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Summary: In the United Kingdom, investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies requires using a platform that complies with the regulatory guidelines established by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). These authorised exchanges allow investors to deposit British Pounds (GBP) through local bank transfers, Faster Payments, debit cards, credit cards, and alternative payment methods.
To help you begin your cryptocurrency adventure, we have evaluated the top 5 trading platforms available to residents in the UK. These exchanges are recognised as the most trustworthy and reliable options available:
Best FCA Regulated Crypto Exchanges UK
Our analysis of over 15 cryptocurrency platforms has allowed us to identify the premier regulated exchanges for UK investors. Our methodology takes into account several key factors including, but not limited to, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation and licensing, the range of supported assets, the user experience, GBP deposit methods, fees, among others to accurately rank these platforms. Please refer to the following list for a detailed overview of the top five cryptocurrency platforms in the United Kingdom.
eToro is the best crypto platform in the UK, providing investors with access to a vast range of assets, including cryptocurrencies, stocks, commodities, currencies, indices, and ETFs. The platform sets itself apart with state-of-the-art social trading features, such as Copy Trading, and a Virtual Account for users to refine their skills with £100K in demo funds.
As a UK-based and FCA-regulated broker, eToro boasts over 30 million investors in the UK, Europe, and worldwide, making it the largest in the country. It is the safest and most regulated platform to buy, sell, and trade digital assets. British investors highly favour eToro, thanks to its user-friendly and cost-effective GBP deposit options via Faster Payments Service, UK online banking services, Debit Card, and other popular methods. Furthermore, eToro offers competitive fees, with zero initial commissions and industry-leading spreads on assets.
- Fees: Trades subject to variable spread fee.
- Supported Assets: 3,000 crypto assets, stocks, ETFs, commodities and more.
- Regulation & Licensing: eToro UK Ltd is licensed by the FCA (Ref: 583263).
- GBP Deposit Methods: Bank Transfer, Faster Payments, Credit/Debit Card, Trustly and more.
Based in London, Uphold is the second-best cryptocurrency exchange in the United Kingdom, offering over 250 digital assets to buy, sell, and stake through their Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated platform. As an alternative to eToro, Uphold enables quick and affordable GBP deposits via methods such as Bank Transfer, Faster Payments Transfer, Debit Card, and Credit Card.
We have ranked Uphold as the best alternative to eToro in the UK because they are among the few exchanges with an audited proof-of-reserves, which means they provide real-time data demonstrating how they protect customer funds and proving they are always fully backed 1:1. This level of transparency makes them one of the most secure and reliable exchanges in the nation.
- Fees: 1% trading fee and 1% spread fee.
- Supported Assets: 210 cryptocurrencies, 40 shares, 4 precious metals and 27 fiat currencies.
- Regulation & Licensing: Uphold Europe Limited is licensed by the FCA (Ref: 938277).
- GBP Deposit Methods: Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card, SEPA, Google Pay & Apple Pay.
In the competitive landscape of the UK's cryptocurrency arena, Kraken distinguishes itself as the third best exchange in the nation, catering proficiently to the diverse needs of the British market. With a noteworthy quarterly trading volume, Kraken continues to grow in popularity, delivering a robust platform that facilitates trades of over 250 cryptocurrencies, encompassing well-established assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, as well as a myriad of burgeoning tokens.
Kraken's commitment to superior user experience is reflected in its highly-rated mobile applications, available for download on both the App Store and Google Play. In the UK, customers appreciate the lucrative staking services the platform offers, presenting an opportunity to accrue up to 25% in annual rewards (APY). Additionally, Kraken Pro, the exchange's professional trading features, serves the UK's trading and institutional populace admirably, providing narrow spreads, deep liquidity, and high deposit limits, cementing its status as a trusted choice for investors.
- Fees: 0.01% Maker Order and 0.02% Taker Orders.
- Supported Assets: 200+ spot markets and 100+ markets available with margin.
- Regulation & Licensing: Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
- GBP Deposit Methods: BACS Transfer, Bank Transfer, Faster Payments, Credit Cards, Debit Cards and more.
When it comes to dependable crypto exchanges in the UK, Gemini stands out as one of the elite. It has gained recognition for its dedication to trust, safety, and transparent financial operations, all of which align with the Financial Conduct Authority's guidelines. Remarkably, Gemini was among the first exchanges to register with the FCA in August 2020, underscoring its commitment to compliance and security.
Gemini caters to a wide range of users by offering a diverse portfolio of over 100 cryptocurrencies to trade and stake within the UK. The exchange is also the proud owner of Nifty Gateway, a leading NFT marketplace that allows for a seamless experience in buying, selling, and storing non-fungible tokens. The Gemini ecosystem, which includes a mobile app, an exchange platform, an active trader interface, a digital wallet, a clearinghouse solution, and a regulated stablecoin, exemplifies best practices in security, regulatory compliance, user experience, and investor safeguarding.
- Fees: A standard trading fee of 1.49%. No charges for GBP deposits & withdrawals.
- Supported Assets: 100+ Cryptos.
- Regulation & Licensing: Registered and compliant with the Financial Conduct Authority (UK).
- GBP Deposit Methods: UK Faster Payments, VISA/MasterCard, and Bank Wire.
Ranked fifth among the preferred crypto exchanges in the UK, Binance commands attention for its exceptional liquidity, making it a go-to for large-scale trades. It boasts an unparalleled daily trading volume of around $5 billion, setting it apart not just in the UK but on a global scale. With a wide array of assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Binance facilitates quick and secure transactions via its user-friendly interface.
Though Binance has a presence in over 130 countries and is a major player in the cryptocurrency market, it's worth noting for UK investors that the exchange operates without the oversight of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In fact, the FCA has issued a direct warning about Binance. This lack of regulation introduces an additional layer of risk, which prospective users should carefully consider before engaging with the platform.
- Fees: Spot trading fees at 0.1%, and derivatives maker/taker fees are 0.02%/0.04%.
- Supported Assets: 350+ cryptocurrencies.
- Regulation & Licensing: Regulated in Europe but not by the FCA in the UK.
- GBP Deposit Methods: UK Faster Payments and Credit/Debit Card.
Is Crypto Investing Legal in the United Kingdom?
Yes, it is legal to buy and sell cryptocurrency in the United Kingdom. There are no laws that specifically prohibit individuals from buying and selling cryptocurrency in the country. However, you should be aware that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the UK, and there are some regulatory issues to consider when buying and selling them.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued guidance on the use of cryptocurrency in the UK, stating that it is not regulated by the FCA and that individuals should be aware of the risks associated with using it. In particular, the FCA has warned about the risks of fraud and money laundering associated with cryptocurrency. Outside of these general warnings, it is 100% legal to buy Bitcoin in the UK, as well as other tokens like Ethereum, Dogecoin and other crypto assets.
How is Crypto Taxed by the HMRC?
In the UK, crypto taxation by the HMRC varies based on the nature of the activities involved. For cryptocurrencies held as investments, capital gains tax applies upon disposal, taxing profits and potentially offsetting losses against other capital gains. Non-investment transactions, like purchasing goods or services, may incur value-added tax (VAT) on the transaction value.
Meanwhile, income tax applies to profits from mining activities as a trade or business. As crypto taxation can be intricate and dependent on individual circumstances, consulting a tax professional or the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for tailored advice is recommended.
How to Buy Bitcoin and Crypto in the UK
If you're interested in buying Bitcoin and digital assets in the United Kingdom, follow this clear, step-by-step guide to ensure a secure and legal transaction:
- Pick a regulated exchange: Choose platforms adhering to the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) regulations.
- Set up and authenticate your account: Register with your email, generate a secure password, and finish the KYC procedure by submitting required identification and proof of residence.
- Add GBP: Load your account using BACS, Faster Payments, CHAPS, bank transfers, or debit/credit cards.
- Buy cryptocurrency: Decide on the digital currency and quantity in GBP or crypto, then approve the transaction.
- Protect your holdings: Relocate your digital assets to a private wallet for improved security.
By following these guidelines and selecting a reputable, regulated exchange, you can safely and lawfully obtain cryptocurrencies in the UK.
If you're a UK resident keen on investing in the crypto market, choosing an FCA-regulated platform is crucial for both security and compliance. Our in-depth analysis highlights eToro as the best overall option, offering a diverse array of assets and exceptional user experience. Uphold, Kraken, Gemini, and Binance also make the list, each with their unique strengths, from staking opportunities to deep liquidity.
By selecting from these top-rated platforms, you not only gain access to a variety of cryptocurrencies but also benefit from competitive fees and convenient GBP deposit options. This empowers you to invest with confidence, knowing you're aligned with the United Kingdom's stringent regulatory guidelines as outlined by the Financial Conduct Authority.