If you want to buy BTC in Europe, there are four primary ways you can do so:
- Through bitcoin exchanges like Kraken, Coinbase Pro and Bitstamp;
- Through decentralized (or peer-to-peer) exchanges, which offers users more privacy, e.g., Bisq, LocalBitcoins and HodlHodl;
- At Bitcoin ATMs, which are a convenient way to buy bitcoin;
- At retail stores. These are webshops or physical shops where you can buy bitcoin as you’d buy a lottery ticket or credit for your mobile phone.
Bitcoin Exchanges in Europe
Below is a short list of the most popular exchanges where you can exchange euros (EUR) or pounds (GBP) for BTC.
- Kraken is the premier European exchange. Actively trading since September 2013, Kraken has high standing in the cryptocurrency community, and one of the largest volumes for BTC-EUR of any exchange. It provides secure purchasing through the exchange of multiple currencies, (U.S. and Canadian dollars, the euro and the Japanese yen).
- Coinbase Pro also has large BTC-EUR volume. It is also one of the longest-running bitcoin exchanges. Once your account or credit card is linked to Coinbase Pro, you can easily schedule recurring purchases on a timer.
- Bitstamp is a bitcoin exchange located in Luxembourg. It allows trading in USD and the euro (among other currencies) with bitcoin, ether and litecoin. The company was originally founded to offer an alternative to Mt. Gox in Europe.
- Binance Jersey, an extension of Binance, opened in 2019 and offers access to bitcoin using the euro and British pound.
Bitcoin ATMs In Europe
Bitcoin ATMs are a novel way of buying bitcoin and are generally suitable for small purchases, but these machines are usually confined to metropolitan areas.
As discussed above, Bitcoin ATMs are a more expensive way of buying bitcoin and most will ask for some sort of verification, usually your mobile number, and may ask for more depending on local regulations and the size of the transaction. Bitcoin ATMs are also likely to be the quickest way of converting cash or money in the bank into BTC.
As of mid-2019, the supportive regulations of Austria, the U.K., the Czech Republic, Spain and Slovenia have resulted in the highest densities of bitcoin ATMs in these countries and their capital cities. Even smaller nation states like Albania, Latvia and San Marino have at least one bitcoin ATM. In 2018, the Swiss federal railways SBB have used its existing infrastructure to install hundreds of bitcoin ATMs across its network.
If you live in Europe, check out CoinATMRadar’s map to see if there’s a Bitcoin ATM near you.
There are also physical stores where you can buy bitcoin.
- At the time of this writing, in Austria there are over 4,000 stores where you can buy vouchers that contain bitcoin, called Bitcoinbon.
- Across France, there are tabacs that have started selling bitcoin vouchers as recently as January 2019.
And in London, U.K., there is a growing list of stores working with Cashin to provide an easy way to buy bitcoin via the Lightning Network. You simply download the app, choose the amount you want to buy and then display the QR code on your phone to the teller. Upon receipt of your QR code, you can then exchange your cash for bitcoin. With Cashin’s app, you can buy just under £600/€670 worth of bitcoin without having to provide identification.