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How to buy cryptocurrency in New York
The Empire State heavily restricts crypto trading. Here are the 9 best crypto exchanges for New York.
New York State has strict laws around buying and selling cryptocurrency.
As a New York State resident, if you want to purchase crypto through a cryptocurrency exchange, you have a limited selection of exchanges to choose from. The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) requires companies that conduct “virtual currency business activity” to obtain a BitLicense.(1)
The BitLicense first came into effect in June 2015, and obtaining a BitLicense is costly, tedious and time-intensive. For this reason, many popular crypto exchanges — including Binance.US and Kraken — do not operate in New York State.
How to buy crypto in New York through an exchange
All registered crypto exchanges in New York support major crypto assets like bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH), while some also support over 100 of the 21,000+ altcoins on the market today.
1. Compare and sign up with a crypto exchange.
You can find a list of exchanges available in New York below.
SoFi Invest Crypto
Founded in 2011, this popular fintech offers multiple options for investing, including crypto.
It lists 22 cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, DOGE, LTC, DOT and LINK. Keep in mind that you can't transfer your crypto from SoFi to an external crypto wallet, though.
SoFi doesn't require an account minimum and offers free financial counseling. It charges a 1.25% fee for buying and you can start with as little as $10.
Founded in 2013 as an app for traditional investments, you can now buy up to 15 cryptocurrencies through Robinhood, though 7 of these are restricted for New Yorkers.
The platform doesn't charge fees to buy and sell crypto, and you can start investing with as little as $1.
And if you'd like to move your crypto out of Robinhood's custody and into a non-custodial crypto wallet, Robinhood now enables you to do so.
Bitstamp Cryptocurrency Exchange
Founded in 2011, Bitstamp was the world's first nationally licensed Bitcoin exchange.
It supports over 70 cryptocurrencies including BTC, ETH and AVAX. It also allows for multiple deposit methods. And Bitstamp doesn't charge buying or selling fees if you trade under $1,000 per month — though, this will end on November 21, 2023.
If you need help, they offer 24/7 live customer support over the phone — a rare perk from a crypto exchange.
Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange
Founded in 2014, Gemini lists more than 100 coins that include BTC, ETH, and DOGE.
Instant purchase transaction fees depend on your transaction amount, starting at $0.99 for a transaction of up to $10. When you use the ActiveTrader mode, fees are reduced to between 0% and 0.4%.
There are no account minimums and no deposit fees for crypto or wire transfers, though you'll pay 3.49% of your total purchase amount with a debit card transfer.
Coinbase Digital Currency Exchange
Founded in 2012, Coinbase lists more than 200 coins that include BTC, ETH and DOGE.
Trading fees range from 0% to 1.0%, and they're calculated depending on whether you use Coinbase's Advanced Trading mode or you make instant buys.
You must have at least $1 in your account to purchase crypto.
2. Sign up using a government-issued ID
Once you’ve chosen an exchange, keep in mind that all licensed exchanges in New York are required to comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations.
These regulations require you to provide proof of a government-issued ID, your social security number and other important information to verify your identity when signing up for an account.
3. Buy your coins or tokens.
After you’ve created an account with an exchange, select and purchase the coins you’d like.
Once you’ve made a purchase, please understand that you technically do not have full ownership over the coins or tokens you’ve purchased yet. Instead, the exchange holds them on your behalf, and you technically only own an IOU for your digital assets.
To have full ownership over your crypto assets, you must move them from the custody of exchange and manage them in a non-custodial crypto wallet. This ensures total control over your funds and removes the risks associated with holding your coins on an exchange.
4. Get a non-custodial crypto wallet.
A non-custodial crypto wallet is a type of software or a combination of hardware and software that helps you to store the private keys to your crypto assets. You can think of private keys like the password to your crypto that gives you access to your crypto on the blockchain.
When you purchase a crypto asset from a centralized exchange like Coinbase, the private keys for your crypto asset are kept in a wallet on that exchange. This type of wallet is often referred to as a custodial wallet.
You don’t actually have control over the asset you’ve purchased until you hold the private keys for that asset in a non-custodial wallet.
As mentioned, non-custodial wallets include software and hardware wallets.
Software wallets remain connected to the internet at all times and are slightly less trustworthy than hardware wallets because of this.
Hardware wallets help you to store the private keys to your digital assets offline. See our review of the best crypto hardware wallets on the market to learn more.
For a more extensive overview of crypto wallets, see our overview of the best crypto wallets on the market today.
Keeping your crypto secure
All centralized exchanges, including , are vulnerable to counterparty risks like hacking, theft and insolvency. Using a self-custodial or hardware wallet is widely accepted as the best way to improve the security of your funds. We've shared some of our top picks below.
Ledger Nano X Wallet
Trezor Model T Wallet
Ledger Nano S Plus Wallet
See more of the best crypto wallets
Details about New York crypto laws and BitLicense
New York passed crypto regulation in June 2015 that requires businesses to register for a BitLicense to operate a crypto business legally in the state.
Regulations surrounding cryptocurrency in the state are developing and changing frequently.
Currently, a cryptocurrency business in New York is required to get a BitLicense if it:
- Receives cryptocurrency for transmission or transmits cryptocurrency.
- Stores, holds or maintains custody of cryptocurrency on the behalf of others.
- Allows customers to buy or sell cryptocurrencies.
- Allows customers to perform exchanges of cryptocurrencies.
- Controls, administers or issues a cryptocurrency.
Many startup crypto exchanges looking to plant roots in New York struggle due to the cost and time involved in getting a BitLicense.
CoinDesk calls the regulation stifling, saying it “prevents crypto startups from growing their operations in one of the world’s premier financial hubs.”(21)
While part of the purpose of the BitLicense is consumer safety, the BitLicense inhibits competition amongst crypto exchanges in New York and gives crypto enthusiasts in New York fewer options for purchasing cryptocurrencies.
Crypto coins in New York
Different exchanges and platforms available to New York residents support different crypto coins and tokens.
Regulations in New York limit the coins and tokens you can purchase. So, not only do exchanges have to have a BitLicense to operate in New York, but the crypto assets they sell must also be approved.
Coins and tokens pre-approved for listing in New York
The NYDFS has published a “Greenlist” — or a list of coins and tokens pre-approved for exchange listings.(22)
Pre-approved crypto assets as of September 2023 include:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- GMO JPY (GYEN)
- Pax Dollar (USDP)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- GMO USD (ZUSD)
- PayPal Dollar (PYUSD)
- Gemini Dollar (GUSD)
- Pax Gold (PAXG)
Entities may also self-certify coins to be listed, which is why exchanges like Coinbase can list DOGE even though it’s not on the official Greenlist. These coins are also tracked by the NYDFS.
Is Crypto.com available in New York?
No, Crypto.com is not available in New York.
New York is the only US state in which residents cannot use Crypto.com.
Is KuCoin licensed to operate in New York?
No. Though plenty of Redditors talk about using KuCoin to bypass the law, it is not licensed to do business in New York or in any US state for that matter, for that matter. If you use a VPN or other illegal workarounds to access KuCoin, you could face legal consequences.
Instead of KuCoin, consider an exchange like Coinbase, which offers over 200+ different cryptocurrencies.
Can I use Binance in New York?
No, New York residents can’t use Binance or Binance.US. Neither is licensed to operate in New York State.
Instead, you can use one of the many exchanges listed here, which are all available to residents of New York State.
Is Bitcoin legal in New York?
Yes, Bitcoin (BTC) is legal to buy and sell in New York state.
How do I buy XRP in New York?
Yes, New York State residents can buy XRP on exchanges such as Coinbase, Gemini and Bitstamp.
How do I buy Shiba Inu in New York?
How do I buy Dogecoin in New York?
Know before you buy crypto
Before you throw yourself headlong into the world of crypto, know how to protect yourself against theft or loss:
- Read the fine print. Marketplaces and exchanges often aren’t liable if bad actors get access to your digital wallet or assets. Learn about the security measures in place to prevent access to your money.
- Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing attempts are a common scam tactic in the crypto world. No exchange will ask you to confirm the password to your wallet or keys through email or by phone. Call the company directly to ask about suspicious contacts or anything else you’re not sure about.
- Reputable exchanges require ID. Signing up with a reputable exchange site typically requires you to submit such personal information as your address, SSN and email.
- Enable 2-FA. Reputable exchanges also often offer email verification and 2-factor authentication (2FA) to help protect your account. Utilize these services as an extra precaution.
- Cryptocurrency is volatile. The value of any coin can change in a matter of seconds, spelling major losses or gains that depend on interest and how much you invest.
How many people own Bitcoin in New York?
8% of New York adults currently own Bitcoin, according to an online Google survey of 1,036 people conducted across March 27-April 5, 2022. However, an additional 5% said they don’t own Bitcoin yet but plan to buy some in 2022, meaning Bitcoin adoption in New York could hit 13% by the year’s end.
Ownership by gender
Men in New York are more likely to own Bitcoin than women. 13% of men own Bitcoin compared to 3% of women. Men who don’t own Bitcoin are also more likely to have plans to buy some this year — 6% compared to 4%. If they follow through with their plans, the gap could be 12% by the year’s end.
Ownership by age
American adults ages 25-34 (12%) are the most likely to have Bitcoin in New York, followed by 18-24 (10%), 35-44 (9%), 55-64 (7%) and 45-54 (6%). Only 3% of adults 65+ responded as currently owning Bitcoin.
Our data is based on a Google survey of 1,036 people conducted online from March 27, 2022, to April 5, 2022. We asked New Yorkers if they currently own Bitcoin and, if not, whether they plan to buy Bitcoin in 2022. We assume the participants in our survey represent the US population of 259.4 million Americans who are at least 18 years old, according to the world population review estimate. This assumption is made at the 95% confidence level with a 2.17% margin of error.
- SoFi, “What crypto currencies are available through SoFi”, 9 June 2023
- SoFi, “Why did my price change after I placed my crypto trade?”, July 2022
- SoFi, “SoFi’s crypto guide for beginners”
- SoFi, “How long does it take for my funds to be available for buying crypto?”, July 2023
- Robinhood, “No commission crypto trading”
- Robinhood, “Crypto transfers”
- Robinhood, “Crypto”
- Bitstamp, “Markets”
- Bitstamp, “How can I buy cryptocurrency with a credit or debit card?”
- Bitstamp, “Unified fee schedule”
- Gemini, “Web exchange fee schedule”
- Gemini, “Mobile fee schedule”
- Gemini, “Transfer Fee Schedule”
- Gemini, “ActiveTrader fee schedule”
- Coinbase, “Coinbase commerce fees”
- Coinbase, “Pricing and Fees”
- Coinbase, “Exchange fees”
- CoinMarketCap, “Coinbase Exchange”
- Webull, “Buy and sell cryptocurrencies”
- CoinDesk, “Kill the BitLicense”, Oct 19, 2021
- NYDFS, “Virtual Currency Business: Main Page”
- Simplex, “Atomic Wallet”
- Medium (Atomic Wallet), “ShapeShift exchange in Atomic Wallet”
Are you visiting from outside the US?
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