I was curious as to whether is it legal/allowed to buy bitcoins (from a friend for example) from another country where the value is less and then sell the bitcoins in the UK, for a profit.

I'm new to bitcoin in general and still a student at University.

If this is legal to do, is there any information, or could you provide information as to how I would go about setting up a Bank Account that would accept large volumes of money going into the account due to bitcoin selling, as well as using that account to purchase bitcoins from abroad. And what are things that I should look out for, any legal issues etc?

Appriciate your time and help people.

  • What you're thinking of has a name: Arbitrage. Dec 17, 2015 at 22:59
  • 1
    And the fact that it has a name means that a LOT of people are already doing it. :)
    – Jannes
    Dec 18, 2015 at 9:06

1 Answer 1


Sure it's legal. Unless either country has outright banned buying/selling Bitcoins. I don't think there's any country that has gone that far.

You may have to report income/profit/trades to your tax office, depending on local laws. In some countries you may need to pay VAT as well.

Setting up accounts with (foreign) exchanges means that you are entrusting them with your bitcoins, money and ID (copies of passport etc.). Exchanges disappear overnight sometimes, so make sure to put that into your risk calculation.

Sending Bitcoins around the world is pretty much instant. Exchanges require up to a few hours of confirmations sometimes, but that's still nothing compared to sending your fiat money around the world through the banking system: that can take weeks and cost you many percentages. To/from some countries it's even almost impossible to send/receive fiat money (China comes to mind).

All this means that Arbitrage is not as easy as it seems and that's why there's still a price difference.

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