Buying Bitcoin anonymously


Most cryptocurrency exchanges will require you to go through some sort of Know Your Customer (KYC) process to buy Bitcoin. Even Bitcoin ATM’s require you to do so when your transaction reaches a certain dollar value. Some exchanges, like Binance, currently the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in the world, allow people to purchase a limited amount of Bitcoin over a specified time period without requiring KYC. For most people, those limits are enough. If, however, you need to purchase more than the limits allow, buying Bitcoin anonymously quickly becomes a complex endeavor.

First, we have an easy solution to this problem: Ask a friend to buy Bitcoin for you. You might be very firm about purchasing Bitcoin while protecting your privacy, and not sharing your personal information with anyone unless absolutely necessary. But, you probably know plenty of people who don’t feel quite as strongly about privacy as you do. If you have a trustworthy friend or family member who isn’t averse to sharing their personal information to a cryptocurrency exchange like Binance or Coinbase, why don’t you ask them to go through the KYC process and buy Bitcoin for you? You just send them the money to purchase Bitcoin with, they buy the Bitcoin, and then they send the Bitcoin off to whatever Bitcoin wallet you choose. For your anonymity, you just have to ask them to keep a tight lip. For their services, pay them a fair wage, or whatever they find satisfactory. Some friends, I’m sure, would be perfectly happy to do all of this for you for just a few free meals.

But, okay, maybe you don’t want to ask help from any of your friends, or maybe you don’t have any because you’ve been living like a hermit for too long. If you want to buy Bitcoin anonymously yourself, the best way to do so is to find a Bitcoin seller who is willing to transact with you on a personal basis. If there are any cryptocurrency groups, meetups, or events in your vicinity, then you should go join them as there’s a good chance you will find someone who is willing to sell you Bitcoin while letting you keep your privacy. If, however, you can’t find any in your location, or you don’t want to get out of your home to meet them, then you can still turn to peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchanges.

On peer-to-peer exchanges like Paxful and LocalBitcoins, you don’t transact with some financial entity like you do at a conventional cryptocurrency exchange. Instead, you transact with individuals – individual people who want to buy or sell Bitcoin – and the peer-to-peer exchange facilitates the transaction as the marketplace and also as the escrow service. Paxful and LocalBitcoins help buyers and sellers of Bitcoin find each other, and also protect both parties by holding the seller’s Bitcoins in escrow. This is important because, while regular fiat currency transactions are often instantaneous, they are also often reversible by the buyer at a later time. Bitcoin transactions, on the other hand, are irreversible. Once a Bitcoin transaction is confirmed on the Bitcoin blockchain, there is no way to reverse it like how a bank transfer can be reversed. With the seller’s Bitcoins in escrow, the seller has the leeway to demand that the buyer pay first before the seller releases the Bitcoins to the buyer. This arrangement protects the seller, but it also protects the buyer in case of a dispute. During a dispute, the buyer can show proof that they have sufficiently paid the seller already, while the seller can show proof that the transaction either did not push through or was reversed. A Paxful or LocalBitcoins moderator then arbitrates on the dispute and releases the escrowed Bitcoins to whichever party they conclude rightfully deserves them.

Having said that, Paxful and LocalBitcoins do not facilitate anonymous transactions. Both require KYC documentation when your transaction volume on their platforms reaches 1,000 US dollars and 1,000 Euros, respectively. And both require you to provide an email address and phone number to transact on their platforms at all. You can use temporary contact services like Temp Mail and Temp Number to sign up with a fake email address and fake phone number to maintain anonymity, but actually doing transactions on an account created with such contact details is dangerous, because you might lose access to your account and any Bitcoins stored in it at any time. Also, both require residents of some countries to provide an ID to create an account at all.

Now, you can still browse the offers by sellers on Paxful and LocalBitcoins, even if you don’t have an account. You can also view their profiles and some of their account information. Some sellers don’t want their business restricted to the peer-to-peer exchange’s platform, so they might be willing to transact with you directly outside of Paxful and LocalBitcoins. If you’re lucky, you’ll find such a seller who has shared their contact details publicly on their profile for everyone to see.

If, however, you don’t find anyone like that, but you do live in a country where Paxful and/or LocalBitcoins allows you to create an account and communicate with sellers by providing just an email address and phone number, then you can take advantage of Temp Mail and Temp Number to make an anonymous LocalBitcoins account. For Paxful, Temp Number won’t work, so you’ll have to buy a prepaid phone number to give to Paxful. With an anonymous account, you can start communicating with sellers. If you want to purchase just equal to or less than 1,000 dollars or Euros, then all you have to do is find a seller who will respect your privacy, and you can do the transaction on Paxful or LocalBitcoins. If you want to purchase more than that though, you’ll have to find someone who’s okay with transacting with you directly, outside of Paxful and LocalBitcoins.

If you do decide to go the route of transacting with a stranger directly, then you have to be careful about one thing: payment method. On peer-to-peer exchanges, you have the exchange’s escrow service to protect both you and the seller during the transaction, but you have no such protection when buying directly. Since Bitcoin transactions are irreversible once they’ve been confirmed on the blockchain, most sellers will demand that you, as the buyer, pay first. If you’re paying first, you better be sure that you can trust the seller to send you the Bitcoins once they’ve received the money. It would be best if you could make the exchange at the same time, and cash would be the best way to do that. Physically meeting with the seller in a safe public place; handing over your physical cash to the seller just as soon as the Bitcoins have been confirmed on the blockchain as having been sent to your Bitcoin wallet; this would be the best-case scenario for you and your seller, and you should definitely do your best to find sellers who are within meeting distance of you.

If you can’t find a seller within your vicinity, you can still go through with an online transaction, but doing so is only recommended when both you and the seller trust each other wholeheartedly not to cheat. If not, then you still have one final option to buy Bitcoin anonymously: Buying some other cryptocurrency – not Bitcoin – on a peer-to-peer exchange that doesn’t require KYC, and then converting that cryptocurrency into Bitcoin.

Bitcoin, as the most popular cryptocurrency in existence, is also the most highly regulated. Peer-to-peer exchanges like Paxful and LocalBitcoins are forced by regulators to make KYC checks on their users. LocalBitcoins, possibly the very first cryptocurrency peer-to-peer exchange, for a long time actually had no KYC requirements at all. From 2012 to 2019, LocalBitcoins was the go-to place to buy Bitcoin anonymously. From 2015 to 2019, Paxful was LocalBitcoins’ younger, and prettier, competitor. Today, they both require KYC, and most of their competitors have died or are dying slow deaths. Their closest living competitor is Agora Desk (also known as LocalMonero, not affiliated with LocalBitcoins), which doesn’t require KYC and does support Bitcoin, but unfortunately has few traders on their platform, leading to high prices for buyers and low prices for sellers. If you can’t accept the high prices on Agora Desk, then it’s time to go to our last peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange – the one you can’t buy Bitcoin on...!

Okay, I have to explain. First, is not affiliated with LocalBitcoins. Second, is not affiliate with Bitcoin. is the official commercial website of Bitcoin Cash, a fork of Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (ticker: BCH) is not Bitcoin (ticker: BTC). Finally, is a subdomain (think: sub-website) of, and is a peer-to-peer exchange strictly for Bitcoin Cash. Yes, I know, this is all quite confusing, especially in light of the fact that you’re reading this on (which itself is not affiliated with the official website of Bitcoin at Anyway, the point is this: you can buy and sell Bitcoin Cash on without any KYC, and then you can easily convert that Bitcoin Cash into Bitcoin.

Once you’ve got your hands on some Bitcoin Cash (or any cryptocurrency, really), then you are beyond the prying eyes (surveillance) and long arms (regulation) of Big Brother and other governments. Welcome to the decentralized monetary system. It’s all smooth sailing (for your privacy) from here. All you have to do now to turn your Bitcoin Cash into Bitcoin is to find some cryptocurrency exchange that will exchange your Bitcoin Cash for Bitcoin. There are many such exchanges that will do this for you without any KYC, but the most popular is Changelly. Once you’ve done that, congratulations, you’ve got yourself a sizeable amount of anonymous Bitcoin.