How do I cash out crypto to USD?

With the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others, many crypto investors eventually face the question of how to cash out their digital assets into traditional fiat money like US dollars. There are several ways to convert your crypto into cash, each with their own pros and cons.

Using a Crypto Exchange

The most common way to cash out crypto is through a cryptocurrency exchange. Exchanges like Coinbase, Kraken, and Gemini allow you to link your bank account and sell your crypto holdings for fiat currency. The steps for cashing out through an exchange are:

  1. Sign up for an account on the exchange of your choice and complete the KYC verification process.
  2. Deposit the cryptocurrency you want to cash out into your account wallet on the exchange.
  3. Place a sell order for your crypto at the current market price. This will convert your coins into fiat currency within your exchange account.
  4. Withdraw the fiat currency from your exchange account to your linked bank account. Depending on the exchange, this may take a few days to process.

The main advantages of using an exchange are convenience, competitive fees, and fast transfer times. Most major exchanges only charge 0.5% or less per transaction. The downside is that you must trust the exchange to securely hold your crypto. There is a small risk that the exchange itself could be hacked.

P2P Cryptocurrency Marketplaces

Peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto marketplaces like LocalCryptos and Bisq allow you to cash out your crypto directly to another person. This avoids centralized exchanges altogether. On a P2P platform:

  1. You create an account and choose the crypto you want to sell along with your price and payment method.
  2. The platform matches you with a buyer who wants to purchase your crypto. Most accept payment via bank transfer, PayPal, gift cards, and other methods.
  3. Once matched, you send your crypto to the buyer directly. In return, the buyer completes the pre-arranged payment method to your account.

P2P platforms allow you to cash out without divulging personal information like you would to a centralized exchange. They offer more payment methods and higher anonymity. However, deal terms are less standardized and trades may take longer to complete.

Crypto Debit Cards

Crypto debit cards link your cryptocurrency wallets to a Visa or Mastercard debit card. Popular options include Coinbase Card, Visa Card, and the Binance Card. You can use these cards to spend your crypto anywhere major cards are accepted. When you make a purchase, it automatically converts your crypto to fiat currency behind the scenes. Steps include:

  1. Order a crypto debit card and complete the KYC verification required.
  2. Deposit crypto from your wallet into your card balance.
  3. Use the card like any other debit card to spend your crypto balance, converting it into fiat.

Crypto cards offer a flexible way to liquidate your crypto holdings. However, they often carry higher fees around 3-5% per transaction. And some cards have limits on how much crypto you can load and spend.

Crypto ATMs

If you need to quickly cash out a small amount of crypto, specialized Cryptocurrency ATMs are an option. There are over 30,000 Bitcoin ATMs worldwide offered by operators like CoinFlip. To use a crypto ATM:

  1. Locate a crypto ATM near you using a site like CoinATMRadar.
  2. Visit the ATM and select the crypto you want to sell and the amount. You may need to provide your wallet address.
  3. Insert your cash currency and the ATM will immediately credit your wallet with the crypto at the current exchange rate.

Crypto ATMs are fast and convenient for small crypto holdings, but the exchange rates and fees are usually high—around 5-10% above market rate. And you’ll need to provide a mobile number for verification on most machines.

OTC Cryptocurrency Brokers

Over-the-counter (OTC) brokers specialize in large crypto transactions conducted privately off public exchanges. OTC brokers have no minimum trade sizes and often accept wire transfers, cash, and other payment methods. To cash out through an OTC broker:

  1. Contact a brokerage like Genesis Trading or Circle and provide your account verification details.
  2. The broker provides you with a crypto address to send the funds you want to sell.
  3. After the broker receives your funds, they initiate an agreed payment method like bank wire.

OTC brokers offer personalized service and discretion for large trades. They charge around 1-3% per transaction which is lower than crypto exchanges. However, you must trust them fully with large amounts of crypto assets during the process.

Accepting Crypto as Payment

If you have an online business, you can cash out your crypto simply by accepting it as a payment method. Here are two ways to implement crypto payments:

  • Get a merchant processor solution like BitPay that lets customers pay invoices with crypto. You receive the crypto then exchange to dollars yourself.
  • Integrate a crypto payments processor like CoinPayments directly into your online checkout flow. This exchanges crypto to fiat on the fly.

Accepting crypto payments has no fees and lets you liquidate your crypto through your ordinary business revenue. However, the accounting treatment may be more complex.

Crypto Lending & Interest Accounts

Some financial platforms allow you to deposit crypto and earn interest paid in fiat currency to your bank account. For example:

  • BlockFi Interest Account pays up to 8.25% APY interest on your crypto, paid in fiat monthly to your bank.
  • Nexo Earn Interest product pays up to 12% interest on your crypto and stablecoins, with the option of being paid in fiat or crypto.

Deposit accounts allow you to earn passive income on your HODLings while you cash out through the interest payments. However, your crypto is potentially at risk in the event the lending platform fails or is hacked.

Which Cash Out Method is Best?

There are a few key factors to consider when determining the best method to cash out crypto to fiat currency:

  • Fees – Exchanges and debit cards tend to have higher fees compared to P2P and OTC brokers.
  • Speed – ATMs, exchanges, and debit cards are fastest. Bank wires and P2P trades take longer.
  • Anonymity – P2P platforms offer more privacy compared to exchanges.
  • Convenience – Exchanges, debit cards, and ATMs are the most convenient options.
  • Trade Size – Exchanges work best for small to midsize trades. OTC brokers facilitate large trades.

Consider which benefits are most important to your situation. For most mainstream investors, exchanges like Coinbase offer the best overall experience to cash out lower amounts of crypto with convenience and reasonable fees.

Reporting Crypto Gains for Tax Purposes

It’s important to understand the tax implications when cashing out crypto to fiat. In most countries, this triggers a taxable event. You are responsible for reporting capital gains you realize from selling crypto for profit.

  • In the US, each conversion of crypto to fiat is a taxable event. Short-term gains under 1 year are taxed as ordinary income. Long-term gains on crypto held over 1 year are usually taxed at a lower rate.
  • Other countries like the UK and Australia also classify crypto to fiat conversion as a taxable capital gain.
  • Some tax software like CoinTracking can automatically import your crypto transactions and calculate capital gains.
  • Consult a qualified tax professional to understand your reporting requirements when cashing out crypto.

Make sure to maintain proper documentation like dated exchange records. Failing to report crypto gains can lead to serious tax penalties and interest down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cashing out crypto safe?

Cashing out crypto is generally safe if you use reputable platforms and proper security precautions like enabling 2FA on your accounts. Beware of phishing attacks when providing any wallet or account information.

Are there fees for converting crypto to cash?

Most cash out methods involve some fees, such as trading fees on exchanges or usage fees for ATMs. Compare the fees across various platforms to find the lowest cost option.

Can I cash out large amounts of crypto?

Yes, you can cash out large crypto holdings. OTC crypto brokers specialize in large volume trades with fast settlement. Or you can sell on a major exchange over time in smaller increments.

How long does it take to cash out crypto?

Cash out times vary between methods. ATMs and debit cards are fastest. Bank wires take 1-3 days in most countries. And P2P trades are dependent on finding a suitable trading partner.

Is cashing out crypto permanent?

No, you can re-enter the crypto market at any time by purchasing back into desired crypto assets. You only permanently cash out by selling and withdrawing to fiat, then stopping crypto investing altogether.


Cashing out crypto involves converting your holdings into traditional fiat money. Popular methods include using centralized exchanges, P2P platforms, crypto debit cards, ATMs, OTC brokers, or accepting crypto payments through your business. Consider factors like fees, speed, trade size, privacy, and convenience to determine the best option for your needs. Be aware of potential tax implications from realizing capital gains. With the right approach, cashing out crypto holdings can be easy and secure.

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