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In this guide, we teach you how to buy cryptocurrency like Bitcoin in California. The Golden State currently ranks high among the most crypto-friendly states in the US. We will walk you through the process of buying cryptocurrencies on the top exchanges. We will also discuss where to buy cryptos and discuss crypto regulations and taxation in California.

Read on to learn how to buy Bitcoin and other cryptos at the best crypto exchanges in the US.

How to Buy Cryptocurrency in California

Buying cryptos in California doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, most crypto trading platforms have oversimplified this investing process and narrowed it down to a few simple steps. In this section, we look at the process of buying Bitcoin and the best altcoins at eToro.US. This SEC-regulated crypto brokerage makes it possible for anyone to buy cryptos with as little as $10.

  • Step 1: Register an account: Open the official eToro.US website on your browser. Hit the “Join now” tab to create a free crypto trader account. Complete the registration form that appears, come up with a unique username, and create a strong password.
  • Step 2: Deposit Funds: Fund the new account with at least $10. The supported deposit methods include bank transfers, ACH transfers, PayPal, credit cards, and debit cards.
  • Step 3: Identify the best crypto to buy: Use the search bar on the eToro home page to look for the best future crypto to buy. You can buy all the next cryptos to explode, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, and Polygon, at eToro.
  • Step 4: Start buying cryptos: Click on the “BUY” option against the crypto you intend to invest in. A trading tab will pop up. Use it to customize this trade by indicating how much you wish to invest in cryptos. Hit the “Open Trade” button to execute this purchase.

Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. Virtual currencies are highly volatile. Your capital is at risk.

In the sections below, we will go over everything you need to know about investing in cryptos in California. We will tell you where to buy Bitcoin and all the popular cryptos in California. We will also discuss crypto regulation and taxes in the State. Further, we will share valuable tips for buying the best cryptocurrency in California.

Most Popular Cryptos to Buy in California

There currently are more than 2 million digital assets in the world today – according to CoinMarketCap. You can invest in hundreds of these using some of the best altcoin exchanges operating in the Golden State. Bitcoin has been one of the most popular digital currencies in the State, and it already has the highest percentage of crypto-owners in its population. Other popular cryptos to buy in California include:

  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Solana (SOL)
  • Cardano (ADA)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Tether USD
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • USD Coin (USCD)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Shiba Inu (SHIB)

Where to Buy Cryptocurrency in California

When looking for the best places to buy cryptocurrency in California, we vetted tens of crypto trading platforms. For either, we were checking their regulation status and confirming their reputation. We also compared their fees, safety and security, user-friendliness, number of supported cryptos, and mobile friendliness. Ultimately, we settled on the following as the best places to buy digital currencies in California.

1. eToro – Overall Best Crypto Exchange in California

eToro is one of the best crypto exchanges in the US because it is regulated and has a solid reputation. It is regulated by the SEC and is a member of FINRA. eToro started offering crypto trading services in 2013, and customers have hailed its reliability and affordability. It is also one of the few crypto trading platforms that have never been hacked. This makes it one of the safest crypto trading platforms in California.

Buy cryptos on eToro

The multi-asset brokerage also makes it to this list because of its appeal to both newbies and expert traders. It draws in new crypto traders with its rich educational resources, a user-friendly trading platform, and a demo account. eToro also maintains affordable deposit and trading minimums – at $10. It then appeals to expert traders with its deep liquidity and advanced technical trading tools. These include 75+ charting and technical analysis tools.

eToro has also oversimplified the process of buying Bitcoin and other cryptos on its platform. The process is straightforward, and it supports multiple fiat deposit methods. These include PayPal, eWallets like Skrill, debit cards, wire transfers, and ACH transfers. But even more importantly, it supports a decent range of crypto assets – as much as 80. These include Ethereum, Solana, Shiba Inu, Dogecoin, and even stable coins like USDT.

Other factors making eToro the best place to buy cryptocurrency in California include its support for copy trading and social investing. Copy trading makes it possible for both newbie and expert investors on the platform to make money. Beginners earn when they copy the trade settings of pro traders. The expert traders, on the other hand, earn commission when they let other copy their trades.

Want to learn how eToro compares to other crypto exchanges? Read out eToro vs Coinbase comparative guide.

Pros:
  • Overall the best place to buy cryptocurrency in California
  • Secure and provides users with a free mobile wallet app
  • Operates one of the best crypto trading mobile apps
  • Commission-free brokerage with crypto trading fees fixed at 1% of the trade volume
  • Supports copy trading and copy smart portfolios
Cons:
  • Fast support options like live chat are only available to eToro club subscribers

Crypto asset investing is highly volatile and unregulated in some EU countries. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.

2. Coinbase – Best Crypto Exchange for Beginners in California

Coinbase is the largest and most popular crypto exchange in the US. It is also one of the oldest and among the most reputable – having been established in 2012. The Brian Armstrong-led company also became the first crypto exchange in the world to go public – when it listed with NASDAQ. It is also worth noting that Coinbase gives you access to 80+ cryptos and is currently the most liquid exchange in the US.

Buy cryptos on Coinbase

A number of factors have our analysts convinced that Coinbase is the most beginner-friendly crypto exchange in the US. First is its easy and straightforward account registration process. It also has a quick and straightforward crypto-buying process.

You may even buy Bitcoin and other cryptos instantly on Coinbase. It even supports fractional crypto investing, and you can start buying Ethereum on Coinbase for as little as $2. This deposit may be made via bank transfer, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, ACH, debit cards, and credit cards.

Coinbase is also listed here because it is one of the safest crypto exchanges. It provides crypto custody services for all its platform users by providing them with an ultra-secure web wallet. This holds as much as 98% of the private keys for their coins offline while insuring the remaining 2%. It also provides them with a free and secure crypto mobile wallet app for iOS and Android. Plus, customer deposits are insured with the FDIC – up to $250,000.

Other factors making Coinbase the best place to buy cryptocurrency in California include its learn-and-earn program. This allows you to earn free crypto coins when you watch video tutorials and answer crypto-related questions. Coinbase also provides you with a crypto rewards visa debit card. Plus, it operates one of the best crypto trading mobile apps.

Want to learn how Coinbase compares to other popular crypto exchanges? Read our Coinbase vs Binance comparative guide.

Pros:
  • Accessible customer support team – available online and on-phone
  • Multi-platform exchange with a simplified crypto investing process
  • Affordable deposit and trade minimums – at $2
  • Access tens of advanced trading, research, and analysis tools
Cons:
  • Complex fee structure
  • Coinbase mobile wallet has been hacked severally and customer funds stolen

3. Gemini – Most Trusted Crypto Exchange in California

Gemini is the most trusted crypto exchange in California because it is not only safe but also regulated. For starters, Gemini is regulated and licensed by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).

It is also a full-reserve platform that regularly publishes audited proof of reserves regularly. In addition to this, Gemini provides all its platform users with free digital wallets. This holds as much as 90%+ of client funds in offline vaults while insuring the rest.

Gemini Crypto Exchange

Gemini has also put adequate security measures in place around your digital assets and private data. These include partnerships with ultra-secure hardware wallets like Ledger. It also demands two-factor authentication for all the platform users. Plus, it allows for the whitelisting of crypto addresses.

In addition to these, several other factors make Gemini the best place to buy cryptocurrency in California. First is its support for a reasonable range of cryptos and crypto trading pairs – more than 80. Secondly, you will appreciate that Gemini is decently liquid and boasts relatively high daily trade volumes.

Thirdly, Gemini appeals to both beginner and expert crypto traders. The exchange draws beginners in with its easy-to-use platform and straightforward crypto investing process. Experts, on the other hand, enjoy interacting with the many advanced trading, research, and analysis tools integrated here.

Pros:
  • Gemini supports passive investing through crypto staking
  • Issues its customers with a free credit card
  • Integrates a vast NFT marketplace
  • Maintains a highly intuitive crypto trading mobile app
  • Interact with institutional-grade crypto custody services
Cons:
  • No independent mobile wallet app
  • Complex trading fee structure

4. Kraken – Safest Crypto Exchange in California

Established in 2011, Kraken is one of the oldest and most reputable crypto exchanges in the US today. It, however, makes it here primarily because it is one of the safest crypto trading platforms in California. Like eToro, the Kraken exchange has never been hacked. It has put adequate security measures around client funds and data in place. For starters, it doesn’t share sensitive client data with third parties. It also requires all its platform users to activate two-factor authentication.

Kraken crypto exchange

Kraken is also the best crypto exchange because it appeals to both beginner and expert crypto investors. For starters, it makes it possible for anyone to buy Solana and other cryptos instantly with cards. Alternatively, buy any of the 120+ other supported cryptos on Kraken’s intuitive trading interface.

High rollers can also leverage Kraken’s dark pool. This lets you place large crypto orders pseudonymously and at highly competitive fees.

To start trading on Kraken, you only need to have deposited at least $10. This deposit may be made via wire transfer, debit card, or ACH transfer. The exchange then charges volume-based and highly competitive maker/taker fees – ranging between 0% and 0.16%. Fees for buying crypto instantly, however, depend on the payment method used. NFTs, on the other hand, can be traded with zero gas fees.

Pros:
  • Holds 95% of client funds in ultra-secure offline vaults
  • Operates a highly intuitive crypto mobile trading app
  • Kraken integrates an NFT marketplace
  • Kraken supports crypto futures and margin trading
  • Expert traders can use the feature-rich Kraken PRO
Cons:
  • Kraken doesn’t provide users with a mobile wallet app
  • Staking is not available to California residents

5. Crypto.com – Best Crypto Exchange in California for Staking and Passive Investing

A number of factors make Crypto.com the best place to buy cryptocurrency in California today. First is the user-friendliness displayed on both its web and crypto mobile app trading platforms. Like all the top exchanges, Crypto.com maintains a quick and straightforward account opening process. Its trading platforms are easily navigable and the trading platform beginner friendly.

Secondly, it makes it here because of its reputation for reliability. The trading platform has one of the highest uptimes and some of the fastest transaction processing speeds. In addition to this, Crypto.com is home to 200+ cryptos and 500+ crypto trading pairs. Not forgetting that it maintains some of the most competitive trading fees.

Crypto.com Trading Platform

When buying cryptos on Crypto.com, the fee will range between 0% and 0.075%. You may also claim a fee discount of between 3% and 30% – depending on the number of CRO tokens you have staked. May we also add that Crypto.com also lets you trade CFTC-regulated crypto options and derivatives. All these, then, make it one of the best crypto exchanges for active traders.

Crypto.com is also a safe trading platform. It has never been hacked. It also provided its platform users with a highly secure web wallet and mobile wallet app. The exchange-based wallet holds client funds in the offline vault while insuring the rest. Crypto.com bank accounts are also insured with the FDIC. The mobile wallet app is also known as the DeFi wallet and introduces users to the emerging Web3 and DeFi ecosystems.

While all these are strong features, we primarily feature Crypto.com in this list because it provides users with passive investing programs. The service is offered via their web platform as well as their DeFi wallet. In fact, Crypto.com is one of the few crypto exchanges that let you stake Bitcoin.

Pros:
  • Large selection of cryptos and trading pairs
  • A safe exchange that has never been hacked
  • Great support team available via live chat
  • Presents users with a Visa debit card
  • Publishes audited proof of reserves regularly
  • There is uncertainty about the sustainability of crypto staking in the US as the SEC keeps suing exchanges.
Cons:
  • Uncompetitive staking rewards and interests

6. Bitstamp – Popular Crypto Exchange with the Crypto Trading Mobile App

According to CoinMarketCap, Gemini is one of the top 15 crypto exchanges ranked by liquidity. Launched in early 2011, BitStamp is one of the oldest, most popular, and most reputable exchanges around. Today, you can trade 89 cryptos and a decent number of crypto pairs on BitStamp at highly competitive fees. These range between 0% and 0.3% – depending on your 30-day trading volume.

Bitstamp Crypto Exchange

We include BitStamp in our list of the best crypto exchanges in California because of its user- and mobile-friendliness. For starters, it has an easy and straightforward member onboarding process. It also maintains a quick and straightforward crypto-buying process.

BitStamp is also a multi-platform exchange and has one of the most intuitive web and crypto trading mobile apps. Both platforms feature both beginner and pro-friendly trading tools and resources. And these help it appeal to both newbie and expert crypto investors.

We also featured BitStamp here because it is a safe exchange. The claim is based on the fact that it provides its platform users with secure web wallets. This holds more than 90% of client assets in an ultra-secure offline vault. It also insures client cash deposits with the FDIC – up to $250,000. It has also put in place other measures to keep client data and funds safe. These include enabling two-factor authentication and not sharing client data with third parties.

The BitStamp exchange is also feature-rich. It has integrated multiple tools and features that help it appeal to beginners, experts, and institutional investors. These start with a comprehensive user education – including guides on how to invest in cryptos. Experts interact with many advanced trading, technical analysis, and research tools. Institutional investors, on the other hand, are drawn by such factors as deep liquidity and crypto custody services.

Pros:
  • Great support team and dedicated managers available via live chat and on the phone
  • BitStamp operates a New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) license.
  • Supports multiple deposit methods, including PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Cards
  • Multiple ways of buying crypto
  • Earn passively through staking – rewards as high as 5%
Cons:
  • Has a history of hacks – having lost 19,000 BTC in 2014 and 2015
  • Missing major cryptocurrencies – like the Binance Coin (BNB)

7. Robinhood – Best Crypto Exchange for Low Fees in California

Robinhood is arguably the most popular multi-asset trading platform for retail investors. It was launched in 2013 with a mission of “providing everyone access to the financial markets, not just the wealthy.” For the longest time, it facilitated stocks, ETFs, Gold, and options. It only started facilitating crypto investing in 2018. Six years later, it has morphed into one of the most popular crypto trading platforms in the US.

Robinhood Crypto Assets

The trading platform’s popularity is largely driven by Robinhood’s affordability. You, for instance, only need $1 to start buying Bitcoin and other cryptos on Robinhood. Additionally, Robinhood maintains the lowest crypto trading fees in California – at 0%. Unlike the rest of the exchanges, Robinhood’s revenue isn’t derived from trading fees. Rather, it earns volume rebates from trading venues – fixed at $0.35 for every $100 traded.

Robinhood also makes it to this list because it is a safe crypto trading platform. It has put adequate security measures in place to keep your personal data and digital assets safe. It holds most of these digital assets in offline vaults and insures them against cybersecurity breaches and theft. Further, it is easy to use and lets you buy crypto instantly with debit cards.

Want to learn how the Robinhood trading platform compares to top exchanges?

Pros:
  • Multi-platform exchange with a beginner-friendly mobile app
  • Learn how to invest in cryptos and how to keep your assets safe on Robinhood
  • Access advanced trading tools and custom price charts
  • Fast and fee-free deposits and withdrawals
  • Automate your investing by setting recurrent buys
Cons:
  • A limited number of supported fiat deposit methods
  • Robinhood only supports 10 crypto coins

Is Crypto Investing Legal in California

Yes, cryptocurrencies and digital assets are legal in California. It, therefore, is not illegal to buy, own, and sell cryptos in California. For years, the Californian assembly has passed several bills targeting the crypto industry.

The two most recent were signed by the Governor in October 2023. The first, Assembly Bill No. 39, defines what a “Digital Financial Asset” is and lays out licensing requirements for DFA businesses. The second, Senate Bill No. 401, expounds on the creation and implementation of the Digital Financial Assets Law. The two come into effect on 1ST January 2025.

Even with the passing of the Digital Financial Asset Law, though, there are unclear areas of the crypto industry. Take, for instance, staking. In July 2023, Coinbase was forced to halt staking in California and four other states. This was in reaction to a legal charge brought against the exchange by the SEC, which alleged that staking services are a security.

You may also want to consider crypto lending and other passive investing programs. These are very similar to crypto staking. The existing laws in California aren’t clear on the treatment and licensing regulations for businesses that provide crypto passive investing programs.

Crypto Taxes in California

Crypto income is a form of taxable income in California. Here, digital currencies are considered a property. All profits derived from dealing with cryptocurrencies are subject to capital gains tax. How much you pay in state taxes from the sale of your cryptos will, therefore, be dependent on your tax bracket.

You are required by law to keep a record of your crypto trading records for tax purposes. Note that just as you need to pay crypto taxes on profits, you may claim deductions on excess losses. Note that, unlike the IRS, California makes no distinction between short and long-term holdings when it comes to taxation.

Practical Tips for Buying Crypto and Bitcoin in California

In this section, we share valuable and highly practical tips for buying cryptos.

Invest in a safe hardware wallet

We always tell our readers not to leave their digital assets in an exchange. We also do not recommend using the web and software wallets provided by the crypto exchanges. Rather, invest in a safe and reliable hardware wallet. The physical wallet is safer than the former two as it stores the private keys for your cryptos offline.

Only invest what you can afford to lose

The age-old question when it comes to trading digital assets is ‘how much to invest in cryptos.’ Our analysts will tell you that there is no standard limit to how much you can invest in cryptos. That you need to consider your risk tolerance, understanding of the industry, and disposable income when deciding the investment amount.

Crypto optimists advise everyone to invest in digital currencies. Former Virgin Galactic CEO and current Social Capital CEO – Chamath Palihapitiya – urges everyone to convert at least 1% of their portfolio to Bitcoin. The Californian Attorney General, on the other hand, asks that you only invest what you can afford to lose.

Enable 2FA

You also need to learn how to keep your cryptos safe. This starts with activating two-factor/multi-factor authentication for your accounts. Activate this on the crypto trading apps, associated emails, social media, and crypto wallet apps. But even then, avoid leaving significant amounts of crypto in a hot wallet.

Watch out for phishing and other scams

Learning how to keep your cryptos safe also extends to familiarizing yourself with crypto scams. Learn as much as possible about all the crypto scams out there. The most common are phishing, rub pull, pump and dump schemes, giveaway scams, and Ponzi schemes. In 2023, these were responsible for the loss of $2+ Billion worth of crypto in 2023.

Monitor the investment climate

You also need to learn how to read and interpret the crypto market trends and investment climate. Learn when to trade and when to hold back. You will want to avoid going all in at the height of a bull market.

The ideal time to buy the next hottest crypto is after a market crash. We, however, acknowledge that it is almost impossible to time the dip or identify the peak. For this reason, we encourage you to practice dollar cost averaging (DCA) – especially for long-term investors.

Understand the crypto you are about to buy

Lastly, we encourage our readers to learn about the crypto they are about to buy. If you want to buy Bitcoin or Solana, learn everything there is to know about the pioneer crypto asset. Importantly, it strives to understand the factors that have the most impact on its price action – both gains and price crashes.

Conclusion – How to Buy Cryptocurrency in California Today

There goes everything you need to know about where to buy cryptocurrency in California today. You now know where to buy crypto assets in California and the regulatory landscape of the State. You also understand how digital assets are taxed in California. We even introduced you to the most popular cryptos in the State. These are the most liquid and listed with virtually all the popular crypto exchanges.

Are you a Californian resident and want to jump straight to buying cryptos? Use the step-by-step guide to buying cryptos on eToro that we have outlined above.

Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. Virtual currencies are highly volatile. Your capital is at risk.

References:

FAQs on Buying Cryptos in California

What is the best crypto exchange in California?

eToro is our top pick for the best crypto exchange in California today. We like the fact that it is user-friendly and appeals to both newbies and expert traders. You would also like the copy trading and social investing tools integrated here.

Yes, you can buy crypto on Binance.US in California. Even though it is currently facing a legal battle against the SEC, it still operates its crypto exchange services.

No, it is not too late to start buying cryptocurrencies. The majority of crypto analysts and financial experts reckon that the crypto industry is still nascent. They expect it to continue growing and permeating different sectors of the economy. This should see the price of most coins explode.

Yes, the sale of cryptos is a taxable event in California. Note that digital assets are treated as property in California and, therefore, subject to capital gains tax.

Yes, you can buy Ripple in California today. After Ripple Labs' triumph over the SEC in 2023, Ripple coin has been re-listed on virtually all the top crypto exchanges operating in the Golden State.

It is simple. Start by identifying the best crypto exchange, registering a trader account with them, and verifying your identity. Deposit funds into this account, identify the best crypto to buy and open a buy order.