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How to Buy Bitcoin in the UK – Things to Consider

Bull and bitcoin
Satoshi Nakamoto is, of course, the pseudonym used by the nebulous creator of Bitcoin.  Yet to be officially identified, it’s entirely possible that Satoshi Nakamoto didn’t know when he, she, or they created Bitcoin that it would become this global phenomenon that put a spike through the way the world understands currencies.
However, here we are with Bitcoin priced at just over $27,000 per coin as of this writing.  Back in 2011, you needed to be very well practised in complex coding skills to mine Bitcoins.  However, anyone can now buy Bitcoin with only a few clicks, provided they do a bit of preparation.
We’ll guide you through the process to get you to your first Bitcoin purchase the best way you can.

You Need Two Things – An Exchange and a Wallet

Experts are still discussing whether Bitcoin is a currency.  Even so, it is traded like any other stock or bond electronically.  You will need to find an exchange where Bitcoin is actively traded in order to buy it for yourself.
You will also need a digital wallet to store the keys to your shiny new Bitcoin.  Let’s start with the exchange and some of the best choices out there then help you figure out how to set up your wallet.

Bitcoin Exchanges Available in the UK

There are several options available to you, but we’re going to get into some of the better, safer choices.  After all, Bitcoin is highly volatile. Not only that, but it also is supported by some very complex cryptography, so it’s not quite the same as buying any stock.
You need an exchange that is well-equipped to safely allow you to buy your Bitcoin. So here are some of the top platforms where to buy bitcoin UK. They have a solid track record of providing services not only as an exchange on which to buy and sell cryptocurrencies but also as providers of educational content about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
  • Coinbase: Coinbase is one of the largest exchanges for cryptocurrencies in the world.  It was also one of the first to be granted the ability to easily deposit your money in pounds into Coinbase’s system.  Low fees and a very user-friendly platform make Coinbase a solid option for any beginner.  Not only that, but Coinbase also prides itself on an immersive education suite free to anyone.
  • CoinJar: Another solid option is CoinJar, which offers direct UK bank transfers to fund accounts.  They advertise a 1% transfer fee to buy or sell Bitcoin, but the quotes are very slightly higher, amounting to about a 1.2% fee on exchanges.
  • Gemini: While newer to the UK (only arrived here in 2020), Gemini has been around in the US since 2014.  Just like the two above, Gemini allows you to fund your account via direct UK bank transfer.  However, the process is slower, often taking several hours.  If you’re trying to hop on a recent dip, you might miss the opportunity.
  • Kraken offers customers the ability to buy Bitcoin in the UK at the actual exchange rate, but to enjoy the best rates, you’ll need a Kraken Pro account.  This doesn’t cost anything, but your fee for buying bitcoin maxes out at 0.26%.  It’s also a user-friendly website with easy navigation, constantly updated prices, and several learning guides for beginners.
  • Coinfloor: Perhaps you’re a bit more discerning and prefer an exchange that can handle larger volumes than your average retail investor typically trades.  Coinfloor fees decrease as you get above 500,000 daily trading volume.  That’s quite a lot, but there are all kinds of investors interested in Bitcoin.  There is a 0.0005 BTC fee for withdrawals, but the exchange is robust enough for high-volume investors.

The Wallet and Blockchain

Once you get settled at your crypto exchange, you need to get a digital wallet set up before you start buying cryptocurrencies.  We won’t dive too deep into the technical stuff, but just a quick overview on blockchain.
When you buy a Bitcoin, you don’t get an actual coin to prove you’re the owner.  Once you buy it, the transfer is logged on the blockchain, but you don’t exactly own a Bitcoin.  The Bitcoin is kept on the digital blockchain along with everyone else’s Bitcoin, almost like a digital safe deposit box.
When you buy a Bitcoin, you need a digital wallet to store the digital key that will grant you access to the Bitcoin that you own.

Bitcoin Wallet Types

Just like with your regular wallet, there are digital wallets for each type of investor.  To make things simple, there are four types of digital wallets.
  • Mobile Wallet: This type of wallet offers the most accessibility but is less secure than other types, so less ideal for large volumes.
  • Desktop Wallet: Stored on your computer, desktop wallets offer slightly more security but less accessibility.  They can, however, make it easier to connect with online exchanges.
  • Online Wallet: When you sign up with an exchange, especially the larger ones, your account will generally have access to the digital wallet offered by the exchange.  There are other online wallets, though the accessibility by using the one offered by the exchange might be desirable to beginners.
  • Physical Wallet: As the name suggests, this type of wallet is essentially small USB drive that you can keep completely offline when not accessing your funds.  These are typically very secure, though they can get pricey if you need to store lots of Bitcoin.
Best Bitcoin Wallets
  • Exodus: This desktop wallet offers an excellent user experience complete with performance charts.
  • Ledger Nano X: This physical wallet is pricey, but if you have more than $1000 worth of Bitcoin, it might prove the most secure.  It also comes with several software options.
  • Electrum: One of the first digital wallets, this free digital wallet is only for Bitcoin.  It’s recommended for advanced users due to its highly customizable features.

Steps to Buy Your First Bitcoin

Now, let’s help you buy your first Bitcoin.  Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way.
  1. Choose your wallet.  If you plan on only buying a few fractional Bitcoins, desktop, web, or mobile wallets might be your best bet.  For higher accounts or even full Bitcoins, go for the physical wallet.
  2. Choose your exchange.  There are several options for exchanges.  However, beginners should go for one that makes the whole process as simple as possible.  This will let you get your feet wet and experiment with the world of Bitcoin.
  3. Open an account.  Once you’ve got your wallet choice and your exchange, you’ll need to get your profile up and running and enter in your banking information to get the transfer set up.
  4. Connect your wallet.  Before you make your first purchase, make sure you go through the process of confirming that your wallet, whether it’s a physical one or the wallet offered by the exchange itself, it ready to receive.
  5. Click the “buy” button.  Go for it.  

Summing it Up: How to Buy Bitcoin in the UK

Buying Bitcoin has recently become an incredibly easy thing to accomplish.  However, making sure you do a bit of research beforehand can help you make sure you’re set up and secure before you get too deep into the process.
Remember, Bitcoin is amazing and has great potential, but it’s not like taking a few quid out of the ATM, so be prepared for a bit of technical business.