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Identity exclusion, ever heard of it?

It’s why the United Nations launched the so-called UN Goal Target 16.9, an initiative aimed giving legal identities to all humans by the year 2030. That’s because there are currently more than 1 billion people on Earth that don’t have official identities as provided by birth certificates, marriage licenses, and so forth.

You can bet that virtually all of these 1 billion citizens are among the globe’s “unbanked” having no access to bank accounts because they don’t have proper I.D. documents to open these accounts in the first place.

Buy Bitcoin Anonymously

This “unbanked dynamic” is prevalent in emerging markets, but so too do we see it just the same in first-world economies. In all of our communities, no matter where each of us hail from, there are many around us who make do without bank accounts and I.D. Cards.

The tragedy is there exists something like Bitcoin which would be perfect as a store of value for unbanked users but that BTC is typically difficult to buy without I.D. verification. Until now, that is.

Whatever your reasons, Today then, we’ll be walking you through the ways in which you can buy bitcoins anonymously, without the prohibitive need for an I.D. card. Let’s get to it!


3Commas

Why Buy Bitcoin Anonymously?

Let’s be honest, the vast majority of the people who want to buy Bitcoin anonymously aren’t among the unbanked masses. There are many reason to maintain your online privacy, and the recent shift in crypto-related laws is a perfect example of why crypto owners should be aware of how important privacy is.

When Bitcoin came on the scene about a decade ago, governments didn’t care about the digital currency at all. Now most nations are working on laws that govern how cryptos are regulated, and some nations have banned cryptos outright.

People that trusted their governments to be reasonable about crypto legislation in places like China and India lost out big time. Crypto owners who chose to be as anonymous as possible have a much greater chance to maintaining ownership of their cryptos, and using them as they want.

Buying Bitcoin anonymously is a good start to maintaining your crypto privacy, but there are many other things to consider as well. The internet is wide open for hackers and government agents, so if you want to ensure that your crypto holdings are anonymous as possible, read on.

There are Ways to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously

In the early days of Bitcoin, there were no Know Your Client (KYC) regulations to follow. Crypto exchanges had a free hand to deal with whoever they wanted to, and crypto users didn’t have to worry about much.

Now, major exchanges are coughing up their clients’ records to the government. Things have changed drastically over the last few years. Thankfully, there are still ways to get cryptos without giving away loads of information.

Bitcoin ATMs

Bitcoin automatic-teller machines are a natural place to start because they can be found in most larger cities and all you’ll need to use one is a credit or debit card. The big plus to using these machines is that there is basically no oversight, and it isn’t difficult to get a pre-paid debit card which will lead anyone who looks at the paper-trail on a wild goose chase.

Some BTC ATMs will require more intensive buy processes, so some may require some form of “I.D” like scanning your palm print. But many of these ATMs don’t require anything like that, so most are very much buy-and-go stations if you’re looking to nab some bitcoins anonymously.

In some areas there are still BTC ATMs that will accept cash, and these are a perfect way to buy small amounts of BTC with minimal traces of your transaction. The big downside to buying in cash is the relatively small amount of BTC you can buy, and the fact that the machines tend to be in public places.

For example, if you are buying a few hundred dollars worth of BTC in cash, there will probably be a video of you entering the store that houses the BTC ATM, and feeding a bunch of cash into the machine. There will also be people hanging around the store who might be interested in what you are doing.

Buying Bitcoin in person at an Bitcoin ATM is an option for skirting KYC regulations, but it totally anonymous. In reality, none of the options on this list are completely discrete, but they will all be easier than submitting all your personal info to a crypto exchange.

Some BTC ATMs will require more intensive buy processes, so some may require some form of “I.D” like scanning your palm print. But many of these ATMs don’t require anything like that, so most are very much buy-and-go stations if you’re looking to nab some bitcoins anonymously.

Try Prepaid Cards with P2P Exchanges

If you’re working with cash, then trying going to your local mart and swapping in your fiat for a prepaid debit card. Afterwards, you’ll be able to use your new disposable card to buy bitcoins through peer-to-peer exchanges like LocalBitcoins and other exchanges that don’t require I.D.

It is also worth thinking creatively if you live in a metropolitan center. Maybe you could swap gift cards for cryptos, if you can do the deal in person. There are numerous valuable items that can be bought with cash.

There is no way to swap cryptos for physical goods over the net, but if you deal locally, you could trade just about anything for Bitcoins. While many people are probably sitting on losses, given the run-up in prices during 2017, there are still a lot of people who got into Bitcoin when it was worth well under $1,000 USD.

If you can find someone who is sitting on a bunch of BTC, and wants something that can be bought with cash, you might be able to do a deal. As long as they swap their BTC for something physical you have, the entire transaction would be totally anonymous.

CoinMama

CoinMama is a great beginner’s exchange for someone without an I.D. who’s looking to make their first BTC purchase. That’s because CoinMama lets users get their first $150 worth of BTC with a debit or credit card with no need to provide an identity card of any kind.

Coinmama Review

This is obviously a good deal for first-timers because the buy limit is so low. But it’s a great entryway for those looking to enter into the crypto space. Some users may be asked to upload a selfie while holding up their purchasing card, but that’s not common. Most won’t have to bother.

Read our full review of CoinMama if you would like to find out more details.

Wall of Coins

Wall of Coins uses a unique model, in that it’s a peer-to-peer exchange like LocalBitcoins, but it uses SMS text codes to facilitate purchases. Here, you won’t need an I.D: just a phone.

Wall of Coins

And the cool thing is that Wall of Coins operates in many places around the world. You can currently use it in places like:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Latvia
  • Mexico
  • Poland
  • Philippines
  • Romania
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

And LocalBitcoins, Of Course

We’ve already mentioned LocalBitcoins, and it’s perhaps the largest and most popular of the world’s P2P crypto exchanges, so you’ve probably heard about it before as well.

Search for Sellers

It functions much the same as Wall of Coins: you link up with buys and sellers on an individual basis.

LocalBitcoins can help you facilitate local meetups, too. Let’s say you find a seller on LB and you both live in London. Through the P2P exchange, you’ll be able to link up somewhere convenient and get the deal done. No I.D. required, naturally.

Read our complete review to find out more.

Think About Odd Jobs

Sites like LocalBitcoins don’t allow you to trade your work for cryptos with their protection, but they do open up the door to meeting people or companies that have Bitcoin they are willing to sell or trade.

The idea behind Bitcoin is that it is actually a currency. The vast majority of people trade currency for goods or services, not other currency. If you want to start accumulating cryptos without an official record of your purchases, you may be able to trade your time or talents for Bitcoin, or some other crypto.

Now that cryptos are starting to be regulated in most countries, there would be clear tax consequences to any commercial transaction. We can’t recommend that you break any law, so it is a good idea to research any tax obligations you might have if you own or trade in cryptos.

Read our Guide to Making money with Bitcoin for more ideas.

Do You Know any Miners?

An ideal way to pick up fresh Bitcoin without a trace is to buy them directly from a miner. Bitcoin miners have to sell some of their tokens from time to time, and newly minted bitcoins sometimes carry a hefty premium.

If you can find a miner who wants to monetize some of their freshly minted bitcoins (or any crypto for that matter), you could trade cash or other valuable items for them. There would be no paper trail, and the tokens you buy would have no transaction history.

Clearly, it isn’t that easy to find a crypto miner and buy from them directly. If you are able to do it, it is probably one of the best ways to buy cryptos and not produce a lot of records.

So Now You Have BTC … What If You Want to Keep Trading Back and Forth Into Bitcoin?

Most major exchanges like Bittrex won’t let you do much if you don’t verify your account with an I.D, although Binance does allow you to withdraw up to 2 BTC per day before having to verify your account.

A great way to get around this prohibitive dynamic is by using exchanges (mainly decentralized exchanges) to get the BTC trading pair options you’re looking for without these exchanges needing to know anything about you.

Let’s list off a few so you can know where to look.

Totally Anonymous Exchanges

If you don’t want to deal with any kind of ID verification when you trade cryptos, there are a few options out there. Just because we list an exchange here, it doesn’t mean we endorse them. Be sure to read some independent reviews before trusting any exchange!

BitMex

If you don’t live in the USA, you can trade your Bitcoin without a verified ID at BitMex. The exchange will allow you to deposit, withdraw and trade with unlimited amounts of BTC, even with an unverified account.

BitMEX Review

BitMex also offers advanced trading options to unverified accounts, and has grown into a major exchange. The company is run from Hong Kong, and offers better liquidity than many P2P exchanges.

BitQuick

At BitQuick, you don’t even need to have an account to trade Bitcoin. If you have an external wallet address, and an email address, you should be able to start trading. There have been reports that BitQuick may ask for ID documents, or an SMS verification, but this appears to be done on a case-by-case basis.

Bisq

Bisq requires that you download their software, and that’s about it. You can trade cyptos without providing ID, or jumping through the KYC hoops that are common at most major crypto exchanges. You trade on the platform by creating an account for your crypto wallet, which makes it a very simple way to trade with a high degree of anonymity.

Other Semi-Anonymous Options Exist Too

In this world of changing crypto KYC regulations, there are still some great options for trading cryptos without handing out loads of personal information.

Unlike P2P networks, these exchanges will generally have higher levels of liquidity, and better pricing for both buyers and sellers. Once again, read recent reviews before you choose to start trading, because sometimes exchanges can fall in quality or trustworthiness.

Coinbase

Despite the fact that Coinbase has grown to be one of the biggest exchanges in the USA, Level 1 users only need to provide an email address and a phone number to get started. Level 1 access gives users the ability to buy $5000 of BTC or sell $25000.

Coinbase Review

While not a perfect solution for bigger BTC holders who want to stay anonymous, it is a good way for smaller holders to make transactions a low rates.

xCoins

xCoins does ask for an email, password, your country, and mobile phone number for 2FA, but that is it. Once you are on the platform, you can trade as much as you want. There are no limits for unverified accounts, which makes xCoins a good option for crypto traders of all sizes.

xCoins PayPal Bitcoin

BitFinex

Beware: use BitFinex at your own peril, as there have been recent allegations of nefarious tomfoolery at that exchange as of late. But even still, BitFinex is one of the few larger centralized exchanges that lets users forego I.D. verification if these users are just relying on crypto deposits.

Bitfinex Review

Something to think about, right?

Decentralized Exchanges

Many crypto users love the idea of decentralization, A decentralized exchange allows you to trade cryptos without using a centralized exchange structure. There are pluses and minuses to using a decentralizied exchange, but they are a good way to trade cryptos without having to supply your personal information.

Changelly

Changelly is a decentralized exchange. As such, you don’t need an account or anything like that to use the platform. You simply configure the trade you’d like to make, and Changelly will give you an address.

Changelly Review

Send your desired crypto to that address, and Changelly will ship you what you’re owed in minutes.

ShapeShift

You can try ShapeShift out too for the same kind of trading. They’ll give you an address, and you just send whatever crypto you’re selling to that address. You’ll promptly get your BTC or whatever it is you’re trading for in no time.

Shapeshift

Decentralized Exchanges Are Cool, But Customer Support Can Take Awhile

It’s totally understandable, too, because operations like ShapeShift and Changelly aren’t massive centralized operations with huge hierarchies of employees. And most of the time these decentralized exchanges are a total breeze to use.

But on the off chance you have any troubles during your trading, just be prepared to wait for a handful of days for a response. Both ShapeShift and Changelly usually have a backlog of support tickets, so your problem will eventually be resolved — it may just take some time. Be patient!

On the Other Hand, the Major Downside to P2P Exchanges?

Lack of Liquidity!

If you’re trying to make a large buy, it’s going to be harder on P2P exchanges because they’re not centralized. You have to link up with an individual seller that has enough bitcoins for what you’re trying to buy.

You can understand how in most cases that might be a challenge. Not impossible, but a challenge.

Making big buys is a lot easier on decentralized exchanges because they have access to considerable liquidity. But you’ll need crypto to use these exchanges in the first place, which is worthless to you if you’re trying to buy BTC with fiat.

All in all, then, you might just have to take what you can get in the various P2P marketplaces. Between multiple sellers, you should be able to scrounge up however much you’re gunning for.

There is a Lot More to Know About Online Privacy

The cryptography that makes Bitcoin work is top notch. On the other hand, your online security might not be as well thought out. Any Bitcoin transaction is recorded on a public blockchain, and your online identity can be established in a number of ways.

Buying Bitcoin autonomously is a good way to keep prying eyes away from your personal data, but it is only the first step. There are a number of other things to consider as a crypto owner/user, as both governments and criminals are becoming increasingly aware of the value in cryptos.

Any Bitcoin transaction will share three (or four) pieces of data with the whole world

  • How many bitcoins are held by the active address (sending/receiving).
  • Who sent and received the bitcoins (unless additional security measures were taken).
  • When the transaction took place.

All of this information has the potential to link you with bitcoin transactions, which makes using Bitcoin a whole lot less private. In the early days very few people understood much about the bitcoin platform, but that is changing rapidly.

How To: Secure Your Online Identity

There are a few simple things you can do to up the level of your online privacy, and protect yourself to the greatest degree possible. There are many ways to ensure your privacy, and this isn’t an exhaustive list. Most people don’t think too much about how to remain safe online, and these ideas should help you become aware of the risks crypto users face.

Bitcoin Privacy

If you are using the same address for all your BTC transactions, it would be a good idea to stop. The address you use can establish a record of your BTC trading, and potentially be used to hack your wallet.

Some experts recommend using a fresh address for every transaction, though your wallet may not allow you to do this. If you are using a wallet that has a limited number of addresses, it might be a good idea to learn how to use more, or swap your existing wallet for one that allows an unlimited number of addresses.

How do you Browse?

Using the same browser for your general internet activities and bitcoin transactions is a bad idea. Depending on the kind of device and browser you use, there are different options to increase the level of security.

Some people recommend using a secured browser like TOR, but there have been issues with hacking on some exchanges for TOR users (hackers are pretty smart). Read up on the options that are out there, and make sure your internet footprints are as hard to spot as possible.

SPV and Hosted Wallets can be Problematic

SPV wallets (also known as ‘thin clients’) tend to leak information that could be dangerous to your crypto holdings.

The reason why SPV wallets tend to be more efficient than other transaction systems is because they store numerous addresses on an SPV server, which will probably be easy for hackers to access. Hosted wallets have the same issues, and this can be an issue for people who want to keep their cryptos safe.

There is no way to ‘fix’ this problem, so it is best to avoid these kinds of wallets if possible. Even if there is some incentive to use a SPV or hosted wallet, the potential incentive almost certainly won’t justify the risk.

With the cost of hardware wallets falling, it would be a good idea to invest some cash in a safe way to store your crypto stash, and avoid being the victim of bad actors.

Password Problems

It might seem silly to say, but passwords are super important to making sure your cryptos stay safe. If you are using the same password creation paradigm that you were using back when email came out, it is time for a change. The passwords that work for other humans might be an easy target for next-generation hacking software, which is why so many people are going over the mnemonic word chains.

You’ve Got Options, That Much Is Clear

As this post has illustrated, you’ve got a few different routes you can take in your pursuit of anonymously buying bitcoin without the need for having an I.D. for verification.

This early on, there are many who want to buy bitcoins but who don’t have access to the traditional means through which to do it. For instance, you need a bank account to use the popular exchange Coinbase.

That’s why it’s important to take note of these alternative and private ways of buying bitcoin. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. As we suggested earlier, if you have a debit or credit card, we recommend BTC ATMs as a good starting point.


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Posted by William M. Peaster

William M. Peaster is an expert writer and editor who specializes in the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dai beats in the cryptoeconomy. Has appeared in Blockonomi, Binance Academy, Bitsonline, Bitcoinist, and more. Enjoys tracking smart contracts, DAOs, dApps, and the Lightning Network. Learning Solidity. Follow him on Twitter: @WPeaster


All content on Blockonomi.com is provided solely for informational purposes, and is not an offer to buy or sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any security, product, service or investment. The opinions expressed in this Site do not constitute investment advice and independent financial advice should be sought where appropriate.

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Nothing referenced on this page allows one to acquire bitcoin without providing a phone number, which is pretty stupid, and will likely be the reason why bitcoin collapses if the problem isn’t remedied soon. Like most sensible people, I don’t have a phone and I have no desire for such.

    Reply

  2. Avatar

    I tried to use Coinmama anonymously but it asked for my ID info. Maybe this opportunity is closed. Do you have any idea about it?

    Reply

    1. Avatar

      Yes, this window closed and it took them 6-8 weeks to finally get me verified

      Reply

  3. Avatar

    i would like something that doesnt really need an id even coin mama has limits ,

    Reply

  4. Avatar
    Jesse Rey AndersonJanuary 26, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Local Bitcoin no longer allows Anonymous transactions. You must have an ID in order to get any information, including people who are Bitcoin with “in person cash” options. They updated this user agreement in October of 2017

    Reply

  5. Avatar

    So where the hell i can buy bitcoin for cash in parson???? And i mean a lot!!!!

    Reply

    1. Avatar

      Localbitcoins.com can be used to find a seller to buy from in person.

      Reply

  6. Avatar

    The term is “make do,” not “make ado.”

    Reply

  7. Avatar

    I laugh when they say, “use a credit or debit card” to buy anonymously. The FBI can trace that in seconds! Some machines will reject a prepaid card. Cash transfers in person seem to be the only true way.

    Reply

  8. Avatar

    What do you think about changenow? I used this exchanger several times to buy bitcoin without registration. I just indicated my email, so I think this is a great option.

    Reply

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