Bitcoin Cash is a relatively new cryptocurrency, created by a few of the guiding lights of Bitcoin itself. If you don’t have many options for funding your first crypto purchases, our guide will show you how to buy Bitcoin Cash with PayPal.
Whichever option you choose, you’re stuck with a two-step process. First, you use PayPal to buy Bitcoins from one of the few exchanges that accept it. The second step is using those Bitcoins to buy Bitcoin Cash.
Why is Bitcoin Cash so Hard to Buy with PayPal?
Only a handful of exchanges will accept PayPal — and none of those deal in Bitcoin Cash. The problem is the way PayPal protects its customers from shady retailers. If you pay for something that never gets delivered, you can contest the charge and PayPal will reverse it. Credit card companies do the same thing.
Unfortunately for the cryptocurrency exchanges, the PayPal policies that protect you also make fraud very common. When a dishonest trader buys cryptocurrency with PayPal, the exchange transfers the coins to the trader’s digital wallet and the transaction gets recorded to the blockchain for all time. Days later, however, the criminal can tell PayPal he never received his purchase and PayPal takes the money back from the exchange.
PayPal gives its customers the benefit of the doubt and makes it very difficult for the exchanges to appeal the decision. As a result, the cost of doing business with PayPal is too high for most cryptocurrency exchanges.
Your Best Bet: Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces
Paxful and LocalBitcoins are very similar to other online marketplaces like Etsy, eBay or Craigslist. People who have Bitcoins to sell pay these marketplaces to list advertisements. When you find a seller you want to do business with, you pay the seller directly and the Bitcoins show up in your digital wallet.
Like with eBay, trust is a major issue on these peer-to-peer sites. How do you know the seller is legitimate and won’t just take your money and run? Both LocalBitcoins and Paxful have rating systems that let buyers and sellers alike know who they can trust.
Both marketplaces also provide an escrow service. Basically, the marketplace holds the seller’s Bitcoins in a separate account. This happens after you and the seller have agreed to deal, but before you’ve sent your payment to the seller.
If you don’t transfer the cash to the seller, then the marketplace gives the Bitcoins back to the seller. If you do transfer the cash, but the seller doesn’t release the Bitcoins, then the marketplace releases the Bitcoins to you.
Founded in New York City four years ago, Paxful has developed a reputation as a place where anyone can get Bitcoins — especially people who don’t have bank accounts or people whose credit scores make credit cards impossible to get.
Continue reading this section for the basics of how to use PayPal with Paxful. To get a full rundown on the service, check out Paxful Review: Bitcoin Buying for the World’s Unbanked.
Even though Bitcoin buyers don’t have to pay Paxful anything, it’s not a completely free service. Paxful makes its money charging sellers to list their Bitcoin ads.
The sellers, however, make their money by charging buyers a Bitcoin exchange rate that’s much higher than what you would see on one of the big exchanges. They base the exchange rate on several factors including the method of payment, where you live, how many times you’ve used the marketplace and whether you provide any identification.
You can check out the deals on Paxful without creating an account. If you decide it’s the right path for you, then all you need to give Paxful is an email address.
The following screenshots show you what the process of buying Bitcoin is like on Paxful. You start your search on the Paxful home page. Select the PayPal option and enter the number of dollars you want to spend. (Or change the currency to euros, dinars or whatever currency you have.)
Paxful will present a list of Bitcoin ads from the sellers willing to accept PayPal. In this particular search, 6 results appear ranging from a low price of $10,990 and going all the way up to $55,180. At the same time as this search, the going price of Bitcoin was $9,275 on Coinbase.
The prices are all based on how much risk the seller faces in accepting Bitcoins. The lowest price-per-bitcoin offer comes from a seller who will only do business with American buyers with verified PayPal accounts and provide proof of identity. Selecting that offer takes you a form where you can start the trade.
LocalBitcoins has been around much longer but does essentially the same thing as Paxful. Everything on LocalBitcoins gets handled online. The “local” in the marketplace’s name comes from the founders’ original vision. They wanted to help buyers and sellers in the same community find each other to trade cash for Bitcoins.
Keep reading this section for the basics, or read our article LocalBitcoins Review: No Frills Peer-to-Peer Bitcoin Trading to learn more about the marketplace than what we provide in this guide.
Again, you don’t have to pay LocalBitcoins anything. You do have to pay the sellers a higher exchange rate to buy Bitcoins with PayPal.
On the LocalBitcoins home page, you’ll select the PayPal option and enter the amount you want to pay.
This search yielded 15 listings with Bitcoin prices between $8,820 and $13,192. The eToro exchange listed the Bitcoin price at $9,326.
The fact that that the lowest price is below the market rate should raise some red flags. That is why LocalBitcoins lets you review the seller’s profile. There you can see that this person has completed 8 transactions from 8 different people and gotten 100% positive feedback. A little further down the page, you’ll see that at least four of the buyer reviews happened on the same day, with three of those within 11 minutes of each other. Armed with that information, you can decide whether to proceed or choose another seller.
Only two exchanges let you buy Bitcoin with PayPal. One is an expensive fringe service that happens to deal in Bitcoin. The other is trying to blend the traditional and cryptocurrency systems but picked the wrong credit card partner.
In either case, you have to take an indirect route to use PayPal for your Bitcoin purchase. The hassles only make these options worthwhile for people who have no other choice.
VirWoX’s focus is not on Bitcoins. Its primary mission is to help gamers and residents of online worlds buy and trade the virtual currencies used inside the games.
While VirWoX does let you buy Bitcoins, you can’t buy them directly with the cash you deposit from PayPal. You first must use the cash to buy Lindens. The online world Second Life uses Lindens as its in-world currency. One reason residents of Second Life use VirWoX is to convert the Lindens they earn selling virtual goods and services into real currencies.
If you want a deeper dive into what VirWoX is all about, then take a look at our article VirWox Review: Still Relevant Because of PayPal Funding Option.
VirWoX ends up being an expensive way to buy Bitcoins because you have to pay fees at every step in the process.
The first charge VirWoX hits you with is the PayPal merchant fee. The amount of those fees depends on factors like how much money you’re transferring and your history with PayPal. Neither you nor VirWoX will know how much PayPal charges until the transaction completes. As a guide, VirWoX claims that euro-based transfers incur a 3.4% transaction fee plus another €0.35 fee.
VirWoX charges for every currency exchange it makes. Most people pay a 3.9% fee, except for euro-based trades which get charged 2.9%. VirWoX also adds a 50-Linden fee (about $0.20) to the transaction. These fees apply when you trade dollars for Lindens and when you trade Lindens for Bitcoins.
Finally, getting your Bitcoins out of VirWoX will cost you 0.0005 Bitcoins. By the time you’re done, the dollar value of the Bitcoins in your digital wallet will be around 12% less than the dollars you pulled from your PayPal account.
Create a VirWoX account, go to the deposits page and select the Pay with PayPal button.
Now you’ll select the USD/SLL option to trade from dollars to Lindens.
Finally, you select the BTC/SLL option to trade from Lindens to Bitcoins.
Wirex’s help site walks you through how to use PayPal to buy Bitcoin on the exchange. The crazy thing is, you have to get a Wirex-branded Visa card to use the PayPal funding option. Anyone who can qualify for a credit card can just use it to buy Bitcoin Cash on the exchanges that accept credit cards.
If you have a credit card, then check out our guide How to Buy Bitcoin with a Credit Card – Your Top 6 Options.
For the handful of people who have no other choice than to use Wirex, you should know that the exchange ran into issues with the company that provides its credit cards. That company broke the rules that Visa sets for credit card issuers and got shut down.
It wasn’t Wirex’s fault, but they have been scrambling since the beginning of 2018 to bring a replacement company on board. For now, that means Wirex can’t issue new cards. Check the Wirex site to see if things have been fixed before trying to follow these steps.
You can also read our article Wirex Review: a User Friendly Exchange with Low Fees and Crypto Debit Cards to get more details. Wirex has a lot to offer Bitcoin enthusiasts even without its credit cards.
Wirex does charge its customers a nominal monthly fee as well as fees for depositing or withdrawing US dollars.
All of the Bitcoin trades you make on Wirex, however, are free. Wirex even eliminates the fees Bitcoin miners charge by not registering the trades on the blockchain. Everything is handled in Wirex’s internal systems until you withdraw your coins.
Once Wirex starts issuing credit cards again, you should know that the whole process can take several weeks. First, you have to submit a government-issued photo ID and a proof of residency to verify your account. If anything goes wrong at this stage, the verification could take a week and a half to complete.
Signing up for the Wirex Visa card is the next step. The approval could take a couple of days and then you must wait for the card to arrive in the mail. Once you get the card, you must go into your PayPal account and link the new card.
PayPal’s policies may vary from country to country. In general, you will pay a fee when you transfer money from your PayPal balance to your linked credit card. Even then, it may take seven days for the actual transfer to show up in Wirex’s system.
Exchanging Bitcoins for Bitcoin Cash
Once you have Bitcoins in your digital wallet, you have your pick of exchanges where you can trade in Bitcoin for Bitcoin Cash. Just about every exchange that deals in multiple cryptocurrencies lists Bitcoin Cash. We’ll highlight a couple of easy choices for the novice trader. Check out our Exchange Review section for companies that serve more experienced traders.
A logical choice for buying Bitcoin Cash is the exchange founded by the same people who backed the cryptocurrency’s creation in the first place. Roger Ver, an early supporter of Bitcoin, founder of the Bitcoin Foundation and an advocate for making a better Bitcoin is the chief executive officer of Bitcoin.com.
This website tries to provide an all-in-one solution for both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, but really puts Bitcoin Cash at the forefront. Visitors to Bitcoin.com can catch up on the latest news, learn from the site’s tutorials, analyze market trends and more. The Bitcoin.com digital wallet uses desktop and mobile apps to securely hold both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
The Buy Bitcoin Cash Portal went live earlier this year, but not in the United States. The state-by-state licensing process takes a long time to complete. Most Americans should get access to the portal sometime this year.
Everything about the Bitcoin.com process is free (nearly). You don’t pay for the Bitcoin.com digital wallet or to convert Bitcoin to Bitcoin Cash. You will have to pay the small network fees miners charge to record the transaction to the two blockchains.
Your first step is to download the Bitcoin.com digital wallet app onto your smartphone or computer. Then you’ll transfer your Bitcoins into the wallet from whichever exchange you used with PayPal.
Within the app, simply exchange the Bitcoins for Bitcoin Cash and you’re done.
Changelly is a cryptocurrency exchange for people who want to make simple trades from one coin to another. The service checks major crypto exchanges, like Bitstamp or Poloniex, for the best rates and makes the trades for you.
You also get a little extra security by using Changelly. It is not as centralized as the exchanges that serve experienced traders. You only hand your Bitcoin to Changelly when you start the trade and the exchange only holds your Bitcoin Cash as long as it takes to transfer into your wallet. The fleeting nature of Changelly’s customer holdings makes the company less attractive to hackers.
If you want to find out more about Changelly, then go on over to our guide here. Changelly Review: Quick and Easy Trades but No Advanced Trading.
Changelly charges a 0.5% fee for each transaction. You can find much lower rates on the more sophisticated exchanges, but Changelly’s system is much easier to use.
After you set up a Changelly account, trading Bitcoins for Bitcoin Cash is as close to one-click shopping as you’ll get. From the main Changelly page, enter the number of Bitcoins you want to trade and make sure the other box is set to Bitcoin Cash’s symbol, BCH. At the time of this screenshot, the exchange rate gives a little more than 6.5 Bitcoin Cash for each Bitcoin once Changelly’s fees have been deducted.
Next, you simply enter the address of your Bitcoin Cash wallet, confirm the details and wait for the transaction to complete.
How is Bitcoin Cash Different From Bitcoin?
Be careful asking this question. The holy war between backers of Bitcoin and backers of Bitcoin Cash can get nasty.
Bitcoin’s evolution took an unexpected turn as the cryptocurrency became increasingly popular. The Bitcoin miners record transactions to the blockchain in “blocks” of data. The size of those blocks is fixed, which means it takes longer to get your Bitcoin transactions recorded to the blockchain. The slower the Bitcoin network gets, the higher its transaction processing fees climb, making it impractical for day-to-day use.
One group of people thought that Bitcoin’s small block size compromises the original vision of Bitcoin as a replacement for day-to-day spending. They wanted to increase the Bitcoin block size to accelerate transaction times and bring fees back down to Earth. Another group liked things the way they were.
Neither group could agree on Bitcoin’s direction, so they broke up. Bitcoin Cash is what’s called in coder-speak a “hard fork” of Bitcoin. All of the transaction history recorded in the Bitcoin blockchain up until that time is part of the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. After that time, the two currencies went their separate ways.
Bitcoin Cash supporters hope their version of Bitcoin will have more stable exchange rates and faster transaction times. Retailers and other companies could then adopt Bitcoin Cash as their preferred cryptocurrency payment option.
Using PayPal to buy Bitcoin Cash requires so many steps, and adds so much cost, that it is really only an option for people who don’t have bank accounts or can’t get credit cards. That said, if you don’t have a bank account, at least you have these four options for getting Bitcoin Cash. Your best bet if you have to go this route is to use one of the peer-to-peer marketplaces, either Paxful or LocalBitcoins, to buy Bitcoins and then use the free digital wallet from Bitcoin.com to convert the Bitcoins into Bitcoin Cash.