How to Invest in Bitcoin UK

Antonia Medlicott

Bitcoin has always been a volatile asset, rising and falling like the tides, presenting opportunity for investors alongside enormous risk. The current ‘crypto winter’ has seen the price of Bitcoin fall from it’s all-time high of £69,000 in November 2021, to below £19,000 in July 2022.

If, like many analysts, you believe the price of Bitcoin could rise again in the future, then you may be looking at the best possible way to purchase Bitcoin now. I’ve done all the research into the various crypto exchanges, in order to identify your best options when it comes to buying, storing, and selling Bitcoin.

Also consider: How to buy ethereum in the UK

Top cryptocurrency exchanges to invest in bitcoin May 2024

See my list below for the most up-to-date list of cryptocurrency exchanges to invest in bitcoin with. Be sure to read about each platform in detail before making a decision.

Top Crypto Exchanges to buy Bitcoin UK at a glance

  1. eToro
  2. Uphold
  3. Zengo
  4. CoinJar
  5. Bitstamp
  6. Bitpanda

What is the current price of Bitcoin?

The current live Bitcoin UK price (BTC) is:

Source: Livecoinwatch.com

eToro

eToro

For investors looking to buy Bitcoin as part of a diversified portfolio, eToro is an excellent, low-cost option that provides access to a large number of assets including stocks, crypto, CFDs, and exchange-traded funds.

In terms of cryptocurrencies, you have over 120 to choose from, so you needn’t be limited to just Bitcoin.

Opening an account with eToro can be completed in minutes and once registered you can access the eToro demo account in order to practice using the platform and conducting trades.

Once you are ready to start trading you simply need to deposit your fiat currencies and buy your Bitcoin. All Bitcoin transactions are conducted in USD, however, in order to counteract FX fees, eToro have provided the eToro Money app where you can convert your GBP to USD completely free of charge. This app also acts as a eToro money crypto wallet for storing your Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Note: UK users do not have access to CFD crypto.

Possibly one of the best features offered on eToro is the copy trading facility that allows you to automatically copy the trades and Bitcoin investment strategy of more experienced and successful traders. eToro has one of the largest social trading communities available.

Pros

  • Free eToro crypto wallet
  • Copy more than 600 successful traders
  • Low-cost
  • Free demo account

Cons

  • $10 per month inactivity fee

eToro Fees

  • 1% for buying or selling Ethereum
  • FX conversion fee
  • $5 fee for withdrawals
  • $10 inactivity fee after 12 months no trading

eToro Account Features

  • Demo account
  • Free crypto wallet
  • Wide variety of cryptocurrencies
  • Advanced charts and analysis tools
  • Custom watchlists
  • Real-time updates
  • Staking service
  • Customised risk management
  • Social trading with over 25 million users
  • CopyTrader

76% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

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.Take 2 mins to learn more

Uphold

Uphold

Uphold claim to have the widest range of cryptocurrencies in the UK to buy, sell and trade. Users are also able to trade precious metals and foreign exchange.

Who should use Uphold?

Uphold is suitable for for both novice crypto traders and more experienced traders, however, there is particular value to be found here for those seeking early access to new coins.

Final thoughts:

This platform seems like a solid choice for buying, selling, and storing crypto. The app is really easy to navigate, and actually conducting transactions is super simple. If you want to spend your crypto, then the MasterCard debit card is a great addition.

Pros

  • Easy access of assets using the card
  • Zero foreign transaction fees
  • 4% cashback on all card transactions

Cons

  • Fee for cash withdrawals at ATMs
  • High spread fees

Key Features

  • 260+ supported cryptos
  • 4% cashback up to £100 when you spend crypto on your Uphold Card
  • Staking rewards of more than 16% available on more than 30 cryptocurrencies
  • Zero foreign transaction fees
  • Low exchange rates
  • Real time analytics
  • FCA regulated
  • Quick to set up and user friendly

Fees

  • Deposit fee debit card: £3.99%
  • Withdrawal fee debit card: 1.75%
  • Credit card deposits and withdrawals: 3.99%
  • Apple Pay/Google Pay: 3.99%
  • Variable spreads apply Bitcoin and Ethereum 1.5%
  • One time shipping fee of £9.95 on physical cards

Products

  • More than 260 coins
  • Card
  • Staking
  • Business account

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. Take 2 mins to learn more.

ZenGo logo

Zengo

Zengo is a non-custodial cryptocurrency wallet with advanced safety features that allows users to buy, sell, swap, and store cryptos, NFTs, Defi, and Dapps quickly and easily.

A non custodial wallet is one whereby the owner is fully responsible for managing their funds and has full control over their crypto holdings.

Who should use Zengo?

The users who want to be the sole owners of their crypto should consider Zengo as a strong option.

The Zengo app is intuitive and user-friendly: from a beginner user to an advanced user. It’s simple to sign up and to do transactions, making it accessible for anyone who’s new to the crypto world. The premium security features, such as Theft Protection, Advanced Web3 Firewall, and the legendary Legacy Transfer are a game-changer for the advanced investors.

Final thoughts

Millions of dollars in crypto are lost due to users forgetting their keys. Zengo has effectively addressed this issue, giving users an alternative that means they can recover their funds at the drop of a hat while still keeping them safe.

One of the best features of Zengo lies in its simplicity. I found the app extremely quick and easy to set up and use.

Pros

  • Quick and easy to buy, sell, and store crypto
  • Supports more than 120 cryptos
  • No seed phrase vulnerability

Cons

  • There could be a wider range of cryptocurrencies

Key Features

  • Quick and easy to set up
  • More than 120 cryptocurrencies
  • Multiple payment options
  • No historical hacks
  • MPC cryptography security that does away with seed phrases or private keys
  • 3FA recovery based on email, 3D FaceLock, and the Zengo recovery file
  • Web3 Firewall protects against Web3 attacks

Fees

  • Essentials is free and includes security features, wallet recovery with 3FA, and NFT spam filter.
  • Zengo Pro is $9.99 a month and $5.70 monthly on the annual plan. In addition to Essentials features, it includes legacy transfer, theft protection, Web3 firewall, and priority support.

Products

  • 120+ Cryptocurrencies
  • NFTs
  • DeFi
  • Dapps

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. Take 2 mins to learn more.

Coinjar logo

CoinJar

Not to be confused with others with a similar name, CoinJar is another great hot, custodial wallet in the UK.

If you’re looking for a wallet with low fees, then this may be the one for you. There is no inactivity fee, and it is typically free to make deposits. Also, while there is a withdrawal fee, it is reportedly low and varies depending on the currency.

There is a commission on crypto trades when you buy and sell crypto using CoinJar, though this is only 1% on every trade, which is around the industry standard for crypto wallets.

CoinJar also supports most of the main cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

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. Take 2 mins to learn more.

5 Simple steps for buying Bitcoin in the UK

  1. Choose a cryptocurrency exchange – I have detailed your best options below.
  2. Verify your account – this is simply a case of uploading the appropriate ID.
  3. Deposit funds – Deposit at least the minimum amount.
  4. Buy Bitcoin – Search for BTC and buy your Bitcoin
  5. Store your Bitcoin – Keep your Bitcoin safe in your crypto wallet

Useful information about Bitcoin

This section contains all the information relevant to buying Bitcoin in the UK.

What is Bitcoin?

In its simplest form, Bitcoin is a digital currency with no physical version of the coin but rather created using an encrypted code.

  • Bitcoin is used in the same way as normal currencies to send and receive money
  • Bitcoin is the world’s largest cryptocurrency
  • Payments are conducted peer to peer, without the intervention of a bank or financial institution
  • Bitcoins are mined (created) using a code consisting of a string of numbers and letters
  • Bitcoin uses blockchain technology to send data
  • There are only 21 million Bitcoins that can be mined in the world
  • Bitcoin is a highly volatile, unregulated investment

How do I start investing Bitcoin UK?

Warren Buffett once described investing as ‘the process of laying out money now in the expectation of receiving more money in the future.’

If you are intending to buy Bitcoin with the expectation of making more money, then the first step toward Bitcoin investing is to accept that this may not happen. Bitcoin is a volatile asset with violent price swings that make up its trading history. Also, Bitcoin is unregulated in the UK, which means you have no insurance against complete loss of funds.

So the first step toward investing in Bitcoin is to identify whether you can afford to lose all of your investment. This is only possible if you carry no debt and have at least 3 months of salary saved.

You may also consider whether you should diversify, with a mix of assets that make up your portfolio. This can help offset losses in one area, with gains made in another area.

Should you still decide that investing in Bitcoin is the right move for you, the next step would be to select a cryptocurrency exchange from the list above and register an account.

Is Bitcoin a good investment in UK?

“The price of a bitcoin can unpredictably increase or decrease over a short period of time due to its young economy, novel nature, and sometimes illiquid markets. Consequently, keeping your savings with Bitcoin is not recommended at this point. Bitcoin should be seen as a high-risk asset, and you should never store money that you cannot afford to lose with Bitcoin.” – Bitcoin.org

This is an excellent summary of how you should view Bitcoin as an asset. Yes, there were early investors who made a significant amount of money on Bitcoin, but equally, many an investor have seen their investment lose all of its value.

With an asset as risky as Bitcoin, you should view your investment in much the same way as you would a lottery ticket. Take a gamble but never with more than you can afford to lose.

How much money should I invest in Bitcoin as a beginner?

Experts recommend that you should seek to invest between 5% and 30% of your total investment capital in Bitcoin. Which end of this scale you go for will really depend on your appetite for risk. However, you should at least ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you have any debt?
  2. Do you have any savings?
  3. Do you have a rainy day fund?

This will answer whether you can afford to lose the money you have invested. If you cannot afford to lose your Bitcoin investment, then the answer to this question is zero.

What do I need to start investing in Bitcoin?

Firstly in order to start investing in Bitcoin you will need:

  • Personal identification documents
  • National Insurance Number
  • UK bank account information
  • A secure internet connection

Can you get rich with Bitcoin?

Several early investors became millionaires on the back of their Bitcoin investments, however, just as many people have lost significant sums of money investing in Bitcoin and indeed, some of the early millionaires don’t have as much money to show for their investments as they once did.

In fact, over 80,000 Bitcoin millionaires have been wiped out in the ‘crypto winter’ of 2022.

There is no getting away from the fact that investing in Bitcoin is a risky endeavour and not for the faint hearted. However, there are some steps you can take to ensure you are making the right decisions.

Buy the selloffs

In other words, wait for a significant dip in the market and then buy your Bitcoin with the intention that you will treat it in much the same way as you would a portfolio of stocks, as a long term investment.

Diversify your portfolio

Buying just one currency will add to your level of risk so you should therefore look to diversify with a handful of cryptocurrencies that appear to be sustainable for the long term.

Day trade 

This requires careful timing, however, the volatility of the crypto market lends itself well to day cryptocurrency trading.

Be prepared to lose it all 

There are many successful investors who believe that cryptocurrency will eventually crash to a valuation of zero.

What is the safest way to buy Bitcoin from UK?

The safest way to buy Bitcoin is to do so via a cryptocurrency exchange such as the selection I have detailed above. How you then store your Bitcoin after you have purchased it is paramount to its safety.

Often the Bitcoin exchanges will offer a digital wallet. This provides scope for monitoring your investment and using your Bitcoin to purchase other cryptocurrencies or fiat. Whilst this does offer a level of convenience, it is not the safest way to store your Bitcoin.

Moving your Bitcoin to a secure digital wallet or cold storage would be the safest option.

Your crypto holdings are kept secure within the wallet using Private Keys. This is a password made up of a string of letters and numbers and should not be shared with anyone. Should you lose this password, your Bitcoin will also be lost and can never be retrieved.

A public key acts like an email address and can be shared with others in order to facilitate receiving Bitcoin.

Is Bitcoin legal to buy UK?

Yes, you can legally buy Bitcoin in the UK, however, it’s important that you understand the risks. Cryptocurrencies are not currently regulated in the UK, which means that as a consumer, you will have little to no protection should things go wrong.

It is unlikely that you will have access to entities such as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, EU Investor Protection, or the Financial Ombudman Service. However, whilst the Financial Conduct Authority do not regulate cryptocurrencies, they do publish a list of crypto exchanges that are registered with them.

What is the minimum amount of Bitcoin that I can purchase?

The minimum order size on the Bitcoin Market is 1 Satoshi 0.00001 BTC. However, the minimum Bitcoin investment will depend on the exchange you have chosen. Often you will be able to purchase as little as £2.00 worth of Bitcoin.

Is Bitcoin the best cryptocurrency to buy right now?

Bitcoin is one of thousands of cryptocurrencies that you can choose from and knowing which one is the best one to buy can prove difficult. Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency, and in terms of market capitalisation, it is still the largest cryptocurrency in the world with a Market cap of over £362 billion.

Bitcoin has experienced enormous growth since its conception, rising from a value of £370 for 1 Bitcoin in May 2016 to £18,929 in August 2022.

However, due to the environmental impact of Bitcoin, many investors have turned their eye to Ethereum, as it has also experienced extreme growth and offers a host of potential applications.

Is Bitcoin bad for the environment?

Elon Musk famously stopped accepting Bitcoin as payment for Teslas due to the environmental impact caused by mining. This alone caused the value of Bitcoin to fall significantly, but what is that impact and can it really be that bad?

The answer is yes. Bitcoin uses as much power as the Netherlands every year. In fact, there are only 30 countries on the planet that use more energy than Bitcoin. This is based on data released by the university of Cambridge that found mining Bitcoin was responsible for the use of 1% of the world’s electricity supply.

This includes the use of fossil fuels, further damaging the environment, although Bitcoin claims to use an estimated 39% renewable energy.

Do I need to pay tax on Bitcoin in the UK?

Like any investment, Bitcoin is subject to Capital Gains Tax in some circumstances. This requires you to pay Capital Gains Tax on the profit you make on Bitcoin in exactly the same way as you would for stocks.

How do I sell Bitcoin?

Selling your Bitcoin is a very similar process to how you purchased it. When you feel the time is right to sell, simply log into your exchange and place a sell order and select the amount of your Bitcoin holdings you wish to sell.

There are often advanced options in terms of the order type you select, such as only selling when Bitcoin has reached a certain price.

What fees will I pay when buying Bitcoin?

Depending on the Bitcoin exchange you select, there will be some fees associated with the buying and selling of Bitcoin. It is best to check with the individual exchange, and I have listed the fees you can expect in each review, however, you should look out for the following:

  • Transaction fees
  • Deposit fees
  • Withdrawal fees
  • Bitcoin Trading fees

What is the safest way to invest in Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a very risky asset, however, there are ways to mitigate that risk including buying Bitcoin funds, Bitcoin stocks, Bitcoin investment trusts, Bitcoin ETFs, stablecoins, and buying shares in the companies associated with Bitcoin. This is generally considered a safer way to trade Bitcoin, although it is still subject to movements in the financial markets.

Why has the value of Bitcoin dropped?

There are many entities that can affect the value of any cryptocurrency, however, the latest downward spiral can be attributed to the following factors:

  • Rising inflation and interest rates have prompted investors to take less risk, affecting the value of more risky assets, such as Bitcoin.
  • Cost of living crisis. This has led to less disposable income for investments.
  • Legality of Bitcoin in China.
  • Rumours of further regulation for cryptocurrency investments to come.

Can I use Bitcoin to buy goods and services?

Yes. Although most people will purchase Bitcoin and hold it as an investment, it is also possible to use Bitcoin to send and receive funds. You will need to find an online merchant who accepts Bitcoin as payment.

How to Buy Bitcoin FAQs

What is the best way to invest in Bitcoin in the UK?

The best way to invest in Bitcoin in the UK is via a crypto exchange. These make it easy to buy, store and hold crypto assets from your computer or smartphone.

Is Bitcoin a good investment right now?

With Bitcoin’s price currently being so low, many investors believe that now is a great time to buy. However, you could still lose all your money in this way. We recommend investing in bitcoin with eToro.

A note about cryptoasset regulations

Crypto assets are not regulated financial products so please be aware that trading them carries a considerable amount of risk for your capital.

Cryptocurrencies and other digital financial services are also not covered by existing consumer protection laws.

The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested when you buy crypto.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial investment advice. All contents are based on my understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.

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