Bitcoin’s spectacular increase in value has gotten a lot of people looking for ways to own a piece of this cryptocurrency.
There are two main methods you can get Bitcoins. The first would be to buy expensive hardware and use it to mine bitcoins. But since the mining difficulty is constantly growing, nowadays it has become very hard to mine on your own. You either have to invest a lot of cash in mining equipment and electricity or you either join a mining pool, where you and other users gather their computing power to solve the cryptographic codes.
This could work for some, but the easier alternative is to buy. However, the process is not always so straightforward. Legal bitcoin services are heavily regulated, due to the currency’s use on black markets, and security protocols can be complicated to implement.
Get a bitcoin wallet
If you plan on buying bitcoins, you need a wallet to store them. There are plenty of companies that provide bitcoin wallets, be them online, as a software on your computer or as an USB.
Now that you got your wallet you are ready to put some bitcoins in it. Cryptocurrency exchanges are online platforms that allow users to buy and sell bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies.
You first need to register and provide some documentation to prove your identity and residency (usually pictures of your ID and copy of a recent utility bill) for anti-money laundering/know your customer compliance laws. Once that’s over, you set up a bank payment to fund your account.
Bitcoin exchange for U.K. users
This exchange based in Slovenia accepts deposits via SEPA and eCheck. It also lets UK customers to make payments through Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards.
This Isle of Man-based exchange caters exclusively to UK and European customers. Here you can buy bitcoins by using your Visa and MasterCard credit or debit card. You can also deposit fiat currency via SEpa bank transfer. Deposits have no fees, but there is a £10 fee for GBP withdrawals.
This London-based exchange is all about security, claiming multi-signature offline storage for all its bitcoins. Deposits by U.K. customers can be made via SEPA bank transfer. Coinfloor charges £5 to deposit GBP and £10 to withdraw.
This popular exchange offers UK users the possibility to purchase bitcoin using 3D Secure-enabled credit or debit cards.
This brokerage based in London lets you buy and sell bitcoins across its platform. You can deposit fiat currency through UK Faster Payments or a bank. It also has a bitcoin ATM at The Vape Lab, 232 Shoreditch High Street.
There are peer-to-peer platforms that match individuals who want to buy, sell or trade bitcoins and altcoins. The platforms do not buy, sell or hold cryptocurrencies, unless it is part of an escrow service to protect the buyer.
They match buyers and sellers from the same geographical location to make over-the-counter deals, providing an escrow service for the buyer.
Here you have a number of transfer options including: standard UK bank transfers, Barclays Pingit mobile payments, RBS Pay Your Contact, and Paym mobile payments.
In recent months, the cost of bitcoin transactions has risen dramatically due to strain on the network. Buying on one exchange and sending it to your wallet could result in you losing almost half of your earnings just on fees, so be careful and check each exchange for fees.
Being from the UK may make buying bitcoins a bit more unpleasant, seeing as you have to put up with charges on international transfers like SEPA and wait 2 to 5 days for your funds. But that does not mean it’s impossible. Considering the number of exchanges that have options for UK customers, you should have no problem in purchasing bitcoin.