The facilitation of buying and selling bitcoin requires a license in Florida, which means platforms and exchanges are regulated and monitored by the State.
A snapshot of Florida Cryptocurrency Market:
- Florida is a pro-cryptocurrency state with many businesses offering a variety of services, including cryptocurrency exchanges .
- There is a good selection of exchanges to choose from, that vary with fees, features and coins to buy and sell with.
- Buying and selling bitcoin in Florida is legal.
Though, laws regarding some aspects of bitcoin are ambiguous, in general, buying and selling is considered legal and is not a prohibited activity. Case in point, the city of Miami, has released its own digital coin called MiamiCoin, and the Miami Heat arena is sponsored by a cryptocurrency exchange named FTX.US.
Hence, with such transparent support and promotion for buying and selling crypto, as a Floridian, you can be assured that it is legal to buy and sell bitcoin. There are various ways of acquiring bitcoins, either via peer to peer exchanges which links a buyer with a seller (for e.g. Local Bitcoins), or stand alone exchanges. In addition, PayPal, ATMs, VISA and MasterCard can be used to buy bitcoin.
Florida investors are one of the the most active among the US. Bitcoin and altcoin ATMs are relatively abundant throughout the state, contributing to the uptake into mainstream.
Perhaps way ahead of its time, Miami has already released their own coin – MiamiCoin – which can be used to earn Bitcoin. In addition, Miami has a highly supportive mayor, Francis Suarez, who is determined to make Miami the Bitcoin hub of the world.
Having said that, Florida, in fact has relatively restrictive and onerous buying and selling cryptocurrency laws – it still has a long way to go, with removing ambiguity and even addressing some aspects of block chain technology. Perhaps in contradiction to the law, Florida lawmakers have established extremely pro-crypto policies with far few regulations than most other states.
It may sound confusing, but there is no doubt that it is legal to buy and sell bitcoin in Florida.
If you intend to buy and sell Bitcoin in Florida, then we highly recommend the following exchanges:
Top 5 Florida Bitcoin Exchanges
Overview of Florida Bitcoin Exchanges
Florida has over hundreds of bitcoin exchanges that offers thousands of coins to trade with. All of them (so far we have not found one), offer bitcoin buying and selling.
We review some of the top bitcoin exchanges for Floridians.
License: Money Transmitters License Part II, FT230000152
Issuer: Florida Office of Financial Regulation
Coinbase is possibly the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. It has the most liquidity (prima facie) for Bitcoin as well as for the other top ten traded currencies. It is planning to launch an IPO (float on the stock exchange) in the near future, and will be valued at over a billion (if not billions) of dollars. The exchange is widely used because it offers a simply easy to use layout and functionality, and has established a good reputation as a leader in the industry.
Coinmama is not a directly licensed exchange with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. And is there offering its services through a third party. Having said that, they are generally reliable, safe and secure. As a new kid on the block, but we like them due to their easy to use features. They are more limited in coin offerings, but are expansive in bitcoin and is available to connect traders globally.
Trading fees tend to lean towards the higher side, from 3.9% and 5.9% depending on dollar value and volume. This may eat into your investment strategy, particularly if you are a day trader. On the flip side, they have invested in a safe and secure platform, and can be found to be reliable and honest.
License: Money Transmitter License (FT230000255)
Issuer: Florida Office of Financial Regulation
Etoro is a well established financial services company and launched in Florida in June 2021. They first began as a forex exchange offering a fast and reliable platform for trading. They have since expanded in cryptocurrencies and are marketing extremely hard to attract more customers.
Etoro was founded in 2007, creating a platform that is accessible to many countries around the world. Pioneers in providing easy access to financial markets to retail investors, they have now expanded their offerings into the crypto world. Their customer support can be a little slow at times, with the quality of user advice of their platform a bit and miss.
Their platform, isn’t as user friendly as the others, hence the reliance of customer support. Having said that, they have been around for a long time.
What we don’t like about Etoro is their aggressive marketing campaigns. We understand that marketing is important, however, social media is flooded with “customers” vouching for them. This is a very bad look and in fact, gives the impression that Etoro is a scam site.
License: Money Transmitter License Part II (FT230000264)
Issuer: Florida Office of Financial Regulation
One of the best exchanges in terms of fees. Extremely reasonable and won’t hurt your investment strategy. Offering a wide range of fiat and cryptocurrencies, CEX.IO is a relatively newcomer that is looking to expand quickly in the market. Payment methods are also extremely broad, with credit card, debit cards, wire transfer and e-wallets accepted.
Can they be trusted? Still a bit too early to tell, but they are moving up in size quite quickly.
License: FinCen – Registration No. 31000176593851
Issuer: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
You may have heard of the twins that invested Facebook and took Mark Zuckerberg to court. Well, the twins developed and invested in Kraken, one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges for Americans. The support behind the platform stems from the twins, who also own a large quantity of bitcoin, enabling them to facilitate and sustain an exchange.
Accordingly, liquidity is not an issue, with many customers choosing to use Kraken. The platform itself, is smooth with very little latency. Trades can be performed quickly and reliably, with security at the forefront with a three tiered verification process.
In addition, transactions fees, through not the cheapest, are very reasonable.
How to Choose a Bitcoin Exchange
Though Florida lags behind with law reformation regarding the use of cryptocurrency, there are many supporters who are wanting Florida to become the hub of blockchain innovation. Infact, you could say, that Florida is already “The Crypto Hub” given the number of businesses moving to establish their cryptocurrency head quarters in the State.
Recently in 2021, Miami held the most attended bitcoin conference for the year.
In addition, Miami has released MiamiCoin in which residents could earn bitcoin. There is a clear government and community push for bitcoin and altcoins to become mainstream. In doing so, there are many Florida residents who are buying and selling cryptocurrency.
Florida cryptocurrency laws are relatively restrictive when compared to other US States. But if you looked at the vocal supporters, both in government, businesses and locals, you wouldn’t think so.
On a grassroots level, bitcoin acceptance into mainstream is well and truly promoted and encouraged. Case in point, is in June 2021, when the Mayor of Miami put forward releasing a crypto-coin for the community. Fast forward to October 2021, Miami (City) partnered CityCoin to release MiamiCoin, despite laws surrounding cryptocurrencies remaining ambiguous and at times contradictory. But, at the very least Bitcoin buying and selling is legal.
Further evidence of support of bitcoin is seen with the large and numerous bitcoin, altcoin and blockchain conferences and conventions – held to attract investment in cryptocurrency investments, innovations, startups to boost local businesses.
The Miami Bitcoin Summit was held in October 2021, with tens of thousands in attendance. Sponsored by various big name investors and celebrities, there is no doubt that South Florida (in particular) is pushing hard to become the Silicon Valley of Cryptocurrencies.
Lastly, businesses such as Walmart are setting up Bitcoin ATMs for the convenience of their customers. You will find that in several Florida Walmart stores Bitcoin ATMs are available. Even the Mayor of Miami is pushing for the option of employees to be paid in Bitcoin.
As a result of such a strong interest and community acceptance of bitcoin, buying and selling volumes in Florida are extremely high.
If you are considering buying and selling bitcoin in Florida, consider choosing an exchange with the following criteria.
🔒 Safety and Security
Safety and security is one of the criteria that all buyers and sellers should assessed. If you are new to bitcoin, you may not be aware that many exchanges have been hacked resulting in coins stolen. These events have occurred whereby buys have stored their coins on the exchange.
Choosing a reputable, safe and secure exchange is therefore vital for investors and traders. Safe and security is an extremely hard factor to judge. The larger the exchange, the higher the risk that it will be targeted by hackers. But then again, the more investment in cyber security by the exchange operator.
Licensing and regulation, to a degree, also plays an important part. If regulated in the US, you can be assure that it will need to abide by compliance laws to protect customers. That said, the laws in the US, dictated by the Securities Commission and IRS, can be overwhelming and could result in complete exposure of all cryptocurrency trades.
Hence, many are turning to offshore exchanges to facilitate the exchange of cryptocurrencies.
In finding a good safe and secure exchange looking for a two step authentication process. A two step authentication requires the customers to validate their log in twice through two devices. This normally involves the smartphone as well as the laptop, tablet or other operating device.
Also, research the exchange’s history of being hacked. At present, nearly ALL the global big player exchanges have been attacked, and some have lost customer monies and details. It is fair to say, that all exchanges are at risk, but the safest ones, are normally the largest and the most established. We strong recommend NOT day trading, but investing for the future. Purchase your bitcoin and move them offline onto a cold wallet immediately.
📞 Customer Support
Every one that uses a cryptocurrency exchange will at some time or another need to engage with customer support. Users of any platform (particularly one’s that offer a wide product range that includes margin lending, staking, ICO and other services) will need to ask for guidance in using, in technical, and will have questions.
Irrespective of whether you are a beginner or experienced, you will eventually need to ask a question, and therefore the customer support of the exchange is important. Prompt and accessible customer support is highly regarded when choosing an exchange. If you choose an exchange, that doesn’t answer you promptly, or even professionally with the appropriate answers, then you could lose a lot of money, simply through a change in exchange rates. Worse still, you may be advised to place the wrong buy order for bitcoin and end with a margin lending product instead of a straight buy!
Looking for bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges, that provide good quality customer support. You will need it.
💳 Payment Methods
This criteria is often overlooked. Common payment methods include credit card – Visa and MasterCard, wire transfers, and of course bitcoin deposit and withdrawals. e-wallets are now also making a big entrance to the scene, with PayPal now accepting bitcoin as a form of storage option.
The larger and better exchanges will offer a wider range of payment options, with the appropriate encryption in place to perform transactions safely and securely.
🪙 Cryptocurrency Selection
The bigger and larger cryptocurrency exchanges will offer a massive range of pairing. You could trade in potentially over the hundreds and thousands of cryptocurrency on offer. At the end of the day, you just need to find a good exchange that will offer the cryptocurrency and fiat currency that you want to exchange in. Unless you intend to buy and sell in an extremely wide and diverse range of cryptocurrency, then it doesn’t really matter how wide the cryptocurrency selection is, as long as it offers what you are looking for.
Be aware, that some exchanges are deal with crypto to crypto. If you are just starting out, and have no crypto, then of course, the crypto to crypto exchanges will not meed your needs.
🏷 Coupons and Discounts
If you have noticed already, the industry is turning to marketing sales pitches that promises easy money, quickfire returns and rewards that includes free shares, free coins, and discounted fees through the use of coupons.
It most cases, the exchanges that use high level marketing pitches (that are really too good to be true) should be avoided at all cost. Don’t fall for these tricks.
Once you have found an exchange that you do want to sign up to, then look for coupons and deals that will boost your return. There are many coupons out there. Just Google for them on the internet and you will find them.
Then sign up and use the coupon.
I know that you are thinking, but the scam sites also offer coupons. Yes, they do and this is the danger of not knowing which exchange is good or bad, hence we high recommend choosing from our list.
Choosing the wrong exchange that has high fees, will destroy your investment strategy. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should go out there and pick the exchange with the lowest fee offering. Far from it, because the lowest could also be the most dangerous. It is a hard balancing act, and exchanges make it even harder to compare with each having their own fee structure.
To a degree, each investor should look at their intend volume and dollar value of trades and then apply the fee structure of the exchange, to determine which offers the most value for money. Undoubtedly this will take an enormous amount of time. So for our recommended list, we have review the general fee structure, but to be sure, you should also review and ensure that your investment strategy aligns with the overall fee comparison that we have performed.
⚙️ Platform Reliability
There is nothing more worse than having a platform crash, right when you want to buy bitcoin at a great exchange rate. And then when the platform is back up online, you discover that the bitcoin exchange rate has moved against you. This could not be more frustrating and annoying. The best exchanges will use expert developers, and most of the time have been in the industry for a while. There are specific industry developers that have built great exchange platforms which is white labelled to both onshore and offshore exchanges.
This is where the big players have an advantage over the smaller ones. Liquidity means a high volume of buyers and sellers. If there is a high volume, then it is easy to liquidate your position, i.e. you can sell out or buy back in without the need to find a buyer and seller. If liquidity is low, then you may find that you will have to wait a long time to find anyone willing to buy or sell – this then means you cannot close out your position quickly and the exchange rate may move against you.
The larger exchanges therefore will have a better pool of buyers and sellers to close out your positions quickly. But be careful! Exchanges deliberately over inflate their trading volumes and dollar value. ALL of them do this, to try and gain advantage over their competitors. How to know then which truly has the best liquidity? It is difficult to say. But we have personally purchased through the larger exchanges and we have compared how quickly it is to find a buyer and seller.
Florida Cryptocurrency Laws and Legislation
According to Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, every exchange that wants to buy and sell bitcoin in the State must apply for a license. The license is applied through the Money Transmitters Part II: Money Transmitter Act. Once accepted, the Money Transmitters Part II license authorizes the exchange to send and receive, transact any digital currency for the payment of services whether within or outside of the State.
The state of Florida defines cryptocurrency as a virtual or a digital currency that has features of units (parts of a blockchain). The digital currency can be used as an exchange between two parties to facilitate the purchase of goods and services.
In applying the definition of Florida state law, bitcoin and altcoins are therefore considered to be digital currencies (the term altcoin is often used to described non-bitcoin cryptocurrency).
A digital currency does not automatically default to being legal tender. Legal tender does NOT mean that it is illegal, it simply means that the US Government will not back the currency should the holder suffer any losses (for example: if a bank is unable to honor real US dollar cash, the government will step in fulfill the banks obligation, but in the case of cryptocurrency it will not).
Currently there are no cryptocurrency coins in Florida that are legal tender. Even, the MiamiCoin, that we mention later, is theoretically not legal tender according to Federal laws, but oddly, if it is backed by Miami City, then it is in a quasi sense legal tender.
Florida laws detail the exchange of digital currency, through the exchanging of “coins”. These are computer coded encrypted “keys” are needed to verify and validate the owner and the authenticity of the coin. Two keys are needed to enable ownership and authenticity – public and private.
Storing private keys are held in cryptocurrency “wallets”. These are digital storage facilities like memory drives on a computer or smartphone, and even in the cloud. In order to store the keys, software is needed to maintain, accept and send the keys.
As the keys are accepted and received, the trail of movement is recorded on a blockchain. The blockchain acts as a record keeper which is open to all users to interrogate and validate. The continual validation and verification process is referred to as “mining”. In Florida laws, the practice of mining is regarded the same as any other services businesses, but that taxes to be paid on mined coins is unclear.
The creation of fake coins is impossible, because the blockchain is held on a decentralized ledger. This means, that the record keeping is spread among all the users, rather in one database. In order to create fake coins, all users of the blockchain must be hacked simultaneously which is logistically impossible.
Taxes on cryptocurrencies for Floridians is the same as all other US States and is dictated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS considers any buying and selling of cryptocurrencies as a capital gains or loss. That is, a cryptocurrencies is an asset and NOT and transaction that is purely an income or expense. Hence, technically for tax returns, the profit or loss from buying and selling of bitcoin, even if as a result of a purchase of a good or service, is taxable. It is therefore vital to keep track of the USD paid for bitcoin on purchase and USD received on sale.
It is anticipated that further regulations will be imposed on cryptocurrency exchanges, to enable the IRS to monitor cryptocurrency movements and ensure that appropriate taxes are paid by US tax residents.
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 Office of Financial Regulation.
Florida Office of Financial Regulation
200 E. Gaines Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399
Telephone: (850) 487-9687
Fax: (850) 410-9663