The Ultimate Guide To Buying Bitcoins With Used And New Gift Cards
Ever since its creation in 2009, bitcoin has evolved so much. There are now more things you can buy with bitcoin, and there are so many more ways to buy bitcoins in the USA.
The Gift Card Era
One of the more popular payment methods that have sprung up throughout the years is gift cards. Nowadays, you can buy any gift card at your local store and trade it in for bitcoins at your favorite exchange. These gift cards include popular ones such as Amazon and iTunes gift cards to the lesser known ones like Subway gift cards. On platforms like Paxful and Localbitcoins, you can find almost ANY gift card to trade bitcoins for.
Peer-to-peer platforms such as Paxful and Localbitcoins are ideal for gift card trading as platforms like these can connect you with people that will give you great deals. These exchanges offer anonymous ways to buy and sell bitcoin with numerous deposit methods. We firmly believe that peer-to-peer platforms are the way of the future as they take away the government aspect of it, allowing bitcoin to be used for its original purpose: to enable peer-to-peer transactions.
Peer-to-Peer Exchanges vs. Normal Exchanges
There are two types of exchanges: the peer-to-peer and normal. On normal exchanges, you use an order book to match buy and sell orders between people. In the case of normal exchanges, neither the buyer nor the seller has any idea who they’re trading with, providing all users a level of anonymity and privacy protection. Normal exchanges are the most commonly used method of exchanging your local currency into bitcoin. An example of a normal exchange is Coinbase (probably the biggest and arguably most well-known exchange in the world).
Compared to the privacy and anonymity that normal exchanges may have, peer-to-peer exchanges require a bit more interaction between buyers and sellers. The information that you might have to exchange can be a bitcoin wallet address, forum usernames, location, IP addresses, and can even involve a face-to-face meeting. Peer-to-peer exchanges are kind of like your local marketplace. You’re connected to people that are selling you products you want.
For example, you’re looking to buy bitcoin from someone who lives in your area. It would be very troublesome for you to hope to randomly stumble across that person on a normal exchange because the chances of that happening are meager. Instead of that method, you can initiate a peer-to-peer transaction with that person, and it should make your purchase A LOT easier.
While Coinbase may be one of the biggest normal exchanges in the world, its counterparts, Paxful and LocalBitcoins, are the biggest peer-to-peer platforms in the world. No type of exchange is better than the other, but the preference of the user is what matters the most when it comes to choosing the type of exchange. In this case: buying bitcoins with gift cards, peer-to-peer platforms are the ONLY way to go.
Choosing a P2P platform
The first step to buying bitcoins with gift cards is making an account on either Paxful or Localbitcoins. Creating an account on either of these is extremely easy. We’re going to give you the pros and cons of each platform and let you decide which one suits you the most.
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Paxful, over the recent years, has grown to be one of the biggest platforms in the world and they continue to grow. This can be attributed to the attention to detail they have in regards to user experience. Paxful offers over 350 payment methods, allowing their users to buy and sell bitcoin easily. The customer service that they have is a dedicated team, running 24/7 to settle disputes and to help newbies out if they’re not sure how the site works (they also have a wide range of knowledge-based articles that have in-depth tutorials of how the site works).
As with any other peer-to-peer platform, Paxful struggles with filtering the scammers out of their platform. There are always going to be bad apples on peer-to-peer platforms, and they can never get rid of ALL of them, so we have to trust them when they say “we’re trying.”
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Localbitcoins is one of the older peer-to-peer platforms, so it has more experience in a long time that it’s been around. They pride themselves on having every payment method imaginable and providing anonymous options for people who want to keep to themselves. When everything in your trade goes smoothly (or you are dealing with an honest and decent trade partner), Localbitcoins is a fast way to buy bitcoin.
The problems of Localbitcoins arise when everything DOESN’T goes smoothly. Localbitcoins, like Paxful, is also susceptible to scammers (as all peer-to-peer platforms are). Their customer service also isn’t the best when you have a problem that you need to be fixed.
So which is better?
In our opinion, Paxful is the way to go if you want to trade gift cards for bitcoins. Paxful SPECIALIZES in gift cards (most of their top sellers deal with different kinds of gift cards – ranging from iTunes and Amazon gift cards to even CVS gift cards). The difference between the two peer-to-peer platforms is that Paxful has a better customer support system. That is the key factor that Paxful has over Localbitcoins. If you have an issue on Paxful, the longest you’ll be waiting is a couple of days. With Localbitcoins on the other hand, people (including myself) have complained about both a laggy site and an unhelpful customer support team.
Some people may have different opinions, but whoever is reading this should know that the key to choosing a platform is preference. Choose whatever makes you feel more comfortable.
Choosing The Best Offers
Selecting the proper offer is one of the easiest parts of trading gift cards for bitcoins, but it’s also one of the riskiest. There are two parts to choosing the best offer: (1) being able to filter the scammers out and (2) selecting the best deals concerning pricing.
The trick to minimizing risks depends on the platform you decide to trade on. The risks are something that every trader should be aware of. These risks include the code being ripped from your gift card and sellers being unresponsive. These can cause an incredible hassle on your trading experience, especially if you’re new to cryptocurrency trading. Each platform has different tips and tricks when it comes to minimizing these risks. These tips and tricks can usually be found on the support pages of each platform (Localbitcoins guides / Paxful knowledge base).
For the actual deals themselves, you will ideally want to look for an offer where you can get more bitcoins with your currency. Along with that, you’ll want to look for a seller that is responsive so that they’ll be able to release the bitcoins at once.
You’re Almost There!
After you find an offer that best suits your needs, you’ll need to comply with all the requirements of the seller. Usually, that’ll mean giving up your gift card code and giving more information that’ll make the seller feel more comfortable.
After you have given the seller all the requirements and followed all of his or her instructions, wait for him or her to release the bitcoins from escrow (both Paxful and Localbitcoins use an escrow system that protects buyers). Once they’re released, the bitcoin network will need to confirm the transactions (which may take some time depending on how busy the network is), and you should have your bitcoin soon!
The process of buying bitcoin with gift cards can easily be reverse-engineered. Selling your bitcoins for gift cards is just as easy as the other way around. Giving clear offer terms and instructions are good ways to make your selling experience more comfortable and more efficient.
Obviously, the process of selling bitcoins would be different for each platform so be sure to explore each platform carefully and see which process fits you more.
For example, if you’re a gamer, and you’re looking to get discounted gift cards to top up your account ( Gamestop gift cards, Steam gift cards, PlayStation Network gift cards, etc.), buying them with bitcoins might be the way for as the deals you can find on peer-to-peer platforms might be a cheaper alternative than buying it from gaming shops.
Go Forth And Begin Your Trading Experience!
Trading your bitcoins for gift cards is extremely easy, and it can be highly profitable if you’re careful about minimizing risks. A peer-to-peer platform is highly recommended for these trades, and although there are a bunch to choose from, Paxful and Localbitcoins are probably your best bets.
Now that you’re locked and loaded to trade, we wish you nothing but the best of luck on your journey. Welcome to the roller-coaster!