Following a December 2013 spike that saw the value of Bitcoins top $1,000, interest in the alternative currency has reached a fever pitch. Around the world, an increasing number of people are sitting up and taking notice of the currency. Whether it is for investment potential or the ability to make anonymous purchases online, many people are beginning to recognize that Bitcoins are no longer just a tech fad.

For prospective buyers who are interested in purchasing Bitcoins but who may be a bit foggy regarding how to purchase the currency, it is important to understand that there are basically three ways in which to do so.  The best source for buying bitcoins is which has options for different countries.

Buying From a Bitcoin Exchange

One of the most common methods for purchasing Bitcoins is to use a Bitcoin exchange. Today, there are a number of Bitcoin exchanges operating around the globe, thus making it far easier for interested investors to purchase the digital currency. Although the precise method may vary from one exchange to another, you will typically need to observe the following steps.

  1. Begin by transferring in money in your local currency. One of the great advantages of Bitcoin is that it is not attached to a specific government currency or central bank.
  2. After transferring your own currency, you will need to wait for your money to clear. The amount of time that this takes may vary from one exchange to another.
  3. Once your money has cleared, you can then exchange your money for Bitcoins. It should be kept in mind that currently the value of Bitcoins does tend to fluctuate and may even increase or decrease in value multiple times over the course of a single day.
  4. After purchasing Bitcoins, you will then need to transfer your coins to your own Bitcoin wallet for safekeeping. If you do not already have a Bitcoin wallet, you will need to open one.

Trading for Bitcoins

Another option for obtaining Bitcoins is to make a local trade with someone who will engage in an exchange with you. As the interest in Bitcoins has increased, so have the number of people who are willing to barter for the digital currency. By browsing websites that specifically cater to such trades as well as online classifieds; you may well be able to find someone who is willing to sell Bitcoins to you in exchange for cash.

Instant Bitcoin Purchases

Thanks to coinbase It is also now possible to buyers in the United States to purchase Bitcoins using funds that are taken directly from his or her bank account, thus avoiding the need exchange currencies. In some instances, you can also schedule automatic purchases of a specified number of coins on a weekly basis. This option may be a good choice for individuals with an eye toward investment. It should be noted that there is an initial 30-day wait period after your identity is verified in order to comply regulatory requirements. Prospective buyers should be aware that a fee will apply to the service.

Additionally, while they are certainly not widespread, special automatic teller machines are now being positioned in some locations. With the use of these Bitcoin ATMs, it is now possible to instantly purchase Bitcoins without the need to go through an online intermediary, such as an exchange. The first Bitcoin ATM was opened at a coffee shop in Vancouver, with plans for a second to be opened soon after in Hong Kong. Plans are also underway for additional ATMs to be launched at other locations in Canada. Currently, there are no operational Bitcoins in the United States, due to U.S. regulations, but that could change.