Privacy preservation is one of cryptocurrency’s defining characteristics. Digital assets such as bitcoin provide a far higher degree of anonymity and surety than traditional online payment methods such as credit card or Paypal. There’s just one problem: buying bitcoin without disclosing your most intimate details isn’t easy. The following options, which don’t require KYC, are better bets for privacy connoisseurs.
Also read: Four Alternatives to Shapeshift
Buy Your Bitcoin, Keep Your Privacy
Buying bitcoin in a discrete fashion was relatively easy in BTC’s early days. Sites like Localbitcoins.com required no KYC, and the lax regulatory environment enabled crypto exchanges in many countries to operate with impunity. Those days have long gone, and while the cryptocurrency landscape today is better in many ways, in certain areas it is arguably worse. KYC is a prime example. You can purchase a plane ticket with less questions than you can buy your first fraction of a bitcoin. Thankfully a few outposts, beyond the reach of US-dominated enforcers, remain.
Bisq is a decentralized P2P network that we’ve previously profiled. It enables BCH, BTC, and numerous other cryptocurrencies to be bought and sold without needing to first scan your passport, driving license, disclose your financial history, and attest to the origin of your bitcoins. It’s how a cryptocurrency marketplace ought to be in other words. To access it, users need to download Bisq’s desktop software which is open source. As its FAQ explains, “Bisq does not know the traders. No data is stored on who trades with whom. Bisq does not require registration. This means privacy is maintained, there are no “approval” wait times, and identity theft becomes impossible.”
Like Bisq, Hodl Hodl doesn’t hodl funds: instead it utilizes a P2P model, with funds retained in multi-sig until the seller has denoted payment received. The platform enables BTC and LTC to be traded in a trustless setting, and there’s no obligation to complete arduous and intrusive verification procedures. There is the ability to obtain Verified or Trusted status, which unlocks higher trading limits and other benefits, but such provisions are not mandatory. Because P2P exchanges like Bisq and Hodl Hodl have lower liquidity and wider spreads, buyers will typically pay a little above the book price for bitcoin, and may struggle to buy or sell large quantities of coins at a time. They may conclude, however, that these downsides are offset by the increase in privacy that comes from choosing a non-custodial exchange.
Localbitcoins.com (LBC) was the original P2P exchange, and it retains a high volume of users, enabling BTC to be bought and sold in a matter of minutes. It remains the world’s go-to peer-to-peer exchange for purchasing bitcoin core. Earlier this year, LBC updated its terms of service to require additional identification for traders who exchange a significant volume of coins. Furthermore, LBC does require basic levels of trust to facilitate trading; a mobile number or email address for example, although these things are easily spoofed for those who desire maximum privacy. LBC’s greatest function, from a privacy perspective, however, is its ability to facilitate cash transactions in person. Once you’ve met and established trust with an LBC trader, subsequent transactions can be conducted in confidence and in privacy, without broadcasting your desire to buy bitcoin to the world.
Online marketplace Openbazaar (OB) is a portal for buying all sorts of goods, from apparel to recreational drugs. It’s also a great place to buy cryptocurrency with no questions asked. After downloading the OB client, users are able to integrate their preferred BCH, BTC, or ZEC wallet and start trading. OB’s commitment to privacy and desire to support the principles upon which cryptocurrency was founded make it a popular choice with individuals who wish to purchase bitcoin without being forced to answer 100 questions.
What other privacy-friendly ways can you buy bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.
Purchase Bitcoin without visiting a cryptocurrency exchange. Buy BTC and BCH here.