Previously considered the mystical domain of tech-junkies and all-knowing-Internet-gurus, the perception of cryptocurrency has undergone a huge shift over the past year. As it makes substantial headway in mainstream acceptance as both a viable means of exchange and store of value, the natural question of ‘where and how can I buy cryptocurrency?’ arises.
A little research will show that there are a number of buying channels with new acquisition avenues announced on a regular basis. This is encouraging, indicating a widespread interest and adoption of cryptocurrency, and representing a maturation of the market.
For all the choice, it can also present some confusion for the first-time crypto buyer. Which route is the best to take? To help you choose the most suitable channel for you, we’ve put together a list of the various options available and offer a little advice on each.
Exchanges are businesses that allow for the interchange of various cryptocurrencies, with a number of these exchanges offering the purchase or sale of cryptocurrency for fiat currency (e.g. British Pound and US Dollar). Registration usually requires compliance elements such as ID and proof of address, but once that is complete you are free to buy listed cryptos in exchange for fiat. Exchanges are a good option for those looking to buy smaller amounts, or actively trade cryptocurrency in the short term. But, be mindful of variances in rates and fees charged to use an exchange service, as well as the security aspect of how the exchange handles its clients’ holdings. Exchange hacks are not unheard of, and as long as your cryptocurrency is held by the exchange, the safety of your holdings depend on the security protocols and trustworthiness of the exchange.
A cryptocurrency advisory brokerage can mitigate much of the risk associated with buying in and is a wiser choice for those looking to invest for the medium to long-term, at higher amounts. A cryptocurrency brokerage will manage the administrative responsibilities, provide you with market-related advice based on your personal goals, execute positions on your behalf and safeguard your cryptocurrency portfolio. Bitstocks is an example of an advisory brokerage.
P2P trading marketplaces are the ‘Craigslists’ of cryptocurrency. These marketplaces aim to connect willing buyers with willing sellers, and initiate direct person-to-person crypto transactions. Marketplace trading negates the need for paperwork but can pose a high level of risk to those not adequately clued up on how to secure their cryptos (and themselves) online.
Unlike their fiat counterparts that will spit out paper money for you to spend, the bitcoin ATM requires you deposit cash in order to buy crypto, which are then delivered to your cryptocurrency wallet. While not entirely mainstream just yet, the SatoshiPoint network, there are approximately 115 bitcoin ATMs and tellers across the UK. Most are found in London, but there are a few in Bristol, Brighton, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, and The Isle of Man too. If you are looking beyond bitcoin, the SatoshiPoint network with its 24 locations countrywide, can offer you a range of 52 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dash.
Probably a better option when wanting to gift cryptocurrency as opposed to buying it for yourself, but still a valid procurement method nonetheless. There are several online vendors (including Amazon) that offer SMS or paper-based crypto gift vouchers that can be deposited into your cryptocurrency wallet upon redemption.
Whether you select a DIY approach to buying crypto or look to the services of a cryptocurrency brokerage, be sure that you’re comfortable with each aspect of the process, and / or the terms and conditions you’re subject to. You should have the utmost confidence in the safeguarding of your cryptocurrency portfolio and the legitimacy of any vendor should be undisputed.