Bitcoin is a virtual currency or “cryptocurrency” which has been around since 2009. Unlike other “fiat” mainstream currencies like the US Dollar and the Euro, bitcoin does not exist in paper or coin form.
With the recent large increases in the price of Bitcoin – there are a lot more people wondering how to buy Bitcoin in Ireland.
There is a fixed supply of 21 million Bitcoins. However, it is estimated that only 4.2 million Bitcoins are in constant circulation.
There are now several other cryptocurrencies in existence – some of the most popular include Ethereum, Litecoin Ripple and Stellar
Price of Bitcoin
During 2020 and the first few weeks of 2021 the value of Bitcoin has rocketed as demand for it increased.
At the start of 2020 one Bitcoin was worth around $8000. By Jan 9th 2021 it went over the $40,000 mark for the first time after doubling in value in less than a month.
Bitcoin hit $44,795.20 on Feb 8th after Elon Musk’s electric carmaker Tesla invested $1.5 billion in the digital currency.
In addition to the purchase, Tesla signalled its intention to begin accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment, subject to applicable laws.
As at Feb 19th – the price of Bitcoin was close to $56,000 USD.
The price of Bitcoin hit a previous high of $19,850 in mid-December 2017 , but then tumbled rapidly, falling to below $12,000 within days.
Investment strategists at JP Morgan put out a note to clients in early January 2021, suggesting that Bitcoin may ultimately reach $146,000 over the long term.
In November 2020, a top City firm, Ruffer Investment, sank 2.7 per cent of its portfolio into bitcoin, £550 million.
The chief global strategist of Morgan Stanley Investment Management has even suggested bitcoin could replace the US Dollar as a global reserve currency.
But there are still many sceptics that dismiss Bitcoin. They still expect Bitcoin to turn out to be one of history’s most over-hyped bubbles. They could be right, they could be wrong.
Buying Bitcoin in Ireland
Etoro and Bitcoin
Etoro is an online trading platform where you can trade in Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, stocks, CFDs and commodities
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) can be transferred from the eToro platform to an eToro Wallet where they will be more secure.
When buying cryptocurrencies on eToro, the only trading fees charged are the spreads – eg. 0.75% on Bitcoin and 1.9% on Ethereum.Bitcoin can also be purchased fractionally on Etoro, so you don’t need to buy a full Bitcoin to own some. For example, if Bitcoin’s price was $50,000, you could purchase 0.001 Bitcoin for $50. The minimum crypto purchase is $25 USD .
Etoro only allows trades in US dollars – which means any Euro deposits have to be converted to dollars. They charge a 0.5% conversion fee from Euro to dollars on deposit and again on withdrawal from US Dollars to Euro. Etoro normally asks for a minimum deposit of $200 but on Feb 24th they increased this temporarily to $1000. (“Due to continued heavy demand on the platform and to ensure that we can properly service our existing customers.”)
Etoro accepts payment by debit card as well as bank transfer and Paypal.
To avoid the Etoro conversion fees you could deposit US Dollars using a debit card from N26. (Etoro say they do not accept USD payments from Revolut ).
The exchange rate used by N26 will be the standard Mastercard rate with no extra fees. It should also be possible to withdraw US dollars from Etoro to the N26 card to avoid the 0.5% fee – but we are not 100% certain of this.
You could use any Irish bank debit card – but the main Irish banks will all charge fees of around 2% (capped at about €11). N26 has no conversion fees.
Try Etoro Here
Note : 67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with Etoro. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Cryptoassets are highly volatile unregulated investment products with no EU investor protection.
Coinbase is another place to buy Bitcoin in Ireland.
Coinbase was set up in San Francisco in 2012 and now has more than 30 million users. Coinbase can be used in Ireland to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.
The EU HQ of Coinbase is in Ireland and Coinbase Ireland Limited is authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland as an electronic money institution (fiat currencies).
Coinbase accepts payments by bank transfer, credit card or debit card, as well as PayPal .
Coinbase does not charge a fee to use its wallet service but there are fees when you buy and sell Bitcoin.
Credit and debit card purchases are charged a 3.99% fee and bank transfers are charged a 1.49% fee in Europe.
Coinbase also charges a spread of about 0.50% for cryptocurrency purchases and cryptocurrency sales.
On Coinbase you can buy fractional Bitcoin in increments as little as 2 Euros.
Coinbase is backed by Spanish bank BBVA and the New York Stock Exchange and it was the first crypto company to become a principal member of Visa.
Important – Bitcoin and other cryptoassets are highly volatile unregulated investment products. There is no EU investor protection.
Buy Shares in Bitcoin Trackers on DEGIRO
If you want a method of investing or speculating on the value of Bitcoin – but without actually owning any or worrying about virtual wallets – you could buy shares in a Bitcoin tracker from a stockbroker.
The cheapest way to do this is in Ireland is with an established online stockbroker such as DEGIRO.
Currently, there is just one Bitcoin Tracker available on Degiro Ireland. This is the “21 Shares Bitcoin ETP” (ZZUG).
It’s available on the Frankfurt stock exchange (XET) and “seeks to track the investment results of Bitcoin“
This type of tracker is classed as a high-risk investment.
DEGIRO’s low fees make this type of bitcoin investment fairly affordable.
A Bitcoin tracker can give investors exposure to Bitcoin without the overhead of managing the security and custody of private keys.
Another option might be to buy shares in the company Bitcoin Group SE.
This German company is a holding company focused on innovative technologies in the areas of cryptocurrency and blockchain.
Bitcoin Group SE owns 100% of the shares in Bitcoin Deutschland AG, which operates Germany’s only authorized trading centre for the digital currency Bitcoin.
Revolut and Bitcoin
Revolut customers can buy, hold and sell Bitcoin and a few other cryptocurrencies – but Revolut does not allow the transfer of cryptocurrencies in or out of Revolut. (So you don’t really own the crypto on Revolut).
Bitcoin can be purchased fractionally on Revolut.
So if you want a way to invest in Bitcoin and speculate on the price – Revolut is an option. (Again – there is always a high risk of loss)
See more about it on the Revolut Website
The exchange rate on Revolut for cryptocurrencies is 2.5% for Standard users and 1.5% for Premium and Metal users.
Revolut says that the cryptocurrency they buy for you is held in a ‘virtual account’ that also holds cryptocurrencies for other Revolut customers.
You will not have a separate cryptocurrency account.
It is free to join Revolut.