Buying Bitcoin is a top priority for most beginners, however doing so without having to bend at the knee of the all seeing KYC exchanges that force you to hand over all your private information is a huge concern for privacy and security reasons. We certainly don’t trust companies that routinely go Bankrupt and commit crimes with our government IDs or personal info. Enter Bisq.
Bisq is a decentralised peer-to-peer exchange that offers a solution to this KYC problem, allowing you to trade Bitcoin whilst keeping your information as private as possible. Learning how to buy Bitcoin on Bisq does have a few more steps than those slick exchanges that steal all your data, but we think the small extra steps are absolutely worth your privacy and security.
Dive Deeper: Bisq Ultimate Quick Start Guide For Beginners
What Is Bisq?
Bisq exchange is an exceptionally well developed and decentralised P2P exchange that takes the form of an application rather than a websites you visit. Available on Windows, macOS and Linux, you simply download the program, verify its files and run it. No KYC. No invasive privacy companies, just peer to peer trading goodness.
It will automatically generate a self custody wallet and randomised user profile for you. This means no personal information is required to trade and with a thriving market – especially in USA and Europe – you can easily buy up to 2 BTC per transaction with dozens of payment methods.
Things You’ll Need
One thing you’ll need before learning how to buy bitcoin with Bisq is the application itself and some funds. This isn’t a guide on how to install Bisq (that’s coming soon), so we’ll just go over this briefly for now.
Download, Verify, Install & Backup
Go to the Bisq Downloads page (make sure it’s https://bisq.network!) and download the version for your OS. Before you install it though, make sure you verify the PGP signatures to ensure you’re not installing malware. Then, once installed you can enable dark mode if your want: Settings -> bottom left area -> Use dark mode.
Another critical thing you should ensure you do is to password protect Bisq (Account -> Wallet Password) and then backup your seed phrase (Account -> Wallet Seed). This ensures that you won’t lose any funds if your computer crashes. It also ensures that only someone with the password can start Bisq and send funds out of the Bisq wallet.
Setup A Payment Method
When you open Bisq it will boot up and connect to other public Bisq network peers and show you the main trading interface while it syncs. You won’t be able to “take” any of the offers though as to be able to buy Bitcoin on Bisq you’ll need to add at least one payment method first.
Click on Account -> Add New Account and setup whatever payment method you want to. This could be a National Bank account, a Zelle account, whatever. This information will only be shared with trading peers if they need it, no one else.
Fund Your Wallet
Finally in order to buy Bitcoin with Bisq you (ironically) need some bitcoins. This is because Bisq makes both the buyer and seller put in a security deposit in order to trade safely. The security deposit for buyers is 15%, so make sure you transfer enough to cover it. For example, if you want to buy 0.01 BTC, transfer 15% (0.0015 BTC) plus a bit extra to cover transaction and mining fees.
Click on Funds -> Receive Funds and then send the funds to the address that’s displayed at the bottom. Bisq will automatically create a new address each time to ensure you’re not reusing addresses which helps protect your Bitcoin Privacy. Once your wallet is funded we can get trading!
How To Buy Bitcoin On Bisq
Step 1: Make Or Take An Offer
Click the Buy button up top left to see all the current trades available in your currency. You can either click one of the Buy buttons next to a trade offer that you like, or click the Create New Offer To Buy BTC in the top right if none of them take your fancy.
Creating your own offer (or becoming the Maker) is a great way to save on fees as Bisq charges lower fees for Makers than it does for Takers. However it can take a bit longer as you need to wait for someone accept your offer. Today we’ll be demonstrating how to create your own offer to buy Bitcoin off someone else.
Step 2: Create Your Trade Offer
On the Create Offer page first choose which trading account you want to pay with. Next you’ll need to fill out 2 of the 3 top fields. Either specify an amount in Bitcoin or an amount in USD. Then fill out how far in percentage you want the offer to be from the market price.
For example we have chosen 0.0069 BTC as the amount, which is about $201 USD if we are 0% away from the market price. If we were to change it to 10% say, then it would be about $221 USD. Once you’re happy with the values click Next Step.
Step 3: Fund Security Deposit & Place Offer
Bisq uses an escrow system they call a Trade wallet. In order to perform a trade both the seller and buyer need to put up an amount of bitcoin as a security deposit to prevent fraud and scams. In this screen you’ll need to either transfer the required security deposit from your Bisq wallet or any other external wallet. If you’ve got funds in your Bisq wallet simply click Transfer Funds From Bisq Wallet.
Once you’ve transferred bitcoin into the Trade wallet, click Review: Place Offer To Buy Bitcoin and Bisq will pop up a new window asking you to confirm the offer. Double check all your details are correct and click Confirm: Place Offer To Buy Bitcoin.
At this point, your trade offer to buy Bitcoin is live. You will need to keep your computer on and running Bisq so that other peers can view the offer and accept it. Depending on how tempting your offer is, it can take a number of hours or even days for someone to accept it. If you find no one is taking your offer, consider adjusting your “percentage from market offer” value to make it more tempting.
Step 4: Send The Fiat
When someone else who wants to sell their bitcoins (yeah weird we know!) does take your trade offer you will get a notification about it and the screen will change to the Open Trades window under Portfolio. At this point you will need to wait for 1 blockchain confirmation to ensure that all funds are safe in the trade wallet.
Once 1 blockchain confirmation has happened (average 10 minutes), the trade process will automatically move to stage 2 and you will need to send the seller their fiat using the information that’s shown. It’s important to note that this is done totally outside Bisq (eg. via Zelle or your bank account). This means there is no link between that external fiat transaction and your Bisq trade.
It’s also important to make sure you pay using the exact same account as specified in Bisq and under the same name. Also make sure you don’t put anything in the payment description field when making the fiat payment. This is one of the official trade rules and ensures that your fiat payment provider doesn’t block the payment or suspend your account. It’s also good to have a read over the other rules and table of penalties too.
Once you’ve made the fiat payment click the Payment Started button. This will send a message to the seller to let them know you’ve sent the funds and to watch out for them.
Step 5: Receive Your Bitcoins!
After the fiat payment has arrived in the sellers account (which can take minutes, hours or days depending on the payment method used) they will confirm that they’ve received the fiat money and your trade will be completed.
At this point you can either keep your newly purchased bitcoins in your Bisq wallet or send them off to an external one such as your Hardware Wallet.
Is Bisq Safe?
Absolutely. Bisq is a legitimate Bitcoin exchange that has been operating with full support of the Bitcoin community and a stellar privacy and security record since 2014. Bisq is a great way to buy crypto and is much, much safer and more private than any other centralised or worse, KYC exchange such as Coinbase or Kraken.
This is because it has every privacy and security protection measure under the sun baked into it and has been thoroughly tested for years. Beyond that, its governance structure actually encourages the protection and privacy of its users. There’s no scraping of user data to sell to third parties or be disclosed to governments because Bisq isn’t a company and doesn’t collect any of that data to begin with.
As all information is only sent from one peer to another (and then deleted as soon as possible) there is no big, central database that acts as a honeypot for hackers to steal and abuse. Through careful consideration and expertise, they also ensure the default behavior of the app gives you the highest level of protection.
Bisq is legal, free and open source software that simply helps to arrange and make peer to peer trading of Bitcoin safer, easier and more private. Bisq also has a very mature, well tested and fair dispute resolution process with multiple levels.
What Happens If A Trade Goes Wrong?
Bisq has a very well established and fair dispute resolution process. This involves multiple levels including a trader chat, mediation where a real (randomly selected) human is brought in as an unbiased third party and finally arbitration
Why Do I need A Deposit?
Bisq exchange uses a Trade wallet that both buyer and seller must put a security deposit into in order to prevent fraud and scammers. While it’s an extra step that everyone has to go through, it ensures trades are kept secure.
How Long Does It Take To Buy Bitcoin On Bisq?
You can take any offer that is available for your payment method immediately. After accepting the offer you must wait at least 1 block confirmation which on average is 10 minutes. After that happens the seller must receive the fiat funds from the buyer. Depending on which payment method is used, this can take a few minutes to days.
How Does Bisq Work?
Bisq runs on open protocols, self custody wallets and self hosted software. The Bisq application on one computer will directly communicate with another person running Bisq on their computer over the Tor network. There are no central servers, companies or things in between.
What Payment Methods Does Bisq Accept?
Bisq accepts over 50 different fiat payment methods ranging from face to face meet ups, cash by mail, national bank accounts, SEPA or Strike.