This is a guide to buy fractions of a Bitcoin in UK. When I lived in London and introduced several of my co-workers, friends, and their friends to Bitcoin, it seemed harder to buy Bitcoins in London than New York. I hope this guide helps my UK friends to buy fractions of a Bitcoin more easily. Also, see our previous post on how to buy fractions of Bitcoin.
Before we proceed, a quick note on buying fractions of a Bitcoin in the first place. At the time of this writing, one Bitcoin costs around $9600 or £7200. That’s a lot of money for someone just trying to buy their first Bitcoins. However, the good news is, you don’t need to buy a full Bitcoin. You can buy a fraction of a Bitcoin. Here’s a quick sample guide:
- 1 mBTC (milli Bitcoin) is 1/1000th of a Bitcoin. The cost is £7.2 – the cost of your Shoreditch avocado sandwich.
- £100 is 0.014 BTC – the cost of your black cab from Heathrow to your shared flat in Shoreditch above the avocado sandwich place.
You get the point. Bitcoin is in fact divisible into 100,000,000 parts, so really, you can buy a penny’s worth of Bitcoin if you’d really like.
To buy fractions of a Bitcoin in UK, you need a provider where you can easily pay GBP to get your BTC. The easiest way to do this is with Coinbase. In fact, if you have your UK drivers license with you right now, you can start buying Bitcoin on Coinbase instantaneously. This is the smoothest buying experience, in my experience, for my UK friends who are new to Bitcoin and don’t have an account anywhere.
Coinbase essentially functions very similar to a bank account. You can go sign up right now, with an email address and create a password. To really buy Bitcoin though, you need to connect your bank account, which you can do with a debit card. If you use a debit card, you can start buying Bitcoin with Coinbase immediately. If not, you will need to wait for a SEPA bank transfer. Both options are fairly good, but the debit card one might be more convenient in a fast-moving market.
Remember that Coinbase is a wallet and exchange provider, which allows you to quickly buy Bitcoin in UK. It will therefore need to do basic identity check on you, called KYC (Know Your Customer). If you have a drivers license, you can just take a photo of it, and it is processed instantaneously in most cases. If not, someone will need to manually review it, which may take time. In my experience, it is usually fairly accurate and I haven’t had many issues with friends. Make sure the photo is taken in good lighting.
If it goes into manual review, I’d advise patience. This is because Coinbase is adding 100,000 users a day, so obviously they are a little swamped at the moment.
After you buy your Bitcoin through Coinbase, you can leave it on their online wallet or transfer to your personal wallet. If you leave it with them, it acts as a custodian wallet. If you transfer to your own wallet, you need to be extremely careful with security. There are different risks with each approach – research them before you make a final decision.
If you plan to hold a large number of Bitcoin, say over £2000 or so, I’d suggest getting a hardware wallet. These are secure against most online attacks (your computer is likely not secure enough, and you can lose all your Bitcoin on an infected computer). You can buy a ledger nano s or trezor for this purpose.
Finally, Coinbase lets you buy with your bank account or debit card. If you instead want to buy with cash, then LocalBitcoins is your best bet. You can meet up with someone and do a cash transfer. Otherwise, if Coinbase takes too long to verify you, you can use LocalBitcoins to transfer money via your bank account, and get the Bitcoins sent to your wallet.