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How to Buy Polkadot (DOT) in the UK (2023)

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Two of the cheapest ways to buy Polkadot (DOT) in the UK with GBP is through Coinbase (Advanced Trade) or Kraken. You can deposit GBP into either of these cryptocurrency exchanges with a UK bank transfer (Faster Payments), and then buy Polkadot (DOT) at the real exchange rate with low fees (< 1%).

A simpler and easier-to-use alternative is CoinJar, which charges a flat 1% fee when you buy Polkadot (DOT) or any of the other 56 other supported cryptocurrencies.

Anyhow, check out this quick guide to buying Polkadot (DOT) in the UK to learn more about your options.

Quick Summary: Buy DOT in the UK

The table below summarises the best places to buy Polkadot (DOT) in the UK with various payment methods. There are more places than this, but I reckon these are the easiest and cheapest.

ProviderPayment MethodFees (Approx.)
Coinbase (Advanced)UK Bank Transfer< 1%
KrakenUK Bank Transfer< 1%
CoinJarUK Bank Transfer1%
CoinJarDebit & Credit Card2%
Crypto.comUK Bank TransferVariable
Crypto.comDebit & Credit Card2.99%+
BC BitcoinUK Bank Transfer5%

How to Buy Polkadot (DOT) in the UK

1. Coinbase

Coinbase Logo

With Coinbase, it’s possible to buy Polkadot (DOT) at the real exchange rate without paying high trading fees (max 0.6%) by using its Advanced Trade dashboard.

This can be easily toggled on and off in a desktop browser by selecting ‘Trade’ in the left sidebar and then the ‘Advanced’ tab at the top of the reloaded page. This is Coinbase’s replacement of Coinbase Pro, which has been phased out.

Just deposit GBP with a UK bank transfer, wait an hour or two, and then you can buy any supported cryptocurrency on this exchange. After my first deposit, I’ve also found that subsequent deposits have been credited within minutes.

Overview of Option #1

  • Create a Coinbase account.
  • Deposit GBP (via a UK bank transfer) to your Coinbase account. Your first deposit can take a while, but thereafter it’s quick.
  • Toggle the Advanced Trade dashboard by selecting ‘Trade’ in the left-sidebar, and then ‘Advanced’ at the top of the page (once it reloads).
  • Buy Polkadot (DOT) with your GBP balance (real exchange rate (max 0.6% fees) on the DOT/GBP market.

Coinbase WebsiteCoinbase Review

2. Kraken

Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange that’ll be a decade old soon.

And over the last couple of years, it has continued to get better. They’ve added support for more cryptocurrencies, added support for GBP deposits, and much more.

Overview of Option #2

  • Create a Kraken account.
  • Complete verification to get an Intermediate or Pro level account.
  • Deposit GBP (via a UK bank transfer) to your Kraken GBP wallet.
  • Purchase Bitcoin (BTC) with your GBP balance.
  • Head over to the DOT/BTC market and buy DOT (real exchange rate, low fees).

You’ll pay fees of up to 0.26% on Kraken. You’ll unlock slightly lower fees if you trade more frequently on Kraken, or if you’re a market maker. You can find out more about all this in their help article.

I wouldn’t have bothered mentioning Kraken a few years ago. But now? They’re an excellent choice for anyone that wants to cheaply buy a range of cryptocurrencies (like DOT) in the UK.

Kraken WebsiteKraken Review

3. CoinJar

CoinJar Banner

Founded in 2013, CoinJar is a website and mobile app where you can buy Polkadot (DOT) and a growing number of cryptocurrencies in the UK.

The thing I really like is that, despite adding dozens of cryptocurrencies over time and integrating new products (like the CoinJar Card), they’ve kept their interface simple and intuitive. It’s very beginner friendly.

You can buy Polkadot (DOT) on CoinJar by depositing GBP with a UK bank transfer, and then swapping your cash balance for it. There’s a fixed fee of 1% when you do this.

Alternatively, CoinJar charges a fixed fee of 2% if you want to instantly buy Polkadot (DOT) with a credit or debit card.

CoinJar users also get access to the CoinJar Exchange, which is a seperate website (but uses the same login details) which is aimed at professionals and enthusiasts who want access to advanced trading tools. You’ll be charged maximum fees of 0.1% on this exchange, which is lower than Coinbase and Kraken.

CoinJar WebsiteCoinJar Review

Where Can You Keep Polkadot (DOT)?

With all of these options I’ve listed, you’re able to leave the Polkadot (DOT) you’re buying with them.

These are custodial solutions, which is shorthand for saying that you don’t control the funds – someone else does. This means your access to these funds is at their discretion (e.g., they could lock you out whenever they want).

If you want to take control of your money, then you’ll want to withdraw cryptocurrency you buy into non-custodial wallets. There are lots of options out there for Polkadot (DOT), but here are a few which I like:

For more options, check out this wiki page.

If you don’t already, getting a cheap hardware wallet (like the Ledger Nano S) isn’t going to be something you regret. It allows you to quickly and easily secure your cryptocurrency assets in a non-custodial manner. You can check out my Ledger Nano S review to learn more about this, or just head straight over to their website to hear it from them.

What is Polkadot (DOT)?

Polkadot (DOT) is the native token of the Polkadot network, a protocol that lets different blockchains communicate with each other. Its goal is to help create a decentralised internet where decentralised applications (DApps) can work together – even if they’re built on different blockchains.

Within the Polkadot network, the DOT token serves a few functions. For example, DOT is used to secure the network through Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus, but it can also be used to place governance votes.

The Polkadot network was founded in 2016 by a team at the Switzerland-based Web3 Foundation that included Gavin Wood, Robert Habermeier, and Peter Czaban. Polkadot’s native token, DOT, held its initial coin offering (ICO) in 2017, but it wasn’t available for public listing on exchanges until 2020.

Here’s a short video that provides an overview of the Polkadot network and the role of its native DOT token:

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What does the Polkadot network do?

The goal of the Polkadot network is to make it easier for different blockchains to communicate with each other.

Most blockchains (such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and Solana) exist independently of each other. This can mean, for example, that users interacting with the Bitcoin network have no easy way to communicate with another network, like Ethereum.

This means that DApps on different networks can’t easily share data or swap tokens. Without this sort of interoperability between blockchain networks, the cryptosphere could remain heavily fragmented. This would make larger-scale projects, such as the development of a decentralised internet, difficult to achieve.

Enter: Polkadot.

The idea behind Polkadot is that its protocol can serve as a sort of communication highway between blockchain networks. This would enable the cryptosphere to achieve full cross-chain interoperability so that a user of any one blockchain could also transact with any other blockchain in existence.

How does the Polkadot network work?

Polkadot hopes to achieve its goal of full cross-chain interoperability through a multi-layer system that involves the following key players:

  • Relay Chain: The core component of the Polkadot protocol, the Relay Chain maintains a ledger of all the transactions that occur on the network through parachains and bridges.
  • Parachains: These form the second layer of the Polkadot protocol. Each parachain consists of a handful of individual blockchains, all of which are connected. These parachains operate in parallel, allowing transactions to process simultaneously without clogging up the network. Each parachain operates as a sovereign blockchain, which means that they can have their own tokens and be optimised to serve specific use cases.
  • Bridges: Polkadot’s bridges are designed to connect well-established blockchains, such as Tezos, Bitcoin, and Ethereum. These bridges provide a direct communication link between these blockchains and the Polkadot Relay Chain through parachains.

To understand how all these aspects of the Polkadot network interact, let’s consider an example.

Imagine a company that wants to use a smart contract to automatically swap their Bitcoin (BTC) for USD Coin (USDC) whenever the price of BTC falls below a certain threshold. BTC and USDC exist on different blockchains (Bitcoin and Ethereum, respectively), so swaps like this aren’t normally very straightforward.

That’s where Polkadot comes into the picture.

To solve this problem, the company might create a smart contract on the Ethereum network. Polkadot’s bridges would then connect the Ethereum network to the Bitcoin network so they can easily communicate. Additionally, this smart contract could get fed real-time BTC price data from Chainlink’s oracles, which also operate as a parachain on the Polkadot network.

Once the price of BTC falls below the predetermined threshold, the Chainlink parachain will feed this data to the smart contract, which will cause it to execute. Polkadot’s bridges will then allow the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks to communicate to swap BTC for USDC.

All these transactions would eventually get registered on the Polkadot Relay Chain, which logs all the protocol’s activity, thereby providing full cross-chain interoperability between the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks.

What does the Polkadot (DOT) token do?

Polkadot’s native token, DOT, serves many functions in the Polkadot network. Some of the DOT token’s most important roles include:

  • Governance: Anyone that holds DOT tokens gets voting rights on proposed changes to the Polkadot network. Governance votes are weighted based on how many DOT tokens you hold and how long you agree to lock up your tokens on the protocol.
  • Staking: The Polkadot network operates using a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. To operate as a validator, nodes have to stake DOT onto the network. Individuals can also stake DOT on the Polkadot JS App and serve as a nominator by delegating their tokens to trustworthy validators. In exchange for staking DOT, you can earn rewards from the Polkadot network.
  • Bonding: Parachains can only be added to the Polkadot network by bonding DOT tokens. Older parachains that are outdated or are no longer useful can be removed from the network by unbonding DOT tokens.

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