This article is part five of a five-part series designed to demonstrate to Bitcoin beginners how to install, secure and use a Bitcoin wallet. This part of the series covers purchasing non-KYC bitcoin for your new Bitcoin wallet.
Now that you understand the importance of self custody and the dangers of KYC, and have installed a mobile or desktop wallet, here is how you can start getting bitcoin safely and privately.
There are many ways to get non-KYC bitcoin. You can earn it in exchange for goods and services. You can mine it at home. You can buy it at an ATM. Or you can buy it on a peer-to-peer exchange. This article will show you how to buy a small amount of bitcoin at an ATM, install and set up Bisq and then use the bitcoin to fund your first Bisq trade.
Step One: Buy Bitcoin At An ATM
If you followed the instructions in part two or part three of this series, then you now have a fresh mobile Bitcoin wallet. Take your mobile wallet with you to the Bitcoin ATM so that you can deposit your funds onto your mobile wallet.
Make sure that you have cash on hand. The majority of Bitcoin ATMs will have varying levels of KYC requirements based on dollar-amount thresholds. These thresholds can vary by jurisdiction or ATM operator or a number of other factors. Typically, if you are buying between the $1 to $500 range, the only requirement will be a phone number for a text verification.
Consider using a burner phone number for this to preserve your privacy and not have any Bitcoin ATM transactions potentially traced back to your name through your mobile service provider.
Next you will need to find an ATM near you. I like Coin ATM Radar because it has a handy mobile app and there are a lot of good resources about the Bitcoin ATM industry on its website.
With your mobile phone and cash, travel to your desired ATM location, being cautious of security cameras at the place of business that may capture your license plate. Consider parking a couple of blocks away, out of view of surveillance cameras, and walking the rest of the way.
Once you approach the Bitcoin ATM machine, the basic steps are as follows:
- Touch screen to begin
- Select “Bitcoin”
- Input a phone number
- Verify the code that was sent via text message
- Display the receiving address QR code on your mobile wallet
- Insert your cash
- Print the receipt
- You can expect the funds to arrive in your wallet within 1 – 3 hours typically
Here is a video of the whole process:
Now that you have your first little bit of bitcoin, you can go home and setup your Bisq client and then use this bitcoin to fulfill your escrow requirement on your first Bisq trade. I recommend getting at least 0.0075 BTC from the ATM, you may need to make multiple trips. This should be more than enough to fund the security deposit of your first trade as well as cover the trading and miners’ fees.
Step Two: Download Bisq
Bisq is a decentralized peer-to-peer network of bitcoin traders. Buyers and sellers from all around the globe can find each other over Tor on Bisq to trade safely without the coordination of a central authority or the need to expose sensitive KYC information to large corporations.
Bisq has many trading pairs, such as USD to bitcoin, euro to bitcoin and many more. There are also many different payment options, such as Amazon gift cards, Revolut, Uphold and more.
The basic idea is that you find or post a trade in the currency pair that you want and for the payment method that you want. Once the trade is initiated, both trading peers deposit a small amount of bitcoin in escrow as a security deposit. You exchange fiat payment with your trading peer out of band. Once both peers confirm the trade is complete, you receive your purchased bitcoin plus your security deposit to your Bisq wallet. From there, you can send your non-KYC bitcoin wherever you like; to your mobile wallet, your desktop wallet or a hardware wallet.