Where to Buy Bitcoin Iowa

There are many cryptocurrency exchanges that legally facilitate the buying and selling of Bitcoin in Iowa. To buy bitcoin the minimum legal age is 18 years old.

A snapshot of Iowa Cryptocurrency Market:

  • It is legal for residents of Iowa to trade in cryptocurrencies
  • Legally buyers and sellers of bitcoin must be at least 18 years old
  • Licensed cryptocurrency exchanges via State of Iowa Division of Banking can accept Iowa residents.
  • Federally licensed exchanges are also available in Iowa.

If you are looking to buy bitcoin, we outline all the information you need for Iowa. We outline the best exchanges to use to buy bitcoin, an overview and listing of all the exchanges that are licensed in Iowa, a brief outline of legislation and tax implications and other articles to reference.

To get started, we list the recomended exchanges to buy bitcoin in Iowa:

Top 5 Iowa Bitcoin Exchanges

Overview of Iowa Bitcoin Exchanges

Buying bitcoin in Iowa is super easy when compared to many other US States. You will find that nearly every exchange is licensed with the State (or Federal) and can accept residents of Iowa. However peer to peer exchanges remain off limits and have yet to be legally allowed to operate in the US. In addition to using exchanges, residents of Iowa can acquire bitcoin through the provision of goods and services, or mining. Iowa also has an abundance of ATMs, conveniently located for those who wish to cash in and out.

There is a wide selection of cryptocurrency exchanges to choose from. Hence it is vital to understand what attributes of an exchange need to be considered. Bear in mind each investor, or buyer of bitcoin, will have a different purpose and strategy with buying bitcoin.

Reflect on your goal of buying bitcoin and choose an exchange that is right for you.

💰 Fees

Fees are by far the most attribute that should be considered when selecting an exchange. The cheapest, lowest fee exchange is Binance.US. It has built a reputation is being the best value for money, however the down side is that Customer Support is poor hence it isn’t easy to get started and/or to resolve issues. Second to Binance.US is Coinbase Pro with competitive fees. Their Customer Support can also be questionable at times. The trade off with low fees is customer support.

📞 Customer Support

Customer Support is vital, particularly if you intend to trade as a business. KYC obligations are onerous at the best of times, but even more so for businesses that include companies, trusts, partnerships and so on. The majority of low trading fees exchanges are not going to quickly and efficiently support your business account, because they know the effort is great to process your account. Hence, Customer Support is an offset to Fees. Normally, these two attributes are mutually exclusive, you cannot have both.

Choose an exchange with good customer support if you foresee challenges with establishing a business trading account, or whether you will be performing bitcoin trades which aren’t part of the norm.

🪙 Cryptocurrency Selection

All buyers of bitcoin should consider diversification. Diversification means the spreading of an investment across several cryptocurrencies and not solely concentrating in bitcoin. Through diversification, the risk is mitigated. If bitcoin takes a dive, other cryptocurrencies may not follow suit. Diversification is also used when buying and selling shares, investing in property and other financial instruments.

Choose an exchange with offerings of cryptocurrencies that you like to diversify to. It does not necessarily mean the exchange needs to offer the most coins, but the coins that you want to diversify to.

📈 Liquidity

Liquidity means the number of customers that are trading on the exchange. The higher the liquidity the more buyers and sellers leading to a faster transaction and smaller spread. Poor liquidity translates to less buyers and sellers and can lead to a lag time in closing out a transaction. The spread margins are also greater when there is less liquidity because buyers and sellers are not able to meet in the middle.

Assessing an exchanges liquidity is generally correlated to the market size of the exchange. A global exchange will have greater reach than an exchange that is only offered in a small number of jurisdictions.

If you are looking to trade quick and fast, then consider an exchange with high liquidity and global reach.

🔒 Safety and Security

Back in the day, when bitcoin started to become mainstream, exchanges were being hacked. At that time, safety and security was lacking, but a lot has changed in the years since Mt Gox was infamously reported to have suffered significant losses. All exchanges now offer 2FA (Two Factor Authentication), greater platform security and insurance to protect against hack losses. (Please note, insurance for an exchange does NOT cover individual customer hack losses). Safety and security is much more advanced and is continuously improving, however, this does not mean you should let your guard down. Some exchanges will offer security features which may appear overkill. However, if safety and security is important to you, consider an exchange which does have these added features.

💳 Payment Methods

Overall, exchanges in Iowa offer the same payment methods. Wire transfer, ACH, credit card and debit cards are all common payment options. Deposits may differ in regards to amount of time required to process, but these too also do not differ greatly. Unless there is super urgency to buy bitcoin (in which a bitcoin ATM is the faster) then don’t take too much heed with depositing. Withdrawals on the other hand is a different story. Anecdotely, some exchanges will take an excessive amount of time to withdraw. Hard to prove, however it can be perceived that some exchanges delay payment to take advantage of liquidity and exchange rates.

The various payment methods is common across Iowa bitcoin exchanges, but some may be slow with processing withdrawals.

⚙️ Platform Reliability

The reliability of a platform is important if you intend to trade regularly. The last thing you want is to have the platform be in “maintenance”, and unable to buy or sell bitcoin at the price that you want. All exchanges will undergo maintenance down time for their platform. The larger, global exchanges have the IT support to improve on their IT platforms, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they too won’t experience significant down time. Overall an exchange’s assessment of their platform reliability is similar across all exchanges. Small or large, a platform’s maintenance is dependent on the skill set of their IT support and not how much money they can throw into it (though it does help).

Iowa Bitcoin Exchange Reviews

We have listed below in alphabetical order the exchanges that accept residents of Iowa. In addition, we have included a brief review of each exchange, to shed further light of what they offer when buying bitcoin.


Binance.US is well known for its low trading fees. One of the best cryptocurrency exchanges, it has a global outreach that exceeds many other exchanges with its affiliation to Binance.com. Binance.US has had challenges with a few US States with the legality of operating a cyptocurrency exchange, but fortunately that have been no issues with Binance.US being licensed and available in Iowa.

The trading platform offers users up to 64 cryptocurrencies to choose from. Common cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, USDT and Cardano. For bitcoin buyers who are always on the move, there is a downloadable mobile app compatible with iOS and Android. For the sophisticated trader there is also a downloadable desktop app which is rich in features.

  • Money Services License: 2020-0087
  • Cryptocurrencies: 64
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: 0.1% – 0.5%
  • Payment Methods: Debit Card, ACH, Wire Transfer


BlockFi began as a bitcoin lender, offering customers the ability to deposit and borrow bitcoin (just like a bank). It was the first on the scene with bitcoin finance, offering a very attractive 8% p.a. return for depositors. Recently, BlockFi has expanded its services to now include an exchange. The exchange is still very much in its infancy, hence it is worthwhile to wait for all the bugs to be ironed out. On the depositing and borrowing side of BlockFi, customers enjoy the flexibility of no lock in contracts. As a pioneer of the bitcoin finance industry, BlockFi has grown a reputation of being the safest and trusted. But as an exchange, wait for it to develop further.

  • Money Transmitter License: MTL-270
  • Payment Methods: ACH
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: embedded in the spread

CEX io cryptocurrency exchange


If you are a sophisticated bitcoin trader, looking for all the bells and whistles for trending, analysis and graphs, then you can’t go past CEX.IO. A global premium cryptocurrency exchange that offers excellent customer service and is safe and secure. Established in 2013 in the UK, and now has expanded to many jurisdictions including Iowa. Liquidity is high, but cannot compare to Coinbase or Binance.US which has larger customer base. However, 4 million customer globally is still something not to be glossed over, and is quite respectable, and the selection of coins and tokens is huge. CEX.IO is a leader in Customer Support and for advanced bitcoin trading.

  • Money Services License: 2019-00632
  • 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 is arguably the most popular cryptocurrency exchange (perhaps behind Binance.US). The number 1 for business and trading accounts, but the customer service leaves a lot to be desired. Hot on its heels are several up and new comers, demonstrating an equal if not better customer service and reasonable fees i.e. Crypto.com and FTX.US.

The fee structure of Coinbase is confusing. Various fees are contingent on volume, deposit method, withdrawal method and tiers creating a complex matrix. The platform is relatively reliable, however their maintenance down time has often extended beyond one working day. Fortunately, maintenance down time is infrequent. The mobile app has exactly the same features as the desktop, great for users on the move who don’t want to miss out on the functionality that desktop has. Being listed on the NASDAQ, Coinbase is required to meet strict regulatory and compliance rules to safeguard its customers and shareholders.

  • Money Services License: 2014-0087
  • Cryptocurrencies: 96
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: 0.5% – 4.5%
  • Payment Methods: Debit Card, Credit Card, ACH, Wire Transfer

coinmama cryptocurrency exchange


Coinmama is a great exchange for beginners with a no frills platform. Fees are slightly more expensive than the leading low trade exchange, and there is only an Android mobile app (no iOS). Coinmama, actually does not hold a license in Iowa to trade on it’s own platform, instead it redirects customers to the third-party provider Simplex.

  • Money Services License: None
  • 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 the big money on marketing, with obtaining the naming rights of the L.A. stadium that was previously known at the Staples Center. But their marketing spree doesn’t stop there. On the books is Lebron James and Matt Damon, two celebrities that do not need further mention. Unintentionally, Crypto.com is perceived as much hubris by some sections of the public – big name, big brand, lots of talk but little action. As an example: Customers receive a metal crypto card that can be flashed out to tell others that they are part of the CDC club. A bit of showing off.

But behind the scenes there is some substance. The use of the card earns Crypto.com native coins, which has the potential to grow in value as more customers jump onto the band wagon. The fees are terrible if you deposit with debit and credit cards, but low for ACH and wire transfers. So at least for cash depositors there is a serious competitive advantage.

Customer support is average, which seems to the case with exchanges that offer low trading fees, how else to save costs? Not unexpected, Iowa users are not entitled to use all of the Crypto.com financial products, due to State and Federal sanctions.

The mobile app is stable, safe and secure. It appears, that the easiest way to fix any issues with the mobile app is to simply uninstall and re-install. Can’t get any easier than that!

  • Money Services License: Trading as Foris DAX Inc. 2021-0091
  • 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 is a leading exchange with its origins stemming from foreign currency exchange. A natural similarity with foreign currency exchange has led to the extension to cryptocurrency. eToro is a powerful platform that allows users to gain insights in the bitcoin market. Experienced traders often remark on the eToro reporting ability to cut data into several ways. In addition, eToro offers margin lending and other instruments to leverage and gain further exposure with limited capital.

But eToro also caters for the beginner. Their platform is easy to use (though a bit crowded). Funds can be deposited with bank wire transfers, ACH, PayPal and other popular e-wallets. The trading fees are zero, however, this does not mean it is cheap. eToro embeds into the spread their margin, which actually translates to higher fees than Coinbase and Binance.US.

  • Money Services License: 2018-0141
  • 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 a relative new comer to Iowa, having only launched in 2020. (The international platform launched in 2019). As a new comer, they offer a completely different experience to the pioneer cryptocurrency exchanges. User experience is often at the forefront, and hence new users will find it easy to use, but also rich in features. Its fee structure is different to other exchanges, but is extremely competitive having one of the lowest trading fees.

In regards to security, FTX.US offers 2FA but only online storage. If you wish to use cold storage, you must make a withdrawal to your own wallet. IP addresses can be specified to give permission to conduct transactions, removing any risk of a non-authorized IP address from hacking into your account.

Overall FTX.US is a good exchange for those starting out with buying bitcoin.

  • Money Services License: Trading as West Realm Shires Services Inc.2021-0192
  • Cryptocurrencies: 20
  • Mobile App: iOS and Android
  • Fees: 0.4% – 5.0%
  • Payment Methods: Wire, ACH, PayPal, e-wallets

Bitcoin ATMs

There are Bitcoin ATMs in Iowa that can be used for quick buying and selling of Bitcoin. Although the number of ATMs are not as many as other US States, the ATMs are conveniently located in Des Moines provided by DigitalMint, CoinSource and RockITCoin.

Using Bitcoin ATMs are generally more expensive than using a cryptocurrency exchange. Their fees usually range between 5% to 10%.

Iowa Cryptocurrency Tax Ruling and Rates

Buyers of Bitcoin in Iowa are required to include capital gains and losses in their tax submission to the IRS. Bitcoin is treated as a virtually currency which is an asset. In submissions to the IRS support documentation for Form 1099 is required to outline bitcoin transactions.

Tax rates are split between short and long term holdings:

  • Short term is the capital gain realized within a period of one year. Long Term is over one year. The tax rates for short term are according to the Federal Income Tax brackets.
  • While long term rates are generally 20%.

In regards to State Iowa taxes for using bitcoin in the exchange for goods and services, this has yet to be defined.

Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Laws and Legislation

Iowa’s Division of Banking is responsible for the licensing of bitcoin exchanges in the State. It issues Money Service Licenses to approved cryptocurrency exchanges, whom must meet regulatory and compliance requirements.

The State introduced the framework of Division of Banking licensing in 2019 – H.F. 240, 88th Gen. Assemb, to encapture bitcoin exchange. Though there was no real change, and not explicitly outlined, the Money Services Act of Iowa is deemed to also include cryptocurrency. In 2019, the State also introduced a House bill which proposed loosening the regulations for crypocurrency exchanges.

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Wallets

Cryptocurrency wallets is often a debate of security. Back in the earlier days, when cryptocurrency exchanges were becoming mainstream, many were targeted by hackers that were successful in stealing bitcoin. The risk of theft, meant that the safest options for bitcoin buyers was to store bitcoin on their own wallets (hot or cold).

Today, safety and security that an exchange provides is vastly different. Online storage, exchange provided wallets are becoming much safer, with various layers of protection in place. As a new buyer to bitcoin, it is recommended to stick to an online wallet on the exchange. Why? because it removes the risk of losing the keys.

This may appear to be ironic, but many buyers of bitcoin have lost the keys to unlocking their bitcoin. Thus, as a new buyer to bitcoin, balancing the risk of theft at an online exchange vs losing the keys needs to be considered.

If planning to buy bitcoin in large sums, then the risk of leaving bitcoin on an exchange becomes higher, and it may make more sense to use a secure hot or cold wallet.

Each bitcoin buyer needs to weigh up their own risk appetite, and their ability to manage wallet keys.

The minium legal age to buy bitcoin in Iowa is 18 years old.


Iowa is a pro bitcoin state, with many options to acquire or buy bitcoin. The most common method in buying bitcoin is through a cryptocurrency exchange. The best cryptocurrency exchanges in Iowa hold an Iowa Division Banking Licence and have a good balance of low trading fees, customer support and liquidity. In addition to exchanges, Iowans can use ATMs and mining to acquite bitcoin.

Federal taxes must be paid for realized capital gains, determined between short and long term gains. State laws for taxes on the exchange of goods and services with bitcoin have yet to mature in Iowa.

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 Iowa Division of Banking.

State of Iowa Division of Banking
200 E. Grand Avenue,
Suite 300 Des Moines, IA 50309


Bordering States

Wisconsin | Illinois | Missouri | Nebraska | South Dakota | Minnesota

Best Exchanges

Low fees, high liquidity

Top notch crypto exchange, with the lowest fees, high volume trades, and fast processing.