Bisq. A Decentralized Exchange for privacy lovers

Esteban Suárez

Bisq is a decentralized, private and secure, yet surprisingly accessible Exchange.

In this guide, we’ll assume you want to buy Bitcoin in exchange for a local currency, as that’s how most people get started with Bisq.

Specifically, we will go through the steps to buy Bitcoin with US dollars USD, and as a payment method we will use the popular and affordable Zelle ® payment method that is compatible with most local banks. You should note that with BISQ you can buy or sell in any currency from any country as it supports offering dozens of different cryptocurrencies and tokens, the only restriction is that one side of each Bisq trade must always be Bitcoin. Getting started with BISQ

Bisq is a P2P Decentralized Exchange that allows peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading without the intervention of any central authority. The control of all the operations carried out is carried out by the Bisq software, it is open source and can be found on Github. This provides a level of security, protection, and privacy that no centralized Exchange can provide.

To get started you must download the Bisq software for the platform you are using. All this through the Official Page.

Once the software is installed, go ahead and open Bisq. It will take a few moments as it connects to the TOR network and syncs with the BISQ peer trading network.

In the previous image you can see the sell and buy orders that you can choose from. Setting up the account in your local currency

If at this moment we try to see the offers we have to buy, we can see, as it appears in the image below, that the option to take the offers is not available.

This is because we haven’t yet set up a way to pay to be able to take sell offers. Now we need to add a payment method.

Bisq works with many different payment methods, so you can choose the one that works best for you.

Note that payment methods determine: which offers you can take now (for example, in the image above, Zelle has a couple of existing offers, so if we set up a Zelle account on Bisq, we could take any of those offers from Zelle). The speed at which a trade is completed will depend on the payment method used.

In the event that the method you have chosen does not show you any offers, you can create your own purchase offers through the method with which you are going to pay.

In this tutorial, we will set up a Zelle account. You can adapt the instructions that follow to the payment method you choose. Go to the account screen and click Add new account. Select Zelle from the dropdown menu and enter your details. You will need to enter your full name as you signed up for your Zelle account, as well as the email address or mobile phone number linked to your Zelle account.

It is very important that the data entered is correct to avoid errors in purchase orders.

The data is not stored on any server and will only be available on your local computer.

Once you’re done, hit the Save New Account button and return to the offers screen, this way the offers that are available with the payment method we’ve added should now be available.

Add funds in Bisq

There is only one more thing to do before we can trade BISQ: we need to send enough bitcoin to our Bisq wallet to cover a security deposit as well as trading and mining fees. Security deposits help prevent fraud, which is why BISQ requires both buyers and sellers to add at least 15% of the value to be traded.

Right now, a user who wants to make a purchase for 0.01 BTC needs to add approximately 0.0061 BTC as a minimum security deposit.

But keep in mind that mining fees can fluctuate, some sellers may require larger security deposits, so it’s good practice to add more than the minimum requested.

Once you’re ready to make the security deposit you can move it to Bisq’s built-in wallet. This is not strictly required, but it will make trading more convenient, as the security deposits and fees you need to accept an offer will be available to make or take an offer.

As a security measure you should put a password on your Bisq wallet.

To send bitcoin to your Bisq wallet, go to the Funds screen and click the Receive tab. Send your bitcoin to one of the addresses listed there.

If you prefer not to hold any bitcoin in your Bisq wallet, that’s fine, but you’ll need to transfer your deposit and security fees manually when you take an offer. How to take an offer

If everything is ready we will take an offer in the buy Bitcoin tab, then click the green button on the order you want to take.

Account limits

Accounts are initially limited in the amount of Bitcoin they can trade to secure the network from scammers and other bad actors, BISQ payment accounts without signatures are limited to buying 0.01 BTC until signed by another trusted pair. You can have your new payment account signed by selecting an offer to buy Bitcoin from a seller who is capable of signing your account. Just look for an offer with this check mark:

Send deposits and fees to trade in our wallet

When taking an offer, Bisq creates a special trading wallet to hold your security deposit and fees. This wallet will be used to pay your taker fee, and will then be used to transfer your security deposit to a Multisignature escrow transaction along with the seller’s security deposit and the Bitcoin being traded.

Once you and the seller have completed your part of the trade, you will receive the Bitcoin you purchased along with your security deposit. BISQ will tell you the merchant wallet address and exactly how much to send it. If you already have enough bitcoin in your BISQ wallet, click Transfer funds from Bisq Wallet and the funds will be automatically transferred to the business wallet. If not, go ahead and send the required amount (the necessary funds) to the specified address (business wallet address).

A Multi-Signature Escrow Transaction?

How ​​does this work?

BISQ never takes custody of users' bitcoin funds or fiat funds, in fact there is no way it can, because BISQ is just a software, not a company.

This transaction is carried out through a p2p smart contract that involves the seller and the buyer without intermediaries.

Trading Fees

You will see an alternative to choose between BTC trading fees and BSQ trading fees.

What is it about?

BSQ is a governance token that governs BISQ. Remember, BISQ is a software-managed network, not a CEO-managed company, but decisions still need to be made in it and developers still need to be paid.

BSQ and the Bisq DAO accomplish these functions for the Bisq network without a corporate entity, legal jurisdiction, or any designated “leadership.”

There was never an ICO, just extensive conception, development and testing for over 4 years to make it a reality. The use of BSQ is optional. But buying BSQ pays Bisq developers and makes the project sustainable so it is recommended and this is reflected in the trading fees, BSQ fees are considerably lower than BTC fees. Confirm the purchase

Once you have funded your WALLET, you will see a review:

Confirm the offer to buy BitCoin Click on it, and BISQ will show you all the details of the offer you are about to take.

Make sure these details are correct. After confirming these details, you must move on (or risk losing your deposit).

If everything looks good, press confirm: Take the offer to buy Bitcoin.

Your trade has now officially started!


First, before showing you the seller’s payment details, BISQ will wait for the Bitcoin network to confirm the merchant’s transactions. On average, this takes 10 minutes. Then you will see a pop-up window with the seller’s details.

Go ahead and pay the seller via the agreed payment method.

Bitcoin network confirmations

Each confirmation makes a bitcoin transaction exponentially more difficult to reverse. You can wait for as many confirmations as you like before sending the payment, just be aware of the time remaining indicator. The seller must receive your payment before that timer runs out.

Mark payment as completed

Once you have submitted your payment, be sure to mark the payment being submitted in BISQ by clicking the start payment button.

It’s easy to forget this step, but remember: BISQ doesn’t integrate with national currency payment methods in any way, so BISQ won’t know you’ve sent your payment until you say so.

When you click on the payment started, the seller will receive a notification letting them know that the payment is on its way.

business completed

When the seller receives your payment, they mark it as received in BISQ. BISQ will then complete the trade by releasing the Bitcoin you bought from them along with your security deposit.

Once this happens you can keep the funds in your BISQ wallet by clicking Move funds to Bisq Wallet or send them to another wallet by clicking Withdraw to external wallet.

If you have followed these steps, Congratulations. You have just completed your first trade on Bisq! Additional Tips

It is very important that you secure your funds with a password on your Bisq wallet, you can also back up your private keys in a place where no one else has access to them.


When you are a lover of security, privacy and the spirit of Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, having the freedom to use Bisq is a step that brings you closer to the idea that Satoshi Nakamoto had for digital money. One without intermediaries, between peers and that represents the future of human relations. As far away as possible from the all-seeing eye and censorship of central governments.