In addition, exchange solvency risks should be considered. There are ways to mitigate many of these risks, however, including dollar-cost averaging to mitigate price risk and moving your Bitcoin off the exchange to address exchange-related risks.