How to buy bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency and digital payment method, has changed in recent years. Although the process of buying bitcoin still remains the same – you can buy bitcoin with a bank account or bank transfer – some third parties are offering to buy bitcoin for you with PayPal, credit cards, and other payment methods. This can seem convenient, but there are risks involved when you use these third parties. Here’s why you should stick to the more traditional approach of buying bitcoin with cash or by transferring funds from your bank account directly to an exchange that sells bitcoin like Coinbase.
The primary risk of buying bitcoins on a third-party site like Local Bitcoins is that you don’t have access to your coins right away. Your coins are often locked in escrow until you finish all trades, which can take time. This means that if something goes wrong and you don’t get paid, there may be little recourse for recovering your funds. In addition, exchanges like Coinbase offer insurance against theft or loss—but they charge a fee for it. You could also lose money if you buy from an exchange that suddenly fails or gets hacked. If you decide to use a third-party exchange (and not an exchange such as Coinbase), do some research into how secure their site is and how long they’ve been around before trusting them with your coins.
First, when you buy bitcoin on an exchange, you’re typically putting your trust in that exchange. If a company goes out of business, or if its security is breached, your coins could be stolen—and there’s no insurance to cover such losses. And when you use an exchange rather than buying directly from someone else (or if you use Coinbase and buy from Coinbase), then whether or not you’ll pay any fees depends on what country you live in. Using an exchange based in Europe? Expect to pay fees. Using one based in China? Fees again. In some cases, using an exchange can also mean that you have less control over how much privacy you have over your funds; while most exchanges offer privacy settings so that only certain people can see how much money is in your account, they may also require identifying information before they let you withdraw anything at all.
Losing your money
if you buy bitcoins through an exchange or trading platform, that platform will usually not store your bitcoins for you. Instead, you’ll have to deposit your money (usually USD or another fiat currency) and put in a buy order. You can also send your bitcoins to someone else as payment for goods or services, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to cash them out successfully. If these sites go down or get hacked (which happens often enough), you could lose all your bitcoins without getting anything in return! It’s always safer to just keep your bitcoins on your own computer or hard drive.
This can be a big problem because if someone hacks into your account, they can transfer your coins out in an instant. This is why it’s vital that you follow two-factor authentication methods and make sure to keep your computer safe from viruses and other malware. You don’t want to lose all your hard-earned bitcoins! If you do end up losing them, there are ways to get them back (if you have access to your private keys). However, I wouldn’t recommend trying anything unless you know what you’re doing.
When you buy bitcoin on an exchange, you’re trusting that exchange to protect your personal information. If an exchange goes down and your money disappears with it, there isn’t much you can do about it (aside from using costly litigation as a last resort). Your private data—your passwords, phone numbers, addresses, credit card info—is now vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves. Furthermore, if you lose access to your account or get locked out for any reason, it could be difficult or impossible to recover your funds without help from customer service. And good luck getting through to them; many exchanges have been known to keep customers waiting for weeks before responding.
Exchanges are being hacked
You might have heard about Mt. Gox and other exchanges being hacked, or your friends’ accounts being compromised when they use exchanges that don’t have security measures in place. These attacks aren’t just rare events: they’re increasing year after year. If you think that using an exchange means you won’t be hacked, think again; today, Bitcoin is still primarily used as an investment tool and long-term store of value rather than a payment method. As such, it has become a prime target for hackers and thieves looking to get rich quickly.
Not enough liquidity
There aren’t enough market participants to support many transactions in a cryptocurrency, which means that it can be difficult to buy or sell large amounts without severely affecting its price. This is called illiquidity risk. A new investor who wants to buy $1 million worth of crypto will find it difficult because there aren’t enough sellers who have that much crypto to offer. The same applies if you want to sell $1 million worth of crypto; except then there are more buyers than sellers and you have competition.