If you're new to crypto and buying ethereum, here's the best places to buy: eToro, OKX, Kraken, Gemini and Coinbase. They all cater to slightly different people, so pick the right one for you.
How to buy ethereum in the UK
Ethereum is currently the second largest cryptocurrency, behind bitcoin, but has been catching up with it fast. It’s the foundation of crypto and is hugely popular.
Buying it is now super simple, but it can be confusing. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered – here’s everything you need to know and how to buy ethereum in the UK.
Best place to buy ethereum in the UK
Let’s get right to it, here’s where to buy ethereum in the UK – the best place is to use a cryptocurrency exchange. They’re perfect for everyone, from beginners to professional traders. They’re the go-to place for everyone buying ethereum and crypto in general.
Here’s the best places to buy ethereum:
Best place to buy ethereum
eToro is an awesome, easy to use trading platform with a great community, and pros to copy and learn from.
Once you’ve chosen your crypto exchange, sign up, deposit your cash (cheapest to use a bank transfer), and then simply buy. All it takes is a few clicks, and you’ll have your first bit of ethereum. Congratulations!
By the way, all the exchanges we recommend are free to use. So you could try them all if you like! You’ll only pay fees when you buy ethereum (or sell ethereum).
Note: these types of crypto exchanges are called centralised exchanges – they are real companies and businesses. In crypto, there’s also decentralised exchanges that run on the blockchain (more on that later), and not recommended for beginners.
Can you buy ethereum with no fees?
Nope! It’s not really possible to buy ethereum or any crypto without any fees. An exchange has got to make money somehow! Although you can reduce the fees you pay if you choose a cheaper exchange…
What’s the cheapest way to buy ethereum
So the cheapest way to buy ethereum in the UK is to use a low cost cryptocurrency exchange, such as eToro¹.
More advanced crypto exchanges also have lower fees (to entice the traders!), and so you can benefit if you use them too. However they are a lot more complicated to use, especially if you’re a complete beginner to crypto and investing in general.
Here’s the best advanced crypto exchanges if you want to have a look at all your options. Although we recommend simply using our recommended options above.
How much is one ethereum to buy?
Crypto is highly volatile (meaning the price changes a lot in a short space of time), and ethereum is no different! Make sure you understand this and are confident investing in an asset like this.
Here’s the latest price to buy one ethereum in Pounds (GBP):
Crypto is often represented in Dollars, so here’s the price to buy one ethereum in US Dollars (USD):
When you see ‘ETH’ that’s the ticker for ethereum that exchanges use. So you might see ‘buy ETH’ rather than buy ethereum on a trading platform, but it’s the same. And where you see ETHGBP and ETHUSD above, that’s the trading pair – which simply means trading ETH for GBP or trading ETH for USD.
Can I buy ethereum with British Pounds (GBP)
Yep! You’ll be able to buy ethereum with Pounds on almost every crypto exchange. Simply deposit your banks with a bank transfer (which is normally fee free and completely automated), or you can use a debit or credit card (often with high fees however).
However with some exchanges you might have to deposit Pounds and then convert them to Dollars first, and then buy ethereum with Dollars.
If you want to sell your ethereum in the future (hopefully after a large profit), simply do the exact reverse of buying it in the first place. So head back to the exchange, find your ethereum and hit sell – the exchange will take care of everything and you’ll have Pounds back in your account which you can then withdraw back to your bank account via a bank transfer. Easy!
You may find there are some withdrawal fees, but this isn’t very common with crypto exchanges.
Oh by the way, if you do make a large profit, you might have to pay tax (Capital Gains Tax), we’ll cover that more in depth below.
What is Ethereum?
Ethereum is a pretty new technology, created by Vitalik Buterin in 2015 (with co-founders). After discovering bitcoin in 2012 and its underlying concept (a blockchain, explained below), they realised its potential and Ethereum was born.
Without getting too technical, Ethereum is a computer network that combines blockchain technology with computing power that allows anyone to use and build applications on, similar to the apps on your phone, and websites, but with the power and benefits of a blockchain (explained below).
Currently, lots of apps are overseen by large companies like Google and Apple – who control their own network, set the rules, collect vast amounts of individuals’ data, and take a big commission.
The difference with Ethereum is the computer power is spread out across the world, often by individuals running computers dedicated to helping run the network. This means it’s not controlled by any central organisation or business, such as Google or Apple, and is therefore ‘decentralised’ and cannot be shut down or hacked and the data cannot be changed.
For apps to run on the Ethereum blockchain, they must use something called ‘ether’ to function and operate, technically ether is used to pay for every transaction they make on the blockchain. The payment is essentially a fee that goes to those people supporting the network by providing the computing power.
This fee, technically called a gas fee, paid in ether, replaces the need to pay for expensive servers and your own computing power like companies currently do, and simply pay per transaction that goes straight to those helping to keep Ethereum running.
What is a blockchain?
A blockchain stores information in a certain order, in a way that makes it impossible to change, hack or cheat the system.
Imagine your bank statement with all of the transactions you’ve made, but instead of the bank providing it to you (who could change it, and only viewable by you and the bank), each transaction is permanently stored on the blockchain, and publicly available (your identity is still private).
It’s really that simple, but it’s the technology that does this which was a breakthrough – we won’t go into it here, but you could think of it as a technological change as big as the internet was.
You may not be thinking it’s a great invention, but wait! As you can’t cheat the system, it provides a truly accurate record on transactions, which acts as a base for other things to be built on, such as currencies like bitcoin.
And in the case of Ethereum, it has endless possibilities that don’t rely on a company in the middle to operate and provide that accurate record and service.
For instance, you could get car insurance without any insurance company involved, saving you thousands of pounds in saved middleman fees. The contract you make with the insurer would be stored as a permanent record, so if you went to make a claim and they decided the value of your car is now a lot lower, you’d have proof of what was agreed. Plus, the payment could actually be paid out automatically at the set price, without any human intervention (this is a basic example of what’s called a smart contract).
Or another example, maybe you could play a game of poker with no commission (rake) on each hand taken by the casino. The possibilities really are endless, it has the potential to change every industry in the world.
What’s the difference between Ethereum, ether and ETH?
Ethereum is the network, or technically the name of the blockchain.
Ether is the token (or coin) of the Ethereum network that is needed in order to make a transaction. The transaction (gas) fee is paid in ether.
ETH is used to represent the ether token on exchanges. It is the ‘ticker’. Just like companies on a stock exchange, for example Apple is AAPL.
How does Ethereum work?
Ethereum has apps and websites running on its network, these are called decentralised apps, or dapps. And you interact with the apps, rather than Ethereum itself.
You often won’t even notice you are using the Ethereum network – think of Ethereum as the plumbing and pipes behind the scenes, you just use the tap to fill the kettle for a nice cup of tea.
The main categories for dapps are finance (often called decentralised finance, or DeFi), gaming, arts and collectables (such as NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens), and technology in general.
Some dapps and projects have their own coins, just like ether, which run on the Ethereum blockchain, which you can buy and trade, with your own wallet, or using a crypto exchange too.
You use these dapps by using a ‘wallet’, that connects directly to the network, which is just like an email account you might use to send and receive emails.
What’s a wallet?
To interact with apps on the Ethereum blockchain, you’ll need your own wallet. This is effectively like a bank account combined with a passport. It can take you anywhere in the world of Ethereum, and holds some of your crypto too, which you’ll need for most apps.
You can store your crypto on the crypto exchange to start with, and send it back and forth to your wallet as and when you need.
The safest wallet to get is a hardware wallet. This is a real device that you’ll need every time you want to make a transaction. It’s also called an offline wallet.
And when you have your own ethereum wallet, you will be responsible for your own security. You’ll be given a private key (also called a seed phrase), which is similar to a username and password. This is the only way you can recover your wallet if you need it! Never lose your private keys – keep them in a safe place.
Where do you get a wallet?
Wallets are much easier than they might sound. You can get a wallet with most of our recommendations above, so you can use the same platform where you’re buying ethereum, to manage your wallet too.
Note: you can have more than one wallet, so try them all and see which one you get on with best. It’s free after all.
You also can get a wallet from places other than those listed, however if you’re completely new to crypto, it might be best to start with an easy-to-use and understand wallet with a company suited more for newbies, like the ones above.
Will ethereum overtake bitcoin?
It’s certainly possible for ethereum to overtake bitcoin in terms of ‘market cap’ (market capitalisation), that’s how much all the tokens are worth when added up – and a great measure to value cryptocurrency projects. It’s very similar to measuring companies on the stock market.
However, who knows if it will. They’ll most likely both keep growing over time, and they’re both quite different! They’re not really competing with each other. We hope they both succeed and change the world for the better!
Is Ethereum legal in the UK?
Yep! Ethereum, the blockchain and ether (the token), and actually, all cryptocurrencies are perfectly safe and legal to use in the UK.
Yep! It’s safe to buy ethereum in the UK. However, we recommended only using one of our recommended crypto exchanges – they’re all well established and trusted by the industry. Not all crypto exchanges can be safe.
However, currently in the UK, there isn’t any consumer protection. That means no protection from the government and there’s no regulator. You are not protected by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which regulates financial services, or protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) – which protects you up to £85,000 if something were to go wrong with a company holding your money (such as going out of business).
However, that doesn’t mean crypto exchanges themselves are unsafe. In fact, they have their own protections in place.
There’s bank grade security, and they have their own insurance, which pays out if something happens to the company. And, most of the crypto on exchanges are actually held in ‘cold storage’, which means they’re in wallets that have never touched the internet, and so cannot be hacked or compromised.
Ethereum and tax
Tax wise, once you purchase your ethereum (ether), and if you make a profit, you may be liable for Capital Gains Tax. However this is only when you sell, and it’s only if your profits are more than your annual allowance, which is £6,000. That’s your allowance each tax year (April 6th to April 5th the following year.)
The rate you’ll pay is either 10% or 20% depending on how much total income you earn per year. That’s things like your salary, not your crypto trading profits.
If you earn less than £50,270 per year (so a basic rate taxpayer), you’ll pay 10% on your crypto profits. And if you earn more than £50,270, so a higher rate (40%), or additional rate taxpayer (45%), you’ll pay 20% tax on your crypto profits.
This is actually the same for all investments you might have, so things like stocks and shares. Unless they are within a Stocks & Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA or personal pension. Unfortunately you can’t buy crypto directly in either of these accounts!
Remember if you’re holding for the long term, you don’t need to worry about tax at all – only when you decide to sell.
That’s how to purchase ethereum in the UK
There you have it, pretty much everything you need to know about the basics of Ethereum and how to buy ethereum in the UK.
As a quick recap, here’s the best places to buy ethereum:
eToro¹: best overall. Easy to use and you can learn from the pros, and even copy them (copy trading). Has stocks and shares too.
Uphold¹: easiest to buy, great platform to buy and hold crypto.
There’s lots more to Ethereum, and the incredible innovation that’s being developed, and it can feel overwhelming, but the more you learn, the more comfortable you’ll be. The best way to learn is just to get stuck in! Good luck!
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