How to buy Ethereum (ETH) in the UK

Learn how to buy Ethereum on 11+ exchanges in our step-by-step guide.

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Cryptoassets are highly volatile and unregulated in the UK. No consumer protection. Capital gains tax on profits may apply.

Buying Ethereum (ETH) is a straightforward process. You just need to create an account with a crypto trading platform like eToro or Koinal.

Here are step-by-step instructions and a list of platforms you can use to buy Ethereum in the UK.

Before you buy Ethereum
Buying, selling and owning Ethereum carries a unique set of risks. Make sure you understand the legal, regulatory and tax status of Ethereum in the UK before you transact.

Crypto is unregulated in the UK; there's no consumer protection; value can rise or fall; tax on profits may apply.

How to buy Ethereum in 4 easy steps

To buy ETH all you'll need is a smartphone or computer, an internet connection, photo identification and a way to pay.

  1. Compare crypto exchanges
    The easiest way to buy Ethereum is from a cryptocurrency exchange. Comparing in the table below helps you find a platform with the features you want like low fees, ease of use or 24-hour customer support.
  2. Create an account
    To create an account on an exchange, you will need to verify your email address and identity. Have some photo ID and your phone ready.
  3. Make a deposit
    Once verified, you can deposit GBP using the payment method that best suits you – debit card, Neteller, PayPal and wire transfer payments are widely accepted.
  4. Buy Ethereum
    You can now exchange your funds for Ethereum. On beginner-friendly exchanges, this is as simple as entering the GBP or ETH amount you want to purchase and clicking "buy". If you like, you can then withdraw your Ethereum to a personal wallet.

Crypto is unregulated in the UK; there's no consumer protection; value can rise or fall; tax on profits may apply.

Where to buy Ethereum in the UK

If this is your first time buying cryptocurrency you'll need to look for a platform that accepts pounds, like eToro or Koinal.

Don't worry too much about extra features or coins for now – you can always sign up with another exchange later.

Use the table to choose a platform that meets your needs and click the Go to site button to get started.

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
eToro UK Cryptoasset Investing
Debit card, Neteller, PayPal, Wire transfer, Online banking
EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, AUD, CAD, HKD, SGD, CHF, NOK & 5+ more

78
cryptocurrencies

Cryptoassets are highly volatile and unregulated in the UK. No consumer protection. Capital gains tax on profits may apply.
Koinal Cryptoasset Investing
Credit card, Debit card, China Union Pay, SEPA, Swift or Apple Pay
USD, EUR, GBP

8
cryptocurrencies

Koinal lets you buy multiple cryptocurrencies instantly with Visa or Mastercard. 24/7 support and quick verification available on desktop or mobile.
Uphold Digital Money Platform
Bank transfer (ACH), Debit card, Google Pay
USD, GBP, AUD, EUR, CAD, CNY, JPY, SGD, INR, NZD

189
cryptocurrencies

Use the Uphold app to trade between 200+ cryptos and other assets in a single click.
BC Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Broker
Credit card, Debit card, Faster Payments (FPS), BACS, Instant SEPA
GBP, EUR

191
cryptocurrencies

BC Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency brokerage that buys and sells more than 100 different cryptocurrencies.
Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, Wire transfer, Osko, SEPA, Apple Pay, Google Pay, SWIFT
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF, AUD

195
cryptocurrencies

Kraken offers staking, an OTC desk, and dark pools. Trade multiple fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies from your desktop or mobile with near-instant deposits and withdrawals.
CoinJar Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, Faster Payments (FPS), Apple Pay, Google Pay
GBP, AUD

57
cryptocurrencies

CoinJar offers a simple way to buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrency with GBP. Trade from your desktop or mobile with a 1% fee and withdrawals are free to your bank account.
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Compare up to 4 providers

What will I need to buy Ethereum?

To create an account with your chosen crypto platform, you only need an email address or mobile number. This will usually allow you to deposit cryptocurrency, but not GBP.

If you want to buy Ethereum with pounds, you'll need to pass a Know Your Customer (KYC) check.

This is a standard security procedure for most exchanges in the UK and requires you to upload some photo ID, and in some cases a selfie with today's date.

KYC is usually approved instantly, but in rare cases, you may have to wait a few hours or days.

What are the best ways to buy Ethereum?

Once you've set up your account, you'll need to deposit funds to buy Ethereum with. We've listed out some popular ways to buy ETH and what you should know about each payment method below.

What is the cheapest way to buy Ethereum?

First things first – you don't have to buy a whole Ethereum.

Most exchanges let you buy as little as £5 worth of ETH, if not less. Just type in how much you want to spend in GBP and let the exchange work out the rest.

Some platforms only offer 1 way to buy Ethereum, while others provide several choices. The 2 most common ways to buy ETH are on the spot market or with an "instant buy" feature.

Instant buy

If it's your first time buying Ethereum this will be the fastest method – but also the least cost-effective.

You'll usually find the instant buy section under a "Buy now" heading on the platform you've chosen.

It should feature a simple interface that lets you enter the amount of Ethereum you want to buy, or pounds you want to spend.

This is usually the only option available for credit or debit card purchases, but you may also be able to make an instant buy if you've pre-funded your account with a bank transfer.

Be prepared to pay a markup on ETH's market rate in exchange for the convenience.

Spot market

If you see colourful charts with a range of prices, you're probably in the spot market.

The spot market is where buyers and sellers come together to place bids for ETH on the open market. It's usually the cheapest way to buy Ethereum because it lets traders set their own price.

You'll find the spot market under a "Trade" or "Spot" heading on the site or app menu of the platform you've chosen to use.

There are several different order types that you can make on the spot market.

  • Market order. This will buy you the amount of Ethereum you specify at the lowest possible price available. This makes it like an instant buy order, but with much lower fees.
  • Limit order. This is the most common order type and lets you purchase Ethereum at the price you specify. Traders use this to time the market and capitalise on price dips or increases.

How to find the best place to buy Ethereum in the UK

There are dozens of different trading platforms to choose from when buying Ethereum in the UK, so to help you find your best option, keep these factors in mind:

  • Where it's registered. Using a locally registered exchange is a good idea. It's more likely to accept pounds and local payment methods like SEPA, which helps avoid foreign exchange fees. Choosing from UK-based exchanges also means it's likely to be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which means it has to comply with local laws in the UK.
  • Security. Look at the security features the platform has to offer, like 2-factor authentication and PGP-encrypted emails. Cold storage of user funds is considered industry standard, but insurance funds are less common and indicative of good security practices.
  • Fees. Check the fine print to find out exactly how much your transaction will cost. Depending on the platform you choose, these could include spreads, trading fees and deposit and withdrawal charges.
  • Transaction limits. Are there any minimum or maximum limits on the amount of Ethereum you can purchase? Does the exchange restrict the amount of funds you can withdraw from your account in any 1 transaction or 24-hour period?
  • Other platform features. Look out for other features that suit your investment or trading needs. For instance, many exchanges now let you earn yield on your holdings, while some issue crypto debit cards to help you spend your coins.
  • Customer support. If you ever have a problem with a transaction, will you be able to quickly and easily get in touch with the customer support team? Are they based in the UK? Check what contact methods are available and find out how quick the team is at responding to enquiries.
  • Insurance fund. A small number of exchanges now insure user funds. Beware that policies vary greatly between exchanges, so you'll need to research this thoroughly if insurance is important to you.
  • Reputation. As a young industry, reputation can provide a lot of clues when choosing an exchange. For instance, who are the founders? Have there been any controversies? Are their business practices transparent? If you can't find any of this information, that may be a red flag.
  • Range of coins. If you're thinking about adding other cryptos to your portfolio in the future, check to see what other coins you can buy through the platform.
  • Read reviews. Finder's crypto exchange reviews include user feedback, which helps you get a better idea of what the exchange is like to use for other people starting out just like you.

Using FCA-registered exchanges

There are plenty of places to buy Ethereum, and people in the UK can choose from platforms registered here at home or in locations all around the world. Opting for a locally registered ETH exchange typically offers more convenience, but may have some downsides depending on your goals.

Pros
  • UK-based exchanges must comply with FCA Anti-money Laundering (AML) and Counter-terrorism Financing (CTF) reporting obligations.
  • You can usually buy Ethereum with GBP.
  • Exchanges in the UK typically support local payment methods, such as BACS, Faster Payments (FPS) and SEPA.
  • You may be able to access local customer support.
  • Subject to local laws.
Cons
  • You'll need to provide your personal details and proof of ID – a disadvantage if you want to trade anonymously.
  • Overseas trading platforms may provide better liquidity.
  • GBP-to-crypto prices are often slightly higher than USD-to-crypto prices, meaning you sometimes pay a premium for buying directly with pounds.
  • Some features are simply not available on FCA-registered exchanges. For example, high leverage margin trading, DeFi features and some altcoins.

Recent Ethereum developments

September 15, 2022: Ethereum's long-awaited network upgrade, known as The Merge, is now complete. The transition to proof-of-stake (PoS) permanently eliminates proof-of-work (PoW) mining, reducing Ethereum's energy consumption by 99.95%.

Is Ethereum safe to invest in?

You shouldn't invest in any asset, including ETH without doing plenty of research first. Before you buy Ethereum, make sure you understand and weigh up these risks:

  • Price volatility. Ethereum's price is largely based on speculation, which means it can rise or fall in a short time. It's not uncommon for ETH to lose more than 10% of its value in a single day.
  • Perceived value. ETH is a unique asset that does not have any tangible value. It derives most of its value from utility and speculation.
  • Exchange vulnerabilities. Leaving your Ethereum on a crypto platform exposes you to several counterparty risks, including:
    • Scams. Scammers frequently try to trick exchange users into handing over their username and password, often by phishing with malicious emails or fake website links. Use 2FA and encrypted emails to help protect your funds.
    • Hacks and theft. Exchanges are vulnerable to hacks and theft, so choose one with good security practices and a track record of safety.
    • Fiscal mismanagement. In mid-2022 a number of crypto platforms froze user funds after it was revealed they had engaged in irresponsible funds management.
    • Insurance. Unlike stocks, only a small handful of exchanges provide insurance on your cash deposits.
  • Regulatory uncertainty. The regulatory environment for Ethereum and other cryptos is constantly changing. It's important to understand how international rulings have the potential to impact Ethereum's future – for better or worse.
  • Novel technology. Ethereum was created in 2015 which makes it relatively new as a form of technology and as a currency. ETH doesn't yet have the same track record or performance history as some other asset classes.
  • Technical learning curve. Evaluating the tech behind ETH before you invest is important, but requires a deep understanding of the blockchain and other aspects of decentralised finance. You should be prepared to do plenty of research.
  • Ongoing upgrades. Ethereum is arguably the most active blockchain in the world and is routinely upgraded every few months. While releases undergo thorough testing, there may be unforeseen issues that could affect the usability of specific applications or the security of the network.
  • Transaction cost. During periods of high usage such as when the market is on a bull run, ETH transactions become very expensive or slow for those who can't afford the highest gas fees. You may have trouble making a transaction or using an application when gas fees are high. Steps are being taken to mitigate this, but the problem is likely to persist for some time.
  • Potential forks. In 2016, Ethereum was forked due to a major DAO hack. This resulted in the creation of a secondary network called Ethereum Classic (ETC), which diluted the price of ETH. Future Ethereum forks could have a similar impact on ETH's price.

Today's Ethereum price versus ATH

Compare today's price of Ethereum ($1,288.91 USD) against its all time high price of $4,878.26 USD on October 20, 2015. The closer the bar is to 100%, the closer ETH is to reaching its ATH again.

Current price: $1,288.91
All time high: $4,878.26
26%
73%

How is Ethereum taxed?

Ethereum is treated as a capital asset by HMRC, which means if you sell, trade, spend or gift ETH during the tax year, you will need to report any taxable profit in your self-assessment return.

Investors will need to declare any profits as capital gains, while you may be able to use losses to reduce your tax bill or offset any future gains. If you mine or stake Ethereum, or trade it in large volumes, you may be required to pay income tax instead of capital gains tax.

You can learn more in our guide to crypto tax rules in the UK.

After you've bought Ethereum

Once you own some ETH, you have 2 options – keep it on an exchange, or move it to a personal wallet. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Keeping your Ethereum on an exchange

Pros
  • Convenience. Keeping your Ethereum on an exchange is convenient because you can buy and sell at any time.
  • Security. Holding Ethereum on an exchange does come with significant counterparty risks, but reputable platforms also invest heavily in security so you don't have to worry about the pitfalls of self-custody.
  • Insurance. A small handful of exchanges now operate insurance schemes. These can range from insuring user deposits held in cold storage to reimbursing customers if a hack occurs.
  • Earn yield. Many exchanges let you earn yield on your Ethereum. This is done in 1 of 2 ways: the exchange will either stake your ETH on your behalf, or lend it to other users. Each carries its own set of risks, though lending is generally associated with higher risk. Make sure you understand which method is being used to generate yield before handing over your assets.
Cons
  • Phishing. Exchange users are frequently targeted by scammers trying to steal login information through malicious emails and fake website links.
  • Hacking. Exchanges are major targets for hackers. While security practices have improved substantially, hacks still occur from time to time.
  • Account freezing. Exchanges have been known to occasionally freeze user accounts, whether due to security concerns, technical issues or market turbulence. This could see you temporarily lose access to your crypto.
  • Limited usability. Ethereum is a blockchain with a growing ecosystem of Web3 applications. If you want to use these services, you will need to move a portion of your ETH to a Web3 wallet to pay for gas fees.

Moving your Ethereum to a non-custodial wallet

Pros
  • Self-custody. A mantra repeated by crypto investors is "Not your keys, not your coins." This comes from the idea that the only way to guarantee ownership of your Ethereum is to own the private key — which isn't the case when you hold on an exchange.
  • Security. Ethereum and cryptocurrency wallets vary greatly in their features and security. For the most secure experience, consider purchasing a hardware wallet, which is usually a small USB device that keeps your private keys offline at all times for an extra layer of security.
  • Utility. If you plan to use your Ethereum for transactions, daily spending or decentralised finance (DeFi), then storing it in a wallet rather than an exchange will be more convenient.
  • Web3 apps. The Ethereum ecosystem is chock full of DeFi dapps such as Aave, on which you can lend your ETH. It also features NFT apps like Rarible and games like Decentraland. To engage with these dapps, NFT platforms and games, your ETH must be in a non-custodial browser extension wallet.
Cons
  • Learning curve. It's no secret that learning how to use a crypto wallet takes some time and effort. Spend some time learning how Ethereum wallets work before transferring any of your funds.
  • Personal responsibility. Owning your own money can be liberating, but it also means the responsibility is all yours. If you lose your private key, the only way to regain access to your wallet is through the seed phrase. Make sure to store both of these privately and securely.
  • Inheritance. A challenge presented by crypto wallets is how to pass access on in the event of death or disability. Several companies are experimenting with ways to solve this problem, like the Trezor Model T wallet's Shamir backup feature.
  • Expensive transaction fees. One of the main critiques of the Ethereum network is that it is expensive to transact on. ETH fees are significantly higher than fees on blockchains such as Solana or Cardano.
  • Smart contract risk. If you plan to use your ETH on decentralised applications – or dapps – your funds may be at risk. Dapps are controlled by smart contracts and if there is a flaw in the code of these contracts, hackers may be able to steal your ETH.

Bottom line

If you want to buy Ethereum, start by comparing a range of crypto brokers and exchanges available in the UK. Look at their features, fees, security and overall reputation to decide which platform is the right fit for you. Consider an exchange registered with the FCA for added peace of mind.

Remember that owning and using Ethereum is not without its risks. Carefully consider investing in ETH as part of a wider strategy, and talk to a financial advisor if you have any questions.

Once you've bought some ETH, think about what your short and long-term goals are. This will help you decide whether to keep it on an exchange, or move it to your own wallet.

FAQs

Is Ethereum worth buying?

Unfortunately, there's no easy way of knowing for certain whether any asset is worth buying. A good place to start your evaluation is by considering the asset's utility.

ETH is the gas used for the Ethereum blockchain, so anyone that wants to use it must own ETH. As a result, mass adoption of Ethereum could see demand for ETH rise as well.

Take a look at our expert panel's price prediction for ETH through 2030 to help you to get a better idea as to whether or not Ethereum might be worth buying.

Where is the best place to buy Ethereum?

The best place to buy Ethereum will depend on your needs, but a common thing to look for is a platform that supports GBP, which you can do using our table.

You should also consider these things when choosing where to buy Ethereum:

  • What are the fees for buying and selling ETH?
  • Can I withdraw ETH to my own wallet?
  • What are the exchange's security practices?

Find out more with our guide to some of the best crypto exchanges in the UK.

Can I buy Ethereum for fiat?

Yes, lots of crypto trading platforms can help you buy Ethereum with fiat currencies. Use our table to look for an exchange that supports GBP deposits to get started.

Keep in mind that unless the exchange supports direct trading between GBP and ETH, you may have to convert your GBP to USD or BTC first.

Can I get Ethereum for free?

There are a handful of ways to earn small amounts of free ETH, including playing online games or using a crypto rewards credit card.

A much more common approach is to stake ETH you already own or lend it to a platform such as BlockFi or Nexo to earn a yield.

Read our guide on how to earn free crypto for other potential ways to earn some free Ethereum.

Cryptocurrencies aren't regulated in the UK and there's no protection from the Financial Ombudsman or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Your capital is at risk. Capital gains tax on profits may apply.

Cryptocurrencies are speculative and investing in them involves significant risks - they're highly volatile, vulnerable to hacking and sensitive to secondary activity. The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content shouldn't be interpreted as a recommendation to invest. Before you invest, you should get advice and decide whether the potential return outweighs the risks. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

Ethereum (ETH) price predictions for 2022, 2025 and 2030

The price of Ethereum (ETH) could jump from its current price of US$1,339 to US$1,711 by the end of 2022, reach $5,739 by 2025 and hit $14,412 by 2030, according to Finder's panel of fintech specialists.

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