How & where to buy cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is a hugely popular investment opportunity, with millions of coins being traded every day. This guide explains how to buy crypto and compares the best exchanges to use.
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Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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This in introductory guide takes you through a step-by-step guide on how to buy cryptocurrency from brokers in the United Kingdom. Learn about what crypto is and how it works, then compare the top trading platforms.

What are the best exchanges to buy cryptocurrency on?

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If you just want to find a broker to get coins right away, you can find the top platforms in the table below. Sign up by following one of the links, or read on to learn more about how everything works.

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1
Min. Deposit
$ 100
Best offer
User Score
10
CFDs on BTC, ETH, LTC, NEO, XRP, IOTA, EOS, BAB, ADA, TRX, XMR
No need to open a crypto exchange account or use a special wallet
Regulated Broker - FCA, ASIC, CySEC (license number 250/14)
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
American Express, Apple Pay, Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, Discover, Google Pay, Mastercard, PayPal, SEPA, Trustly, Visa, , skrill
Full Regulations:
ASIC, FCA, FSA, MAS, cysec-250-14-regulator, isa-regulator

CFD service. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

2
Min. Deposit
$ 0
Best offer
User Score
9.6
Get insights from millions of investors, creators, and analysts
Build your portfolio of stocks, ETFs, and crypto–all in one place
No minimum deposit
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Wire, Check, Debit Card, Wire Transfer
Full Regulations:
Cryptocurrency execution and custody services are provided by Apex Crypto LLC (NMLS ID 1828849) through a software licensing agreement between Apex Crypto LLC and Public Crypto LLC. Crypto trading on Public platforms is served by Public Crypto LLC and offered through APEX Crypto. Please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved before trading.
3
Min. Deposit
$ 1
Best offer
User Score
9.5
0% deposit fees, 0% withdrawal fees, 0% trading commissions
Set up automated trades and up to 50 limit orders with ease
Buy and sell 90+ cryptos and utility tokens, precious metals and national currencies with as little as $1
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Full Regulations:

Terms Apply. Cryptoassets are highly volatile. Your capital is at risk.

What is cryptocurrency?

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Cryptocurrency is digital money that can be sent directly to another person without the need for a financial institution. Rather than a bank, cryptocurrencies use digital signatures and online public ledgers (blockchains) to track and verify every transaction. As well as being used to buy and sell goods, cryptocurrencies are also assets that can be traded like stocks and shares.

The first and most popular cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. It was created in 2009 by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, who explained the concept in his white paper Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Now, there are hundreds of different cryptos available to buy and sell online.

How does cryptocurrency work?

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Cryptocurrency works by using a blockchain to store and verify transactions. A blockchain is like a public database and includes a history of all transactions. Every new transaction is added to the end of the chain and once it’s there, it cannot be changed.

In this way, the blockchain is irreversible proof of who owns what. The best way to understand it is to start with how Bitcoin works, but the technology has developed a lot in the decade since that was first established. 

Now there are platforms like Ethereum that use a different, less energy-intensive system to create something more like an decentralised internet. Even that technology has been taken a step further, to create whole systems of things like decentralised finance, all of which use a version of ‘the blockchain’ but in a variety of ways.

How to buy crypto online – a step-by-step guide

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Step 1. Find an exchange

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There are many different types of crypto exchanges; centralised and decentralised, ones that accept fiat currency deposits and some that only accept crypto, and ones that stick to the top cryptos while some offer a variety of altcoins.

Most exchanges are open to users from around the world but there are some which are more suited to users who want to buy crypto in Pounds. Our favourite option for British crypto investors is below:

  • Binance: The most popular crypto exchange around, Binance can handle millions of transactions per second and offers hundreds of different coins. Join Binance today >

Step 2. Sign up and fund your crypto account

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Before you start buying crypto you need to sign up for an exchange account. You need to provide some contact details to do this and most require a form of photo ID as well, such as your driving license or British passport. The biggest exchanges, like Binance, let you fund your account with GBP and you can deposit via a bank transfer or card payment.

Step 3. Purchase

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To buy a coin you need to search for its ticker symbol on your chosen exchange. If you were trying to find Bitcoin, for example, you’d search for the BTC symbol and look for the GBP/BTC pair. Then you enter the details of how much you want to buy and then execute the trade.

Many altcoins can only be bought with another cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and Ethereum are usually the best cryptos to use for this, but there are others, like Binance Coin (BNB) and Tether (USDT) that work just as well. If that’s your plan, first find the GBP/BTC or GBP/ETH pair to buy some crypto, and then swap it for your chosen altcoin.

Step 4. (Optional) Get a suitable wallet

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A wallet is the most secure place to store cryptocurrency. It’s not a must: you can leave your coins in an crypto exchange account and feel confident they’ll be safe. But the best place to take control of them and add an extra layer of security is a wallet. They come in different forms, from wallet apps to full-blown hardware wallets that store coins offline. 

Take a look at the options to see which one is best for you. Here are a couple of leading wallet providers to start with:

  • CoolWallet: CoolWallet is a hardware wallet that keeps your coins in ‘cold storage’, safe from an internet connection. It also has an app that lets you access your coins via a bluetooth connection. Sign up with CoolWallet >
  • StrongCoin: StrongCoin is a ‘hybrid’ wallet, combining the functionality of an online option with additional security. It stores your private keys on your browser and encrypts it before it’s stored on StrongCoin’s servers. Get StrongCoin now >

How to trade cryptocurrency

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Step 1. Find a broker

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Trading crypto means making lots of trades to try to profit from price swings. To do this you want to find a broker that charges low trading fees, so you don’t see your money eaten away by the cost of trading. More brokers now offer completely free trading and it can make a big difference to your bottom line.

Financial regulators in the UK have put some limits on how British users can trade crypto. You need to pick a broker that lets you buy the ‘underlying asset’, as opposed to a CFD (contract for difference).

Step 2. Deposit money

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You have to fund your broker account with a fiat currency, like GBP. This is easily done through a bank transfer or debit/credit card payment. Look out for the fees, though, as some brokers charge for deposits and others for withdrawals.

Step 3. Decide how you’d like to trade

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There are many different ways to trade crypto. You can trade with a very short term focus, buying and selling coins many times over the course of a single day, or take a slightly longer view and hold onto the coin for a few days.

Each approach is based on analysis of a coin’s price. By studying it you can identify trends and use these to predict how the price might move in the future. One of the most common trends to look out for is support and resistance levels – where a coin repeatedly hits a certain price and reverses course.

Read up on the different strategies and trading indicators that you can use before you start trading. It’s a good idea to have a fixed set of rules to guide you so that you make decisions based on hard analysis rather than emotion.

Step 4. Start trading 

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If you’re new to crypto, the best way to start trading is with a demo account. Virtually every broker offers a variation of this and it’s a way of trading with pretend money to get used to the way everything works. Making your early mistakes with a fake budget is a lot better than putting your own money at risk.

In terms of the trading itself, you have to decide whether you think a coin is going to go up or down in value. If you think it’s going up, then you should buy it – known as taking a ‘long’ position – while if you think it’s going down, you can sell it – known as a ‘short’ position.

As you get more experienced, there are other trading strategies you can use. Another popular option is using leverage, which lets you make bigger trades by only putting up a small portion of the overall value as a deposit. Treat this with caution: losses can escalate just as fast as gains.

1
Min. Deposit
$ 10
Best offer
User Score
9.9
Up to $240 bonus!
Build a diversified portfolio with crypto, stocks, and ETFs — all in one place.
Trade on the world's leading social trading and investing platform
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, PayPal, Wire Transfer
Full Regulations:
CySEC, FCA

Cryptocurrency is offered by eToro USA LLC (“the MSB”) (NMLS: 1769299) and is not FDIC or SIPC insured. Investing involves risk, and content is provided for educational purposes only, does not imply a recommendation, and is not a guarantee of future performance. Invezz.com is not an affiliate and may be compensated if you access certain products or services offered by the MSB.

Still undecided?

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It’s always a good idea to take your time over something new and cryptocurrency is no different. Below is a quick summary of the pros and cons of investing in crypto, followed by some final questions for you to think about.

Pros

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  • There’s the potential for big gains, coins have been known to gain over 100% in value during bull runs
  • It’s becoming more mainstream and established institutions have already started to invest
  • It’s now a realistic alternative to putting your money in a bank or investing it in stocks and shares
  • Some blockchain platforms offer improvements to real-world issues and the widespread introduction of this technology is possible

Cons

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Now, here are three more questions to help you decide whether to invest in cryptocurrency.

1. Is it a good time to buy cryptocurrency?

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This is a varied question that depends on a few factors, namely; the coin you’re interested in, the state of the overall market, and what your time frame is for seeing returns. Many coins offer benefits for owning them, in the form of interest, dividends, or voting rights, that should also factor into your decision.

The crypto market has been known to experience swings in both directions, and long term investors in particular should keep this in mind. If you’re in it to trade, you can try to predict short term changes using your own indicators regardless, but either way our analysis can help you:

There is little you can tell AI & BlockChain expert Aquarius Maximus about Bitcoin that she wouldn’t already know. A seasoned Bitcoin investor, she has been involved in the cryptocurrency and blockchain community since 2016, is the founder of decentralized cryptocurrency, Guapcoin, and is a cryp
Cryptocurrency prices had a rollercoaster during the weekend as global risks escalated. Bitcoin plunged to almost $60,000 on Saturday and then bounced back to over $65,000. Other altcoins have also jumped by double digits in the past 24 hours, a rebound that could be a dead cat bounce. This article
Any day or minute now, the world will see the fourth-ever Bitcoin halving. “This is an exciting chapter for long-time crypto enthusiasts,” said Humanity Protocol founder Terence Kwok, “as we now have large institutions waiting with us for the next halving.” Bitcoin has arguably never been so popular

2. What problem does cryptocurrency solve, and what are its investment prospects?

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Cryptocurrency solves the problem of trusting a third party to act as an intermediary for your money. Instead, every transaction is publicly available and it uses digital signatures along with a blockchain to prove who owns what and prevent double-spending.

It’s difficult to predict the future and some coins are bound to fail, but generally the prospects for cryptocurrency look good. The crypto ‘ecosystem’ has become much more popular in recent years. It has achieved institutional acceptance in many places, with plenty of investment funds already including coins in their portfolios.

One of the challenges is that Bitcoin heavily influences the market as a whole. It generally has the most volume, so it’s very important to know how it’s doing before you buy cryptocurrencies at all. Crypto changes fast and tracking the latest news is also crucial to being a successful investor:

In the early hours of Saturday (GMT), the crypto world witnessed the highly anticipated fourth Bitcoin halving event. This significant occurrence has reduced the new supply of Bitcoin by half, now producing only 3.125 new coins every 10 minutes, down from the previous rate of 6.25. This reduction eq
Cryptocurrency prices bounced back after Bitcoin’s software went through its fourth halving on Friday and as geopolitical risks faded. Bitcoin jumped to over $64,000 while Arweave (AR), Ethena (ENA), and THORChain (RUNE) prices soared by double-digits.  Cryptocurrencies outperformed technology
Bitcoin may see “short-term corrections or dips” after the halving event, says Shivam Thakral. He’s the chief executive of India’s 2nd longest-running exchange for digital assets – BuyUcoin. What Bitcoin halving 2024 may mean longer term Reward associated with mining Bitcoin is slated to halve over

3. Do you want to hold cryptocurrency for the long term?

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Again it depends on what your goals are. If you research a coin and like its prospects or want to participate in the platform, then you probably do want to hold it for a while. Otherwise, many traders choose to get in and out of positions quickly to try to benefit from price fluctuations. Here are a couple of final points to consider, whatever your chosen time frame.

Considerations for a long term investment strategy

If you’re in it for the long term and only expect the price to go up, find an exchange and purchase crypto right away. Then it can be best to find a wallet to store them, with many platforms offering their own native wallets with unique rewards for investing coins in the success of their work.

Considerations for a short term trading strategy

Short term traders need low fees and flexible trading options. Pick a broker with cheap – or no – trading fees and brush up on how to use tools and charts to predict the market.

Get started with crypto


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Risk disclaimer
James Knight
Editor of Education
James is the Editor of Education for Invezz, where he covers topics from across the financial world, from the stock market, to cryptocurrency, to macroeconomic markets.... read more.