Cryptocurrencies are unregulated in the UK. Cryptocurrency profits may be subject to Capital Gains Tax. The value of investments is variable and can go down as well as up.
Bitcoin is the oldest, biggest and most important of all cryptocurrencies.
Created in 2009 by an anonymous person or group going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin was the first currency to be built on a blockchain. In essence, a blockchain is a way of recording all the transactions that have ever occurred in a single, public ledger.
The blockchain uses this information to verify new transactions in real time, preventing double-spending and removing the need for a trusted intermediary such as a bank to check whether the person making the transaction has the funds to do so. The blockchain itself is shared between a vast global network of computers making it impossible to alter.
Bitcoin has a hardcoded upper limit of 21 million coins, which are released at roughly 10-minute intervals through a process known as ‘mining’. In mining, powerful computers compete to solve complex cryptographic problems (hence cryptocurrency). The successful computer receives an amount of Bitcoin while also adding a new ‘block’ of verified transactions to the blockchain. This system is called a Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism
The release of new Bitcoin is designed to be deflationary (i.e. over time one Bitcoin should gain more purchasing power). Every four years, the network undergoes a process called the ‘Halving’, which halves the amount of Bitcoin sent to successful miners. At the beginning, each block generated 50 Bitcoin. Three Halvings later, that’s been reduced to 6.25 Bitcoin. It’s expected that the final Bitcoin will be mined in the year 2140.
As the oldest and most traded cryptocurrency, you’ll often see Bitcoin used as a trading pair for altcoins. For many cryptocurrency traders and investors, the goal isn’t to earn more fiat currency (which are inflationary by design) but rather to accumulate as much Bitcoin as they possibly can.
Note: there are a number of so-called Bitcoin ‘forks’ in existence that split off the main chain and became independent currencies. These include Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision (BSV), Bitcoin Diamond (BTCD) and Bitcoin Gold (BTCG). Always make sure when you’re buying Bitcoin, you’re buying coins on the original chain.
While it’s still rare to find retailers that accept Bitcoin as payment, with CoinJar Card you can use the Bitcoin in your CoinJar account (or any of the other 50+ cryptos we offer) to make purchases anywhere that Mastercard is accepted.
Bitcoin is legal to buy in the UK and is treated as an asset, much like a stock.
The safest way to Buy Bitcoin is through a trusted exchange with a proven track record. CoinJar is Australia’s longest-running crypto exchange and has been operating since 2013 with no unplanned downtime, security breaches or loss of customer funds. We are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (for AML purposes) and work with some of the world’s largest payment providers, including Mastercard, Visa, Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Yes, you can buy less than 1 Bitcoin. Bitcoin is denominated to 8 decimal places, with the smallest denomination being known as a ‘satoshi’ or sat. On CoinJar you can start buying Bitcoin with as little as £10.
The price of Bitcoin in GBP is determined by the international Bitcoin market – basically, the price to be found on cryptocurrency exchanges in the UK and all around the world. These prices tend to be the same (or very close) because any differences are smoothed out by arbitrage traders that buy at one exchange and sell at another.
Bitcoin forks occur when a group of miners decide to split from the main chain by adopting a particular change to the network and causing a new blockchain to come into existence. There are a number of Bitcoin forks that split off the main chain and became independent currencies. These include Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision (BSV), Bitcoin Diamond (BTCD) and Bitcoin Gold (BTCG). Always make sure when you’re buying Bitcoin, you’re buying coins on the original chain.
Bitcoin is popular both because it was the first crypto in existence (so it’s had more time to develop market share) and also because it’s considered the purest cryptocurrency – no fundamental changes to its code have ever been made and no central body controls it.
Some people argue that Bitcoin shares traits with gold – it’s a tradeable asset defined by its scarcity, finite supply and the difficulty of creating it. However, while gold is quite difficult to trade and own due to its weight and the need to physically transport it, Bitcoin can be traded and transported anywhere in the world at the click of a button.
Bitcoin is the best performing asset over the last decade, growing by more than 300,000%. While the price of Bitcoin is famously volatile and capable of going up and down rapidly, the long-term uptrend has been remarkably stable. However, past performance is not a guide to future results and Bitcoin has been known to experience price falls of more than 80%.
CoinJar’s digital currency exchange services are operated by CoinJar UK Limited (company number 8905988), registered by the Financial Conduct Authority as a Cryptoasset Exchange Provider and Custodian Wallet Provider in the United Kingdom under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017, as amended (Firm Reference No. 928767).
Like all investments, cryptoassets carry risk. Due to the potential volatility of the cryptoasset markets, the value of your investments may fall significantly and lead to total loss. Cryptoassets are complex and are unregulated in the UK, and you are unable to access the Financial Service Compensation Scheme or the Financial Ombudsman Service. We use third party banking, safekeeping and payment providers, and the failure of any of these providers could also lead to a loss of your assets. We recommend you obtain financial advice before making a decision to use your credit card to purchase cryptoassets or to invest in cryptoassets. Capital Gains Tax may be payable on profits.
CoinJar Card is a prepaid Mastercard® issued by EML Money DAC pursuant to licence by Mastercard International Inc. The e-money associated with your card is issued by EML Money DAC, authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland under the European Union (Payment Services) Regulations 2018 (Ref C95957). We recommend you consider the CoinJar Card Terms and Conditions before making any decision to acquire the product. Mastercard the circles design are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated.
Apple Pay is a trademark of Apple Inc. Google Pay™ is a trademark of Google LLC.