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Disclaimer: eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. Your capital is at risk. This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd. and eToro UK Ltd.) &USA (by eToro USA LLC) which is highly volatile, unregulated in most EU countries, no EU protections & not supervised by the EU regulatory framework. Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal.

The United Kingdom has taken to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in a big way. Representing one of the biggest markets for crypto in the world, it’s easy to purchase and trade cryptocurrencies in the UK. Trading and owning cryptocurrencies in Britain is legal, and while the likes of Bitcoin aren’t classed as legal tender, crypto-exchanges are regulated under the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means they have to comply with AML and KYC regulations, something which helps to ensure their reliability and stability.

Aside from classifying cryptocurrencies as ‘property’, the UK hasn’t introduced any wider or specific cryptocurrency legislation, so the market for crypto in the country is fairly liberal at the moment. However, traders should remember that they are liable for capital gains tax on crypto-trading profits over £12,000. Likewise, income tax is chargeable if you happen to be paid for goods and services in cryptocurrency.

On this page you’ll find a closer look at the history of crypto in the UK and the best way to buy crypto in the UK.

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Best UK Bitcoin Exchanges

eToro Exchange Logo

eToro

  • Great for crypto beginners
  • Solid crypto/general trading platform
  • Reliable company with solid trust in the community
  • Fully supports credit cards for deposits and withdrawals
Funding Methods e-Transfer & Wire Transfer
Cryptocurrencies 15+
Countries 70+
Don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment, and you should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong. eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. Your capital is at risk. This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd. and eToro UK Ltd.) & USA (by eToro USA LLC); which is highly volatile, unregulated in most EU countries, no EU protections & not supervised by the EU regulatory framework. Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal. Only real cryptocurrencies are available to US customers.
Kraken Logo

Kraken

  • Exceptionally secure exchange with proof of reserves
  • Supports many different funding options
  • Accepts users from across the globe including USA and Canada
  • Very high trading volume
Funding Methods Wire Transfer, ACH
Cryptocurrencies 185+
Countries 150+
Uphold Exchange Logo

Uphold

  • The ultimate anything-to-anything exchange with support for foreign currencies, crypto, precious metals and more
  • Easy sign-up process with streamlined UI
  • Remarkably secure with proof of assets feature
  • Available to people in over 150 different countries
Funding Methods Credit & Debit Card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Bank Transfer, Crypto
Cryptocurrencies 250+
Countries 150+
Terms Apply. Cryptoassets are highly volatile. Your capital is at risk. Don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment, and you should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong
Coinbase logo new

Coinbase

  • Beginner-friendly UI make it easy to make quick buys
  • One of the oldest and most reliable exchanges
  • Earn $200 in free crypto after completing sign-up process. Terms apply.
  • Variety of products including exchange, staking, wallet
  • Advanced Trading options for experienced traders
Funding Methods Debit & Credit Bank, PayPal, ACH, Bank Transfer, e-Transfer
Cryptocurrencies 100+
Countries 100+
Binance Logo

Binance

  • Easy sign-up process
  • Lowest transaction fees of any major exchange
  • 175+ different digital assets available
  • Free deposits
Funding Methods Debit & Credit Card, Wire Transfer, ACH
Cryptocurrencies 175+
Countries 100+
OUR TAKE
Binance offers a relatively secure, versatile way to invest in and trade cryptocurrencies. The platform could be overwhelming for both beginners and experienced traders. Binance offers lower fees than many other cryptocurrency exchanges.
Bitstamp logo

Bitstamp

  • One of the longest-standing Bitcoin exchanges
  • Serves over 3 million customers globally
  • Regulated in the EU and USA
  • Easy to understand for new users with iOS and Android apps
Funding Methods Credit & Debit Card, Wire Transfer & SEPA
Cryptocurrencies 5+
Countries 75+

What’s the Best Way to Buy Crypto in the UK?

The best way to buy crypto in the UK is to use a crypto exchange. There are numerous good exchanges based in Britain, such as CEX.io and eToro. Most of the best international exchanges – such as Coinbase, Kraken, and Binance – are also open to UK-based customers. Ultimately the best UK crypto exchange will be somewhat subjective as they all have different features and selling points.

Some of the most important factors for picking a good crypto to buy and sell Bitcoin include — first and foremost — security but also reasonable fees, intuitive software/UI and relatively fast transactions. If you’re looking to trade altcoins (coins other than Bitcoin) then you’ll also want to pick a crypto exchange with numerous trading pairs.

One small thing to remember as a beginner is that some exchanges, such as CEX.io, let you purchase cryptocurrencies directly from the exchange using a debit or credit card. Others, however, first require you to deposit GBP (or some other fiat currency) into your account with the exchange, and then you have to trade GBP for a desired cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin.

Here’s a look at some of the best crypto exchanges UK:

  1. Coinbase – Extremely easy set-up for new users
  2. Kraken – Low fees and great number of coins
  3. Binance – Unmatched selection of coins
  4. OKEx – International exchange with hundreds of trading pairs and DeFi access

Is it Easy to Buy Crypto in the United Kingdom?

Buying cryptocurrency in the United Kingdom is easy. When signing up for an account with an exchange, you will have to prove your identity by completing various KYC and AML processes, which usually require the uploading of ID document scans.

However, once this has been completed, it is easy to begin buying and trading crypto. If you’re trading and holding fairly large sums of crypto, one extra thing you might want to consider is the purchase of a hardware wallet. Alternatively, you can download a Desktop or mobile wallet. The best Bitcoin wallets in the UK are likely going to be the best everywhere else in the world.

To help you find a wallet of your choice, check out the Best Cryptocurrency Wallets in 2021

Is Cryptocurrency Legal in the UK?

Yes. Buying, trading and owning cryptocurrency is entirely legal in the UK. Cryptocurrencies are recognised as property (i.e. as assets) in Britain. As such, you will have to pay capital gains tax on crypto-trading profits above £12,000. If you’re a basic-rate income taxpayer (i.e. if you earn income between £12,501 and £50,000), you’ll pay 10% on any capital gains profit beyond £12,000. If you’re a higher rate income taxpayer (i.e. between £50,001 and £150,000), you’ll pay 20%.

Can I Buy Bitcoin and Ethereum in the UK?

Yes, the vast majority of major cryptocurrencies are available for trading on UK-based cryptocurrency exchanges. Likewise, a varied range of international exchanges are accessible to UK-based customers (e.g. Coinbase, Kraken, Binance, Bittrex, Poloniex, Coinmama, Bitpanda), so any cryptos you can’t find on British platforms can usually be found legally elsewhere.

Also, according to Coin ATM Radar, the UK does have a handful of Bitcoin ATMs. So if you happen to live in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow, you may be able to directly purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

What’s the Cheapest Way to Buy Cryptocurrency?

The cheapest way of buying cryptocurrency in the UK is to use a crypto-exchange. Specifically, you need to find an exchange with low purchase and/or trading fees.

In the UK, CEX.io charges £0 to deposit GBP into your CEX account via a bank transfer, which can then be used to buy crypto. It also boasts a competitively low card purchase fee of 2.99%, if you want to buy crypto directly (rather than trade GBP for a cryptocurrency). Meanwhile, international exchanges such as Binance and Bitpanda offer low fees when it comes to buying crypto with a bank card.

Can I Sell My Bitcoin in the UK?

Yes, just as you can buy Bitcoin in the UK, you can also sell and trade it. If you already have Bitcoin on another exchange or in a wallet, you can transfer it to your new crypto-exchange, and then sell it for another cryptocurrency or for fiat. Once again, you’ll want to look into the best UK crypto trading platforms. Similarly, if you have bought Bitcoin on your current crypto-exchange, you can just as easily trade it for another cryptocurrency or for a fiat currency.

Bear in mind that if you are selling your Bitcoin (or any other cryptocurrency) for fiat currency,  you will be liable to pay capital gains tax when profiting by more than £12,000.

What Funding Methods Are Available for UK Crypto Purcahses?

Arguably the easiest way to buy crypto in the UK is with a credit or debit card.

Depending on who you bank with in the UK, you may not be able to use your credit card to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In February 2018, Lloyds Banking Group – which covers Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, and MBNA – banned their customers from using credit cards to purchase crypto. Similarly, Virgin Money and Capital One also ban customers from using credit cards to purchase crypto.

However, other major banks – including Barclays, HSBC, and NatWest – do still let customers buy crypto using credit cards. Also, all banks – including Lloyds, Capital One and Virgin Money – do let you purchase crypto using your debit card.

Some of the other payment methods in the UK include bank transfer (SEPA or FPS) and PayPal.

Of course the easiest way to deposit on exchanges is simply by directly transferring crypto to them. That’s obviously not an option if you haven’t acquired any crypto yet.

Uk banks

What's the History of Crypto in the UK?

While the UK hasn’t exactly been an epicenter of crypto development like the USA, South Korea or Switzerland, it has been relatively progressive when it comes to the technology.

Unfortunately the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been a real challenge to anyone trying to launch crypto startups in the UK. It has routinely denied organizations like Bitstamp from setting up headquarters in London. Many European crypto companies have attempted to relocate to the UK but eventually had to settle in other parts of Europe such as Switzerland.

It’s not all bad, however, as individuals in the country have access to most major crypto exchanges and it’s not difficult to be a crypto investors in the country.

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