Home Learn Articles Chat room

How to buy bitcoin anonymously & list of anonymous crypto exchanges

Stay up-to-date

Don't miss new content and revisions.

We don't spam nor share e-mails

Chat with our community!

Join our community chatroom: join the #thetradingdojo:matrix.org room on the app!

Created with Sketch. Get it on F-Droid. Download on the App Store.

On desktops:
Launch now on your browser

Buy bitcooin anonymously

Let me be straightforward:

Now stop wasting you time thinking about complex wobbly schemes, there is only 3 possible approaches to stay unidentified while buying crypto:

Peer-to-peer crypto exchanges

What are peer-to-peer exchanges?

Unlike traditional exchanges which execute offers and demands through an order book, P2P exchanges connect vendors and buyers directly through a messaging system that they will use to conclude the deal.
Browse sell listings and find an ad corresponding to your need. You will then be put in relation with the vendor.
To ensure a scamless experience, each participant is noted by its counterparty for every transaction, and the exchange act as an escrow: the same way as Ebay is working.

When you browse a P2P exchange, you will see a wide variety of payment methods, from traditional bank wire to iTune gift cards.

List of peer-to-peer exchanges

Liquidity Privacy Jurisdiction
Paxful High Medium USA
Localbitcoins.com High Very Low Finland
Local Coin Swap Low High Hong Kong
Local Ethereum Low High Australia
Local Monero Low High BVIBritish Virgin Islands
Local.Bitcoin.Com Low High Saint Kitts & Nevis
Hodl Hodl Low High UK
Dether Low High Estonia
Mycelium's Local Trader Low High Cyprus
Moontrade Low High Not disclosed
Bisq Low High Decentralised

Updated on September 16th 2019

As you see, none is perfect.
The most known P2P exchange was localbitcoins, unfortunately it is now regarded as a joke by the crypto community, as they removed many important payment methods, banned a lot of users, froze their founds, and now require a KYC verification for everybody.

Paxful is the second biggest P2P exchange. Although it is located in USA, it hasn’t yet bothered its members privacy much.

All the other exchanges are very respectful of your private life. However, they have a low number of offers available. But it is still worthy to check their listings.

How to buy bitcoin anonymously on peer-to-peer exchanges?

There are three main ways to buy bitcoin anonymously: with a prepaid debit card, through a gift card, or by cash through a face-to-face meeting.
Keep in mind that each offer is made by a different person, and it’s up to them to decide if they want to verify your identity or not. Many do want, but many don’t.

Buying bitcoin anonymously a prepaid debit card

One known method is to buy a prepaid debit card in your local supermarket (if available in your country).
You then have to find a vendor who accepts this payment method without asking for an identity verification. There is plenty of them on Paxful.

Buying bitcoin anonymously with gift cards

Paxful is full of offers accepting various gift cards as payment: iTune gift card, Google Play gift card, Amazon, Playstation Network…
You can buy those cards anonymously in your local supermarket, and then sell the card’s code to the vendor, who will then send you your bitcoins.

Buying bitcoin anonymously with cash: meeting face to face

This is the best method if you have to buy a real amount of crypto.

Unfortunately, most small and medium cities of the world won’t have any face-to-face offer available. But if you are in a big city, or willing to travel, then I advise you to check this option.
Don’t hesitate to contact the vendor beforehand to know his way to proceed. Most of the time you will meet in a public place and make a direct wallet to wallet transfer then exchange the cash.
Don’t meet in a shady place as you might get all your coins physically robbed from your smartphone.

Other options to consider

You will find categories such as “cash deposit” and “cash by mail”. Check them thoroughly and you might see some desirable listings.

Remember that you are also free to post an announce on those exchanges, and to specify your favourite payment method: you will have to wait for sellers to notice and trust you.

Be inventive

This is the best approach. I’ve regularly found practical and low-fee solutions to stay anonymous while buying bitcoin, by simply being inventive. However, many people give up on this one when they realise it takes days of cerebral efforts.
To protect my privacy, I won’t reveal what I found. But I’ll give you some clues.

Most countries, especially in the third-world and the ones where cash is still widely present, have plenty of small transfer services.
Options such as Oxxo (Mexico), 7-Eleven transfers, M-Pesa (Kenya) can be very valuable. I don’t know every places of the world, so it will be up to you to find what is the most suitable for yourself.

Using a fake name is legal in most democratic countries, although certainly against every Terms Of Service you’ll encounter. Using forged documents is illegal: I don’t recommend that.

Bitcoin ATM

Bitcoin ATM

What is a bitcoin ATM

A bitcoin ATM is not a standard ATM you find at every street corners.
They are ATM specially designed to treat bitcoin buy & sell transactions. There are many different models, operated by many different companies.
Some take big fees, some have thin transaction limits, some ask for identity verification, some don’t.

If you are in a big city, you may want to check if there is one in your area.

Find bitcoin ATM locations

The major site regrouping and listing all bitcoin ATM locations is https://coinatmradar.com/.
Once you find an ATM, you will be presented with its exact location information, fee schedules, informations about identity verification (usually mandatory above a certain amount) along with other interesting facts about the ATM.

Be aware that the informations on coinatmradar can sometimes be invalid or outdated.

How to buy bitcoin on an ATM

As I said, there is many different ATM models, and the method can differ from one to the other. But don’t worry, it’s mean to be intuitive enough.
Most of the time, you insert cash and the machine will scan a bitcoin QR code on your phone. Some machine will print you a ticket with a QR code containing the private key of a newly created address on which they sent the funds.

Some will only require an SMS verification. Feel free to use a burner phone.

Using a nominee

Buy bitcooin anonymously with a nominee

Nominee: An entity appointed by another (the nominator) to act on its behalf.

Your first question when it comes to this, is certainly “How do I find a nominee?”
I understand not everybody can tell his relatives to buy bitcoin for them. That wouldn’t even be truly anonymous if the person is a close parent of you, or could easily be linked to you.

But really, there is no magic answer: you want somebody to set-up an account on an exchange, and make the purchase for you.
If none of your friend is available for this task, you could write a classified ad on Craiglist to find someone in your area willing to do that for you, for a commission.
That’s basically setting up someone as a seller.

How to trade bitcoin anonymously

Once you have your coins, it’s now really easy to trade it against other crypto in a privacy-centric manner.
Indeed, most financial regulations only apply to fiat, securities, stocks, etc… Although some crazy countries (USA) started to categorize some coins as such, most don’t: cryptocurrencies are staying unclassified and not subject to invasive supervision.

That’s why the majority of exchanges outside of USA will let you trade crypto for crypto without asking for identity verification.
This doesn’t mean that they will let you deposit tainted money or help any criminal process. If they have suspicions on you, they will freeze you funds until the matter is resolved (It can take a long time.)

Note that no exchange will let you withdraw fiat without verification. To sell bitcoin anonymously, go back checking P2P exchanges and ATM.

List of anonymous crypto exchanges

Trading fees Liquidity Privacy Jurisdiction Restricted
Available pairs
Bitfinex / Ethfinex Low High High BVIBritish Virgin Islands North Korea, USA, Iran, Cuba, Pakistan, Syria, Venezuela, and Crimea 128 / 241 pairs
Livecoin Low Medium High Not disclosed Not disclosed 302 pairs
Exmo Medium Medium Medium UK Countries blacklisted by FATF, USA, Japan 145 pairs
Changelly High Medium Medium Hong Kong / UK Cuba, Iran, North Korea, USA, Crimea, Sudan, Syria, Bangladesh and Bolivia 140+ pairs
KuCoin Low High High Seychelles Not disclosed 420 pairs
Binance Low High High Malta Albania, Belarus, Bosnia, Burma, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cote D’Ivoire, the Crimea region of Ukraine, Croatia, Cuba, Herzegovina, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, USA, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe 503 pairs
BitMEX Low High High Seychelles North Korea, USA, Iran, Québec, Cuba, Crimea and Sevastopol, Iran, Syria, and Sudan 11 pairs
Deribit Low High High Netherlands North Korea, USA, Iran, Québec, Cuba, Crimea, Iran, and Syria 2 pairs

Updated on June 28th 2019


Should you have any question or remark, feel free to post it. I will answer you as soon as possible!

I want to receive cool and useful mails from The Trading Dojo
We don't spam nor share e-mails