New users interested in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies often struggle with figuring out how to buy their first bitcoins, but it isn’t as difficult as people make it seem. There are multiple options to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the UK.
Sign-up for a crypto exchange in the UK that suits your needs. All you need is an email address and password.
To buy bitcoin with british pounds you’ll need to upload a photo of your ID. Exchanges are required to do this by law.
Send money to your exchange account with a bank transfer or pay by debit or credit card.
Choose the amount you want to buy and you’ll receive a quote. Hit the “Buy” button. That’s it.
There is no such thing as the perfect crypto exchange, they all have their own sets of tradeoffs. It all depends on your specific needs and preferences. Generally speaking, the cheapest option to buy bitcoin in the UK is to buy it on an exchange.
Crypto exchanges are places where traders buy & sell their bitcoins similar to a stock exchange. So naturally, this is where you’ll get the best price. They also charge very low fees because their target audience are traders and they are extremely cost-sensitive.
Normally, the fees for buying bitcoin on an exchange are somewhere in the range of 0.25% per trade. The drawback of exchanges is that they can be a bit intimidating to use for first time buyers. Their interfaces are not always intuitive, crammed with trading charts and confusing terms.
Advanced Trading Options (Short & Long positions)
Possible to buy very large amounts
Harder to use
No mobile app
Few payment methods supported (debit card)
If you want to buy bitcoin in the UK in a simpler way, you have many options of local wallet providers who make the buying process extremely simple. They are generally a bit more expensive than exchanges (they buy their bitcoins from the exchanges themselves and apply a small surcharge on top) but are optimized for everyday users who seek simplicity.
They offer mobile apps, allow users to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with debit cards and are much more convenient to send and receive bitcoins on the go. In short, they are more similar to modern banking apps that allow you to manage your crypto finances from your smartphone.
Wirex offers a borderless account that holds a range of fiat currencies and crypto and lets you seamlessly exchange between the two.
A debit card that gives you 0.5% cashback in Bitcoin for every purchase you make
Founded in 2012 in San Francisco, Coinbase is a custodial digital currency wallet with an integrated trading platform.
Simple to use and good reputation
Crypto.com offers a wallet and a suit of adjacent services letting you use your crypto to get a loan, lend it out and earn interest on it or spend it through one of their debit cards.
Earn interest on your crypto funds
Yes, buying bitcoin in the UK is extremely easy and there are several regulated and secure services you can use. There are multiple options available such as buying bitcoin on a bitcoin exchange, buying from within a bitcoin wallet, from someone else on a peer-to-peer exchange or from a bitcoin ATM in cash.
The easiest way to buy bitcoin in the UK is to buy it using a debit card using a wallet like Wirex, Revolut, Mode or Ziglu. It's easiest because it's instant. If you pay by bank transfer you might have to wait 1 or 2 days for the funds to arrive.
Yes. Exchanges allow you to store your cryptocurrency. However, they are not optimized for everyday spending and often lack a mobile app to manage your funds on the go. Moreover, your funds are not 100% controlled by you. If you want 100% control over your funds you need to move your funds from the exchange to your own private bitcoin wallet.
Yes, this is a common point of confusion for people who are new to bitcoin. Each individual Bitcoin is divisible to 0.00000001 BTC, which is referred to as one Satoshi or “sat”. So a bitcoin is actually more divisible than the dollar for example. This means you can easily buy $1 dollar worth of bitcoin..
If you want to buy bitcoin with cash in the UK you have two options. Either you find a bitcoin ATM which lets you pay with cash or you go to a peer-to-peer exchange and find a person who is willing to sell for cash and meet up somewhere in the UK.
Yes. Most providers like Wirex, Revolut, Ziglu let you top up by debit or credit card. However, the fees are a bit higher than when paying by bank transfer.
Most exchanges that allow you to buy bitcoin with fiat ask for ID. To buy bitcoin in the UK without an ID you can use a bitcoin ATM which often allows you to buy small amounts (< 250 pounds) without ID. You can also use a peer-to-peer exchange, which are open marketplaces like eBay where you can find a seller in the UK who is willing to get paid in cash.
Bitcoin is the first peer-to-peer digital currency. It was invented in 2009 by an unknown person using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto who uploaded the Bitcoin Whitepaper on a cyberpunk online forum. From there the idea evolved into a fully functioning network that has been existing for more than 10 years now with a market capitalization of more than $120 billion dollars.
The radical innovation behind bitcoin is that unlike other electronic payment networks it works without any centralised authority controlling it. Instead the network is run by a large number of independent nodes who collectively keep a copy of the public ledger containing the information of who owns what. Transactions sent by users from their wallets are processed by miners who verify that the transactions are legitimate and update the blockchain accordingly. In other words, the blockchain is a public ledger that serves as a single source of truth.
Another important fact about bitcoin is that its supply is capped at 21 million. This makes it bitcoin extremely scarce - almost like gold which is also hard to produce and has a limited supply. This is why bitcoin is also referred to as “digital gold”.