Have you accrued some Bitcoins and now you’re ready to turn your digital currency into some cold, hard cash? It’s time to get selling, my friend.
Unlike other currencies, it’s not like the Bitcoins that you earn go straight into one of your bank accounts. It’s not like you can then waltz over to the nearest ATM and withdraw your funds. Well, not yet at least. Perhaps we will see this sort of thing flourishing in the years to come, but for now you have to jump through a few hoops before you can cash out your Bitcoins.
It’s a little trickier than setting up your Bitcoin wallet in the first place, but once you’ve done it a few times it will become second nature.
Let’s start by prefacing this article saying that you can sell Bitcoins in a few different ways. There are methods of selling your Bitcoins online and there are methods of selling your Bitcoins offline (aka in person). We’ll start first with the offline methods, as these are generally easier to do.
How to sell Bitcoins offline
Selling in person is an easy way to do business. Before you initiate your transaction with a buyer, obtain a Bitcoin market price from one of the larger Bitcoin exchanges. This way, both you and your buyer are getting the right deal.
Sell to friends or family
Selling your Bitcoins to friends or family is a great way to get your loved ones started out with Bitcoin. You can help them to set up a Bitcoin wallet and then transfer some funds directly to them for an agreed upon price. You get some cash, and they’re on their way with their new digital currency! Win-win we say.
Join a Bitcoin meetup
Bitcoin meetups aren’t just for nerds! They’re a great place to go and chat about the ins and outs of using the Bitcoin currency. They’re also a great place to buy and sell Bitcoin with others in your area. Try Meetup for finding local meetups of all descriptions.
Use the LocalBitcoins site to find buyers in your area
If you don’t know anyone who wants to buy Bitcoins, and there are no meetups in your local area, but you still want to sell in person, then try using LocalBitcoins. The site facilitates in person meetings between sellers and buyers. Register as a seller, set your price, and wait for a buyer to get in contact with you.
When using LocalBitcoins remember that you are meeting a stranger from the internet. It is unlikely, but possible, that they have ulterior motives for the meet. Be aware of your personal safety, meet in a public place, and try to bring along a friend to be extra cautious.
How to sell your Bitcoin online
You know how we told you that selling Bitcoins in person was really easy? It is! But you do have to get out of your pyjamas and leave the house to actually do it – unless you’re selling to your wife, housemate, or dog…? Selling Bitcoin online can save time and it makes sense – a digital currency should be sold online, right?
Selling to an individual buyer
Much like LocalBitcoins, you can make sales directly with another person, but do it all over the internet (LocalBitcoins has an online selling option, too). There are a number of sites that facilitate direct sales between a buyer and a seller. You will need to set yourself up as a seller and wait for a buyer to get in contact with you. To get a seller’s account you will need to verify your identity. Popular sites include Coinbase, BitQuick and BitBargain. Initially you may need to set a selling price lower than the market price as you won’t yet have a reputation. Once you build up your reputation as a reliable seller you can start to increase your rates.
Selling via a Bitcoin exchange
Bitcoin exchanges are run more like a business. Rather than doing business with a person you are doing business with an exchange, making your transaction more – or less – secure depending on which way that you look at it.
Unlike the sites that facilitate direct seller to buyer sales, Bitcoin exchanges connect sellers to buyers but hold all the funds until the transaction is complete. You link your bank account and can withdraw funds from the exchange when you please. On the one hand, you have the safety of escrow to protect you from fraudulent transactions. On the other hand, if your exchange goes under before you’ve transferred funds to your bank account; you might be left out of pocket.
Bitcoin exchanges also require proof of identity and have fees for each transaction. Check out Bitcoin exchanges like BitStamp and Circle for more info.
Buying goods online
Need to buy some groceries? A couch? Pay your bills? There are certain sites available where you can do just that – even if the company that you want to purchase from doesn’t accept Bitcoin. Certain websites like Purse, All4BTC, and Coinsfer all offer payment by proxy methods of getting what you want, without converting your Bitcoins into cash. With these sites, you can find what you want on Amazon, or other online retailers and services – and transfer Bitcoins to the intermediary site where they will then make your purchases via credit card. Fees apply.
And… BitCoin ATMs?
I know we already said that withdrawing your Bitcoins from an ATM isn’t widely available. That’s the key word here – widely. At present there are over 400 Bitcoin ATMs operating globally. The majority of ATMs are buy-only; however, there are some out there that are sell also. Check local maps to see if there is an ATM available near you.
We hope that we’ve sufficiently covered the basics so that you can now turn your Bitcoins into other currencies, goods or services. Bitcoin selling may take a little while to set up, but once you’re on your way, the process will become second nature.