Bitcoin’s accessibility is directly correlated with its adoption. As the digital asset becomes more mainstream, buying, selling, and holding BTC becomes increasingly easier.
Here’s a brief overview of some of the different ways you can buy Bitcoin in 2021 and emerging gateways that could broaden access even further.
The most traditional way to buy Bitcoin is to buy from a holder directly. This was how the earliest Bitcoin transactions were completed and the method remains popular today. Helsinki-based LocalBitcoins is probably the most popular platform for peer-to-peer crypto trades.
With more adoption than ever, Bitcoin trading was institutionalized. Trading platforms such as Binance, Coinbase, Kraken and Gemini serve as intermediaries that can accept fiat from traditional payment methods. Binance, for instance, allows users to purchase Bitcoin using credit cards, direct bank transfers and Apple Pay. Major payment processors such as PayPal and Square have also integrated Bitcoin over the past few years.
For most new adopters, these gateways are probably the best way to buy Bitcoin for the first time.
The world’s first Bitcoin ATM opened in Vancouver, Canada in 2013. Since then, these kiosks have spread across the world. There are now over 14,000 such ATMs, and the numbers are expanding exponentially. Most kiosks accept cash or debit card payments in exchange for BTC or other popular cryptocurrencies. Some kiosks also allow users to convert their digital assets back into local fiat currencies. Although the transaction fees are relatively high, these ATMs helped expand the adoption of digital assets to countries where cash is still a dominant payment method.
This year has seen an emergence of Crypto-based ETFs. There are currently three exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that offer exposure to digital assets. All three are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. These ETFs allow users to buy and hold Bitcoin through their retirement accounts or tax-shielded savings accounts. Publicly-listed Bitcoin mining stocks have emerged as yet another proxy. Argo Blockchain, for example, is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The stock is also available on OTC Markets in the United States. Since these are regulated securities, investors can expect an added layer of protection for their assets. This layer of protection makes crypto ETFs and stocks a convenient option for institutional investors such as pension funds and hedge funds.
As more gateways open up, accessing Bitcoin becomes more accessible. Several companies have already submitted applications for ETFs to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). If approved, investors in America could invest in Bitcoin securities domestically for the first time in crypto’s history. Meanwhile, payment giant Visa has partnered with BlockFi to release the Bitcoin Rewards Visa Credit Card, which is the first credit card to offer Bitcoin rewards. Soon, credit and debit card users could receive BTC as cashback rewards for each purchase.
With broadening mainstream access and increased adoption, the digital assets sector continues to grow and appreciate appealing to more people every day.