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London Block Exchange (LBX) Review

London Block Exchange (LBX)
  • Ease of Use
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Payment Options
  • Speed
  • Fees
3.7

Summary

London Block Exchange (LBX) is a UK-based service (established 2017) which supports bitcoin (BTC) and 10 other popular cryptocurrencies. Their rates are competitive (<1% above real BTC to GBP exchange rate), but quicker and cheaper alternatives are available to UK residents.

London Block Exchange (LBX) is a UK-based company which allows you to buy bitcoin (BTC) and 11 other cryptocurrencies with GBP.

But who are London Block Exchange (LBX)? How does their platform work? Do they offer competitive rates?

Find out in this short(ish) London Block Exchange (LBX) review.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

Disadvantages

Who Are London Block Exchange (LBX)?

London Block Exchange (LBX) was founded September 2017 by CEO Benjamin Dives. They received £2m in funding to kickstart this project.

London Block Exchange (LBX) supports on-shore UK banking. This means you don’t have to faff around with wire transfers or SEPA. With London Block Exchange (LBX), you can just deposit funds with a simple GBP bank transfer. They utilise the Faster Payments Service (FPS) too, but regular users don’t seem to get the full benefit.

Their mission is to: “open the doors for everyone to partake in the new and emerging economy”.

Echoing this, CEO Benjamin Dives has previously said that they’re “creating a service where all steps of the cryptocurrency investment journey are seamless and straightforward”.

According to their CEO, London Block Exchange (LBX) is “incredibly popular among UK crypto-enthusiasts”. I couldn’t find any stats to back this claim up though.

How Does London Block Exchange (LBX) Work?

Although it’s called London Block Exchange, it doesn’t seem like an exchange service (I’m waiting for clarification on this).

Cryptocurrency exchanges (e.g., Coinbase Pro, Bitstamp, Kraken) are online platforms which match buyers and sellers. They typically allow you to set market orders (where you just buy at the current best price) and limit orders (where you set a specific buy/sell price).

Instead, London Block Exchange (LBX) appear to be acting like a broker. There’s a set buy/sell price and trades execute immediately.

I wish they’d made this clearer, as I expected to see something like Coinbase Pro before I registered.

You’ll also have to conduct all your trades through their iOS or Android app. The desktop app is coming soon™. Not a fan of buying/selling through apps, so that’s good to hear.

Registering

Getting started on London Block Exchange (LBX) is a bit strange.

I went to lbx.com/register and provided some basic information (name, email address, how much I’m intending to buy).

I thought the process would continue, but it didn’t. It throws you out while they decide whether to approve your application. I imagine they’re doing this to ensure that their platform isn’t overwhelmed by new users. It would be nice if they explained their reasoning though.

About 24 hours later, my application was approved.

But instead of setting a password during the initial registration, it’ll prompt you to install the mobile app and select ‘Forgotten Password’. This isn’t just strange, but annoying too.

Along the way, you’ll have to submit proof of identity and address. Some more information here.

Depositing GBP

  • Login to LBX's app.
  • Select 'Deposit'.

  • Select 'Bank Transfer'

  • This page shows LBX's bank details, the amount you're depositing, and the reference number.
  • Send a bank transfer to LBX.
    • Take care to enter these correctly.
  •  Sent the payment? Select 'I Made The Transfer'

  • You'll see this confirmation page.
  • Deposits can take up to 2 days to credit to your LBX balance.
    • You'll receive an email notification when it does.
  •  It took about 24 hours for my deposit to be credited.

Buying Process

This is the process for buying bitcoin with GBP, but the process is the same for other cryptocurrencies too.

LBX have their own guide here.

  • Login to LBX's app.
  • Select 'Trade' at the bottom.

  • Enter the amount of GBP you'd like to spend.
  • It'll quote you how much (of the cryptocurrencies available to trade) that you'd get for that amount.
  • Happy with the quote? Select 'Trade'.

  • You'll see a confirmation page like this.
  • If you're happy with all the details, select 'Complete Transaction'.
  • If you take too long, you'll have to refresh the offer.
    • If you're purchasing your maximum balance, this can cause errors. This is because the price of what you're buying has gone UP while you were checking the details. Check out this page for more information.

  • You'll now see a summary of this transaction.
  • This page will tell you if the trade was successful or unsuccessful.
  • For specific details, select 'Go to Transactions'

  • You'll now see the transactions page.
  • This has specific details of the transaction you just made.
  • Select 'Portfolio' in the bottom left.

  • You'll be back where you started.
  • You'll see that your account balance has changed to reflect the trade.


Supported Cryptocurrencies

London Block Exchange (LBX) support the following cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • OmiseGo (OMG)
  • Golem (GNT)
  • 0x (ZRX)
  • Basic Attention Token (BAT)
  • Status (SNT)

London Block Exchange (LBX) are looking to add additional cryptocurrencies as the marketplace develops (but won’t say more than that).

Payment Methods

London Block Exchange (LBX) utilise the Faster Payments Service (FPS) through an on-shore UK bank account.

With the FPS, electronic sterling payments should arrive in the destination account on the same day that they’re sent. In my experience, GBP sent through the FPS usually arrives within a couple of minutes. Most UK banks participate in the scheme, but you can double check here.

When I tested London Block Exchange (LBX), my deposit wasn’t credited until the next working day. That’s a little disappointing (as it negates the value of the FPS).

GBP withdrawals look like they take about 24 hours too.

Fees

Deposits of GBP and cryptocurrency are free, but free users will pay 2.45% when withdrawing GBP. Ouch!

 GBPCryptocurrency
DepositsFree (0%)Free (0%)
Withdrawals2.45% (free users)
0.95% (premium users)
Variable (avg. network transaction fee)

Trading fees are 0.5%, with a minimum buy/sell value of £25.

When I tested their buying process, I found that I was charged about 2.7% above the real BTC to GBP exchange rate.

Subtracting the 0.5% trading fee, my £30 was transformed into £29.12 (a 3% reduction).

However…when I re-checked their rates later, they were much lower – about 0.5% above the real BTC to GBP exchange rate.

Accounting for the 0.5% trading fee, you’re be paying approximately 1% above the real BTC to GBP exchange rate. That’s competitive with some of the cheapest ways to buy bitcoin (BTC) in the UK.

If you want to buy or sell more than £100k, then reach out to their OTC desk. I’ve been told that:

  • Their OTC prices are extremely close to the market rate (i.e., Bitcoin Price Index).
  • Their OTC fees are less than 0.5% (the larger the trade, the lower the fees).
  • When selling cryptocurrency for GBP, money was usually credited within 1 working day.
    • For large trades (£250k+), it takes a little longer (2-3 working days).
  • The process is much easier than Coinfloor or Coinbase, with little wasted time or slippage.

Limits

Everyone starts with level 1 limits.

These limits are quite low (£1000/day & £20,000/month), but good enough to purchase a little bit here and there.

You can increase your limits by contacting support. There are a few more details here.

This PDF also details account limitations for each verification level.

Memberships

You’ll start off with a standard membership. This lets you deposit, withdraw, and execute trades.

If you pay £10/month, you can upgrade to a premium account. These are the additional benefits of it:

  • Early access to Daily Market Reports.
  • Invitations to exclusive LBX-Live events.
  • Cheaper withdrawal fees (0.95% instead of 2.45%).

They also have corporate memberships, where they provide dedicated account managers and access to the over-the-counter desk.

Alternatives

Solidi and Bittylicious are two reputable alternatives.

There are numerous great alternatives to London Block Exchange (LBX) in the UK.

Check out this post for an overview.

Here are three options which I’ve reviewed.

With any of these options, you can buy bitcoin easily and quickly with GBP through with a UK bank transfer.

Summary

At first, I was a bit underwhelmed by the London Block Exchange (LBX)

Why?

  • Despite supporting GBP deposits through the UK Faster Payments Scheme (FPS), my deposit wasn’t processed till the next working day.
  • Apparently, GBP withdrawals take 24 hours to process too.
  • It doesn’t seem like an online exchange platform.
  • GBP withdrawal fees are 2.45%.

HOWEVER… when I re-checked their bitcoin (BTC) rates, they were competitive. Including their 0.5% trading fee, it was about 1% above the real BTC to GBP exchange rate.

This makes London Block Exchange (LBX) an excellent way to buy bitcoin (BTC) (+10 other cryptocurrencies) in the UK.

But because of their GBP withdrawal fees, London Block Exchange (LBX) is a terrible way to sell bitcoin (BTC) in the UK. There are numerous alternatives which are cheaper and more convenient.

I sought clarification from LBX about a few things when I initially published this post, but I still haven’t received a reply.

What Do You Think?

What’s your experience with London Block Exchange (LBX)?

Let us know in the comments below!

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