When it comes to buying Bitcoin, there are plenty of options out there.
But when it comes to buying Bitcoin in your home country’s fiat currency, the options become fewer and fewer.
When most people think of buying Bitcoin using fiat currency, they think about Coinbase.
For those of you who don’t know Coinbase, here is a quick intro:
- Coinbase is a US-based exchange. It the world’s most popular exchange to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. They also support the instant purchase of these currencies via Visa/MasterCard credit and debit cards.
You might think this is great, but there’s a big problem…
- At present, they only serve 32 countries.
- You can check if their service is available in your country here.
It seems absurd that buying Bitcoin – something famous for its open, borderless, and decentralized nature – would be restricted because of where you are trying to buy it.
Coinbase has said they’re trying to expand operations to 168 countries, but I doubt that.
Why do I doubt that? Because Coinbase became the first exchange to be valued over $1 billion, and they recently raised $100 million. Even before this funding, Coinbase was already heavily funded, so if they wanted to expand support for 168 countries, they would’ve started by now.
Moreover, I think Coinbase is more like a bank because of their high fees, limited accessibility, and their recent stance on Bitcoin Cash.
Considering all these facts, there are several Coinbase alternatives out there which will help you get your hands on some Bitcoin.
Top 6 Best Coinbase Alternatives
Coinmama is a digital financial service company operating in the cryptosphere ever since 2013 from Israel but is originally a venture of NBV International registered in Slovakia. It allows investors to buy popular coins such as ETH, BCH, ADA, LTC, etc., including BTC.
- Fees: Simplex, Coinmama’s credit/debit card processor, charges a 5% additional fee (with a minimum cap of USD 10) on each transaction. Only Visa/MasterCard are supported.
- Countries Supported: They operated in over 180 countries.
- Additional Comments: Reliable and trusted service.
LocalBitcoins is a Bitcoin startup and P2P Bitcoin exchange based out of Helsinki, Finland which has been operating since 2012.
If you don’t believe in centralized exchanges and want to go peer to peer, then this is one of the best options out there. It has on the ground Bitcoin buyers and sellers in more than 15,000 cities around the world.
Here you can meet buyers and sellers online and execute a trade offline. You can pay in cash or send them money via wire transfer or PayPal or SEPA or direct bank deposit or whatever (all depending on what the seller wants).
LBC only requires you to register using your email ID, however, you can also verify your identity which will raise trust between traders.
All the fees on LBC are set by the buyers/sellers, and LocalBitcoins acts as an escrow manager.
Caution: Be sure to check the reputation of the seller; a higher reputation means they’re more trustworthy.
- Further, consider reading our step-by-step guide on purchasing bitcoins with cash.
CEX is a London, UK-based exchange that has been operating since 2013. It supports the buying and selling of BTC and ETH. CEX has earned quite a bit of respect in the cryptocurrency space and is operational in 99% countries of the world. Moreover, they keep on adding more countries to their list, which is great.
Here are some of the notable features of CEX:
- Supports wire transfers of USD, EUR, RUB, and GBP.
- Offers a mobile app.
- 2-factor account authentication (good security features).
- Buy/sell/trade Bitcoin and Ethereum.
- Buy Bitcoin using credit or debit card.
- Buy Ethereum using credit or debit card.
- Great 24*7 customer support.
- Trade exchange.
It also supports the instant purchase of BTC/ETH via Visa/MasterCard credit and debit cards.
CEX users need not worry about the security of their funds because they have 2FA authentication as well as SMS/call service available for extra security.
Also, the fee structure is pretty easy to understand.
- For further reading: CoinSutra’s Detailed Review of CEX.io
Based out of San Francisco, U.S.A, and operational since 2011, Kraken is one of the biggest Bitcoin exchanges out there. Even though they are based in the US, they are one of the largest Euro to crypto markets in the world.
Apart from Bitcoin, they also provide trading of Ethereum (ETH), Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Stellar/Lumens (XLM), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Augur REP tokens (REP), ICONOMI (ICN), Melon (MLN), Zcash (ZEC), Dogecoin (XDG), Tether (USDT), Gnosis (GNO), and EOS (EOS).
You can buy/sell these many different cryptocurrencies via 5 fiat currencies – USD, GBP, JPY, EUR, and CAD – by SEPA or wire transfer.
At this time, they don’t support buying through credit/debit cards.
Other notable features of Karken are:
- Two-factor authentication.
- Email supports PGP/GPG signing and encryption.
- Create a master key for account recovery.
You can check the fee schedule of Kraken here.
Kraken accounts take some time to get verified. There are three tiers, and getting through them all can require some patience. To make sure everything goes smoothly, be sure to take the proper steps.
Gemini is one of the fastest growing Bitcoin exchanges in the world. They are based out of the United States and are fully compliant with the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS).
Currently, Gemini is serving the following regions:
You can also see here if your country or state is listed in this list.
Gemini supports buying/selling of BTC and ETH against USD which you can wire transfer from the supported countries and states. One notable thing about this exchange is that they don’t charge a fee for wire transfer deposits, however, respective currency conversion charges will still apply.
You can check their trade fee schedule here, and see below for the withdrawal/deposit fee schedule.
They also offer institutional accounts apart from individual accounts for more serious/larger trading.
That said, if you are a beginner, you will have no trouble figuring out how to use this marketplace.
6. Bitcoin ATMs
Another alternative to Coinbase and centralized exchanges are Bitcoin ATMs.
However, the trend of BTC ATMs are not yet that prevalent, but if you live in a country where you have Bitcoin ATMs, then this is a great way to get some bitcoins.
All you need is fiat money such as EUR, GBP or USD (these are the currencies most Bitcoin ATMs accept).
A Bitcoin ATM asks you to scan your public address, and it will transfer BTC to that address in the amount of fiat that you deposited into the ATM.
In some cases, if you don’t have a public address, just select the option of “don’t have an address” and the ATM will generate a paper wallet for you (if it supports that feature). Also, you can choose a Bitcoin wallet from our list, and generate a Bitcoin public address that way.
Mycelium Local Trader is a LocalBitcoins-like facility built into the Mycelium mobile app. It uses your phone’s GPS location to get you connected to traders nearby, making a listing of sellers who are on the app.
The buyer and seller meet in person to exchange cash/bitcoins, and there is no requirement of IDs or verifications to use Mycelium. Here is the official step by step guide to help you out in buying/selling bitcoins from Mycelium’s Local Trader.
All the fees on it are set by the buyers/sellers, and Mycelium Local Trader simply acts as an escrow manager.
Caution: Make sure the seller confirms the receiving of cash in front of you on the Mycelium app, and then the trade will be executed automatically.
Best Coinbase Alternatives
I should mention that I am not against Coinbase. At the same time, I don’t see any harm in exploring other alternatives for those users across the globe that can’t get access to Coinbase.
That said, there are plenty of options out there to buy and sell Bitcoin. So now all you need to do is go and do it!