In 2020, you have four ways of acquiring bitcoin: mining, earning, exchanging, or buying. While anyone can mine bitcoin, only those with the dedicated racks of hardware can do so profitably. Thus, despite the lure of newly minted coins with no transactional history, mining is not a realistic way of obtaining bitcoin.
Earning, typically through working for a crypto company, provides a more practical means of obtaining bitcoin, but isn’t remotely anonymous since your employer will have all your pertinent details, and may be obliged to pass these on to government agencies. Exchanging – that is, swapping goods or services for bitcoin – is a more practical way to get your hands on cryptocurrency.
Buying bitcoin is a bit like buying contraception: it’s a basic human right, you should be entitled to do so privately, and it’s nobody’s business what you plan to do with it.
Whether you’re buying bitcoin to set aside for a rainy day or to expend immediately in a fit of passion, you shouldn’t have to broadcast your intentions to the world. Here’s how to obtain bitcoin without forsaking your anonymity.
Mine, Earn, Exchange or Buy?
You could set up your own bitcoin-only store, allowing you to sell physical and digital goods in exchange for crypto. With no fiat payment rails connected, you can run the website and accrue bitcoin without disclosing your identity. Naturally, you’ll need to have something that people desire sufficiently to part with their beloved bitcoin; think high quality merchandise, tasteful art, bespoke bitcoin jewelry, or genesis block-inspired posters. Of course you don’t have to set up your own website to sell goods for bitcoin; there are already dozens of online stores where you can become a vendor with no questions asked. Welcome to the darknet.
Despite what mainstream media would have you believe, not everything for sale on darknet marketplaces (DNMs) is illegal. Thus, you don’t need to break any laws in your quest to swap goods for bitcoin. In addition to legal paraphernalia of the sort found in head shops, DNM vendors sell medicinal items such as CBD oil. In truth, you can sell anything you can think of on the darknet; the only limits are your imagination and market demand. While selling on DNMs is one of the most anonymous ways to obtain bitcoin, it’s not the quickest or most practical. If you’re looking to acquire bitcoin in a hurry – be it to place a DNM order of your own or because the price of BTC is shooting up – you’ll need to buy it directly. Thankfully, there are still ways to purchase bitcoin anonymously, or at least privately i.e. without needing to undergo KYC, with the complete loss of privacy and risk of identity theft this carries.
How to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously in Person
There are two primary ways to buy bitcoin in person – that is, by leaving the house. One is to purchase bitcoin using a BATM – an automated machine that will let you swap fiat currency for cryptocurrency. Finding a bitcoin ATM near you is easy, and as a previous guide from news.Bitcoin.com explains, there are ways to purchase crypto from BATMs completely anonymously, if you don’t mind bending a few rules. Even if you’re a stickler for playing by the book, a BATM is typically more discreet than using a centralized exchange to acquire crypto.
The second option is to find a bitcoin seller willing to meet you in person for a cash deal. Filter search results on Localcryptos, Localbitcoins, or local.Bitcoin.com by area, and then message sellers to see if they’re willing to meet. Regardless of what the platforms’ terms of service say (LBC doesn’t permit in-person meets any more), many sellers will be happy to arrange a cash deal. Naturally, you’ll need to establish trust on both sides, and it makes sense to start with a relatively small purchase before building up to larger amounts as trust develops. Another way to sniff out local sellers is to attend bitcoin meet-ups in your area and crypto conferences. Also search on Linkedin for OTC sellers in your region. There’ll be some chancers and time-wasters to sift through, but once you find a reputable seller, you’ll have your own private supply of bitcoin on tap.
How to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously Online
If you’re looking to anonymously buy bitcoin without leaving the house, your best bet is to use a P2P exchange such as Localcryptos or local.Bitcoin.com. There’s a range of payment options available, from bank transfer to gift cards and Paypal, and your details will only be disclosed to the seller. If you’re keen to conceal your identity from the seller altogether, it’s conceivable to send funds from an account you control that’s not in your name; a Paypal business account for “Acme Trading” for instance, or a Venmo account that a kindly friend will allow you to use. For a rundown of the main P2P bitcoin exchanges, see this guide from news.Bitcoin.com.
Finally, there are rumors of individuals paying third parties – homeless; the unemployed; students – to complete KYC on their behalf, and then using their identities to obtain crypto debit cards. If such apocryphal tales are true, they would provide a means of purchasing cryptocurrency that cannot be traced back to its actual buyer. There are also rumors of readymade identities being bought on the darknet, and used in the same manner to anonymously buy bitcoin.
Bitcoin is protection – yes, contraception – against the unexpected. It is a safeguard against account seizure, a protection against black swan events, and a hedge during economic uncertainty. You owe it to your present self to acquire bitcoin and you owe it to your future self to do so as privately as possible. Your bitcoin is nobody else’s business. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.