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How to sell bitcoin
A simple guide to cashing out your bitcoin for US dollars or another cryptocurrency.
If you’ve taken the leap and bought some bitcoin, it’s equally important that you know how (and when) to cash out and sell.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the different ways you can sell bitcoin, as well as the ins and outs of converting your BTC to US dollars or another cryptocurrency.
Quick guide: How to sell bitcoin in the US
- Log into your account on an exchange like Coinbase.
- Click on the “Sells” page.
- Enter the amount of BTC you want to sell.
- Select the wallet you’re selling from.
- Review transaction details.
- Click “Sell.”
This is our quick guide to just one way to sell BTC. Compare some other options in the table below.
Where to sell bitcoin in the US
A step-by-step guide to selling bitcoin
There are two main options available when selling your BTC holdings:
- Selling bitcoin for fiat currency, such as US dollars (USD)
- Selling bitcoin for another cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum, XRP or any number of other altcoins
For many people, the main aim when selling bitcoin will be to cash out for USD, so you can find instructions on how to do that below.
However, if you want to trade your BTC for another crypto, we’ve included a step-by-step guide on how to do that as well.
Selling BTC for US dollars
If you want to sell BTC for fiat currency, here’s an example of how you can do it:
Selling BTC for cryptocurrency
If you want to exchange your bitcoin for another cryptocurrency, here’s how you can do it:
How to sell a large amount of bitcoin
If you’re looking to sell a large amount of bitcoin, such as $50,000 or more, conducting the transaction through an ordinary crypto exchange may not be the best way to go about it. Not only may there not be sufficient liquidity on a traditional exchange, resulting in slower processing times, but you’ll also need to battle “slippage” — which is when the market moves against you before your trade can be completed.
The transaction limits on these exchanges may also be too low for your needs, so anyone looking to sell a large amount of bitcoin should consider an over-the-counter (OTC) trade. OTC trades are those that take place away from a conventional, regulated exchange, and they offer a simpler and more cost-effective way to buy and sell large amounts of bitcoin.
How to choose the best way to sell bitcoin
There’s no such thing as a best way to sell bitcoin for everyone, because what works well for one person might not necessarily be a good fit for the next. Instead, it’s all about working out which option is the right choice for you. You can do this by asking yourself a few important questions:
- Do you want to sell bitcoin for USD or another cryptocurrency?
- How quickly do you want to sell your bitcoin?
- Are you willing to accept a price well below the market rate, or do you want to negotiate the best price possible?
- If selling for USD, how do you want to receive payment?
This should help you decide how you want to sell your bitcoin, and you can then figure out which platform has all the features you need. When comparing your options, make sure you consider:
- Price. How does the exchange rate you’ll get compare to those offered by other platforms?
- Fees. Compare any trading fees that apply and whether there’s a fee for withdrawing funds into your bank account or crypto wallet.
- Trading and withdrawal limits. Is there any limit on the amount of bitcoin you can sell, or on how much USD you can withdraw from your account?
- Security features. Are there any security measures in place to help protect your funds and your private data, for example 2-factor authentication or a reputation system for buyers and sellers?
- Customer support. If something goes wrong with your transaction, how will you be able to contact customer support? During what hours is support available?
- Reputation and reviews. Seek out online reviews and check crypto forum posts from other users to find out whether they’d recommend a particular exchange, trading platform or bitcoin ATM provider.
There are several other important features to consider, such as where an exchange is regulated and the payment methods accepted by peer-to-peer trading sites, so check out our cryptocurrency exchange guide for more tips on how to choose the right platform.
How to sell bitcoin: what are my options?
The step-by-step guides above take you through the process of selling bitcoin on an exchange. However, this is just one of several options available when you want to cash out your bitcoin, so let’s take a closer at what other options you have.
Withdrawing your funds after the sale
Even after you’ve sold your bitcoin, your transaction hasn’t been fully completed. The final step is to withdraw the proceeds of your sale into either your bank account or your cryptocurrency wallet.
If you’ve sold bitcoin through a platform that permits USD withdrawals, check to see what withdrawal methods are supported. Options include:
- Bank transfer
- Credit/debit card
When choosing your withdrawal method, make sure you consider:
- Fees. Many (but not all) platforms impose a withdrawal fee, and the fee charged usually varies depending on the withdrawal method selected.
- Limits. Are there any minimum or maximum limits on how much you can transfer? How do they differ between withdrawal methods? Can you increase these limits by providing additional verification or ID?
- Processing times. How long will it take for the USD to arrive in your wallet or bank account? For example, while cash withdrawals are instant, bank transfers can take several days to arrive.
- Any other restrictions. For example, some exchanges will require you to withdraw funds using the same payment method with which you made your deposit.
Storing your cryptocurrency on an exchange for the long-term is not recommended. Exchanges control the private keys to these wallets and are also popular targets for hackers, so the safest option is to transfer your crypto into a secure wallet that lets you retain ownership of your private keys. It’s a good idea to set this wallet up well in advance of selling your bitcoin, and make sure you double-check your wallet address before depositing any funds.
Once again, check whether there are any limits on the amount of crypto you can withdraw per-transaction or in any 24-hour period. You’ll also need to factor any withdrawal fee into the total cost of the transaction.
When is the right time to sell bitcoin?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question.
Timing is crucial to maximizing the success of any trade — anyone who sold bitcoin at or near its ~US$20,000 peak in December 2017 can attest to this fact — but working out the right time to sell can be a tricky task. From crypto regulatory developments and broader economic factors to bitcoin hype levels and even your own appetite for risk, there are many factors that can affect whether you should or shouldn’t sell your BTC.
Analyze the market carefully to decide whether you want to sell or hold. Our guide to cryptocurrency technical analysis is a useful tool to help you better understand and read the crypto market.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ADA, ICX, IOTA and XLM.
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