Decided it’s time to get out of the Bitcoin craze or just want to be prepared for when you do? In this guide, we’ll teach you how to sell Bitcoins to make sure that you’re able to walk away when you want to and get what you’re owed in return. Be aware though, that if you decide to sell at the same time as everyone else, you can run into a few problems. Fortunately, we’re here to talk you through them all, so you can make an informed choice about when and where to sell your cryptocurrency.
Step 1: Setup an exchange account
The simplest and most ‘automated’ way to turn your Bitcoin into hard cash is through an exchange platform. They act as a middle-man for the famously decentralized cryptocurrency by selling your Bitcoin for you. Since it’s one of the most popular and well established, we recommend Coinbase. If you would rather choose your own, there are many others to pick from.
Singing up for an account there is easy, but there are some steps you’ll have to jump through. Depending on which country you’re in, you will have to comply with different forms of “Know Your Customer” rules, which may mean sending the site certain forms of ID. That can take a few days to process. Signing up to Coinbase Pro at the same time is also recommendable, though not strictly necessary, to give you greater control over your sale.
Once your account is created, link your bank account to it so that when you have made your trade you can get your cash out with as little hassle as possible.
Step 2: Transfer your Bitcoin to your exchange wallet
If you followed our guide on how to buy Bitcoin, you’ll have stored your Bitcoin in a secure — maybe even cold — wallet. To trade on Coinbase, you’ll need to send your Bitcoin to your exchange wallet.
Use your respective wallet’s transfer function to send it over and await several confirmations once it arrives. That may take a couple of hours, or if it’s a particularly busy time, a couple of days.
Step 3: Place a sell order
With your exchange account set up, your bank account linked, and your Bitcoin deposited on the exchange, it’s time to actually make a sale. To do so, login to your Coinbase or Coinbase Pro account, and head to the trading portion of the exchange. Make sure you’ve selected to sell, rather than buy Bitcoin, and input the amount you want to trade. From there, you can place a “sell order” to sell at the current market rate, or alternatively, place a “limit” order, which will only sell when the price is at a figure you’re happy with.
From there the trade will take place without any further input from you. As long as you are selling at a reasonable price — like the market rate — the trade should happen relatively quickly. Once it does, your Bitcoin will be transferred out of your account and your local currency account will fill up with your chosen fiat currency.
Step 4: Transfer your funds to your bank account
Once you’ve completed the trade, it’s time to get your money off of the exchange. Select “Withdraw” from the menu and choose “bank wire” in the “To” field. Then input the amount you want to send to your bank account. When ready, double check you’ve input all of the correct information and that your bank account is properly linked with your exchange account. Then select “Withdraw” to complete the transaction.
Although there may be a slight delay in sending it, the funds should reach you relatively quickly. And that’s it! You’ve successfully sold your Bitcoin.
If you’d rather have more of a hand in the actual sale process, direct trades (or peer-to-peer trades) are a possible alternative. You will need to register, which in some cases will mean confirming your identity, so as with all selling methods, we’d recommend getting your account set up well in advance of when you actually want to sell. Once you’re set up though, you can sell your Bitcoins in a much more ‘direct’ manner.
Unlike the exchanges, where the transactions are automated, you’ll need to perform the transaction in direct contact with the buyer. You set up a sell order for a specific value and when someone comes along looking to buy at the agreed upon price, the site will alert you that you can move ahead with the transaction. Once you give it the thumbs up, the buyer pays you, and you then send them the cryptocurrency in return.
The actual method of conducting the payment will very much depend on which platform you make the trade through. Sites like BitQuick keep things exclusively online, utilizing bank account transfers. However, sites like LocalBitcoin or Paxful have far more numerous options, including Moneygram, gift cards, cash in the mail, and even cash in person.
Although some of those methods are far more time consuming, many are much more anonymous and can allow you to keep your transaction away from prying eyes if that’s an advantage to you. If you do decide to do trades in person, make sure to do so in a public setting.