In a crowded space that is home to thousands of individual cryptocurrencies, Ethereum has become the second most popular of the bunch. Ethereum is second only to Bitcoin in the cryptocurrency arena, and it has quickly earned its place as the most popular altcoin on the market.
Like Bitcoin, Ethereum aims to be a truly global cryptocurrency, but residents living outside the United States often have trouble buying it. Some foreign-based exchanges do not offer support for Ethereum, while others limit their support to U.S. residents.
If you are a resident of the UK and want to buy, use or invest in Ethereum, there are some things you need to know. Here are a few key things to remember if you live in the UK and want to get started with Ethereum.
What’s different for UK citizens?
One of the biggest impediments to the purchase of Ethereum in the UK is the reluctance of British banks to service cryptocurrency companies. As a result, many cryptocurrency exchanges have chosen to take their banking to other European Union (EU) countries.
What that means to Ethereum buyers in the UK is that they will need to put up with international transfer charges like SEPA. It also means that Ethereum buyers in the UK will generally have to wait for 1-5 days for their funds to arrive.
For now, the best way for UK residents to buy Ethereum and other popular cryptocurrencies is through a cryptocurrency exchange. Cryptocurrency exchanges provide an easy way to buy, sell and exchange Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies, and if you shop around, you should be able to find an exchange that does so for a reasonable commission.
Before you can buy Ethereum on a cryptocurrency exchange, you will need to register with the firm and provide proof of residency. This evidence of UK residency will typically include things like a recent utility bill, credit card statement and so on. You will also be asked for proof of identity, which will usually consist of scanning and submitting a photo ID. This identity confirmation is designed to prevent money laundering and other illegal activity that could be facilitated by the use of cryptocurrency. If an exchange doesn’t require you to prove your identity, then take your business elsewhere. There are strict AML and KYC laws that will be followed by all legitimate exchanges.
Once all of those requirements are met, you will need to establish a payment system by linking your bank account with the exchange. Once the account to be linked and verified, you are free to buy and sell Ethereum and any other cryptocurrency supported on the exchange.
Here are some cryptocurrency exchanges that serve UK customers:
- Coinbase – A highly popular exchange. Deposits possible via SEPA payments or instant purchases using any Visa/Mastercard credit/debit card.
- Bitstamp – Deposits possible via SEPA payments or purchases using a credit/debit card.
- Coinfloor – UK based crypto exchange. Deposits in GBP possible via SWIFT or SEPA payments.
- CEX.IO – Deposits possible via SEPA payments or using a Visa/Mastercard credit/debit card.
Another option to pick up some Ethereum is using a peer-to-peer marketplace. These marketplaces match you with a seller who is in the UK, you send them cash via a bank transfer, then they send you your ETH.
As Ethereum is a newer cryptocurrency, there is only one peer-to-peer marketplace that is an option currently:
- LocalEthereum – Buy Ethereum directly from people in exchange for a bank transfer.
UK residents do not have to miss out on all the fun, excitement and profit potential of Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. Once you know how to buy, you can start investing in Ethereum with any amount you want, from a small investment to a huge bet.