Solana (SOL) catapulted into the spotlight in 2021 by presenting itself as a high-speed competitor to Ethereum, which helped SOL reach an all-time-high price of £207.97 in November 2021.
While this has helped make SOL the #10 crypto by market cap, Solana is still a highly volatile asset capable of major price swings in a single day.
Today SOL is trading for £17.22, which is slightly down from yesterday's trading price of £17.09. Solana's seen a decrease of -42% over the past year.
So before you buy Solana, make sure you understand these unique risks as well as its legal, regulatory and tax status here in the UK.
If you're ready to get started, read on for step-by-step instructions and a list of platforms you can use to buy Solana in the UK.
How to buy Solana in 4 steps
To buy SOL all you'll need is a smartphone or
computer, an internet connection, photo
identification and a way to pay.
Compare crypto exchanges
The easiest way to buy Solana is from a cryptocurrency exchange. Comparing in the table helps you find a platform with the features you want like low fees, ease of use or 24-hour customer support.
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.
Make a deposit
Once verified, you can deposit GBP using the payment method that best suits you – cryptocurrency, bank and card payments are widely accepted.
You can now exchange your funds for Solana. On beginner-friendly exchanges, this is as simple as entering the GBP or SOL amount you want to purchase and clicking "buy". If you like, you can then withdraw your Solana to a personal wallet.
Beginners & instant purchases
Crypto is unregulated in the UK; there's no consumer protection; value can rise or fall; tax on profits may apply.*
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Keep in mind that these are suggestions and that the exchange that is best for you will depend on your individual needs. There are other products on the market not included in our picks.
Where to buy Solana in the UK
If this is your first time buying cryptocurrency you'll need to look for a platform that accepts pounds, like Revolut or CoinJar.
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.
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What is Solana?
Founded in 2017, Solana (SOL) is an open-source blockchain platform designed to host decentralised and scalable applications.
It grew in popularity rapidly during the 2020 bull run as an Ethereum alternative layer-1 blockchain. Solana's network is significantly faster than Ethereum's due to its unique proof-of-history (PoH) technology. PoH allows transactions to be time stamped and processed quickly while its PoS consensus verifies the transactions and adds blocks to the blockchain.
Solana can process an estimated 50,000 transactions per second (TPS), far more than Ethereum's 10–15 TPS.
While this seems like a drastic improvement, Solana has been scrutinised with suggestions that – unlike Ethereum – its blockchain compromises decentralisation and security in f of speed.
These concerns were amplified when Solana experienced multiple network outages throughout 2022, halting block production for several hours.
Credit card fees are higher than using bank transfers.
Some card issuers may block cryptocurrency transactions.
Your purchasing options will be limited and more expensive.
You may end up losing your initial investment and being charged fees and interest by your credit card provider.
Buying Solana with cash isn't common in the UK, but it can still be done.
There are a few ways to buy SOL with cash:
Solana ATMs. You can purchase SOL with cash using a specialised Solana ATM. These can be found in many major cities in the UK. You will still need to hand over some photo ID and pass a Know Your Customer (KYC) check.
Peer-to-peer (P2P). You can use a P2P platform to find someone who will sell you SOL directly in exchange for cash. Beware that this comes with a high risk of fraud if you attempt to settle the transaction in-person or without an escrow service. Look for an established and reputable platform that provides an escrow service and facilitates your trade online.
You can swap any cryptocurrency you already own for SOL using the "swap" or "convert" service on some platforms. This lets you instantly exchange one crypto for another even if there is no trading pair on the spot market.
What is the cheapest way to buy Solana?
Most exchanges let you buy as little as £5 worth of SOL, 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 Solana, while others provide several choices. The 2 most common ways to buy SOL are on the spot market or with an "instant buy" feature.
If it's your first time buying Solana 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 Solana 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 SOL's market rate in exchange for the convenience.
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 SOL on the open market. It's usually the cheapest way to buy Solana 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 Solana 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 Solana 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 Solana in the UK
There are dozens of different trading platforms to choose from when buying Solana 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 , 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 Solana 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 Solana, 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 SOL exchange typically offers more convenience, but may have some downsides depending on your goals.
UK-based exchanges must comply with FCA Anti-money Laundering (AML) and Counter-terrorism Financing (CTF) reporting obligations.
You can usually buy Solana with GBP.
Exchanges in the UK typically support local payment methods, such as .
You may be able to access local customer support.
Subject to local laws.
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 Solana developments
8 May, 2023: Solana launches Saga, an Android-based smartphone designed for Web 3 and use with the Solana blockchain. May 02, 2023: The number of active addresses on Solana reached new lows in April, with just 7.72 million active addresses. This is the lowest monthly count on record according to data from The Block. April 06, 2023: The price of Solana has stayed relatively flat over the past month, signficantly behind other large cap cryptos like BTC, ETH and ADA March 3, 2023: Anatoly Yakovenko, founder and CEO of Solana Labs, released plans for Solana network upgrades. 31 January, 2022: Solana, which was heavily impacted by the collapse of Bahamian-based crypto exchange, FTX, has bounced back close to 200% from its December 2022 lows. After starting 2023 below $10, SOL has been one of the best-performing altcoins throughout January and is on track to reclaim its 200-day moving average if the bullish momentum continues.
Is Solana safe to invest in?
You shouldn't invest in any asset, including SOL without doing plenty of research first. Before you buy Solana, make sure you understand and weigh up these risks:
Price volatility. Solana's price is largely based on speculation, which means it can rise or fall in a short time. It's not uncommon for SOL to lose more than 10% of its value in a single day.
Perceived value. SOL 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 Solana 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 Solana and other cryptos is constantly changing. It's important to understand how international rulings have the potential to impact Solana's future – for better or worse.
Novel technology. Solana was created in 2017 which makes it relatively new as a form of technology and as a currency. SOL doesn't yet have the same track record or performance history as some other asset classes.
Technical learning curve. Evaluating the tech behind SOL 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.
Persistent outages. The Solana network has been known to go offline for hours at a time. While the network is offline, you cannot transact with your SOL – the native asset of the Solana blockchain – or even send it from wallet to wallet.
Few validators. As of August 2022, Solana only has about 1,000 validators compared to Ethereum's approximately 350,000 validators. Fewer validators mean that a network is more centralised and therefore less secure.
Novel consensus mechanism. Solana uses a novel proof of stake (PoS) consensus mechanism called Tower BFT on top of the novel proof of history (PoH) consensus mechanism. No other blockchain validates information this way, and as such Solana should be considered both new and experimental.
Where could Solana's price be heading?
Solana (SOL) is set to end 2022 at $35, according to Finder's panel of fintech specialists. Going forward, the panel is projecting SOL to be worth around $116 in 2025 before rising to $236 by 2030.
Compare today's price of Solana ($21.52 USD) against its all-time high (ATH) price of $259.96 USD on November 06, 2021. The closer the bar is to 100%, the closer SOL is to reaching its ATH again.
Current price: $21.52
All-time high: $259.96
How is Solana taxed?
Solana is treated as a capital asset by HMRC, which means if you sell, trade, spend or gift SOL 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 Solana, or trade it in large volumes, you may be required to pay income tax instead of capital gains tax.
Once you own some SOL, 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 Solana on an exchange
Convenience. Keeping your Solana on an exchange is convenient because you can buy and sell at any time.
Security. Holding Solana 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 Solana. This is done in 1 of 2 ways: the exchange will either stake your SOL 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.
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. Solana 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 SOL to a Web3 wallet to pay for gas fees.
Moving your Solana to a non-custodial wallet
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 Solana is to own the private key — which isn't the case when you hold on an exchange.
Security. Solana 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 Solana for transactions, daily spending or decentralised finance (DeFi), then storing it in a wallet rather than an exchange will be more convenient.
DeFi. When you hold the private keys to your SOL and other tokens on the Solana network, you can partake in the world of decentralised finance (DeFi) on Solana. For example, you can stake assets or yield farm with your assets via decentralised apps (dapps) such as Raydium.
Web3 apps. Beyond the DeFi apps on Solana, you can also use your assets on the network to buy NFTs. Plus, you can use your tokens to play upcoming games like Star Atlas or Monkey League.
Cheap transaction fees. Compared to other major blockchains like Ethereum, transacting on Solana is very inexpensive. For example, a transaction on Ethereum will likely cost you at least a few US dollars, while a transaction on Solana will only cost you a fraction of a cent.
Learning curve. It's no secret that learning how to use a crypto wallet takes some time and effort. Spend some time learning how Solana 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.
Still in beta. The Solana network is still running on a mainnet beta version. In other words, it isn't a finished product and still has its share of glitches to iron out.
If you want to buy Solana, 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 Solana is not without its risks. Carefully consider investing in SOL as part of a wider strategy, and talk to a financial advisor if you have any questions.
Once you've bought some SOL, 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.
Is Solana a good investment?
Unfortunately, there's no way to know for certain if any asset is a good investment, but there are some things you can do to help build an informed opinion.
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* 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.
James Edwards is the global cryptocurrency editor at Finder. He coordinates a distributed team of journalists to help further Finder's mission of helping people make better financial decisions.
He has been using Bitcoin since 2013 and began working in the industry in 2017. He takes pride in boiling down complex topics into language his parents can understand.
His expertise has seen him called on to report at events such as TechCrunch Disrupt, CoinDesk Consensus and IBM Think and has coordinated a vast number of high-profile interviews with the industry's brightest minds.
He is a regular contributor to Nasdaq, The Street and is frequently called upon for market commentary in Australia and abroad.
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