How to Sell Bitcoin in 2021: Exchanges, Apps & Payment Methods

Knowing how to trade bitcoin is fine, except that it doesn’t let you actually use the profits that you’ve made — and that can be frustrating if you’ve got a lot of capital tied up. To help make this process easier, this article will show you how to sell bitcoin.

Robin Barber
By Robin Barber (Assistant Editor)
— Last Updated: 2021-07-25T21:47:35+00:00

There are a few good ways to sell bitcoin. Whether you want a quick and simple method (like selling on an exchange) or a slower but more private method (like using a peer-to-peer marketplace or a bitcoin ATM), we’ll show you how to sell bitcoin.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Choose an exchange for a basic bitcoin transaction.
  • Sell bitcoin in four ways: exchanges, P2P trades, ATMs or in-person trades.
  • Withdraw your money as cash, transfer into your bank account or through a third-party platform.
  • Check the transaction fees for the specific method and service you’re using.

Although there is plenty of information out there on what bitcoin is and how to trade it, you also need to make sure you can sell it. This doesn’t have to be difficult — selling on an exchange takes just four steps — but there are a few different ways to go about it, depending on your priorities.

There’s also a difference between selling and withdrawing your money. Selling turns cryptocurrency into fiat currency, but you’ll need to withdraw it to actually put it in a bank account or turn it into cash. We’ll go through both, so you’re not stranded halfway through the process of getting your money.

  • To sell your bitcoin, you just need to go to an exchange and click to sell your bitcoin. Then you can choose how much you want to sell and move your cash to a bank. If you want to turn it straight to cash instead, then you should go through a bitcoin ATM.

  • There is no one best way to sell bitcoin. However, for most beginners, using an exchange is the best way to go. You’ll pay some fees for the transaction, but you’ll also get good rates and access to its security measures to stop fraud and theft.

  • Yes, you can sell bitcoin with just a few clicks. As one of the most well-known cryptocurrencies, basically every exchange will accept it, and there are always buyers looking to make a purchase.

  • Yes. You can convert bitcoin to cash directly, either through a bitcoin ATM or a peer-to-peer transaction and choosing to sell it in person.

Getting Started: Before You Sell Bitcoin 

To get started with bitcoin, you’re going to need three things: an exchange, a wallet and the knowledge of how to buy the cryptocurrency. This last one is easy with our guide on how to buy bitcoin, but the other two are still important. The exchange allows you to buy bitcoin from sellers, and the wallet gives you somewhere to store it long term. 

When choosing an exchange, you should look for one with many users, good customer support and low fees. Three particularly popular exchanges with newcomers are Coinbase, Robinhood and Binance. However, there’s nothing really tying you to a specific exchange, so you can try new ones and quickly change at any time.

On the other hand, wallets can be much more complex. “Cold wallets” — physical devices holding cryptocurrencies offline — come with a steep up-front cost, but “hot wallets” — pieces of software that hold your coins on a computer — are often less secure. However, since hot wallets are fine for short-term storage and free to set up, it’s a good idea to start with them.

Set Up a Bitcoin Wallet 

If you’re going to buy lots of bitcoin, you should get a dedicated wallet to put it in. These are generally more secure than most exchange wallets, but there will be transaction fees whenever you move money into or out of this wallet.

You also need to choose which type of wallet to get. We’ll focus on hot wallets, but even then, you should make sure to research the one you choose well, so you don’t end up losing all of your invested money to a security flaw or fraud.

  1. Download the Digital Wallet

    Go to the provider’s webpage and click “download.”

    exodus download a wallet
  2. Choose to Receive Bitcoin

    Although you don’t need an account to get started, you will need your bitcoin address. To find this, go into the “wallet” tab, select “bitcoin” and click “receive.”

    exodus wallet receive bitcoin
  3. Get Your Computer’s Bitcoin Address

    Your bitcoin address should now be on the screen; copy it to the clipboard or write it down. You can also use the QR code displayed underneath for quicker trading.

    get your bitcoin address

How to Sell Bitcoin? Multiple Solutions 

If you’ve set everything up, bought a few coins, waited for the price to rise and now want to sell your bitcoin, the first hurdle is how you sell it. There are several ways to sell bitcoin, each with benefits and drawbacks, so you should consider which is the right one for you before continuing.

Exchanges

Exchanges are the simplest way to sell bitcoin. The trades are almost instantaneous, you can get up-to-date information as you trade, there’s little chance that it goes really poorly, and you probably already have an exchange account that you used to buy the coins in the first place.

However, exchanges aren’t the best for everyone. In order to keep the service running, it has to charge a fee, so it isn’t always the cheapest. It’ll also limit you to only certain payment methods, and there will be a centralized organization of some kind monitoring the transaction — the exact thing many cryptocurrency users are against.

Online P2P Trading

Rather than doing the work for you, a peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange lets you choose your price, and the platform helps find a buyer willing to pay it. The two parties then decide between them how to pay. You can sometimes do this on the site — often called direct trades — but normally, you would use a separate bank transfer. 

P2P trading allows you to sell cryptocurrency without the limits of an exchange. This means that you could do a wire transfer, send gift cards for popular online stores, trade cash in the real world or even send expensive art if that’s what you want; as long as both parties agree, and you’re in a P2P marketplace that doesn’t limit payment methods. 

There are some problems around this, such as what happens if the buyer doesn’t pay up, and the peer-to-peer marketplaces will still have some information on who you are. However, this is still a good step if freedom of choice and minimal interference are your priorities while still having access to things like escrows to hold the bitcoin for protection from fraud.

Bitcoin ATM

A good exchange is fine, but if you want to avoid any prying eyes, then cash is the way to go. Obviously, you can’t just pull cash from your PC, but there are some devices called bitcoin ATMs that let you do just this.

Much like a regular ATM, these machines let you enter your bitcoin wallet address and withdraw cash. Although it isn’t impossible, this is much harder to trace than a bank transfer. You can also use these ATMs to buy bitcoin. So if there’s one nearby, you can make it harder for someone to discover what you’re buying.

However, you are very dependent on there being one near you. This makes it hard for many people to use bitcoin ATMs, and since you can’t rely on there always being one nearby if you ever move, then your transactions will be far behind the fast movements of the market.

In Person

Of course, if you really want to stop people from tracking you, then trade in person. You give the person some cash, and they give you access to a wallet of coins or send you the bitcoin online. Once done, it’s harder to get information from than even bitcoin ATMs — as long as the other person doesn’t tell anyone.

However, there’s no option to get an escrow in real life — or rather, if you did, it would totally defeat the point of hiding it from anyone else. Because of this, in-person bitcoin transactions are much riskier than any online exchanges, and you should be careful if you choose this option.

Step-by-Step Guide to Selling Bitcoin 

Now that you know your options for selling bitcoin, we’ll go through the two online methods. To get started, you’ll need an account with the particular exchange you want to use and some bitcoin in the exchange wallet to sell.

Selling Bitcoin Through an Exchange 

Going through an exchange is the quickest and easiest way to sell. This is because the cryptocurrency exchange does all the hard work of setting a good price and finding a random person looking to buy bitcoin for this price. For this example, we’ll use Coinbase, but most crypto exchanges have a similar method.

  1. Click on Buy/Sell

    In the exchange’s home screen, there will be an option to “buy/sell” bitcoin. Click this to open the buy and sell screen.

    sell bitcoins through an exchange buy sell
  2. Go Into the Sell Tab

    By default, you’ll be in the “buy” tab, so select the “sell” tab along the top.

    sell bitcoin through an exchange sell tab
  3. Set the Sale Options

    In the “sell” tab, you’ll need to choose how much bitcoin you want to sell, which cryptocurrency you want to sell and what your preferred currency to receive it in is.

    sell bitcoin through an exchange sale options
  4. Complete the Sale

    Click “preview sell” to preview the sale and then “sell now” to complete the sale.

    sell bitcoin through an exchange sale preview

Selling Bitcoin Through P2P Trading

Using a peer-to-peer marketplace is a little harder than other methods, but it gets around the transaction fees and limitations of going through an exchange. However, if you’re willing to take on the challenge, this is how you make a P2P trade.

Note that we’ll use Binance for its ease of use, but many people prefer to use a dedicated peer-to-peer platform for the extra privacy and wider array of payment types.

  1. Go to the P2P Trading Page

    On the homepage, click “buy crypto” and then “P2P trading.”

    sell bitcoin peer to peer trading page
  2. Choose to Sell and Set Your Currencies

    Select “sell,” then choose your crypto and fiat currencies that you want to trade in. You can also set specifications like the amount or payment method.

    sell bitcoin peer to peer set currencies
  3. Find a Buyer

    Scroll down until you find a buyer with a price, payment limit and payment method that suits you.

    sell bitcoin peer to peer find a buyer
  4. Choose How Much You Want to Sell

    When you click “sell BTC” on the buyer’s listing, you’ll be able to choose how much bitcoin you want to sell and how you want to get paid.

    sell bitcoin peer to peer sale settings
  5. Send the Offer

    By clicking “sell BTC” again, you will send the offer to sell your bitcoin to the buyer. Remember that depending on the platform, you may not be able to withdraw this offer.

    sell bitcoin peer to peer send the offer
  6. Confirm the Release

    Once the buyer has paid you and the money is in your bank account, click “confirm release” to hand over the bitcoin.

    sell bitcoin peer to peer confirm release

Methods of Withdrawing Your Money 

Once you’ve sold your bitcoin and have some fiat currency in your digital wallet, you might want to withdraw those funds. There are three main options for withdrawing funds from online wallets. However, be aware that the trading platform will have a different withdrawal fee depending on which you choose, so be sure to look at that before deciding on a method.

You might also have to prove your identity with an ID card, driver’s license or passport before withdrawing funds. This is a step that most exchanges have to take to follow anti-money laundering laws. It shouldn’t take long, but you won’t be able to move your money without it.

Bank Account

The most basic way to withdraw funds is to move them to your bank account. Once you’ve attached your bank details to your exchange account, you just need to find the “withdraw” option. This is normally either in your wallet or on your main account page.

In the “withdraw” page, just select your bank account, choose how much you want to withdraw and then click confirm. There will be a withdrawal fee — usually a small percent of the payment or a fixed number of a few dollars — shown before you confirm, so make sure you’re OK with this before continuing.

PayPal & Other Payment Services

Sometimes, you might prefer to use a third-party payment service — perhaps to keep the funds separate from your bank, keep your bank details off of the exchange or just to make use of a low flat fee. However, the services each exchange supports will vary, and you’ll still have to link your PayPal account, or an equivalent, before you begin.

Much like withdrawing to a bank account, first go into the “withdraw” section. However, this time, you need to select the payment service — such as PayPal or Faster Payments — instead of a bank account. Then just enter how much you want to take out, check that the additional charges aren’t too steep and confirm you want to withdraw.

Cash

If you don’t like how traceable digital banking can be, or you just need some cash, and all you have is your bitcoin wallet, you should consider withdrawing funds from a bitcoin ATM. This allows you to get the money immediately, though remember that you also can’t rely on finding another ATM, so you’re normally stuck with whatever rates and limits the ATM you’re at has.

When you find one, you can use these machines like you would use a traditional ATM. The only difference is that rather than inserting a debit card and PIN, you type in your bitcoin address. Just make sure that no one’s watching over your shoulder while you type it out, as physical threats to your privacy are a potential issue using this method.

Final Thoughts 

In the few years that it’s been around, buying and trading bitcoin has become much easier. This also holds true for selling bitcoin, which you can now do in an instant for market price. So whether you’re looking to take out your cash right now or just looking toward the future, you now know how to sell bitcoin and withdraw that money.

However, no amount of trading knowledge can save you from the losses cybercrime can cause. That’s why you should always use a reliable antivirus to keep your computer safe and a solid password stored in a safe password manager to make it harder for someone to get into your exchange account. Plus, it’s a good idea to backup your bitcoin wallet.

Have you got bitcoin you want to sell? Which of these methods did you use? Did we miss your preferred way to sell bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading.