A few years ago, there were many cryptocurrency exchanges that didn’t require users to complete a KYC (know your customer) identity verification process. Due to pressure from regulators, however, most exchanges now won’t allow users to trade crypto if they don’t verify their identity.
However, there are still some options available to users who want to buy Bitcoin without ID. In this article, we’ll show you how to buy Bitcoin anonymously and give you some useful tips on how to enhance your privacy when transacting with Bitcoin.
Use peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin marketplaces that don’t require KYC
Peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin marketplaces are platforms where buyers and sellers can arrange deals to buy and sell Bitcoin directly with each other. The major advantage of P2P marketplaces is flexibility, as the buyer and seller can choose the price and payment method that bests suits them.
While most of the major P2P marketplaces for Bitcoin now require users to verify their identity, there are some platforms that don’t request any information from users. However, if you’re very concerned about privacy, it’s not enough that you use a P2P marketplace with no KYC. You also need to use a payment method that preserves your privacy (for example paying with cash in person).
Here are our picks for the best P2P marketplaces that allow users to buy Bitcoin with no ID:Bisq - P2P crypto trading platform with very strong privacy Hodl Hodl - Bitcoin-focused P2P marketplace with no identity verification requirements LocalCoinSwap - No KYC P2P marketplace for Bitcoin and altcoins
Bisq - P2P crypto trading platform with very strong privacy
Bisq is a decentralized platform that allows users to sell Bitcoin in exchange for fiat or other cryptocurrencies. Bisq places a lot of emphasis on privacy and security, making it a popular option for hardcore Bitcoiners. The platform doesn’t require any identity verification from its users, and all user data is stored locally on the user’s computer.
Users install Bisq as a desktop app, and every Bisq node is configured to function as a Tor hidden service. This provides a much greater degree of privacy than using a standard web app to trade cryptocurrency.
Bisq is non-custodial, which means that users remain in control of their private keys at all times. The platform facilitates trades through a 2-of-2 multisignature wallet escrow. To prevent fraud, both the buyer and the seller are required to provide a security deposit.
Hodl Hodl - Bitcoin-focused P2P marketplace with no identity verification requirements
Hodl Hodl is a non-custodial Bitcoin trading platform that can be used to buy Bitcoin anonymously since it doesn’t have any identity verification requirements. The Hodl Hodl marketplace is based on peer-to-peer trading and supports over 60 different payment methods.
Hodl Hodl has a reputation system which allows users to quickly check the reputation of the user they are looking to trade with. This feature goes a long way towards preventing fraud, which is unfortunately a risk with all peer-to-peer cryptocurrency marketplaces. Similarly to Bisq, Hodl Hodl also implements multisig escrow addresses to facilitate trades.
The Hodl Hodl platform has been around for more than 7 years and has handed more than 50,000 deals between users.
Note that unlike Bisq, the Hodl Hodl platform only supports Bitcoin (and various fiat currency payment methods). So, if you’re also interested in buying altcoins, Bisq is a better option.
LocalCoinSwap - No KYC P2P marketplace for Bitcoin and altcoins
LocalCoinSwap is a peer-to-peer crypto marketplace with no KYC requirements. The LocalCoinSwap marketplace supports a variety of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, BNB Chain, Celo and TRON (as well as a variety of tokens issued on these blockchain platforms).
You can use LocalCoinSwap to buy and sell cryptocurrency for fiat currency through a variety of payment methods, or makes swaps between different cryptocurrencies.
Like the other two peer-to-peer marketplaces we’ve featured in this article, LocalCoinSwap also employs a non-custodial design which allows users to retain control over their crypto when using the platform. LocalCoinSwap also provides escrow protection to reduce the likelihood of fraud.
Use a Bitcoin ATM that only requires basic information
Besides using a peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace with no identity verification requirements, another way that you could potentially buy Bitcoin anonymously is by using a Bitcoin ATM.
The effectiveness of this method will depend on which Bitcoin ATM provider you are using and the country you live in. This method of buying Bitcoin with no ID will likely become less accessible in the future, as regulators are also putting pressure on Bitcoin ATM operators to introduce stricter KYC controls.
Some Bitcoin ATMs will allow customers to purchase up to $1,000 worth of Bitcoin by only providing a name and a phone number. In some cases, you might be able to input a random name and use a temporary phone number instead of your own phone number.
You can find a list of Bitcoin ATMs near you using tools such as Coin ATM Radar. Then, you can go check if any of the Bitcoin ATMs near you allow you to purchase Bitcoin anonymously.
Please keep in mind that using a Bitcoin ATM is one of the least efficient methods of buying Bitcoin in terms of value for money. Most Bitcoin ATMs charge massive fees, in some cases as high as 20%. So, we recommend you to avoid using Bitcoin ATMs if possible.
Privacy-enhancing Bitcoin wallets
If you put a lot of emphasis on privacy when purchasing Bitcoin, you probably also want to have as much privacy as possible when actually using your BTC coins. Thankfully, there exist Bitcoin wallets which are designed with a strong focus on privacy.
Samourai is a privacy-focused Bitcoin wallet that has a feature called Whirlpool. Whirlpool makes it difficult to track the origin of your BTC coins by using the CoinJoin technology.
With CoinJoin, coins from different people are mixed together in one transaction. After this process, everyone still has the same amount of BTC (minus fees), but on different addresses. This makes it difficult for any external observer of the blockchain to determine who the original owner of the BTC coins is.
The Whirlpool implementation of CoinJoin involves multiple quick and small CoinJoin cycles instead of a single slow CoinJoin cycle, which makes the entire process faster. When using the Whirlpool feature, users are charged with a flat fee, which means that you’ll be paying the same regardless of the amount of Bitcoin you want to mix.
Wasabi Wallet is a Bitcoin wallet with built-in support for CoinJoin. Wasabi Wallet is an example of a non-custodial wallet, which means that the user is responsible for managing their own private keys.
CoinJoin transactions through the Wasabi Wallet incur a 0.3% coordinator fee. Of course, users also have to pay the fees required by the Bitcoin network for sending a transaction. A nice perk is that the Wasabi Wallet waives the coordinator fee for if you want to anonymize less than 0.01 BTC through CoinJoin.
By default, all network traffic to and from the Wasabi Wallet goes through the Tor network for additional privacy. However, this setting can be turned off by the user.
Additional tips for crypto privacy
In order to protect your privacy when using any of the anonymous methods to purchase Bitcoin, we strongly recommend that you use a completely fresh Bitcoin wallet that isn’t associated with any other Bitcoin wallets. For example, if you use a wallet that you have already used to withdraw Bitcoin from a KYCd crypto exchange account, that would defeat the entire purpose of buying Bitcoin anonymously.
Besides using a privacy-focused Bitcoin wallet such as Samourai and Wasabi Wallet, you could also increase the privacy of your on-chain transactions by using a Bitcoin mixer service. However, Bitcoin mixers charge extra fees and often use centralized, trust-based setups, so it’s difficult to recommend them.
If you put a lot of value on privacy, Bitcoin is not really the best option. If it’s not absolutely necessary that you use Bitcoin, consider using privacy coins such as Monero or Zcash instead.
The bottom line
Compared to the early days of Bitcoin, buying Bitcoin anonymously has become significantly more difficult. However, there are still some options available on the market for users that want to purchase Bitcoin without providing ID.
If you’re looking for more tips on buying BTC, make sure to check out our ultimate guide to investing in Bitcoin.