August 06, 2018

Can You Really Buy Bitcoin Instantly?

How long should it take to buy Bitcoin?

The answer is, it depends. It depends on how much security you’d like. It depends on how you want to conduct the transaction. It even depends on whether you’d like to be absolutely sure that the bitcoins you’re buying are actually real bitcoins and not funny money. 

Or, in the immortal words of the Reverend Timothy Lovejoy, can you buy bitcoins instantly? Short answer yes with an “if,” long answer no with a “but.”

So, yes, you can buy bitcoins instantly if you accept some risk, but no you can’t do it safely. Here are three ways to try.

Purchase In Person

Perhaps the most straightforward way to buy a quick-bitcoin is to buy one out of cold storage.

As we’ve touched on before, one of the least-known features of cryptocurrencies is that they actually can live offline in a sense. Every bitcoin has its private address, the 34-character key that controls access to the blockchain. The private address works a little like old-fashioned bearer bonds in that the holder owns the asset.

While many traders keep their private keys in an online wallet, for extra security you can store it in an offline digital format (such as a flash drive) or even simply print the key out and hang on to a physical copy. If you buy one of these offline keys, the transaction is as easy as handing over the money and getting that copy of your new token’s key.

So why not do this all the time? Lots of reasons, but the biggest is the potential for scams. Sitting at a Starbucks, you’ve got no good way to know whether you’ve just gotten a key to $1,000 worth of bitcoin, a hexadecimal translation of “California roll”, or just a string of gibberish.

Peer to Peer Markets

Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces are the online version of an in-person transaction. Just like buying bitcoins in person, you connect with the seller directly, except here you do it online. 

These markets can include substantially more security than a simple cash transaction since most (if not all) P2P exchanges allow you to put money and tokens in escrow pending the sale. This controls the risk of outright fraud since the seller has to have an actual bitcoin to put into the escrow account.

What they can’t ensure is a good deal. A P2P marketplace is simply that. It’s an open forum where traders set their prices and make their bids. Hopefully, you’ll get a fair price, but there are no protections against getting ripped off. Nor are there any certainties that this instant transaction will actually take place instantly. 

If your trading partner is on the ball, great. If they step away from their computer to go for a quick run, grab a shower, then meet their friends for a beer, you might be waiting all night for that “instant” transaction to finish processing.

Legacy Exchanges

Looking for security and price stability, many people rely on large, well-established exchanges to buy their bitcoins. and it’s no wonder. A formal exchange absolutely offers better security than just handing over a stack of cash to some guy at the 7-11, because 21st-century technology should be harder to buy than a Slurpee. Exchanges will also generally use market-pegged prices.

You won’t necessarily get the best deal, but you probably won’t get too badly ripped off either.

The trouble is on the bigger, legacy exchanges, you may have to wait for quite a while.

Man in front of a laptop with his hand on his head appearing confused.

Many of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges on the internet have been around for a long time, and their systems have begun showing this age. They often wait on bank transactions that can take days to process before sending over your tokens. They may keep their records in cold storage, a security method which means that someone has to physically fetch each purchase made on their website. They simply will have systems that made sense two years ago but haven’t kept up with today.

All this means that your purchase will languish while the market moves on without you...

Which is where we come in.

Our 15-Minute Guarantee

Look, buying bitcoins instantly isn’t a great idea. There’s too much money involved to just hand over a stack of tokens in exchange for some quick cash. At Xcoins, we like to do our homework a little bit and make sure that the real you is spending your money, and that a true and shiny token will arrive in your wallet in return.

We also know, however, that the market moves quickly. If Amazon can get you a refrigerator in two days, we can sure do better with something made of ones and zeroes. That's why we think that 15 minutes is just about right. That’s the longest you’ll ever wait for your order to be sent (and 99% of orders are sent within seconds) because when you buy a bitcoin from Xcoins,  that's our guarantee.

Want to call us on that 15-minute guarantee? We're up for the challenge!  Sign up for free and watch your transaction speed through our ultra-secure, world-class process!

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