How and Where Can I Buy Bitcoin in the UK?

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Many people interested in becoming a part of the cryptocurrency market often ask questions such as "Where to obtain cryptocurrency in Europe?" or "How to buy Bitcoin in the UK?" The good thing is that cryptocurrencies can be bought in many different ways.

The best exchange choice for many new users largely depends on where they are located. In recent years, the biggest exchanges by trading volume are Bitfinex, Poloniex, Bitstamp, Kraken, BTC-e, Huobi, BTCC, and OKCoin.

Bitcoin and altcoins can be obtained from two main sources: cryptocurrency exchanges and directly from other Bitcoin holders. There are several different ways to pay for BTC when buying them. It can be paid with credit and debit cards, cash, wire transactions, or even exchanging with other digital currencies such as Ethereum, Ripple, Zcash, Litecoin, and more.

Those who wish to purchase cryptocurrencies with a credit card or via Paypal have to be aware of the complicity of this process that largely depends on buyer's jurisdiction, so it is still quite difficult to do. This obstacle still exists because cryptocurrency transactions cannot be reversed with a phone call to the company that issues the card. It's very hard to prove that any items were exchanged in this transfer model, so the majority of exchanges and sellers tend to avoid this payment method.

During the past few years, the number of Bitcoin holders has grown more than it was expected, which made some companies and exchanges think about giving cryptocurrencies a chance. North Americans are able to use services of Circle and Coinbase by using credit cards. But, if you ask yourself: “Where can I buy Bitcoin in the UK?”, you should know that Coinbase, CoinCorner, and Bittylicious provide the same sort of services in the United Kingdom, where 3D secured debit and credit cards are approved by many MasterCard and Visa networks.

Two most important things that new Bitcoin holders should learn about are cryptocurrency wallets and cryptocurrency exchanges.

Obtaining a Bitcoin Wallet

After they have bought some Bitcoins, new users soon realize that they need to store this cryptocurrency somewhere. In the cryptocurrency world, these places are called "wallets", which are quite similar to traditional bank accounts. As security levels of BTC wallets vary, users can choose between different wallets, each having its unique security preferences. While some are pretty simple and protected just like our everyday bank accounts, others have some top-class protection layers.

There are three main types of cryptocurrency wallets:

  • Software wallet, which is located on the HD on user's computer
  • Online service, which is based on the web
  • A "vault" service offering the user to protect his cryptocurrency offline or a multisig wallet which uses several different keys to protect the funds.

It's essential to know that the majority of these methods have certain vulnerabilities. If new Bitcoin holders decide to keep their cryptocurrency on the personal computers, they have to constantly back up their wallets. It's essential because, at some point, the hard drive may be corrupted, making the data vulnerable to hacking and other types of theft.

Online Wallets and Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Among the variety of wallets and exchanges, there’s always a competition for the best spot on the market, each offering its unique features, which can make a choice a bit harder when it comes to new Bitcoin holders. Some of them are seriously developed and quite sophisticated exchanges for experienced, professional traders, while others come in more simple forms, as the wallets with limited buying and selling options. Most of wallets and exchanges are created to store both digital and fiat currencies for all users, just like traditional bank accounts.

However, wallets and exchanges are the most popular choice among those who don’t look for total anonymity when trading cryptocurrencies. These users must be aware of the quite long and complicated bureaucratic process behind this method, which often requires the ID proof with some additional contact info. In numerous countries this is determined by the law, so all the regulated exchanges must follow the procedure. It also means that each company must respect the “Know Your Customer” and “Anti-Money Laundering” requirements.

Best Exchange Options

The best exchange choice for many new users largely depends on where they are located. In recent years, the biggest exchanges by trading volume are Bitfinex, Poloniex, Bitstamp, Kraken, BTC-e, Huobi, BTCC , and OKCoin.

Coinbase is a famous wallet and exchange where the exchange of USD and EUR for BTC is accepted. They offer some mobile apps to users as well. In the recent period, this American company opened its doors to many countries in Europe as well.

Circle is the wallet\exchange that offers such services as sending, receiving, storing, and trading digital currencies. So far, only citizens of the US can link their bank accounts to Circle, but using credit cards and debit cards is an option too.

Xapo is a wallet and card provider that offers services of depositing in the fiat currency which can be later converted to Bitcoin in their users’ accounts.

Coinjar is an exchange\wallet company, mostly operating in the Australian market. This company had a huge profit in venture funding and later launched a debit card, "Coinjar Swipe".

Once the new Bitcoin account has been set up, the users must link their bank accounts and the exchange accounts via wire transfer, which usually includes a certain fee.

Face-To-Face Trades

For those who prefer anonymity and wish to avoid lengthy and complicated bank procedures, it's better to buy a cryptocurrency by making a face-to-face trade with local sellers in the area. LocalBitcoins is the famous website where these transactions are arranged, and all the prices negotiated. This website also has an escrow service, as an additional layer of protection for both trading parties.

As there are always certain security issues for buyers and sellers when dealing with huge amount of money, it's highly recommended to meet in public spaces with a lot of traffic. When meeting in person, traders always need to have access to their digital wallets, whether it's a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Internet connection is also important for confirming and completing the transaction.

For those who don’t like personal meetings, it's good to check out MeetUp.com, to see if the local area has a Bitcoin meetup group. This is the place where people can trade in a group and learn more about this market from other experienced users.

New members often need to pay a premium of around 5%-10% over the exchange price for a face-to-face trade, which depends on the seller. Some well-known and experienced traders often negotiate the price before the meeting, but on the other hand, many don't want to wait too long in case of the dramatic change in Bitcoin's value. While most of the sellers prefer non-reversible cash payment, some of them still accept the payment via PayPal.

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