The United Kingdom has been a tech-savvy nation. The country has been the one that gave the world the historical industrial revolution that changes the way things function in manufacturing. Although the country did fall behind in modern technology a bit with the rise of the US and Japan, it is regaining its ground and adopting newer digital technology at quite a pace. And the numbers say it as well.
- Tech is expanding 2.6 times faster than the rest of the UK economy, according to Tech Nation’s 2018 report.
- The digital tech sector is worth nearly £184 billion to UK economy, up from £170 billion in 2016.
London slowly has crept to the second place most connected place for tech in the world, after Silicon Valley and is even better when it comes to the proportion of overseas customers. While London does happen to be the epicenter, the tech growth isn’t restricted to the geographical boundaries of the city. According to the same report, the tech growth is slowly spreading the 16 towns in UK which include towns like Newbury, Reading, Stafford, Huntingdon etc. to name a few.
Crypto and Blockchain in UK
Just like many countries in the world, crypto and blockchain industry has is fairly nascent in the United Kingdom. According to the financial watchdog of the country the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) UK-headquartered exchanges account for around 1 percent of daily global trade. Being a financial hub and a center for startups and mature financial companies, London has attracted major crypto firms. A recent survey conducted by the financial watchdog with the help of Kantar TNS gave out some interesting facts as to how the industry was shaping and how the audience for cryptocurrency still remains pretty nascent but growing. In December 2018 Kantar interviewed 2132 people to get their view on the latest form of technology that has the potential to change the way the world functions. The finding of the report showed that currently a very small number inclining toward cryptocurrencies which also signifies that there is a huge market still left to capture. The finding of the report was as follows –
- Over 70% of those surveyed haven’t heard of cryptocurrencies or didn’t know how to define one.
- Buying cryptocurrencies is not very popular in the country and hence the estimate was that only 3% of the overall sample have bought cryptos in the past.
- Owners of cryptocurrency tend to use their own money to buy it. None of the respondents reported borrowing money from financial firms or friends/family.
- Only 8% of all cryptocurrency owners completed ‘deep research’ before purchasing, with 16% doing no prior research.
- Over 1 in 3 have never checked the value of their cryptocurrency since purchasing.
- Around 40% of cryptocurrency owners expect to hold it for 3 or more years, while half of them report selling some or all of it already.
While the above-mentioned numbers are still very naïve to give a complete picture of the industry and the potential it holds in the United Kingdom. The regulator too understands this and has been keeping a close eye on how to build a regulation wall around this. A lot of it still revolves around the Brexit as that would again decide the course of regulation once Britain dethatches itself from the European Union.
To get its stance clear and have complete control over the situation of today and tomorrow, the British regulator, established a Cryptoasset Taskforce in early 2018, and concluded in a report that the U.K. must be proactive in regulating cryptocurrency and blockchain in order to strike a balance between ensuring the safety and transparency of markets and maintaining its leading position in financial innovation.
With a clear measured approach in developing its regulations around cryptocurrencies, United Kingdom still does not have a specific cryptocurrency law and cryptocurrencies are still not considered as a legal tender in the country. But the country realizes that it will have to treat this latest innovation with a “unique identity”.
Top Exchanges in UK to Buy Bitcoin
Understanding the opportunity and the amount of market that is still left to capture, a lot of exchanges – global and local – have opened shop and are assisting British citizens in buying bitcoins. These exchanges still need to follow a registration process with FCA keeping the “bad players” out of the industry. As the vigilant regulator is keeping the bad exchanges out of the country, let us see which are the best marketplaces/ exchanges that allow Brits to buy the bitcoin.
One of the largest crypto exchanges in the world I also the leader here in the UK. Coinbase synonyms to trust and fairness in the crypto world as the exchange is secure and has never been hacked. Coinbase represents an easy and fast way for new users to purchase bitcoins. It supports customers in over 30 countries, including the United States, Europe (besides Germany), UK, Singapore, Canada, and Australia and this list is growing larger day by day. It allows users to purchase bitcoins by debit card, bank transfer, SEPA transfer, and more.
- Trust Worthy
- High liquidity and limits
- Easy to use, newcomer-friendly
- Variety of payment options
- Bank Transfer purchases take around 3 to 5 days to complete
- Coinbase has powers to track the users spends of Bitcoin
Coinmama is one of the most popular places Britishers buy their Bitcoin from and has a global customer strength of 200,000 customers. It allows users from around the globe to buy Bitcoin using their debit and credit cards for which it charges 6% fees per transaction. For European customers, it also accepts payments using SEPA where transaction fees are comparatively lower. The Coinmama platform is pretty secure and transactions speeds are faster. Coinmama currently supports BTC, ETH, ETC, BCH, LTC, ADA, QTUM, XRP and USD and EURO in Fiats
- Global Presence – Users can buy from any country
- Provides one of the highest limits for buying bitcoins with a credit card
- Safe and Reliable
- In terms of fees for debit and credit card purchases, Coinmama is definitely one of the highest.
Luno which was previously known as BitX is headquartered in London and is again a popular place where Britishers buy their Bitcoins from. It originally launched to support countries like South Africa and Indonesia, but recently expanded to Europe. Luno facilitates bitcoin storage and transactions such as buying, selling and paying through their bitcoin wallet services operating and exchange between traditional currencies and bitcoin. Luno supports the purchase of bitcoin through credit, SEPA transfer, SOFORT and iDEAL. Having a user base of around 2 million Luno current allows buying of Bitcoin and Ethereum in over 40 countries today. Pluses
- A trusted exchange that has been around for a long time
- Deposits and Withdrawals to email address or mobile number are almost free
- Does not have customer service support
- Limited Features (for countries outside their exchange list)
Again, a local British market place that has become a popular place to buy Bitcoins. It is not directly an exchange as it is not a trading venue but more of a P2P exchange platform and there are no coins actually stored on the centralized server. Customers can purchase bitcoin instantly via Barclays Pingit, Faster Payments-enabled bank transfer, Paym, or credit/debit card.
- Safe and Secure as it has only P2P
- Simple Interface
- No Clarity of Pricing
- Not a trading platform
- High Markup
- Not easy to US out of Europe
Bitpanda is a popular European exchange that finds its headquarters in Austria. It was started in 2014 and claims they were “in coordination with the local authorities”, but no specific licensing is provided. But there haven’t been many complaints against the exchange since its inception which kinds of clear out its trustworthiness. The exchange supports only Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin and allows trading only against Euros. They have high payment limits and low fees across their wide range of payment methods. Bitpanda offers customers the option to buy bitcoins with a credit card, debit card, SOFORT, Skrill, NETELLER, giropay, eps, SEPA, and Online Bank Transfer.
- No major hacks reported yet making it safe and secure
- A variety of payment options for the user to choose from
- Simple and user-friendly interface
- Undisclosed fees which currently seems like 2% based on the calculation
- Fewer support to altcoins
CEX.IO was founded in 2013, as a mining pool. The London-based company later transformed into a full-fledged crypto-currency exchange. The exchange is headquartered in UK and is a payment provider, in order to accept client funds, but they are not overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Several coins are available for trading at CEX.IO including BTC, ETH, DASH and ZEC for EUR, USD and GBP. CEX.io lets users buy bitcoin with a credit card, ACH bank transfer, SEPA transfer, cash, or AstroPay. Purchases made with a credit card give you access to your bitcoin immediately. CEX.io works in the United States, Europe, and certain countries in South America.
- Support for many countries and regions
- Low 0.2% trading fee
- Established and trusted exchange
- Decent number of coins and markets
- A lot of Negative user reviews across the internet
- Poor Charting options
- No exotic Altcoins
Just like many countries around the world Localbitcoins too finds its fans in UK. LocalBitcoin is a global peer-2-peer cryptocurrency exchange where users can trade cryptocurrencies for fiat currencies and vice versa between each other. The exchange is much popular in places where the government is cracking down on cryptocurrencies and exchange. Buying and selling on LocalBitcoin is kind of riskier as there could be scammers trying to lure genuine buyers and sellers. Even though Local Bitcoins offers an escrow service, which temporarily holds the coins until the payment is confirmed there are numerous complaints of problems with fraudulent payments
- Huge Customer base
- Escrow Service
- Lots of payment methods
- Can be private, fast and easy
- In-person trades require no personal information
- High Fees
Bitcoin.de is owned by Bitcoin Deutschland AG, which is a “tied agent” of FIDOR Bank AG. This partnership with an innovative (and perhaps more importantly, highly-regulated) bank does bring a lot of stability to the company. It is worth pointing out that FIDOR Bank is one of Germany’s first “2.0 bank”, focusing primarily on digital assets. also has partnerships with Kraken and Ripple. Trading on the platform is not instant (for the most part), unlike the way it is with most exchanges. Bitcoin.de has not been hacked yet and over 98% of the coins are stored in cold storage. The exchange only offers Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash against Euro. Users can buy bitcoin online from other Bitcoin.de users through SEPA bank transfers.
- Safe as connected to a bank
- Never been hacked yet
- Cold Storage od Assets makes it more secure
- Accepts bank transfers
- Real-time trading only to FIDOR Bank account holders
- Only 2 assets currently traded – BTC BCC
- Trading only in Euros
- Poor Charting tool
Cointed offers plenty of cryptocurrency services, including a network of ATMs, green mining, payment services, online shop for hardware wallets and a cryptocurrency exchange platform. In this review, we will focus on Cointed crypto-exchange. Along with Bitcoin, Cointend also offers supports to ETH, DASH, ETC, LTC, XMR and Zcash. This is clearly an EU-centric exchange, as it only works with Euro. Users are currently not able to deposit in USD or any other fiat currency.
- Fiat supported
- Credit cards, EU bank transfers supported
- Good Platform and a decent variety of coin
- European centric
- Trading only in EUR
- High Trading Fees
- Leverage unavailable
Paymium was the first European Bitcoin exchange, founded in 2011. It provides a EUR/BTC exchange service and complies with all relevant European Regulations. Customers can purchase bitcoins via SEPA, wire transfer, or credit card. Paymium offers integration of Bitcoin payment services for merchants, which is not offered by many exchanges. The service comes with 0% fees and automatic conversion into euros.
- Large European Exchange
- Credit cards supported
- Good Platform and Limited Unverified accounts
- Not regulated
- Only supports Bitcoin
- Leverage unavailable