Where to Buy Bitcoin Washington

Washington has many options to buy bitcoin at legally licensed cryptocurrency exchanges. It can also be bought at ATMs, mining and in exchange for goods and services.

A snapshot of Washington Cryptocurrency Market:

  • It is legal to buy and sell bitcoin in Washington
  • You must be at least 18 years old to buy and sell on an exchange
  • Washington cryptocurrency exchanges must have a Money Transmitter License
  • Some exchanges are third party licensed and can be used

If you are looking to get started with buying bitcoin, or even if you are a seasoned trader wanting to know more about bitcoin, select from our recommended exchanges, read our reviews, know the tax implications and legality of buying bitcoin.

Top 5 Washington Bitcoin Exchanges

Coinbase Pro
One of the best exchanges in Washington. Large market cap, providing high liquidity and quick trades. One of the lowest fees, and excellent customer service for the personal trader.
  • The best all rounder exchange
  • Low fees
  • Narrrow spreads
  • Washington Transmitter Licensed

The lowest trading fees of all exchanges, on a reliable platform offering both Android and iOS app trading. A good selection of cryptocurrencies to choose from.
  • The lowest trading fees
  • High liquidity
  • Excellent spreads
  • Washington Money Transmitter Licensed

CEX io cryptocurrency exchange
A global juggernaut with over 100 cryptocurrencies to choose from. Fees are relatively low, on a platform offering great functionality for the serious and experienced bitcoin trader.
  • Great for the sophisticated trader
  • Huge selection of cryptocurrencies to buy and sell with
  • A global exchange
  • Platform is rich with features

coinmama cryptocurrency exchange
Has a solid reputation of being safe and secure. Trades through a third party license, with the underlying provider being Simplex. Limited number of cryptocurrencies, but is easy to use.
  • A simple no frills exchange
  • Great for the beginner
  • Professional Customer Service
  • Platform design is intuitive for users

kraken cryptocurrency exchange
Born to provide the most safe and secure exchange, after the infamous event of Mt Gox, whereby millions of bitcoin was stolen. Therefore proudly never been hacked.
  • One of the safest exchanges
  • Excellent Customer Support
  • Global exchange
  • High liquidity

Overview of Washington Bitcoin Exchanges

Buying bitcoin in Washington, can be performed through various licensed cryptocurrency exchanges. New exchanges that have entered the market include Crypto.com, FTX.US and BlockChain.com. The biggest and most all rounded remain as the local based options of Binance.US and Coinbase, while the global exchanges lead the charge for high volume sophisticated day traders.

Though exchanges need to be licensed in Washington State, this does not mean they equally provide a level of customer support that would aid you with buying bitcoin. Customer support is very much needed for KYC compliance, and this overhead is particularly burdensome for business, company and trust structure. This what you will find is that the low fee exchanges will not be bothered with supporting the more complex KYC accounts.

Choosing an exchange that is right for you, will depend on your circumstances. We ouline the below characteristics of an exchange that you should consider.

💰 Fees

Look for a low trading fee exchange, but balance other important attributes

Fees are a key attribute particularly if you are intending to trade often. While comparing fee percentage may show minor absolute differences, for example: a charge of 0.1% vs 0.2% is only an absolute difference of 0.1%, the 0.1% difference can actually translate to big dollar trading fee expenses. $1,000 in trading fees becomes $2,000 at another exchange.

Hence, particularly important for long term frequent traders, you should consider the fees (structure). However, be aware that the lowest fees, do not mean, they are the best exchange for you. Low fees tend to correlate to poor customer service. Don’t undervalue the importance of customer service, because you never know when you will need it as some point in time.

Sometime low fees can also be hidden among large spreads. Large spreads discount your buy and sell values, meaning you get less bang for your buck. It’s a way of an exchange clipping into your trade. There are some exchanges which market themselves as ZERO fee exchanges, but they catch you on the spreads.

📞 Customer Support

Don’t underestimate the value of good Customer Support.

Professional, prompt and accurate Customer Support is important, particularly if you intend to open a business account, that is, an account for a company, trust or any other structure that is not a personal account. A non-personal account will require additional information for KYC requirements, and typically low trade platforms tend to “let slip” customer support in this area. Hence, you will often find a disgruntled customer that had attempted to open an account with Binance.US or Coinbase, but then gave it because of frustration.

The best exchanges for Customer Support tend to be the new exchanges, such as Crypto.com and FTX.US, and the higher fee charging exchanges such as CEX.IO.

🔒 Safety and Security

Safety and security has improved in leaps and bounds since the launch of bitcoin into mainstream.

A breach in security often now comes down to individuals being scammed and revealing their bitcoin keys to their wallets. Or, ironically losing keys to their wallets and therefore unable to unlock their bitcoins. All the licensed exchanges now offer customers several layers of protection. Many of the global exchanges even have insurance to protect against any losses suffered from a hack. (please note that the insurance only covers the event on an attack on an exchange and not at an individual customer).

Common layers of security includes 2FA (2 Factor Authentication), white listing IP addresses and withdrawal time limitations.

Regulatory and compliance rules is also required to be met. KYC (Know Your Customer) documentation is an onerous task, but one that must be fulfilled to prevent criminal activity. Anti-Money Laundering is also a requirement of cryptocurrency exchanges, adhered to through the monitoring of suspicious trading activity.

💳 Payment Methods

Ensure the exchange you choose, offers the payment method you want to use.

Many of the top Washington exchanges will offer the common US payments – ACH, wire transfers, debit and credit cards, and some will also accept PayPal, Skill and Neteller. The no frills exchanges may only accept one or two types of payment methods. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the exchange is bad, as long as you are willing to use the payment methods that they offer then there are no issues.

📈 Liquidity

High Liquidity lead to quick transactions

Choosing an exchange with high liquidity permits a fast transaction. Liquidity means the number of buyers and sellers. The more buyers and sellers on an exchange, the easier it is to come to an agreed exchange price. The less buyers and sellers, the longer it will take to agree. Therefore, if you are looking to buy and sell fast, a highly used exchange will provide good liquidity. Exchanges without liquidity may take an excessive amount of time to complete a trade. This is not great, especially if the market is moving fast, and you want to lock in any of the profits you have made.

However, liquidity may not be an issue for you if you are a buy and hold trader of bitcoin. Your bitcoin investment strategy will determine your purpose and whether liquidity is an important attribute to consider for an exchange.

🪙 Cryptocurrency Selection

Diversification helps reduce risk

Buying bitcoin is a great investment for the long term. But placing all your eggs into one basket, leaves exposure to the volatility of one cryptocurrency. A common strategy to minimize volatility is to spread your investment across several cryptocurrencies. For an investor who chooses to mitigate their risk with this strategy, they will need an exchange that offers a wide range of coins and tokens that will suit their cryptocurrency goals.

Some exchanges offer hundreds of cryptocurrencies to choose from, while others are limited to the tens or twenties. As long as the exchanges offer the coins that you want to spread your risk across, then its fine.

Choose an exchange that offers the cryptocurrencies that you want to trade with.

⚙️ Platform Reliability

A reliable platform reduces frustration

The vast majority of exchanges are built on reliable platforms that are easy to use, interface well and don’t crash. But, as part of the licensing, they are required to continually improve their system controls, reliability and IT infrastructure. Occassionally, they will need to shut down their platform for maintenance which includes fixing bugs, upgrading software, adding new features. At most, a shut down will not last more than a day, and will occur outside of normal working hours.

Washington Bitcoin Exchange Reviews

Washington has a wide range of bitcoin exchanges to choose from. They can be low trading through to excellent customer service to global market makers. We review some of the most popular bitcoin exchanges available in Washington.


Some US State have restricted Binance.US, but not Washington. Binance.US is the lowest fee exchange coupled with high liquidity. This combination is a compelling reason to sign up to Binance.US if you are intending to open a personal account. If you are intending to open a business account that is for a company, trust or other complex structure, beaware that you may be faced with an onerous KYC process. Business accounts need more documentation to establish source of funds and ultimate owners, and it is widely known that Binance.US has a poor customer service record to help you navigate through this process. Some customers have waited over a month, with constant follow up with Binance.US to find out the status of their account application.

Aside from the potential poor experience with opening a business account, the rest of Binance.US is really good. Leveraging from the IT platform from Binance (International), Binance.US is able to provide to Washington rich features for both novice and expert. The selection of cryptocurrencies isn’t in the hundreds, but then again it’s not small either and would suit most buyers. There are some buyers who do want to diversify into more exotic coins that aren’t available on Binance.US, but you will find that all other exchanges will not be able to cater for the needs of everyone.

Binance.US is safe and secure. There is no doubt about it. Without going into all the detail, Binance.US has been under the most scruitiny of all exchanges for compliance and regulation. Being under the spot light, they have left no stone unturned to create the safest of environments. However, this does NOT dilute the individual responsibilities of users. No matter how good any platform controls are, if a user discloses their passwords, user ids and other personal details, there is nothing a platform can do to prevent fraudulent withdrawals.

Binance.US has a download mobile app for both Android and iOS, plus a downloadable desktop app. All apps provide more than enough features for trading, but the desktop version offers better analytics.

Overall Binance.US is a platform that you can’t go wrong with. Though you may not be able to open a business account quickly, it’s worth a try.

  • Money Transmitter License: 550-MT-125281
  • Cryptocurrencies: 64
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: 0.1% – 0.5%
  • Payment Methods: Debit Card, ACH, Wire Transfer


BlockFi has only recently come to market with an exchange platform from its origins of being a depositor and lender. There’s not to the platform at the moment, with only one payment method and limited coins. Trading volume and liquidity is small.

If you are looking beyond simply buying bitcoin, but also depositing and borrowing then consider BlockFi. But if looking to just buy and hold, or even to trade daily consider other exchanges first. BlockFi may mature further, but for the moment only join BlockFi for deposit and lending bitcoin.

  • Money Transmitter License: 550-MT-121212
  • Payment Methods: ACH
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: embedded in the spread

CEX io cryptocurrency exchange


CEX.IO is global decentralized exchange that originated from the UK. Established in 2013, it has a good history of being a safe and secure bitcoin exchange. It’s platform has powerful analytics that would suit experienced investors. For the beginners, the layout may at first appear confusing, but it’s not difficult to be accustomed to it.

With over 4 million customers, CEX.IO is valued at over $43 billion. Specifically for Washington, the exchange is highly liquid. Trading fees are reasonable, not the best, but their customer support more than makes up for it.

CEX.IO is an exchange that ranks as one of the best for Washington. Alongside Binance.US and Coinbase, CEX.IO ranks highly.

  • Money Transmitter License: 550-MT-1804170
  • Cryptocurrencies: 100+
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: 0.15% – 0.25% + deposit and withdrawal fees
  • Payment Methods: Debit Card, Credit Card, ACH, Wire Transfer


Coinbase Pro

Coinbase is one of the best exchanges for Washington. It ranks highly due to its all round attributes. Trading fees are very reasonable, and are competitive with that of Binance.US. Though trading fees are reasonable, the structure is complex and can be confusing. Pay attention to your deposit and withdrawal methods as these may lead to higher fees than expected. Liquidity is exceptionally high due to the large number of buyers and sellers, hence closing out a transaction quickly is never a problem. Coinbased is one of the safest exchanges to use. Listed on the NASDAQ and licensed in Washington it is required to meet strict regulations. Portability is convenient with both Andriod and iOS apps available with exactly the same functionality as the desktop version.

  • Money Transmitter License: 550-MT-90174
  • Cryptocurrencies: 96
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: 0.5% – 4.5%
  • Payment Methods: Debit Card, Credit Card, ACH, Wire Transfer

coinmama cryptocurrency exchange


If you are a beginner and wanting a simple exchange that gets the job done, without all the fancy margin lending, leveraging and other high risk products, then Coinmama might be the exchange for you. It is purposely simple for beginners, the layout is intuitive and easy to use, and bitcoin can be bought instantly.

Unfortunately, the fees are slighly higher than other exchanges, and only an Andriod app is available (no iOS). But there is a large pool of cryptocurrencies to choose from, and maybe it will have the coin that you are looking for, if none of the other exchanges offer it.

Lastly, Coinmama does not hold a license to trade in Washington. Instead it uses a third party provider’s license to enable it to accept Washington customers.

  • Money Transmitter License: Third Party
  • Cryptocurrencies: 96
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: 0.5% – 4.5%
  • Payment Methods: Debit Card, Credit Card, ACH, Wire Transfer

Crypto.com (CDC)

Crypto.com is becoming one of the biggest exchanges in Washington. It has enlisted a couple of well known celebrities to broaden its market share – Matt Damon and LeBron James. In addition it has purchased the naming rights of L.A. largest sports arena, previously known as the Staples arena. It’s marketing doesn’t stop there, with user of Crypto.com being offered a metal card instead of a plastic card for daily use. The metal card is impressive in appearance, and does get people talking. But in terms of functionality, it’s exactly the same as any other debit and credit card.

The Crypto.com platform is one of the more reliable to use. The app works effortlessly on mobile devices, with some users joking that bugs are easily fixed with uninstall and re-install (other exchanges are a lot worse and cannot even be resolved). Users of Cryto.com also benefit with earning the native coin (CRO) of the platform. The more user that join, the more potential value the native coin has. Scale is everything in the cryptocurrency market, and certainly Crypto.com is trying to achieve that quickly.

Trading fees are low. It is almost equal to Binance.US and Coinbase, with the lowest fees. Customer Service can be a bit hit and miss. Most users are happy with the support that is available, but some aren’t happy with the lack of support for opening up a business account.

  • Money Transmitter License: Not Required
  • Cryptocurrencies: 96
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: 0.5% – 4.5%
  • Payment Methods: Debit Card, Credit Card, ACH, Wire Transfer

etoro cryptocurrency exchange


eToro has a lengthy history of operating in the exchange market. Its beginnings were as a foreign currency exchange, which lends as a good leaping board to acting as a cryptocurrency exchange. Their trading fees of zero is misleading, which arguably does not give the perception of an exchange that you can trust. Although trading fees are zero, eToro hurts you with the wide spreads. By widening the spreads, transparency of fees is appalling lacking. How much “true” trading fees is very difficult to determine.

The platform, as you would expect, is rich with analystic, functions and powerful. Experience traders enjoy the eToro platform with strategies that can be implemented by using other financial products. The mobile app is simple to use, and is great for new and experienced buyers of bitcoin.

  • Money Transmitter License: 550-MT-115893
  • Cryptocurrencies: 27
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: zero (but huge spreads making eToro more expensive than Binance.US and Coinbase).
  • Payment Methods: Wire, ACH, PayPal, e-wallets


FTX.US is one of the newest bitcoin exchanges to enter the Washington market, and it is offering very low trading fees. It is so competitive that it ranks along side Binance.US and Coinbase. If you are considering selecting an exchange on fees alone, then FTX.US will be the one for you.

Cryptocurrencies are limited to only 20, which isn’t a lot when compared to the CEX.IO which has hundreds. Liquidity is lower than the other big exchanges, because it’s relatively new and is still building up its base. But liquidity is quickly improving as it captures more of the US market. NFL GOAT Tom Brady is the ambassador and shareholder of the exchange, lending support to make FTX.US a household name in Nevada.

Choose FTX.US if you are looking for value for money when buying bitcoin.

  • Money Transmitter License: 550-MT-123611
  • Cryptocurrencies: 20
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: 0.4% – 5.0%
  • Payment Methods: Wire, ACH, PayPal, e-wallets


kraken cryptocurrency exchange

Belongs in the top exchanges for Washington, Kraken has been around since the early days of Bitcoin. Famously begun to provide an alernatively to Mt. Gox (which infamously made headline for millions of stolen bitcoins), Kraken has never been “publicly” hacked.

Similar to Coinbase, there is a basic platform and an advance user platform Kraken Pro.

The platform has many users, hence liquidity is not a problem, and fees are reasonable.

  • Money Transmitter License: Not required
  • Cryptocurrencies: 115
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: 0.4% – 5.0%
  • Payment Methods: Wire, ACH, PayPal, e-wallets


Nexo is a Euro based deposit and lending platform which has branched out to being an exchange. It has followed the same path of BlockFi (with the only difference that BlockFi is USA based).

In knowing that Nexo is offshore based, users may want to choose BlockFi for that extra piece of mind. However, BlockFi is also new to the exchange business as well.

Certainly the deposit and lending business of bitcoin has made a healthy return for many in the industry. How Nexo.io can make ground in the exchange area remains to be seen with an overcrowded market in the US.

  • Fees – Zero


Known for providing an escrow service, this cryptocurrency platform enables clients to find the right buyers for their Bitcoins. Although advertisement is a good option to go with, many have not received the required level of responses. The thing that makes LocalBitcoins different from others is the in-person meeting, which is facilitated and secured by LocalBitcoins have turned out to the fastest platform to acquire Bitcoins within a few minutes.

Washington Bitcoin ATMs

With the help of Bitcoin ATM, it’s quite easy for potential investors to buy bitcoins whenever they have enough funds available. They make the process so quick and easy that traders used to wonder whether things have been done properly or not. It is worth mentioning that Bitcoin ATMs charge between 5% to 10% fees against providing privacy, security and convenience of keeping personal and other details in private. This fee is literally worth the features traders will be getting.

LibertyX Bitcoin ATMs charge a 8% fee, and is limited $1 – $3,000 per day.

Washington Cryptocurrency Tax Ruling and Rates

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is a taxable asset in the eyes of the IRS. Therefore when you buy and sell bitcoin, you will need to calculate how much tax is payable. Tax is dependent on the outcome of realizing capital gains or losses. The tax rates differ between short term and long term, which is defined by one year. Short term realized gains have tax rates that are in alignment with personal income tax rates. While long term realized gains have an average of 20% (but may differ depending on your circumstances).

Be prepared to submit to the IRS details of your trading activity. Most exchanges will provide tax reports which will help with the IRS submission.

Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Laws and Legislation

The Evergreen State has moved forward quickly to establish a clear regulatory regime which is governed by the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). The laws that relate to money transmission is outlined in the Uniform Money Services Act (Reference: https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=19.230).

The Uniform Money Services Act is comprehensive and covers all attributes that is relevant to operating a cryptocurrency exchange lawfully.

Specifically Section 19.230.370 explains the requirements for Virtual currency licensees Disclosures. It is without ambiguity that an online cryptocurrency exchange must be licensed by the DFI.

In clarifying the Act further, the DFI released their interpretation and guidance per https://dfi.wa.gov/sites/default/files/virtual-currency-money-transmission-laws.pdf

In summary, these entities must obtain a license:

  • (1) Persons operating kiosks or virtual currency “ATMs”
  • (2) Persons operating an exchange platform who facilitate the transfer of fiat or virtual
  • (3) Persons providing virtual currency storage via a hosted wallet
  • (4) Persons providing payment processing services involving virtual currency

In addition, their guidance outlines the Federal requirements of The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)

For further, broader context the DFI website dedicates one page for FinTech companies who may need to obtain a license (https://dfi.wa.gov/fintech/industry)

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Wallets

Some exchanges also offer wallets. It’s not necessary for a good exchange to offer a wallet to their clients, though it can be a nice to have for new investors. However, be aware that online wallets offered by exchanges are normally hot wallets. That is, these wallets are connected permanently to the internet. This can be quite risky to use a wallet that is controlled by the exchange and not by yourself.

Hence it’s not necessarily a good thing if an exchange offers a wallet, but it’s a nice to have, if you are looking for an exchange with their own wallet.

  • Online Wallets: Every crypto-exchange has their own wallet where traders can store their coins or cryptocurrencies for as long as they want. However, there are two types of these wallets that traders have to decide about which wallet they want to use for their trading.
  • Washington Hot Wallets: Since the inception of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, wallets have been transformed and divided into two forms- desktop and online. Digital wallets are free and can hold any cryptocurrency that traders want. They enable them to get easy access to their cryptocurrencies via mobile devices. They are perfect for beginners who want something easy to start with.
  • Washington Cold Wallets: These specifically designed devices work as physical cryptocurrency storage that allow traders to bring their cryptos with them, no matter where they are going. Though, the only considerable thing is their expensive nature with limitations of storing certain cryptocurrencies for future use.

If you intend to stay on the right side of the law, you need to be at least 18 years old to buy and sell bitcoin on an exchange in Washington.


Buying bitcoin in Washington is relatively easy with many options to choose from. The most preferred option of buying bitcoin is through a legally licensed cryptocurrency exchange under the governance of the DFI.

In addition to cryptocurrency exchanges, bitcoin ATMs are conveniently located in Washington for instant bitcoin transactions. Bitcoin ATMs have higher fees than exchange platforms, hence carefully consider if using an ATM is right for you.

Keep your bitcoins either on the exchange or using a hot/cold wallet depending on how comfortable you are with not losing the keys to your wallet. Once keys are lost to a wallet, they normally cannot be retrieved.

The legality of buying and selling bitcoin in Washington is relatively progressive when compared to other US States. Licensing requirement are only applicable to exchanges that trade offshore. Any capital gains must be disclosed to the IRS and tax should be calculated on it (if applicable).

How to Lodge a Cryptocurrency Customer Complaint

If you have a customer complaint at a cryptocurrency exchange, please raise the issue with them first.

If unresolved, please contact the Department of Financial Institutions (Washington State).

Department of Financial Institutions
Division of Consumer Services
150 Israel Road, S.W.
Tumwater, WA 98501

Phone Number: (360) 902-8700
Toll-Free: 1-877-RING DFI (746-4334)


Bordering States

Idaho | Oregon

Buying and Selling Bitcoin
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