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You'll need a Bitcoin wallet before you buy since some exchanges require one.
Don't have a wallet? Read our guide on the best Bitcoin & cryptocurrency wallets.
eToro is a trading platform based in the United States. It supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Zcash and many other coins.
Deposits can be made quickly via bank transfer or ACH. It also offers unique features like copy trading.
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Coinbase is the world's largest Bitcoin (BTC) broker. They represent an easy and fast way for new users to purchase bitcoins. Coinbase supports customers in over 30 countries, including the United States, Europe (besides Germany), UK, Singapore, Canada, and Australia.
Customers in the above-mentioned countries can purchase bitcoins by debit card, bank transfer, SEPA transfer, and more.
Coinmama allows customers in almost every country to buy bitcoin. They charge a 4.9%-5.9% (depends on volume) fee on each purchase.
Customers in Europe can also purchase bitcoins with SEPA transfer for a lower fee.
Want to buy using Coinmama? This step-by-step guide will show you how to use Coinmama.
CEX.io lets you buy bitcoin with a credit card, ACH bank transfer, SEPA transfer, cash, or AstroPay. Purchases made with a credit card give you access to your bitcoin immediately. CEX.io works in the United States, Europe, and certain countries in South America.
Coinbase's exchange, Coinbase Pro, is one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges in the United States. Users can fund their accounts via bank transfer, SEPA, or bank wire. Coinbase Pro offers good prices and low fees, but their confusing user interface may initially prove difficult to navigate.
Gemini is a New York-based Bitcoin exchange, open to residents of the United States, UK, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. Deposits can be made via wire transfer, SEPA or ACH transfer.
BitcoinIRA offers a tax-advantaged way to invest in Bitcoin and Ethereum using your 401k or other retirement savings.
BitcoinIRA is a US licensed IRA custodian, so you know your IRa is in full compliance with the Federal Government.
Founded mid-2011, Kraken is the one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, and the largest in Europe based on daily average trading volume. It is available in almost all countries. Deposits can be made via bank wire, SEPA, ACH and SWIFT.
Swan Bitcoin is a dollar cost averaging Bitcoin exchange, where users can set up recurring Bitcoin purchases to be drafted from their bank account or credit card every month or week.
LocalBitcoins is an escrow service which also helps to match bitcoin buyers and sellers. Users may advertise trades for whichever payment method they prefer.
Buying bitcoins via an in-person meeting, secured and facilitated by LocalBitcoins, may be one of the fastest and most private ways to buy bitcoins in any country, including the United States, Europe (besides Germany), UK, Singapore, Canada, Australia and many more.
BitQuick is one of the fastest ways to buy bitcoins in the United States using cash deposit. Users can browse a wide range of offers at various prices. Once a desired offer is found, buyers visit a bank to make a cash deposit into the seller's account. Buyers then usually receive their bitcoins within an hour.
You can use our Bitcoin ATM map to buy bitcoins with cash. Bitcoin ATMs can be a quick and easy way to buy bitcoins and they're also private. That convenience and privacy, however, comes with a price; most ATMs have fees of 5-10%.
Washington's technology industry in concentrated in the Seattle area, which has launched leading companies like Microsoft and Amazon. The presence of these innovative and rapidly growing companies in the state has not been without controversy and a string of well-publicized legal battles in courts, both state and federal.
Washington has also taken an active approach to recognizing and regulating Bitcoin and cryptocurrency operations. The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions describes its mission as "striv[ing] to protect businesses and consumers while not unnecessarily impeding the development of new technologies that might improve existing payments systems or create alternative payment systems." While the resulting laws have provided some much needed clarity about the laws applying to the blockchain space, they have also forced out a number of exchanges which find the regulations too onerous.
State Bill 5031 - passed in 2017 - defined cryptocurrency exchanges as money transmitter businesses and required them to register as such before operating in the state. In addition to posting a surety bond of up to $250,000, exchanges must undergo third-party audits of their data systems and hold non-tradeable reserves equal to the volume of cryptocurrency maintained as customer deposits.
These obligations caused the exit of major exchanges from Washington, including Bitfinex, Kraken, Poloniex, and ShapeShift. The latter released a statement taking issue with being "required to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain a license, only to extract our users’ personal information and store that information for hackers to steal." ShapeShift had not long before acquired KeepKey - a Seattle-based hardware wallet manufacturer - but announced that it would be permanently relocating the division and all its jobs out of the Evergreen State.
Regulators recognized that SB 5031 resulted in a blockchain-unfriendly reputation for their state and have moved to remedy that in recent years. A 2019 bill aimed to establish legal definitions for "blockchain” and “distributed ledger technology.” Senate Bill 5638 also proposed to give the same legal status to documents and signatures "generated, communicated, received, and/or stored using distributed ledger technology" as any other legal document.
The bill is clearly a step toward integrating blockchain technology into the existing legal framework, yet it does nothing to address the restrictions and requirements that led to the exodus of companies previously operating in the state.
Despite the demanding money transmitter license requirements, the best way to purchase Bitcoin in Washington is still through one of the reputable exchanges open for business in the state. See below for our review of the best U.S.-based and international options.
Another option is to use LocalBitcoins, which is a peer-to-peer marketplace where you can organize trades with other individuals who are looking to buy or sell Bitcoin. This means that you can use any payment method you on which you both agree. PayPal, bank transfers, and gift cards are some of the most common on the site.
Bitcoin ATMs allow you to purchase Bitcoin using cash. A Bitcoin ATM transaction takes just a matter of minutes, making it one of the quickest ways to turn cash into cryptocurrency in your (virtual) wallet.
Regardless of how you obtain your Bitcoin, you'll need to store it securely. If you lose your funds, Bitcoin's trustless and decentralized nature means there's no one you can turn to. This means that storing it safely in a wallet is important. Read on to find out more about the best Bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallets.
Washington has access to many large Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges.
Take a look at our favorites below:
There are three main types of Bitcoin wallet and all of them are supported in Washington:
The Ledger Nano X is the newest crypto hardware wallet, and is very easy to use. It connects to iOS, Android & desktop computers.
Atomic wallet is a multicurrency mobile wallet with a beautiful interface and easy to use features.
Bitcoin has about as much of a role in illegal activities as cash does: it's an easy method of payment but doesn't do anything to actually promote crime. That is usually the domain of the petty scammers and fraudsters who lure inexperienced investors in with get-rich-quick schemes before making off with their money. This peaked in late 2017 with the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) craze where hundreds of projects were launched. Some had little more than a website and a logo, but that didn't stop many from briefly peaking at thousands of times their initial value.
One of these coins had the prestige of being backed by a former Washington state Senator, David Schmidt. Schmidt served as a Republican in the Senate from 2003-06 and first tasted notoriety after his failed reelection bid, when he was found guilty of misappropriating $41,518 of campaign donations. He had reimbursed himself $32,260 for wages he claimed he lost while serving as a senator, and spent the remaining amount on his personal mortgage payments and HOA fees for the condo which housed his "campaign office."
After another failed reelection bid in 2010, Schmidt turned to promoting gold on his personal website in 2016, using photos of his vast gold reserves that were actually lifted from the Bank of England's website. Soon after, he founded Meta 1. This was a cryptocurrency that alternately claimed to be backed by $2 billion worth of gold, or $1 billion of fine art. Schmidt and his co-conspirators also claimed that their reserves were audited by KPMG, which was just a precaution as the coin was risk-free and would never lose value.
Meta 1 tokens sold for either $22.22 or $44.44, depending on when you bought in. Schmidt & Co. claimed that each token would eventually be worth up to $50,000, "at a conservative value." The SEC, however, thought otherwise, and froze Meta 1's assets and charged the scam's operators with fraud. Meta 1 had drawn in over $4.38 million despite being "nothing but a vehicle to steal investors’ money," according to the SEC.
Bitcoin and Litecoin were seized from a Seattle businessman in 2015 as part of one of the largest software piracy operations ever prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. Waiving his right to a grand jury, Rex Yang Jr. pleaded guilty to charges of participating in a criminal conspiracy from 2009 to late 2014. The 105 BTC forfeited had a market value of $25,087 at the time, while as of late 2020 it would be worth over $1.6 million.
Yang, the owner and operator of Digisoft LLC and Premiere Software Inc. was the sixth and final member of the international scheme to plead guilty. The six men, located in China, Singapore, Germany, and a number of U.S. states, illegally sold thousands of Microsoft and Adobe product key codes online. Yang alone possessed more than 10,000 Microsoft certificates of authenticity, which were obtained from sources in China and resold through fraudulent websites masquerading as charities, including an eBay store named Project Contact Africa which took in $12 million in revenue. Customers were led to believe that 100% of sales would go to the charity, though only a small portion did. The conspirators instead benefitted from eBay and PayPal's fee waivers for charities, and used proceeds to purchase new inventory.
In addition to the cryptocurrency, investigators also seized more than $20 million in assets, including 10 luxury vehicles, hundreds of gold and silver bars and coins, and a diamond-encrusted Rolex.
Central Washington's abundance of cheap hydroelectic power has made the state a popular location for Bitcoin mining operations. The public utility districts (PUDs) of Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties own their own dams on the Columbia River which produce power far in excess of local household demand. This means that they have power to sell to industries which historically included aluminum smelters and more recently Bitcoin miners, who are eager to take advantage of what are among the world's cheapest electricity prices. Bitcoin miners join Google, Yahoo, and Dell, who all operate data centers in the region.
The Grand Coulee Damn in Grant and Okanogan counties.
Grant County alone has a dozen commercial cryptocurrency mining operations. Yet the relationship between Bitcoin miners and the local government has not always been a happy one. A group of miners took the Grant County PUD to court over a proposed rate increase, which they labeled "discriminatory... illegally arbitrary and capricious." The PUD hiked rates specifically for commercial customers operating in "emerging and highly speculative markets."
Nearby Chelan County cut off service to three unauthorized Bitcoin miners in 2018 and imposed a moratorium on new operations, accusing the miners of "using enough power to create fire risks for neighbors and damage grid equipment not sized for the load."
There are clearly strong economic incentives for miners to operate in Central Washington, and for local electricity providers to sell their excess energy to these willing customers. Bitcoin mining is still a very new industry that is in the process of ironing out the kinks in its operation.
Coinbase is available to Washington Bitcoin investors, having obtained the required money transmitter license.
Gemini is available in Washington. As one of the most regulation-friendly exchanges, Gemini obtained approval to operate in Washington state as a result of cooperation between the New York State Department of Financial Services - where it is headquarted - and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, an organization that promotes the interests of state banking departments.
Yes, Coinmama is available in Washington.
Kraken is not available in Washington. The exchange withdrew from the state after finding the requirements of the new laws too restrictive.
The best way to find a Bitcoin ATM in Washington is to check out the map below from our Bitcoin ATM locator.
You can also use a site like CoinATMRadar, which allows you to view the closest Bitcoin ATMs to you and even check see prices for supported digital assets.
You can buy Bitcoin in Washington from any one of the many quality exchanges that serve residents of the state. As outlined above, this includes Coinbase, Coinmama, and Gemini.
Other options include peer-to-peer marketplaces such as LocalBitcoins, and Bitcoin ATMs that accept cash. See above for an overview of the best cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets avalable in Washington.
The best place to mine Bitcoin in Washington is in the center of the state, along the Columbia River with its copious amounts of cheap hydropower. The cost of electricity is one of the two main determinants of mining profitability, along with the cost of hardware. It's important to calculate the economics of mining before getting into it, as smaller operations often struggle to be profitable.
While you're currently unable to withdraw actual Bitcoin (BTC) to a bank account, there are a number of ways to sell your BTC for USD and withdraw that to your bank account. The best way to do this via an exchange that supports crypto-to-fiat conversions. Coinbase, Gemini, and Coinmama all allow you to sell your Bitcoin for cash and withdraw to your account using a SWIFT or wire transfer.
Peer-to-peer marketplaces such as LocalBitcoins and LocalCryptos also support bank transfers. All you need to do is find a buyer who is willing to send a transfer using your preferred method of payment and organize a trade.