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Buy some Bitcoin

So you have a wallet setup and you got some free Bitcoins, but you want more. You’re intrigued and have to explore the full depths of the Bitcoin universe. How do you do that? This is possibly the most difficult part of Bitcoin — actually getting larger sums of Bitcoin. Never fear! Through hard research and much footwork, I have located a few sites online that will exchange your U.S. Dollars for Bitcoin!

https://coinbase.com
This site is probably the easiest to use for exchanging U.S. Dollars for Bitcoin. You can link a bank account with your coinbase account and perform ACH withdrawls against that bank account. This ease comes with some downside though: you cannot specify the price you are willing to buy Bitcoin at. You can only buy at the market rate. Also, it takes three days to validate your bank account and another three days to actually buy Bitcoin. If you’re in a hurry, this really isn’t the way to go. Update (Aug 4, 2013): After being a member for 30 days and completing some verifications, you can now buy Bitcoin from Coinbase and have those same Bitcoin credited to your online wallet within a minute. I tried it out and it works really well and it is just that fast.

https://localbitcoins.com/
This site provides probably the greatest anonymity, if that’s what you need when buying Bitcoins. A user can sign up and create a listing to buy or sell bitcoins locally or over the internet, and then those listings can be viewed by others who can then contact the advertiser. It’s sort of an online garage sale for Bitcoin. This site does come with some challenges, however. The new user might find it difficult to locate someone willing to sell Bitcoin to an unverified participant. Also, there could be sellers without any scrouples.

https://www.virwox.com
This site is a bit more complicated, primarily because Bitcoin exchange isn’t their primary function. If you’re a SecondLife gamer, you might be familiar with this website already. You can exchange U.S. Dollars for Linden Dollars. Then you can exchange those Linden Dollars for Bitcoins. If you aren’t a SecondLife gamer, then this is probably a bit more roundabout than you need or want. Update (Aug 4, 2013): if you transfer your Liden $ into SecondLife, you can no longer withdraw them through VirWox. If you use VirWox to buy Bitcoin, do so directly on their site.

https://mtgox.com funded with https://www.bitinstant.com
Update (Aug 4, 2013): Unfortunately bitinstant is under-going an update right now, so you cannot buy Bitcoins from them.

I’ll admit, the Bitcoin purchasing options are far from optimal, but there is some choice. If you’re a regular Joe who just wants some more Bitcoin to play with or to buy a few things from abroad, I’d suggest coinbase. It is far and away the easiest solution available right now, even if it takes six days to get set up. If you’re interested in profiting from exchange rates, nothing will beat Mt. Gox as far as I know. If you’re a SecondLifer who already has a VirWox account, then your choice is clear.

Happy Bitcoining!

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