How to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE: Guide for beginners in 2021

    If you’re looking to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE – there are dozens of online platforms to choose from, writes Kane Pepi on Economy Watch. The best brokers in this space allow you to buy and sell hundreds of digital assets, support AED deposits, and most importantly – are safe and secure.

    In this guide, we show you how to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE in under five minutes with a low-cost and regulated online broker.

    How To Buy Cryptocurrency UAE – Choose a Broker

    The only way to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE safely is to use a trusted broker. Below you will find a small selection of top-rated brokers that allow you to invest in cryptocurrency from the comfort of your home.

    eToro – Overall Best Broker to Buy Cryptocurrency UAE

    Coinbase – Best Broker to Buy Cryptocurrency for Beginners

    OKEx – Great Low-Fee Broker to Buy Cryptocurrency UAE

    Binance – Top Broker to Buy Cryptocurrency for Asset Diversity

    If you are not yet sure which broker is right for you – we review each of the above cryptocurrency platforms further down in this guide.

    Where to Buy Cryptocurrency in the UAE

    When learning how to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE, the first step is to choose a suitable broker. Your chosen broker must not only support the cryptocurrency that you wish to buy but offer low fees in a secure environment. The brokerage site must also be easy to navigate and accept your preferred payment method.

    If you don’t have time to research dozens of brokers yourself, below you will find a selection of pre-vetted providers that allow you to safely buy cryptocurrency in the UAE.

    1. eToro – Overall Best Broker to Buy Cryptocurrency UAE

    Launched in 2007, eToro is a trusted online brokerage site that is home to thousands of financial markets. In addition to cryptocurrencies, you will also have access to forex, stocks, ETFs, and more. eToro – which now serves over 20 million investors, offers a simple and burden-free way of buying digital assets in the UAE. In fact, you can often complete the end-to-end process of opening an account, depositing funds, and investing in your chosen cryptocurrency in under five minutes.

    When it comes to supported crypto markets, eToro offers over 30 digital currencies that you can invest in at the click of a button. This includes everything from Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP to Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Cardano. You can also trade cryptocurrencies in the form of CFDs, which come with the added benefit of short-selling and leverage facilities. This includes crypto-to-fiat pairs like BTC/USD and ETH/EUR, as well as crypto-crosses such as ETH/BTC and EOS/XLM.

    Another huge benefit of choosing eToro as your go-to cryptocurrency broker is that it offers super-competitive fees. For example, when you buy cryptocurrency in the UAE, you will only need to cover the spread. This starts at just 0.75% on major markets like Bitcoin, and slightly more on less-liquid tokens. Deposit and withdrawal fees are also very competitive, with eToro charging 0.5% on AED-denominated payment methods. Withdrawals will set you back just $5 – irrespective of the amount being cashed out.

    We also like the fact that eToro is suited to investors of all shapes, sizes, and budgets. For instance, if you only want to invest a small amount into cryptocurrency, eToro requires a minimum trade value of just $25. The minimum first-time deposit is also reasonable at just $200. You can fund your account with a debit or credit card, bank account transfer, Paypal, Skrill, or Neteller. Payments are processed instantly in all cases apart from a traditional bank wire – which can take several days.

    Another core feature of the eToro website is its Copy Trading service. This gives you access to a huge pool of successful eToro traders which you can elect to copy like-for-like. Any subsequent trades that the investor places on the eToro platform will be mirrored in your own account. You might also consider the eToro CryptoPortoflio – which covers a basket of digital currencies. In a similar nature to a conventional ETF, the CryptoPortfolio is professionally managed and automatically rebalanced and reweighted on your behalf.

    Perhaps the most important aspect of choosing eToro is that you can be sure you are using a legitimate broker. At the forefront of this is the broker’s regulatory standing – which includes licenses with the FCA, ASIC, and Cysec. eToro is also approved by the SEC and FINRA, and plans to go public later in 2021. Finally, if you’re the type of investor that likes to buy and sell cryptocurrency on the move, eToro offers a native mobile app. Compatible on both Android and iOS devices, the app connects to your main eToro account.


    • Invest in cryptocurrencies on a spread-only basis
    • Buy thousands of international stocks at 0% commission
    • Minimum investment per trade from just $25
    • Supports debit/credit cards, e-wallets, and local bank transfers
    • Regulated by the FCA, CySEC, and ASIC
    • Used by over 20 million people
    • Perfect for beginners
    • Social and copy trading tools


    • Perhaps too basic for technical traders
    • No support for MT4 or MT5

    2. Coinbase – Best Broker to Buy Cryptocurrency UAE for Beginners

    Coinbase is an option worth considering if you are a complete novice in the cryptocurrency investment arena. As we explain shortly, Coinbase is somewhat expensive, but if you are prepared to pay a premium, you will find the platform super-easy to navigate. Much like eToro, it takes just minutes to get started at Coinbase. All you need to do is follow the on-screen prompts by opening an account, upload a copy of your ID, linking a payment method.

    Most first-time investors that use Coinbase will elect to purchase cryptocurrency through the Instant Buy feature. As the name implies, this allows you to buy cryptocurrency instantly with your debit card. You simply need to enter your purchase amount alongside your debit card details and then Coinbase will execute your investment within seconds. Unfortunately, the Instant Buy feature will set you back a whopping 3.99% of the transaction amount. If investing less than $200, a flat fee system kicks in – which is even more expensive.

    Coinbase also allows you to deposit funds from a bank account on a fee-free basis. Once the money arrives, you can then buy cryptocurrency at a commission rate of 1.49%. This needs to be paid on all buy and sell orders. Although Coinbase is pricey, it does offer a regulated and secure way to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE. It requires all account holders to set up two-factor authentication and 98% of client digital funds are held offline in cold storage. The platform is home to dozens of digital currencies, so you won’t be short of options when it comes to diversification.


    • One of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges
    • More than 56 million users
    • Supports instant debit card purchases
    • Dozens of digital currencies to choose from
    • Institutional-grade security practices


    • Debit card deposits are expensive at 3.99%
    • You will pay a standard trading commission of 1.49%

    3. OKEx – Great Low-Fee Broker to Buy Cryptocurrency UAE

    OKEx has grown to exponential heights since the platform was launched in 2014. The exchange now services more than 20 million investors and billions of dollars in weekly trading volume. OKEx is arguably a good option if you are looking to buy and sell cryptocurrency in the UAE in a low-cost manner. This is because commission fees start at just 0.10% per slide, so that’s $0.10 for every $100 traded. OKEx gives you the opportunity to reduce this commission even further by either holding OKB tokens or trading larger volumes.

    This super-competitive commission structure remains in place for all 400+ supported crypto assets. This not only includes large-cap projects but up-and-coming tokens as well. In addition to spot market trading, OKEx is also home to one of the largest cryptocurrency derivative platforms. This means that you can trade cryptocurrencies alongside leverage and short-selling facilities. You can also access more complex cryptocurrency instruments – which are inclusive of options and futures.

    The OKEx mobile app is also worth checking out – should you wish to buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrency on the move. The app also doubles up as a cryptocurrency wallet, meaning that you can safely store your digital tokens without needing to use a third-party provider. In fact, the OKEx web wallet offers a non-custodial storage facility – meaning that you retain full control over your private keys. Finally, we should also note that while OKEx does support AED deposits via debit/credit cards, the fees are somewhat high. As such, OKEx is best suited for crypto deposits.


    • Trusted crypto exchange with over 20 million users
    • More than 400+ digital currency pairs
    • Buy and sell cryptocurrencies with a debit/credit card
    • Low commissions that start from 0.1%
    • Fully-fledged mobile app on Android and iOS
    • Great reputation and highly secure


    • Debit/credit card fees could be more competitive
    • Derivative products are too complex for beginners

    4. Binance – Top Broker to Buy Cryptocurrency for Asset Diversity

    Binance is a very well-known cryptocurrency exchange – not only in the UAE but globally. In fact, the platform facilitates the largest amount of daily trading volume in the online digital asset arena and now boasts a client base of over 100 million investors. Binance is potentially the best place to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE if you seek asset diversity. By this, we mean that the exchange is ideal for those looking to build a highly diverse basket of cryptocurrencies – not least because Binance supports hundreds of pairs.

    In terms of funding your cryptocurrency purchase, Binance allows you to deposit AED via a bank transfer or debit/credit card. The latter is a good option if you wish to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE instantly. You will, however, need to first upload a copy of your government-issued ID – as per  KYC regulations. Another core benefit of choosing Binance as your go-to broker is that it offers cryptocurrency savings accounts. Put simply, by depositing your chosen crypto into one of these accounts, Binance will pay you interest. The APY will vary depending on the digital token.


    • Facilitates billions of dollars in daily trading volume
    • Supports hundreds of digital asset pairs
    • Near-instant deposits via debit/credit cards
    • Trading commission starts at just 0.1% per slide
    • Offers crypto savings accounts
    • Ideal for both beginners and experienced traders alike


    • Not all supported cryptocurrencies can be purchased with a debit/credit card
    • No e-wallet deposits or withdrawals

    How to Buy Bitcoin in the UAE – Detailed & Explained in Full

    If you’re looking to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE from the comfort of your home but you have little to no knowledge of where to start – we have you covered. In the sections below, you will find a full and detailed walkthrough of how to purchase cryptocurrency at the UAE’s number one broker – eToro.

    This top-rated broker has been chosen for our tutorial because it offers super-low fees, you can invest from just $25, and crucially – it is heavily regulated.

    Step 1: Open a Crypto Broker Account

    You can easily open an account at eToro in under five minutes. All that is required is some personal information and contact details.

    This includes the likes of your:

    • Full Name
    • Nationality
    • Home Address
    • Date of Birth
    • Email Address
    • Mobile Number
    • National Tax Number

    To complete the registration process, eToro requires you to confirm your email address and mobile number. The latter can be done by entering the verification code that the broker sends to your mobile.

    Step 2 – Upload ID

    We have mentioned several times throughout this guide that eToro is heavily regulated. This is a crucial safeguard – as you know that you are using a broker that is authorized and licensed by reputable financial bodies. This does, however, also mean that you will need to complete a quick KYC process.

    This requires proof of residency and a valid government-issued ID. The former can include a recently issued utility bill or bank account statement. In terms of proving your identity, this can a passport, driver’s license, or national ID card. Your documents should be verified by eToro in under two minutes.

    Step 3 – Make a Deposit

    The next step is to deposit some funds into your newly created cryptocurrency brokerage account. It’s best to avoid a bank transfer in this respect, as you will likely need to wait 1-3 working days for the funds to arrive. Instead, consider using a debit/credit card or an e-wallet like Paypal.

    The minimum deposit at eToro is $200 for first-time clients. After that, the minimum goes down to just $50. The fee payable on AED payment methods amounts to just 0.5% – so that’s $5 for every $1,000 deposited.

    Step 4 – Choose Cryptocurrency to Buy

    At this stage of our step-by-step tutorial, you should now have an account with eToro that is both verified and funded. If so, you can now proceed to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE.

    If you already know which cryptocurrency you wish to buy – it’s best to use the search bar at the top of the page. In our example below, we are looking to buy Dogecoin.

    Step 5 – Buy Cryptocurrency UAE

    Once you have selected the cryptocurrency that you want to buy at eToro, you will need to click on the ‘Trade’ button. In doing so, you will then see an order box appear on the screen – like in the image below.

    By default, you will be placing a market order on your chosen crypto asset. In a nutshell, this means that eToro will place your order at the next best available price – meaning it will be executed instantly. As such, all you need to do is tell eToro how much you wish to invest. The amount needs to be stated in USD and the minimum purchase requirement is just $25.

    Finally, click on the ‘Open Trade’ button to buy your chosen cryptocurrency!

    Buy Cryptocurrency – Best Place to Buy Cryptocurrency in the UAE

    Make no mistake about it – it’s super important to do some research in order to determine the best place to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE. This is because there are dozens, if not hundreds of providers in this industry serving residents of the UAE – so you need to ensure that you are selecting a suitable platform.

    Online Cryptocurrency Broker

    Put simply, the best place to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE is via an online broker. The process here works exactly the same as buying shares from a stockbroker, insofar that you will need to open an account and make a deposit. After that, it’s just a case of choosing which cryptocurrency you want to buy and the size of your investment – and the broker will take care of the rest.

    However, with so many cryptocurrency brokers active in this industry, knowing which provider to sign up with can be a daunting task. To make things a little bit easier for you, below we have revealed a list of important metrics to look for when searching for the best place to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE.

    Regulation: The first thing to check is whether or not the broker is regulated. The best cryptocurrency platforms in the UAE are licensed by a reputable financial authority. For instance, your money is safe at eToro – as the broker is regulated by the FCA, CySEC, and ASIC.

    Markets: While some brokers offer markets on hundreds of cryptocurrencies, others list just a few. As such, you need to check what markets the broker supports before signing up.

    Payments: If this is your first time buying cryptocurrency in the UAE, you will need to select a broker that supports AED payment methods. eToro stands out in this respect, as the broker accepts debit/credit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers.

    Fees: Another core metric to look out for when searching for the best place to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE is how much you will be charged to trade. Your analysis should look at fees surrounding deposits and withdrawals, spreads, and commissions.

    User-Friendliness: If you’re a complete beginner in the world of cryptocurrency, you will want to choose a broker that is easy to use.

    The above metrics are just a few of many. For instance, you might also consider exploring where the broker stands in terms of customer support, trading volume and liquidity levels, reputation, and whether a mobile app is offered.

    Cryptocurrency ATM

    A number of cryptocurrency ATMs can be found in the UAE. These machines allow you to buy cryptocurrency with cash. You simply need to select the digital token you wish to buy, how much you want to invest, and that’s it – you insert the required amount in AED.

    • However, these cryptocurrency ATMs are expensive – so expect to pay up to 10-20% of the transaction amount.
    • This is because, unlike online brokers, cryptocurrency ATM providers must regularly service their terminals – which includes cash collection and maintenance.
    • Additionally, you also need to be well-versed in how cryptocurrency wallets work.
    • This is because most cryptocurrency ATMs in the UAE require you to scan your wallet address to complete the purchase.

    In doing so, the ATM will then transfer your crypto tokens to your stated wallet.

    Ways to Buy Cryptocurrency UAE

    With so many brokers active in the digital currency arena, it makes sense that there are now plenty of ways to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE. For instance, you can buy crypto with a debit to credit card, bank account, or even Paypal.

    We discuss these methods in more detail in the sections below.

    Buy Cryptocurrency With Debit Card

    If you’re looking for the safest and most convenient way to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE, you might consider using your debit card. Both Visa and MasterCard are supported by all of the brokers that we reviewed earlier in this guide. However, when it comes to fees, eToro is by far the most competitive. This is because the broker allows you to buy cryptocurrency with a debit card at a fee of just 0.5%.

    Buy Cryptocurrency With Credit Card

    Some people in the UAE prefer to buy cryptocurrency with a credit card. This is also a safe and convenient way of entering the market for the first time. However, if your credit card issuer charges a cash advance fee on cryptocurrency purchases, this could add another 3-5% to your costs. As such, we would suggest checking this out before you proceed.

    Buy Cryptocurrency With Paypal

    More and more investors in the UAE are now looking to buy cryptocurrency with Paypal. With that said, the only trusted broker that we came across that supports Paypal is eToro. Your payment will be processed instantly and you pay a fee of just 0.5%.

    Crypto-to-Crypto Trade

    If you already own some crypto, then you can use your tokens to purchase your desired digital asset. For instance, if you have some Bitcoin but wish to buy Dogecoin, you can complete the exchange in minutes. First, you will need to deposit the funds into your chosen cryptocurrency exchange.

    When the tokens arrive, you can then find the relevant market. In this example, that would be BTC/DOGE. BY opting for a crypto-to-crypto trade, you will pay just 0.10% in commission at exchanges like OKEx and Binance.

    Why Buy Cryptocurrency UAE?

    Cryptocurrencies are much more volatile and speculative than other asset classes. This means that both the risks and potential rewards are higher than the likes of stocks or bonds. With this in mind, it’s important to assess whether or not cryptocurrencies are right for your investment portfolio.

    If you’re still undecided about whether you should buy cryptocurrency in the UAE, below we discuss some of the main reasons that might sway your decision.   

    More Than 11,000 Cryptocurrencies

    At the time of writing in mid-2021, there are over 11,000 cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap. This means that you have a significant number of tokens to choose from. In fact, this will allow you to create a highly diversified portfolio of crypto assets – subsequently reducing the risks of selecting a project that doesn’t succeed.

    At one end of the spectrum, you have large-cap and established projects. This might include the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, or Cardano. The upside potential on these projects is somewhat limited in comparison to less liquid cryptocurrencies. However, equally, volatile levels will be lower.

    On the other hand, you also have thousands of smaller-cap projects that are still up-and-coming. While the risks are much more prevalent with these digital tokens, the upside potential is greater. For example, some cryptocurrencies have a market capitalization of just a few million dollars, which means they have the potential to grow by a considerable amount.

    Huge Upside

    Over the past few years – or even months in some instances, many cryptocurrencies have generated significant returns. For example, let’s look at the case of Dogecoin – which was priced at $0.004 per token at the start of 2021.

    Just a few months later, Dogecoin hit an all-time high of $0.73. This works out at gains of over 18,000%. So, had you invested just $500 when the digital token was priced at $0.004 – your investment would have been worth over $90,000 at its peak.

    Cutting-Edge Innovation

    In addition to the upside potential available, it is also important to look at the technology innovation that cryptocurrencies offer.

    • This is highly vast in this industry, as certain projects look to offer specific solutions.
    • For example, Bitcoin is the de-facto cryptocurrency of choice and is typically viewed as a long-term store of value.
    • On the other hand, the likes of Ethereum and NEO are blockchain projects that specialize in smart contract technology.

    In its most basic form, this allows people to enter into agreements without needing to trust the other party. This is because the smart contract in question is built exclusively on pre-defined code and thus – it cannot be manipulated on amended.

    Low Barrier to Entry

    The barrier to entry for those in the UAE looking to buy cryptocurrency has never been lower. As we have explained throughout this guide, all you need is an account with a trusted brokerage that supports AED and you are good to go.

    Furthermore, when you use a broker like eToro, you only need to meet a minimum investment of $25 per crypto trade. This allows you to enter the cryptocurrency industry in a sensible manner, as you can easily dollar-cost average your investments with small but regular amounts.

    Two Forms of Growth

    When you buy cryptocurrency in the UAE, you will likely look to target growth in terms of capital gains. By this, we mean that you will hope to see your purchased cryptocurrency increase in value. For instance, if you invest in Dogecoin at $0.40 per token and it increases to $1.20 in the open marketplace, you’ve made gains of 200%. So, that’s $200 profit for every $100 invested.

    With that said, in addition to capital gains you can also grow your investment via a crypto savings account. These come in various forms but typically focus on crypto lending. That is to say, the crypto tokens that you deposit into the respective platform will be used to fund loans. And in return, you will receive interest for as long as the tokens are being loaned out.

    The Cost of Buying Cryptocurrency UAE

    It is important to understand what fees you are being charged when you buy cryptocurrency in the UAE. The specific fee will be determined by the broker that you are purchasing the digital currencies from.

    Here’s the lowdown of what fees to expect:

    Deposit Fees

    If you’re looking to deposit funds with AED, expect to be charged a transaction fee. Cryptocurrency brokers will typically charge 3-5% for debit or credit card deposits, which is expensive. You can get this fee down to 0.5% at eToro, across both Visa and MasterCard.

    In fact, eToro also offers this 0.5% deposit fee on e-wallets like Paypal and Neteller. The cheaper option when using an online broker is often a bank transfer. Although this is typically fee-free at crypto brokers, your bank might implement a transaction charge.

    Trading Fees

    You will also need to check what trading fees apply at your chosen broker when you buy cryptocurrency in the UAE. This typically comes in the form of a commission, which is the main revenue source for brokers.

    To give you an idea of what you might pay ─ check out the examples below:

    • Coinbase charges a standard trading commission of 1.49%. This is the same commission rate charged by Gemini.
    • Coinmama charges a buy order commission of 3.90%
    • At eToro, you will pay a spread of 0.75% to buy Bitcoin and slightly more on other digital tokens

    Many brokers will offer lower trading fees when you buy and sell cryptocurrency at larger volumes. Some – such as Binance and OKEx, offer reduced commissions when you hold a minimum quantity of their native digital token (BNB and OKB, respectively).

    Selling Cryptocurrency: A Quick Overview

    We mentioned earlier that the most effective way to make money from a cryptocurrency investment is via capital gains. This means selling your crypto tokens at a higher price than you originally paid. In terms of how to sell crypto in the UAE, the process takes seconds if you completed the investment with an online broker and kept the tokens stored in your web wallet.

    For example, if you used eToro to buy the digital asset, you simply need to visit your portfolio dashboard and click on the ‘sell’ button. The funds will then appear in your account – which you can elect to withdraw out of the broker and back to your bank or debit/credit card.

    How to Buy Cryptocurrency UAE – Conclusion

    By reading this guide in full, you now know the ins and outs of how to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE. This includes the important process of selecting a suitable broker, opening an account, depositing funds, and completing your cryptocurrency investment. We’ve also talked about the many ways in which you can enter this marketplace and crucially – the risks to consider before proceeding.

    If you are ready to buy cryptocurrency in the UAE right now, you can complete the process in under five minutes at eToro. This broker is regulated by multiple tier-one financial authorities, which include the FCA and ASIC. You can instantly deposit funds with your everyday debit/credit card or Paypal, and then proceed to buy cryptocurrency from just $25.

    About Kane Pepi

    Kane Pepi writes for several high profile publications such as InsideBitcoins, The Motely Fool, and Learnbonds. Based in Malta, Kane is extremely skilled at complex subjects related to financial matters – including a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, a Master’s Degree in Financial Crime, and actively engaged in Doctorate Degree research, for the money laundering threats of the blockchain economy.


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