Uphold Review (2022)
Ease of Use
Established in 2013, Uphold is a multi-asset crypto platform that allows UK residents to buy, sell, and store Bitcoin (BTC) and more 160 other cryptocurrencies – without much fuss.
In the UK, you’ll typically be quoted Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) prices that are up to 1.2% above the real exchange rate. However, it’s not clear what the typical spread is for other supported cryptocurrencies.
On top of that, you’ll normally be charged a $1 transaction fee if buying or selling less than $100 worth of an asset.
Uphold is a crypto exchange that offers an easy-to-use interface and a seamless trading experience on dozens of assets. This includes more than 160 cryptocurrencies, plus precious metals, and environmental assets.
But how does Uphold work? What do you need to get started with the exchange?
In this Uphold review, we’ll take a closer look at the ins and outs of Uphold, the pros and cons of the platform, the fees it charges, and more.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Available in the UK and 180+ other countries.
- Supports 160+ cryptocurrencies in the UK.
- Registration and verification are quick.
- Intuitive, beginner-friendly web and mobile interface.
- UK residents can expect to pay 0.8% to 1.2% in fees when buying Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH). This fee is included in the exchange rate you’re quoted.
- Low minimum deposit (£10 for deposits made via UK bank transfer).
- Equities not currently available to UK or EU residents.
- Using a debit card is more expensive (an additional fee of 2.49%).
- Higher fees when buying or selling anything that isn’t Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH).
- Fees are included in the exchange rate, which makes it more difficult to calculate whether you’re getting a good deal or not.
What is Uphold?
Uphold was founded in 2013 by Halsey Minor, when they were previously known as Bitreserve. It’s headquartered in the US (New York), but they also have a registered office address in the UK (London).
Some quick facts about Uphold:
- Have more than 1.7 million customers across the 180+ supported countries.
- Handled over US$4 billion in trades and transactions since 2015.
- Have around 250 employees, with a long list of open positions.
Although it shares many of the same features as other crypto platforms, Uphold prides itself on being an “anything to anything” trading platform. This means that you’re able to directly trade any supported asset, such as Bitcoin, for any other supported asset, like Ethereum, in a single transaction.
Is Uphold legit?
Here are some important things to know:
- Registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as a cryptoasset business.
- Uphold is registered with the United States Treasury Department and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
- This company is also recognized by the Authorized Payments Institute in Europe. This agency reports to the U.S Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
How Does Uphold Work?
The main thing that sets Uphold apart is that it facilitates conversions between ANY asset class.
This means you can do things like:
- Convert your GBP balance into any supported cryptocurrency.
- Buy Chainlink (LINK) using your Basic Attention Token (BAT) balance.
- Exchange your Dogecoin (DOGE) balance for Enjin (ENJ).
Cryptocurrency exchanges normally only support a small number of trading pairs so that their trading volume isn’t unnecessarily spread around too thin.
The platform itself is well laid out, so it all seems quite intuitive. Unlike some of its high-profile competitors, Uphold isn’t clunky or clustered. Navigating your way online shouldn’t be a problem – especially if you’re using the web platform.
You can also put your investments on autopilot by setting up regular purchases of cryptocurrencies or precious metals on Uphold (i.e., dollar cost average). These automated trades can be configured to execute every day, each week, or every month.
(You can find out more about dollar-cost averaging in this post).
Uphold Supported Countries
Uphold is available in more than 184 countries, which includes the UK, the US, and most of the EU.
The few countries that Uphold doesn’t operate in includes nations on the US’s financial sanctions list.
What countries are NOT supported by Uphold?
Residents in the following countries cannot use Uphold:
- American Samoa
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Bouvet Island
- Central African Republic
- Congo (Democratic Republic)
- Congo (Republic)
- French Southern Territories
- Heard and McDonald Islands
- North Korea
- North Macedonia
- S. Minor Outlying Islands
Uphold Supported Assets
In the UK
Uphold currently supports more than 160 cryptocurrencies in the UK.
This includes Bitcoin (BTC), as well as Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), and many other popular options. You can also access a number of stablecoins (like USDT and USDC).
As a UK or EU user, you can also access 3 fiat currencies (GBP, EUR, and USD).
Although not available in the UK, you can also buy other assets in some countries using Uphold:
- 50 equities (fractional shares starting at US$1).
- 4 precious metals (gold, silver, platinum, & palladium).
- 27 fiat currencies (e.g., USD, CAD, AUD).
Uphold Payment Methods
UK residents can deposit GBP using the following payment methods:
- UK bank transfer (via Faster Payments Service)
- Credit card
- Debit card
US residents can deposit USD via an ACH or wire transfer, and EU residents can send EUR to Uphold via a SEPA bank transfer. Alternatively, you can fund your account by depositing a supported cryptocurrency into Uphold.
Deposits and withdrawals made with a UK bank transfer are FREE. However, you will pay an additional fee when buying supported assets with a debit or credit card.
- Debit Card: 2.49%
- Credit Card: 3.99%
You can find out a little more here.
Visit Uphold’s website to learn more.
Uphold’s fees are included in the exchange rate that you’re quoted when you buy or sell anything using its platform (i.e., a spread model).
In the US and Europe, this is what Uphold says you should expect to pay:
|Bitcoin (BTC) & Ethereum (ETH)||0.8% to 1.2%|
|USD, GBP, and EUR||0.2%|
For cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), it’s not clear how much spread will be included in the exchange rate. Uphold only state that it might be “significantly higher”.
I found reports that there were spreads of around 4% on Dogecoin (DOGE) trades. But when I checked, I was being quoted prices that were about 1.6% above the real exchange rate.
On top of that, you’ll be charged a $1 transaction fee when buying or selling less than $100 worth of an asset.
And although you can calculate the spread included in the exchange rate, it can be a little awkward if you’re going from crypto-to-crypto (e.g., from BAT to DOGE).
You should also expect to pay additional fees when withdrawing supported cryptocurrencies. For most cryptocurrencies, this seems to be dynamic. This is quite normal, as the cost of transacting using cryptocurrencies can fluctuate wildly over time.
Like other cryptocurrency brokers and exchanges, Uphold requires know-your-customer (KYC) verification before you can fully access everything that Uphold has to offer.
One thing I liked about Uphold is how easy it is to open an account and get started.
Unlike some alternatives, the sign-up process didn’t involve a multiple-day validation process. Unless you run into issues, you shouldn’t expect it to take longer than about 10 minutes to complete the whole process.
What information is required to verify yourself?
Uphold requires the following details for verification:
- Current residential address (provable with a utility bill).
- Government-issued ID (passport, national ID, driving license)
- A clear photo of yourself holding these documents.
Once you’ve submitted these documents and they’ve been verified by Uphold, it’ll send you an email with an activation link. You’ll just need to click on the link inside this email to activate your account.
Head over here for information about limits.
Is Uphold Safe?
Upload takes numerous steps to protect customer accounts, funds, and assets:
- Uses advanced security features, like enhanced encryption.
- Performs regular audits and third party due diligence checks (to find any weaknesses in its security system).
- Stores 90% of its customer’s crypto in offline cold storage, with a live update of its asset reserves on its website.
- Currencies on Uphold are insured against theft, up to the amount the company has in reserve.
- Has an insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London for precious metals.
To date, there hasn’t been any serious security incident with Uphold. However, a service account was compromised in 2018 – but Uphold maintained that their platform wasn’t hacked.
Head over to this page to find out more.
Uphold Debit Card
The Uphold debit card is a multi-asset debit card that lets you pay for daily transactions using cryptocurrencies, gold, fiat currencies, and equities. This card will be accepted anywhere that Mastercard is normally accepted (50 million+ merchants and ATMs).
Here are some other things I picked out:
- Converts your specified assets in real-time to cover your purchases.
- 1% cashback when you spend fiat currency using the Uphold debit card.
- 2% cashback when you spend cryptocurrencies using the Uphold debit card.
- No foreign transaction fees.
This currently only looks available in the US, but they’re planning to roll out in the UK/EU in the near future.
Head over to this page to find out more.
Uphold Alternatives in the UK
One of Uphold’s closest competitors is Coinbase.
Founded in 2013, Coinbase has a similar focus on making it as easy as possible for more people to securely access the crypto-economy. In 2022, they have more than 100 million verified users across more than 100 countries.
Coinbase’s fee disclosure isn’t as transparent as it used to be. However, I’ve been quoted fees of about 2% (including the spread) when buying more than £200 worth of Bitcoin (BTC). For smaller purchases, fees can be much higher.
Summary: A Good Choice for Beginners
All things considered, Uphold is a solid place to buy Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies.
Here’s what I liked about it:
- Uphold has a streamlined, easy-to-use web interface (and a great mobile app too).
- The spread included in the Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) exchange rate is competitive (typically between 0.8% and 1.2%).
- You can setup automatic purchases of any supported asset (to dollar-cost average).
On top of this, the ability to convert between different assets (e.g., straight from Dogecoin into Enjin) is not a very common feature. It’s easily the platform’s greatest attribute.
I’m also looking forward to the release of the Uphold debit card in the UK. It seems like a balanced blend of what the Crypto.com Visa Card and CoinJar Card are offering (i.e., cashback, but also real-time conversions of assets to cover purchases).
But while Uphold supports a decent number of cryptocurrencies, its trading platform is quite basic. If you’re after more advanced trading features, then you’ll want to check out my list of the best cryptocurrency exchanges for UK residents instead.
But if you’re not bothered about that and you’re just looking for somewhere to easily buy Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies? Uphold is a cryptocurrency platform that’s well worth considering.
Thanks for checking out this Uphold review!
Have a question?
Let me know in the comments section below.