Bitcoin tutorials

How to buy bitcoin part I

March 21, 2020


This is a step-by-step guide on how to open a localbitcoins account. This account:

  • It enables you to buy or sell bitcoins
  • Access to a bitcoin wallet that can send and receive bitcoins

This guide assumes that:

  • You know what bitcoin is. If not, read my article on What is bitcoin
  • You have a valid email account that you can access when required
  • You have a valid phone number that you can receive a verifcation code on.

    It is advisable to use dedicated email account for bitcoin/crypto transactions. So even if someone gets access to your main email account, the one you use for facebook, they cannot access your crypto accounts and steal your funds.

  • I did this video that demos how to open an email account using protonmail.

The role of localbitcoins

  • For readers in East Africa, localbitcoins is like your M-Pesa agent, MTN agent, wakala, or Agency banking who trades cash to mobile money and vice versa, only that in this case it is where you trade bitcoin to mobile money and vice versa.
  • Signing up requires an email, full name as in your identification document, and a valid phone number.

    • To trade more than $1200 a year, more verification details are required e.g physical address verification
  • If you do not want to do a lot of KYC and want to trade larger volumes, head over to or I only recommend this option to experienced bitcoin users who are already familiar with bitcoin wallets and how transactions that rely on escrow work.
  • Localbitcoins is a peer-to-peer exchange, meaning that there is many independent buyers and sellers who set their trading terms,rates, payment methods etc). You are not buying bitcoins from a company.
  • Localbitcoins main fucntion is to provide you with an escrow platform.

    Escrow is a financial arrangement in which two parties enlist a “third party” (who is neither the buyer nor the seller) to temporarily hold money, paperwork, or other assets for a transaction on their behalf before the transaction has been finalized.

That third party, known as an escrow provider, helps make the transaction safer by protecting the assets of the buyer and seller until both parties have met their obligations for the agreement. Ideally, the escrow provider is a neutral third party who isn’t concerned with whether the buyer or seller comes out ahead.

Step 1

Visit and click the ’Sign up free’ green button

Step 2

  • Enter your username in the Username* field
  • Enter your email in the Email* field
  • Enter your password in the Password* field (password should be 8 characters long)
  • Enter your password again in the Password(again)* field
  • CLick the I’m not a robot checkbox, follow the instructions e.g. choose cars, buses, crosswalks whatever the captcha tells you
  • Click the green Register button

Sign up form

You will be required to accept the ‘Terms of Service’, scroll down and click ‘I agree’ , then You will be then required to accept the ‘Privacy Policy’, scroll down and click I agree

I agree- TOS

Step 3

If your email, password in step 2 above are valid, you will be redirected to the page below:

verify email

Now open your email, check inbox and you should receive an email from localbitcoins, like shown below. Click the link in the email to confirm that it is you !

click email link

Step 4

After clicking the link in step 3 above, you will be redirected to the page below which requests you to enter your full names, phone number and an estimate in Euros of your transaction volume.

mobile verification

Step 5

If the mobile number entered above is valid, reachable and not used on localbitcoins before, you will receive a text message with a code. Incase you don’t receive an SMS, click the ‘Request a phone call’ blue button and you should receive an automated voice call that reads for you the verification code, it is repeated thrice. Input it in the verification code input field as shown below:


Step 6

If step 5 above was successful, your account setup was successful

Step 7

Test by logging in to your localbitcoins account using the email and password you used in Step 2

Go to localbitcoins, navigate to the top right to where you will see 3 horizontal bars, click there, click Log in and enter your email and password, click the I’m not a robot checkbox and click Login. See the screenshots below:

login form

A personal blog by Kimotho Kamau. I write about bitcoin. Contact me