For many people, the main aim when selling bitcoin will be to cash out for GBP, so you can find instructions on how to do that below.
However, if you want to trade your BTC for another crypto, we’ve included a step-by-step guide on how to do that as well.
Selling BTC for GBP
If you want to sell BTC for fiat currency, here’s an example of how you can do it:
As the world’s oldest and most-renowned cryptocurrency, bitcoin is listed on the vast majority of crypto exchanges. However, not all of them allow you to exchange your BTC for fiat currency, and an even smaller amount allow you to cash out to GBP.
That said, there are a growing number of exchanges that do, so compare the features of a few to find a platform that meets your needs. You can then sign up for an account by providing your email address and creating a password. To satisfy Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) regulations, most exchanges will also require you to provide your full name, address and proof of ID.
Once you’ve created an account, make sure you enable 2-factor authentication for added security before moving on to step 2.
Before you can sell your bitcoin, you’ll need to transfer it into the wallet of your chosen exchange. This means you’ll need to log in to your exchange account, find the deposit address for bitcoin, and then transfer BTC from your external wallet to that address.
Once your transfer has been completed, it’s time to click through to the trading page on your chosen platform. You can then search for the currency pair you want to trade, in this case BTC/GBP, and enter all the details of your transaction.
On many exchanges, you’ll need to click the “Buy/Sell” tab and select bitcoin from the list of coins that appears. Click the “Sell BTC” link and then type the amount of BTC you’d like to sell in the field provided. Select GBP as the currency you want to exchange your BTC for, and click “Sell”.
Of course, make sure you take a moment to review the full details of the transaction before submitting it.
The final step is to withdraw the GBP you’ve acquired to your bank account. This is a simple process on most platforms – just look for the “Withdraw” link and follow the prompts – but make sure to check any limits and fees that apply before finalizing your transaction.
Selling BTC for cryptocurrency
If you want to exchange your bitcoin for another cryptocurrency, here’s how you can do it:
If you want to sell your bitcoin on the exchange where you initially purchased it, skip ahead to step 2.
If you’ll be using a new exchange, you’ll need to search for platforms that list your desired bitcoin trading pair and then compare the features they have to offer. Bitcoin can be exchanged for hundreds of altcoins on a huge range of platforms, so you’ll have plenty of crypto exchanges to choose from.
When you find one that suits your needs, enter your email address and create a password to sign up for an account. Depending on the exchange you choose, you may also need to provide your full personal details and photo ID to satisfy Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) requirements.
Remember to enable 2-factor authentication on your account before proceeding any further.
To move the bitcoin you want to sell into your exchange wallet, you’ll first need to find the BTC deposit address.
For example, on Binance you can do this by selecting “Deposits” from the “Funds” drop-down menu. Choose BTC as your deposit currency and copy the relevant wallet address or scan the QR code.
You can then head over to your wallet and use the address you’ve just copied as the destination for your BTC transfer.
Once the coins have arrived in your account, navigate your way to the trading section of your chosen platform. Find the currency pair you want to trade and then enter the full details of your sale.
For example, on Binance you can do this by clicking on “Exchange” and selecting either the “Basic” or “Advanced” trading view. Use the box on the right of screen to search for your desired trading pair – let’s say BTC/ETH for the sake of this example – and choose the type of order you want to place.
You can then type in how much BTC you want to sell, review the details of the transaction and click “Sell BTC”.
While you can keep your new crypto in your exchange wallet if you plan on making regular trades, the security risks associated with exchanges mean this is risky and not recommended for long-term holding.
With this in mind, find a crypto wallet that supports your new digital currency and allows you to control your private key. Create your wallet, find its deposit address and then transfer your crypto from the exchange into your wallet.
For example, you can withdraw coins from your Binance account by clicking the “Funds” drop-down menu and selecting “Withdrawals”. Select the currency you want to transfer, specify your withdrawal amount and then enter your wallet address. Your new cryptocurrency will then be sent to your private wallet for safe storage.
How to sell a large amount of bitcoin
If you’re looking to sell a large amount of bitcoin, such as $50,000 or more, conducting the transaction through an ordinary crypto exchange may not be the best way to go about it. Not only may there not be sufficient liquidity on a traditional exchange, resulting in slower processing times, but you’ll also need to battle “slippage” – which is when the market moves against you before your trade can be completed.
The transaction limits on these exchanges may also be too low for your needs, so anyone looking to sell a large amount of bitcoin should consider an over-the-counter (OTC) trade. OTC trades are those that take place away from a conventional, regulated exchange, and they offer a simpler and more cost-effective way to buy and sell large amounts of bitcoin.
There’s no such thing as a best way to sell bitcoin for everyone, because what works well for one person might not necessarily be a good fit for the next. Instead, it’s all about working out which option is the right choice for you. You can do this by asking yourself a few important questions:
Do you want to sell bitcoin for GBP or another cryptocurrency?
How quickly do you want to sell your bitcoin?
Are you willing to accept a price well below the market rate, or do you want to negotiate the best price possible?
If selling for GBP, how do you want to receive payment?
This should help you decide how you want to sell your bitcoin, and you can then figure out which platform has all the features you need. When comparing your options, make sure you consider:
Price. How does the exchange rate you’ll get compare to those offered by other platforms?
Fees. Compare any trading fees that apply and whether there’s a fee for withdrawing funds into your bank account or crypto wallet.
Trading and withdrawal limits. Is there any limit on the amount of bitcoin you can sell, or on how much GBP you can withdraw from your account?
Security features. Are there any security measures in place to help protect your funds and your private data, for example 2-factor authentication or a reputation system for buyers and sellers?
Customer support. If something goes wrong with your transaction, how will you be able to contact customer support? During what hours is support available?
Reputation and reviews. Seek out online reviews and check crypto forum posts from other users to find out whether they’d recommend a particular exchange, trading platform or bitcoin ATM provider.
There are several other important features to consider, such as where an exchange is regulated and the payment methods accepted by peer-to-peer trading sites, so check out our cryptocurrency exchange guide for more tips on how to choose the right platform.
How to sell bitcoin: what are my options?
The step-by-step guides above take you through the process of selling bitcoin on an exchange. However, this is just one of several options available when you want to cash out your bitcoin, so let’s take a closer at what other options you have.
Why might you choose this option? If you’re looking for a convenient and simple way to turn bitcoin into GBP or the cryptocurrency of your choice.
Pros: Convenient, quick and easy, allows you to exchange BTC for fiat or a huge range of cryptocurrencies
Cons: Withdrawal fees can sometimes be steep, ID verification process can cause delays
This is the most popular option for anyone looking to sell bitcoin. As the guides above show, it’s quite easy to sell bitcoin on a crypto exchange and you can do it all from the comfort of your couch. Exchanges act as an intermediary – which means both you and the buyer will need to entrust your funds to your preferred platform, and that exchange will impose trading fees to take a cut of each transaction.
Using an exchange means you have the option to either turn your bitcoin into GBP and withdraw the funds to your bank account, or exchange your BTC for just about any other cryptocurrency in existence. From Coinbase to Binance, there’s a huge range of exchange platforms to choose from, so you can shop around for the one that meets your needs.
However, make sure you’re aware of any trading fees and withdrawal limits that apply before choosing an exchange.
Why might you choose this option? If you want to set your own price and enjoy greater control over the sale process.
Pros: Could help you get a better price, provides you with more flexibility and control over the sale process, may offer increased privacy
Cons: Can take time to find a buyer, risk of fraud when dealing with private buyers
Peer-to-peer trades, which are sometimes also referred to as direct trades, offer the option of selling your bitcoin to another person. Online peer-to-peer marketplaces give you more freedom and control over the specifics of the transaction – you can set your price, nominate how you want to receive payment, and then wait for the right buyer to come along.
The way the sale actually takes place will vary depending on the peer-to-peer platform you’re using. For example, while some platforms only accept online bank transfers, sites like LocalBitcoins accept everything from cash and credit cards to PayPal and Western Union transfers.
The registration process varies from platform to platform, but some peer-to-peer marketplaces allow you to trade with a certain level of anonymity. However, you’ll need to be willing to accept that selling in this way may take longer than some other options, and you’ll need to compete with other sellers to get the attention of a suitable buyer.
Why might you choose this option? If you want a quick and easy way to turn your bitcoin into cold, hard cash.
Pros: Quick and easy, a fast way to cash out your bitcoin when you need fiat currency
Cons: Bitcoin ATMs (particularly those that let you sell BTC) can be difficult to find, and have high transaction fees
Bitcoin ATMs allow you to deposit cash and convert it to bitcoin. However, some of these ATMs also allow you to transact in the opposite direction – in other words, convert your BTC balance into fiat currency so you can withdraw cash.
The main advantage of this approach is that it offers fast access to cash, providing an instant way to turn your digital coins into real-world money. Unfortunately, bitcoin ATMs can be hard to find, and even if you stumble across one there’s no guarantee that it will support selling services. You’ll typically also need to provide some form of ID before you can complete a transaction, and be willing to accept high fees compared to other selling options.
Why might you choose this option? If you’re selling to a friend or relative, or if you want to negotiate a better sale price and avoid middleman fees.
Pros: Dealing direct means there are no middleman fees, you can negotiate the price you want
Cons: Very risky if dealing with a stranger, more time-consuming than selling online
Want to sell some BTC to a friend or family member? If they already have a bitcoin wallet set up, the process is easy. All you have to do is scan their wallet QR code or copy its address, transfer them the BTC, and either accept payment from them in cash or as a bank transfer.
However, you may also be considering selling your bitcoin to a random person, perhaps someone who contacted you through a peer-to-peer marketplace or who you arranged to meet via an online forum. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that this can be a risky move, so it’s a good idea to arrange your meeting through a site that has some sort of rating system to help you gauge the legitimacy of the other party.
Taking normal safety precautions, such as arranging to meet in a public place, is also a must.
Withdrawing your funds after the sale
Even after you’ve sold your bitcoin, your transaction hasn’t been fully completed. The final step is to withdraw the proceeds of your sale into either your bank account or your cryptocurrency wallet.
If you’ve sold bitcoin through a platform that permits GBP withdrawals, check to see what withdrawal methods are supported. Options may include:
When choosing your withdrawal method, make sure you consider:
Fees. Many (but not all) platforms impose a withdrawal fee, and the fee charged usually varies depending on the withdrawal method selected.
Limits. Are there any minimum or maximum limits on how much you can transfer? How do they differ between withdrawal methods? Can you increase these limits by providing additional verification or ID?
Processing times. How long will it take for the GBP to arrive in your wallet or bank account? For example, while cash withdrawals are instant, bank transfers can take several days to arrive.
Any other restrictions. For example, some exchanges will require you to withdraw funds using the same payment method with which you made your deposit.
Storing your cryptocurrency on an exchange for the long-term is not recommended. Exchanges control the private keys to these wallets and are also popular targets for hackers, so the safest option is to transfer your crypto into a secure wallet which lets you retain ownership of your private keys. It’s a good idea to set this wallet up well in advance of selling your bitcoin, and make sure you double-check your wallet address before depositing any funds.
Once again, check whether there are any limits on the amount of crypto you can withdraw per-transaction or in any 24-hour period. You’ll also need to factor any withdrawal fee into the total cost of the transaction.
When is the right time to sell bitcoin?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question.
Timing is crucial to maximizing the success of any trade – anyone who sold bitcoin at or near its ~US$20,000 peak in December 2017 can attest to this fact – but working out the right time to sell can be a tricky task. From crypto regulatory developments and broader economic factors to bitcoin hype levels and even your own appetite for risk, there are many factors that can affect whether you should or shouldn’t sell your BTC.
You can sell bitcoin for cash by using a bitcoin ATM that allows you to exchange your BTC for a GBP cash withdrawal. Alternatively, you could arrange to sell your bitcoin through a peer-to-peer marketplace that accepts cash as a payment option, either meeting someone in person to accept payment or asking them to send a cash transfer through a payment service such as Western Union.
Bitcoin debit cards are linked to your cryptocurrency balance. They allow you to load your card with BTC, which is then converted into GBP by the card provider so you can use it to buy goods and services in-store and online, or withdraw cash from an ATM.
Yes, there are several companies that specialize in facilitating bill payments in cryptocurrency. These services, like Bylls, convert your BTC into GBP to pay a bill that requires you to transfer funds to an Irish bank account. Check out our cryptocurrency bill payment services guide for more information.
You can sell bitcoin through a peer-to-peer marketplace that accepts PayPal payments, such as LocalBitcoins or Paxful, or use an exchange like VirWox. Alternatively, some exchanges may also allow you to sell bitcoin for GBP, then withdraw your GBP to the credit card or bank account linked to your PayPal account.
As of September 2018, you can’t. Coinbase only offers buy services to Irish users.
Yes, some multi-currency wallets (such as Coinomi and Jaxx) come with an in-built exchange service that allows you to quickly swap bitcoin for another crypto within your wallet. However, this convenience usually comes at a price, as the exchange rate you’ll get will typically be lower than the price you could get on an open exchange.
Look at the current sell offers listed on your chosen platform to get an idea of the average price. However, remember that you’re competing with the other sellers on that platform and will need to make a compelling offer. The price you set could vary depending on what else you’re bringing to the table, such as being in a convenient location for buyers or accepting cash payments.
Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly
volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of
future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information.
You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory
requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may
have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.
Andrew Munro is the global cryptocurrency editor at Finder. After previously writing about insurance and other areas, he now covers the latest developments in digital assets and blockchain and works on Finder's comprehensive range of guides to help people understand cryptocurrency.
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