If you want to learn how to buy Bitcoin in the UK, the process is actually much simpler than you might think. All you need is to open a trading account with a trusted online broker or cryptocurrency exchange and start trading. However, there are lots of different providers out there, so finding the best one for you isn’t always easy.
To help you out, we’ve reviewed the best UK platforms on which you can buy Bitcoin in 2020. We’ve also provided a step-by-step guide that walks you through how to buy Bitcoin in the UK. Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
How to Buy Bitcoin in the UK in 3 Simple Steps
In a hurry and no time to read this guide? No problem! Simply follow the steps below and click the link to start buying Bitcoin.
Step 1: Open a trading account
To buy Bitcoin in the UK, you will need an account with a trusted broker or crypto exchange, such as eToro.
Step 2: Deposit funds
Setting up & funding your account is quick and easy with eToro, whether you use a bank card or PayPal.
Step 3: Buy Bitcoin
Once you have a funded account and you've done your research, you are ready to buy Bitcoin in the UK!
75% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. Crypto assets are highly volatile unregulated investment products. No EU investor protection.
How to Open a Bitcoin Trading Account in the UK
Opening a Bitcoin trading account in the UK is fast and easy with the best Bitcoin brokers. Let’s take a look at the top platforms on which you can buy and sell Bitcoin.
1. eToro: Best All-Around Cryptocurrency Broker
eToro is one of the largest brokers in Europe, boasting over 12 million users. It offers a full crypto offering, including Bitcoin and most major other coins, and a wide variety of crypto pairs to buy directly or via CFDs. In total, you can trade 17 major cryptocurrencies, 64 currency crosses, 16 crypto crosses and even a Gold/BTC cross. You can also trade thousands of other instruments including stocks, forex, funds and commodities at no commission.
eToro's web and mobile platforms are super easy to use and provide fast and straightforward Bitcoin trading. If you want to buy Bitcoin directly, eToro offers a built-in wallet with a private key so you can transact in Bitcoin The wallet, which is available as a mobile app, also provides a secure place to store your coins. Alternatively, you can trade Bitcoin CFDs with 1:2 leverage.
Trading on eToro is commission-free, its spreads are super competitive and all other fees are extremely transparent. Beginners will also enjoy eToro's free demo account to trade up to $100,000 in virtual money to get a feel for the platform.
Lastly, one of the best features of eToro is the social trading experience. The CopyTrader system allows you to copy the entire portfolio of top traders! This is a great tool for both beginners and more experienced traders alike. eToro is also one of the few platforms on which you can buy Bitcoin that is FCA-regulated, so it's very safe and secure.
- One of the widest ranges of coins & crypto crosses
- Social trading platform
- No commissions & tight spreads
- Requires ID verification to trade large sums
- Non-crypto assets unavailable outside of the EU/UK
2. Changelly: Great Up-And-Coming Cryptocurrency Exchange
Changelly is a relatively new cryptocurrency exchange set up in 2015 and that allows users to buy, sell and exchange over 50 cryptocurrencies against over 20 fiat currencies.
Changelly offers a great and intuitive exchange platform and remarkably low fees (0.5% per trade) vs. peers, although fees to buy and sell cryptos can be higher given the below-market exchange rates.
Users can pay via debit and credit cards, and Changelly closes transactions usually in under 30 minutes, depending on the nature of the trade.
One of the main features of the Changelly experience is the intuitiveness of the platform and its anonymity. Users who want to buy or exchange cryptocurrencies quickly and anonymously will find that the platform offers just that, with very few unnecessary thrills.
- Easy to use and anonymous
- Low fees for cryptocurrency trades
- A very wide selection of coins
- Below-market exchange rates to buy Bitcoin from fiat
- Not FCA-regulated
3. Coinmama: Best Bitcoin Exchange for Instant Delivery
Coinmama is a Tel Aviv-based cryptocurrency exchange that started in 2013. It offers a wide range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Litecoin, that can be bought against major fiat currencies like USD, EUR, GBP, CAD and AUD.
Coinmama does not provide a platform for trading cryptocurrencies; its primary function is to allow users to purchase cryptocurencies with a debit or credit card. However, it is one of the fastest exchanges to get your hands on Bitcoin quickly
Users will need their own wallets to purchase Bitcoin on Coinmama, but several layers of safety will ensure that your Bitcoins arrive in your wallet safe and sound.
Last, while Coinmama's fees are quite high compared to the competition (around 5.5% fees for BTC or ETH), it has very high purchasing limits, with verified users able to purchase up to $5,000 per day (maximum of $30,000 per month).
- Quick and easy to buy Bitcoin
- High purchase limits
- Emphasis on safety in buying BTC
- High fees
- Buy orders only
- Not FCA-regulated
4. Binance: One of the Most Trusted Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Binance is a Malta-based crypto exchange that has become of of the largest and most trusted exchanges in the world. With millions of users around the world, Binance offers all the most popular cryptocurrencies and a wide variety of crypto pairs (BTC can be traded against over 30 cryptocurrencies).
Binance charges very low fees compared to its peers, with an average fee of 0.1% per trade. There are no limits on the number of coins you can deposit, but you cannot withdraw large sums unless you verify your account.
Users can select two different trading accounts, Basic and Advanced, which differ in terms of the number of analysis and charting tools you can use. Either way, the Binance platform offers a multitude of great tools to make crypto trading a seamless experience
- One of the most trusted crypto exchanges in the world
- Very wide panel of coins and crypto pairs to trade
- Low fees
- Interface may be confusing to beginners
- Fewer fiat-crypto pairs than peers
5. Coinbase: The World's Best-Known Crypto Exchange
Launched in San Francisco in 2012, Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange that boasts over 10 million customers worldwide and that has facilitated over $40 billion in crypto transactions.
As one of the largest crypto exchanges, Coinbase allows users to buy and sell almost all of the most popular cryptocurrencies. Users can purchase Bitcoin and other currencies with fiat currency via credit cards, debit cards and PayPal. In the UK, users can connect their bank accounts to Coinbase for even faster transactions.
Last, Coinbase offers cryptocurrency wallets via the great Coinbase Wallet mobile app, which allows users to easily manage most of the top cryptocurrencies.
- One of the largest and most trusted exchanges
- Easy to use with plenty of great features
- Plenty of safety features
- Fees can be high
- Customer support not always great
- Not FCA-regulated
Learn How the Bitcoin Market Works in the UK
Before you learn how to buy Bitcoin online, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of how the market works. Here’s some background information to get you up and running.
What is Bitcoin and how do you trade it?
Bitcoin is the world’s most famous cryptocurrency and gained worldwide fame in 2017 and 2018 during its spectacular rise and fall, peaking at close to £20,000 in December 2017 before crashing to below $4,000 in November the following year. Its price has since returned to more reasonable levels with it sitting at just over $9,300 at the time of writing.
Bitcoin is a form of decentralized, electronic currency that is exchanged on a peer-to-peer network known as the Blockchain. Bitcoin transactions are tracked on a public ledger with Bitcoin “miners” verifying each transaction and updating the ledger for everyone.
While the maximum number of Bitcoin that can exist is 21 million, it is possible to trade Bitcoin in fractions, down to 0.00000001 BTC, known as a Satoshi.
You can buy and sell Bitcoin directly via a Bitcoin wallet, where you exchange BTC or fractions that you own. This is done either via an online broker or cryptocurrency exchange. Alternatively, you can trade Bitcoin CFDs (contracts for difference), meaning you speculate on the price without owning the underlying assets. This is exclusive to online brokers.
How to earn from buying Bitcoin in the UK
To make money buying Bitcoin in the UK, you have to respect the old adage to “buy low, sell high”. Unless you have a really advanced setup on your hands to allow you to mine Bitcoin, the way to make money via Bitcoin is through buying and selling the asset Bitcoin is highly volatile, so there are plenty of opportunities to trade it profitably. However, it also means there’s significant risk of losing money when you trade Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is of interest to both day traders who look to make small profits due to its volatility, as well as investors who buy Bitcoin with a longer-term outlook. As well as buying and selling Bitcoin, you can trade it against fiat currencies, such as GBP and USD, as well as against other cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum and Litecoin.
What regulations are in place for buying bitcoin in the UK?
Like many other countries, the UK does not yet have cryptocurrency-specific laws. Nevertheless, there are several trading platforms that are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and allow users to buy Bitcoin in the UK. Many unregulated, offshore crypto businesses are also accessible from the UK.
We always recommended buying Bitcoin with a regulated exchange, as it ensures your account and funds will be protected and you’ll be entitled to compensation should your chosen broker ever cease trading.
A key point to note is that in the UK, realized gains from Bitcoin trading must be reported and are subject to capital gains tax.
What Risks are Involved with Buying Bitcoin in the UK?
Before buying Bitcoin in the UK, you should make sure you understand the key risks.
Bitcoin can rise and fall spectacularly in a short period of time. The spectacular swings of Bitcoin in 2017 and 2018 showed that buying and holding Bitcoin can be very risky, but also extremely profitable if the timing is right. Consequently, buying Bitcoin can be very risky. The nature of the blockchain is such that once a transaction takes place, it no longer can be changed. Consequently, if you trade Bitcoin via a wallet, make sure to double-check before buying or selling. You may have read about hacks on cryptocurrency exchanges and other spectacular thefts of Bitcoin. Since Bitcoin is valuable and anonymous, it is an excellent target for hackers. As a result, choose a regulated broker and make sure to never communicate your private keys with anyone.
Bitcoin can rise and fall spectacularly in a short period of time. The spectacular swings of Bitcoin in 2017 and 2018 showed that buying and holding Bitcoin can be very risky, but also extremely profitable if the timing is right. Consequently, buying Bitcoin can be very risky.
The nature of the blockchain is such that once a transaction takes place, it no longer can be changed. Consequently, if you trade Bitcoin via a wallet, make sure to double-check before buying or selling.
You may have read about hacks on cryptocurrency exchanges and other spectacular thefts of Bitcoin. Since Bitcoin is valuable and anonymous, it is an excellent target for hackers. As a result, choose a regulated broker and make sure to never communicate your private keys with anyone.
What’s the Difference between Trading and Investing in Bitcoin?
If you believe that Bitcoin will continue gaining in value in the long-run, your profile fits more that of an “investor”. As such, you may prefer to buy Bitcoin directly, store it in your wallet and hold it for the long run. While you assume the risk of your predictions not materializing when you invest in this way, there are no costs to holding BTC. Furthermore, you will not pay capital gains tax so long as you do not sell.
However, if your strategy is to use Bitcoin’s volatility to your advantage, then you match the profile of a trader. In this case, you will find it more suited to trade Bitcoin via CFDs so as to avoid holding BTC physically. CFD trading will allow you to short Bitcoin, meaning you speculate on prices going down, and use leverage, meaning you borrow capital from your broker to make larger trades.
Learn How to Buy Bitcoin in the UK
There are many ways to buy Bitcoin in the UK, and most of them are easy. Let’s review a few main ones.
How to Buy Bitcoin with a Debit Card
Many of the best Bitcoin brokers and exchanges in the UK allow you to buy Bitcoin with debit card.
Debit cards are one of the most convenient ways to buy Bitcoin in the UK. Simply create an account with a top cryptocurrency broker (any of the ones reviewed above) and fund your account via debit card to get started. You’ll often be able to do this free-of-charge, and debit card deposits are typically processed instantly so you buy Bitcoin straight away.
How to Buy Bitcoin with a Credit Card
Buying Bitcoin with a credit card is not fundamentally different from buying with a debit card, albeit with a few caveats. The first is that it is not uncommon to see brokers ask for proof of ID to buy Bitcoin via credit, particularly since Bitcoin trades cannot be cancelled.
Some trading platforms also charge you fees when you deposit with credit card, which may be a percentage of the transaction or a fixed amount.
How to Buy Bitcoin with PayPal
PayPal is one of the most popular methods to fund your account with a Bitcoin broker, as it’s fast, cheap and super secure. Many of the top regulated Bitcoin brokers in the UK, such as eToro, accept PayPal as a form of payment, but it’s not as widely accepted as bank cards.
How to Buy Bitcoin without ID
Many brokers in the UK require ID in order to verify your account before you begin trading. However, if you wish to buy Bitcoin anonymously, you still have a few options.
The first and simplest is to find a broker that does not require ID. Platforms like Changelly, Shapeshift or CryptoRocket allow you to buy Bitcoin directly (or via CFDs) anonymously.
Another option is to use a Bitcoin ATM and deposit cash anonymously in exchange for Bitcoin in your wallet. While this option can be attractive, it is often hard to find a BTC ATM and is rather time-consuming.
Lastly, you may also choose to buy Bitcoin directly without a regulated exchange, for example via peer-to-peer platforms like LocalBitcoins. Nonetheless, this is definitely a riskier proposition, particularly as fraud is rife in the Bitcoin space.
Open an Account to Buy Bitcoin in the UK
Now that you understand how to buy Bitcoin in the UK, let’s review how to open an account on our recommended Bitcoin broker, eToro.
Step 1: Sign Up
The first step is to sign up. Opening an account is quick & easy, but you will have to provide basic information and a valid phone number.
The next step is to fill a short questionnaire about your sources of funds and investment style. First, you will have to provide your address, occupation and answer questions about your sources of income. You will then be asked a series of questions about your risk tolerance, investment horizon and trading experience.
Once you finish the questionnaire, you can start trading, albeit with a limited amount. To access all the features of the platform, you will still have to submit a few more identity documents to verify your account.
Step 2: Deposit
Before you can buy Bitcoin, you need to fund your account. eToro offers a range of deposit methods, including bank cards, PayPal and bank transfer, so you simply need to select your preferred method, enter your details and the desired amount, then hit confirm.
Step 3: Buy Bitcoin
Using the search function, look up Bitcoin and click “Trade”. You then need to choose whether you want to buy the underlying asset or trade a CFD.
Specify the dollar amount or number of units you want to buy and a stop loss limit if you want. The default order type is a market order, but you can opt for a limit order instead. Before pulling the trigger, take a minute to review the exposure the trade entails. Once you’re happy, hit ‘Open Trade’ and you’ll have bought some Bitcoin!
Now we’ve taken you through how to buy Bitcoin in the UK, you can put your knowledge into practice. All you need to do is sign up with one of the best Bitcoin brokers and you can then buy Bitcoin with PayPal, a debit card or credit card. If you do want to buy Bitcoin, we advise you to research the market and understand the risks of trading this volatile cryptocurrency before you put your money on the line.
If you’re looking for the best UK Bitcoin broker, we suggest going with eToro. With 0% commission, a range of payment methods and a Bitcoin wallet, this broker ticks all the boxes. Simply click the link below , sign up and you’re ready to buy Bitcoin.
eToro: Best Platform to Buy Bitcoin in the UK
- Buy Bitcoin with 0% commission
- Cryptocurrency wallet
- Social and copy trading tools
- PayPal accepted
What are the main ways to trade Bitcoin?
You can buy Bitcoin directly from online brokers or cryptocurrency exchanges and store it in a crypto wallet, or trade it via CFDs. The decision to hold BTC or trade CFDs depends entirely on your aims and investment horizon.
How volatile is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a highly volatile asset. In the past, Bitcoin has frequently jumped or fallen by more than 30% in a single day!
Do I need a crypto wallet to trade Bitcoin?
If you want to own the underlying assets, then yes. Luckily, platforms like eToro come with a companion Bitcoin wallet in which you can safely store your coins.
Are there laws on trading Bitcoin in the UK?
At the time of writing, there were no specific laws on cryptocurrency trading in the UK. However, any gains on Bitcoin trades must be reported and will be taxed as capital gains.
How much money do I need to buy Bitcoin in the UK?
This depends on the minimum deposit of your chosen broker. For example, you need at least $200 to buy Bitcoin on eToro.