Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general are still a mystery to many people.
After all, you can’t touch it or see it, and it only exists as zeros and ones inside a vast global array of computers.
But the world of cryptocurrency and the underlying blockchain technology is rapidly entering the mainstream.
This is demonstrated by the flurry of big financial institutions getting involved and ploughing billions into adding Bitcoin and other crypto to their investment portfolios.
And people who a few years ago may have dismissed Bitcoin as a fad are being to take notice.
So, if you’re the investing sort, you may be wondering how you can get in on the action.
Happily, it’s a remarkably simple process. Here are the main options:
How to buy Bitcoin from an exchange
This is the route that most people will take, and it really isn’t that daunting.
If you’ve ever opened an account online with a financial institution such as a bank or pension provider, the process will be familiar.
You need to provide some personal details and ID (such as a driving licence) and set up 2FA to secure your account.
Once accepted you’ll be able to buy crypto almost instantly depending on how you choose to pay.
You don’t have to worry about large minimum buys either. The exchanges we’ve tested will happily sell you a few quids worth so you can dip your toes in the water.
There are dozens of exchanges out there, but two of the largest and perhaps the most familiar to British readers are Coinbase and Binance (which recently ran an advertising campaign featuring posters at London bus stops).
You can also check out our review of the top 5 crypto exchanges available in the UK.
The Binance sign-up process is much slicker than Coinbase and we were up and running in minutes. (On Coinbase we experienced a delay before our account was authorised).
However, for the absolute beginner we’d recommend Coinbase (read review), even though the fees are higher than average. It has a much simpler interface which is more intuitive to use.
If you’re just starting out on your crypto investing journey, you’ll find using Coinbase a breeze.
However, it does have its limitations; it doesn’t offer the fully functional trading interface featured on Binance which you’ll need if you decide you want to get serious about crypto.
Another option that’s worth considering is eToro, the popular stock platform. It offers access to a limited number of cryptocurrencies but is still not as user friendly as Coinbase.
Get paid in Bitcoin
There is a way of dipping your toes into crypto without having to open a trading account.
If a customer is happy to pay you in Bitcoin then all you need to do is set up a digital wallet and send them your address.
There are dozens of free wallets available, but a good starting point for beginners is the one offered by Blockchain.com.
Many have likened Bitcoin to digital gold. They view it as a store of value rather than a currency, while other crypto coins have different use cases.
But whether you believe in cryptocurrency in its present form or not, the underlying blockchain technology is being widely adopted and utilized across the globe and is very much here to stay.
Adam is the founder of The Crypto Adviser which offers experts guides and reviews on all things related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
Adam is Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA) Level 4 qualified, a Member of the London Institute of Banking and Finance (MLIBF), and has worked for many years as a journalist and PR consultant, having studied with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).