Uphold Review

Uphold Review

Min deposit: $0
0

Reviews

Company Name
Uphold Europe Limited
Rating
Headquarters
London, England
Regulation

FCA, FinCEN

US Traders Accepted
yes
Deposit Currencies
BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, Link, XLM, MIOTA
Minimum Trade
$1
Trading Instruments
Online Since
2015
Languages
English, Spanish
Demo Account
Yes

Uphold is a crypto trading platform offering clients the option to buy, sell and trade multiple tokens. The brokerage provides simple to use payment facilities and several additional features, including digital wallets and cryptocurrency staking. Our 2022 review of Uphold covers typical fees and limits, security features, trading hours, the mobile app and more.

What Is Uphold?

Uphold is a digital platform offering crypto investing and currency exchange services. The company follows its ‘anything to anything’ motto to provide a complete experience, which includes user-friendly trading and integrated payment facilities. The FCA-registered brand aims to provide customers and businesses with fair, affordable and transparent financial amenities.

Note, services vary between countries. For example, US clients can sign up for a cryptocurrency debit card, automated trading executions and environmental assets.

Company Details

The Uphold broker-dealer was launched in 2015 and operates through three key affiliates:

  • Uphold Europe Limited (FCA regulated)
  • Uphold US (FinCEN money service)
  • Uphold Lithuania (EEA residents, no regulation)

The firm has several global offices with headquarters addresses in London and New York. Today, Uphold is an established multi-asset exchange with a presence in 184+ countries across 80+ currencies (crypto and fiat). The platform has supported over $4 billion in transactions since its launch and currently has over two million registered customers worldwide.

Uphold cryptocurrency wallet
Currency Exchange Services

Products

The assets listed below are available to UK and European clients (who signed up before 1st February 2022) under the Uphold Europe Limited (UPE) affiliate:

  • Cryptocurrencies – 28 digital currency coins including BTC, ETH, DOT and XRP are available to buy, hold, sell and withdraw
  • Utility Tokens – Three tokens can be traded via the web and mobile platform including BAT and OMG

The assets below are available to trade under the US platform. New European customers (signed up after 1st February 2022) can also access these products:

  • Cryptocurrencies – Trade over 100 digital currency assets and trading pairs including altcoins, emerging tokens and stablecoins. Note, token availability varies depending on the base country, with some assets tier 3, meaning you can buy, hold, sell deposit, withdraw and send while others are tier 4, such as PancakeSwap and Moonbeam, meaning you can buy, hold, sell and send
  • Precious Metals – Trade Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium with instant liquidity in 27 national currencies
  • US Equities – Trade major US stocks from just $1. Invest in Apple, Amazon, Disney and Facebook. Fractional stock trading is also available
  • Environmental Assets – Invest in carbon credit tokens to support certified projects in the world’s rainforests. These are the world’s first tradeable carbon credit tokens; UPC02 and Bitcoin Zero

Debit Card

Uphold offers a flexible Mastercard debit card. This is currently only available within the US, however, there are plans to make this available in other countries too.

The physical or virtual card allows payments to be made in alternatives to fiat currencies. This includes transactions using cryptocurrencies, metals, or utility tokens. The card also benefits from no foreign transaction fees and full network services, including global ATMs offered by Mastercard. In addition, cashback rewards are offered (1% back for USD transactions or 2% in cryptos for every purchase made with digital currencies).

Crypto Staking

Uphold also introduced cryptocurrency staking in 2022. This allows users to earn up to 19.5% in rewards. Staking is available on a handful of popular coins, including Ethereum, Cardano, Solana and Polkadot. Users receive a weekly notification of earnings through the Uphold mobile app.

Reward rates:

  • DOT – 10.5% APY
  • ETH – 4.25% APY
  • ADA – 4% APY
  • SOL – 5.1% APY
  • ATOM – 10.2% APY
  • XTZ – 4.25% APY
  • KSM – 15.3% APY
  • KAVA – 19.5% APY
  • LUNA – 4% APY

For beginners, staking services allow clients to monetise their digital assets. Blockchains essentially use your crypto to check that transactions are verified and secured, known as ‘proof of stake’. And in return for helping to stabilise the network, you receive free tokens.

For more guidance on how crypto staking works, including the benefits and risks, see here.

Trading Platform

Uphold offers online investors one proprietary, multi-currency trading terminal. This is available as a mobile application and is compatible with desktop devices. The platform is intuitive and suitable for beginners. With that said, it was disappointing to see a lack of advanced graphs and charting tools, however, interface tiles are fully customisable. This means you can bring your investments together in one convenient account.

The online platform also allows one-step trading between assets, for example, BTC to XRP. This creates a unique pricing advantage vs competitors that often require separate transactions along with two sets of fees. Additional features include a customisable portfolio view, dark mode and multi-language defaults.

Note, the platform only offers one order type – limit order.

Mobile App

The Uphold terminal and wallet are also available via a mobile app. This can be downloaded for free and is compatible with iOS and Android devices. Users can access the tools, features and functionality found on the desktop terminal including the one-step exchange.

Our review was particularly pleased with the simple and user-friendly design, making it suitable for novice investors. Clients can manage their account, open and close trades, check live pricing and transfer funds from wallets while on the go. Other features include a ‘from and to’ interface to pull funds directly into an asset to purchase, live market data and customisable navigation tiles.

Is Uphold a brokerage account?
Trading Platform

Account Types

Live Accounts

There is one live account for retail clients. Fortunately, it is quick and easy to open an account using the online registration form, taking an average of three minutes. Look out for the ‘sign up’ logo in the top right corner of each webpage.

There are no minimum deposit requirements. However, to access the full catalogue of tools and features, customers must comply with identity verification protocols. These include providing proof of residency, your social security number (US clients only) and a government-issued ID document, such as a passport. Unverified clients may be subject to limitations, including a $1,000 maximum transaction value.

Uphold trading accounts recently became available to UK residents. The broker received permission from the FCA to restart services in February 2022 under the temporary registration regime for crypto firms.

Note, EU clients signing up after the 1st February 2022 are not permitted to hold accounts in base currencies such as EUR and GBP. Instead, the broker recommends purchasing stablecoins as these are pegged to fiat currencies.

Demo Account

Uphold also offers a free demo account via the ‘Sandbox’ testing environment. Trading clients will need to open a separate account to use the features of the demo platform. You can access Bitcoin virtual funds to practise strategies risk-free while viewing platform features and tools.

Enter your personal details via the ‘sign up’ section on the webpage. It’s worth pointing out that these details will need to be different from the email address associated with the live account. When prompted for a verification code, enter ‘0000000’ to sign in and proceed.

Fees

The exchange operates a commission-free pricing model. Having said that, the platform’s services are not free. Transparency is evident though and day traders benefit from locked-in pricing before committing to a purchase.

Live prices include a small spread, typically around 0.5% to 1% for cryptocurrency purchases. The competitive pricing network is driven by the broker’s exchange model, which sources the best prices from three pools. Upon testing, a UK customer would face a 0.85% buy spread for BTC and a 1% fee for selling. This was much lower for fiat currencies with a 0.05% fee to purchase USD.

Importantly, peer-to-peer transactions are free. However, if a currency conversion is required, you will be charged. For example, if you want to transfer EUR but would like the beneficiary to receive Ethereum, you will pay the relevant conversion.

Payments

Deposits

It is free to deposit to your Uphold trading account, however, some fees on crypto networks may apply. Accepted payment methods include:

  • Bank Wire Transfer – US ACH: No charges. $10 minimum limit and $2,500 maximum transaction per day
  • Bank Wire Transfer – US Wire: A $20 charge applies for deposits under $5,000. No minimum or maximum limits apply
  • Cryptocurrencies – No charges, however, network fees may apply, varying by digital coin. Unlimited deposit amounts
  • Debit/Credit Cards – A 3.99% third-party fee applies for credit card payments while there is no charge for debit cards. The minimum deposit is £/$/€ 10 while the maximum payment is £/$/€ 500 per day. This is not available to UK or EU customers.

You can choose to hold your account balance in a variety of currencies and precious metals. However, a currency conversion fee applies for deposits from a denominated account currency to a different base currency or peer-to-peer transactions. For example, if you are sending GBP but would like the beneficiary to receive BTC, you will be charged a currency conversion fee of 0.85% for purchasing BTC with GBP.

Withdrawals

Uphold supports the same payment methods for withdrawals. Bank wire transfers incur no fees but crypto withdrawals are subject to network charges. Any dynamic network fees incurred via the crypto network, regardless of the asset, are visible to traders before confirming a transaction.

Minimum and maximum withdrawal limits apply for all payment methods. For example, there is a $5 minimum withdrawal for bank wire transfers (US ACH) and 0.25 LTC for Litecoin payments.

Processing times vary between payment methods. For example, bank wire transfers typically take 1-5 workings days. Cryptocurrencies are subject to their relevant network confirmation requirements.

Regulation

Uphold Europe Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Temporary Registration Regime. The company is also a registered EMD Agent and Electronic Money Issuer. Importantly, digital currency trading is not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in the case of business insolvency. Additionally, crypto-asset services are not within the scope of The Financial Ombudsman Service.

The US affiliate is authorised by the United States Treasury Department regulator, FinCEN. Uphold Lithuania is not currently regulated by any governmental authority. This is not unusual among cryptocurrency trading firms. Still, always be cautious due to the highly volatile nature of digital assets.

It was good to see the company provides full governing transparency. There is a specific data transparency page available on the exchange’s website with real-time transaction flows, assets and solvency information. The proprietary Reserveledger and Reservechain technologies are also regularly assessed by independent auditors. In addition, Uphold adheres to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) for record-keeping compliance.

Security

Security protocols are enforced across all customer touchpoints. These include conducting Anti-Money Laundering and Know-Your-Customer compliance checks during account set-up. Bespoke technology also ensures the company adheres to local and international laws to protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

Traders are provided basic guidance on security best practices including implementing two-factor authentication (2FA), associated security keys and recognising scams.

Proof Of Reserves

Uphold provides proof of reserves for complete peace of mind. This is good to see, particularly following the collapse of FTX in November 2022, which will likely lead to many crypto firms publishing financial information to reassure customers.

Uphold publishes a real-time record of all transfers in, out and within the trading environment. The Reserveledger™ is a real-time anonymous record of the currencies and precious metals held in reserve. The publication is traceable and verifiable proof of solvency.

In November 2022, for example, the company was holding 102.2% in capital reserves. On the firm’s website, you can view reserve status by obligation, asset currency and a breakdown of funds by holding category.

Fund Safety

Uphold offers an insurance policy to protect retail customers against theft of cryptocurrency or fraudulent transfers. This policy may cover up to the total asset value held in offline storage.

Note, cryptocurrency investments made via Uphold are not protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Educational Content & Tools

A variety of educational content and tools are available to online traders. The Uphold website hosts a dedicated webpage of resources and insights, suitable for even the most inexperienced crypto investors. Content includes:

  • Cryptionary – A useful reference guide to common terminology and jargon
  • Blog – Latest news, professional opinions and upcoming features in the crypto landscape
  • Newsletters – An archive of published cryptocurrency news. Traders can sign up for an email subscription service for the latest releases including details of NFTs, automated crypto bots and more

Third-party applications are also available. These can be downloaded directly from the broker’s interface and can be integrated into your existing trading software. Available apps include Blockreward; earn points for online activities, SkillGaming; skills-based gaming network where traders can play for free and Unstoppable Domains; replace crypto-addresses with easy to remember domains.

Digital Wallets

Uphold provides a secure, cloud-based cold wallet solution similar to that of Coinbase or Gemini. It is a helpful feature vs Kraken which offers exchange services only.

The digital wallet can be used to designate holdings in different currencies and commodities including US Dollars, Ethereum, Bitcoin and more. You can also connect your wallet to your credit/debit card accounts.

Our review was pleased with the functionality available, including the ability able to make payments to online merchants, send money to peers and instantly convert between currencies.

Uphold trading volume
Crypto Wallet

Promotions

The exchange does not normally offer any bonuses or monetary promotions. With that said, our review did find historic incentives for global clients, including those in the US, UK, Argentina and Brazil. A 10 BTC bonus was available to customers depositing $250 worth of cryptocurrency during a specified period. A referral scheme is also available with referees eligible for up to $20 worth of BTC for new account sign-ups.

Always read bonus terms and conditions and understand the thresholds before opening an account.

Advantages

  • Crypto staking
  • Global regulation
  • Free demo account
  • After-hours trading
  • 100+ crypto assets
  • Digital wallets available
  • Fractional stock trading
  • Transparent pricing model
  • Various payment methods accepted
  • Stringent security protocols and compliance

Disadvantages

  • Some negative customer reviews
  • Limited customer contact options
  • No advanced platform charts and graphs
  • Identity verification required to access all features
  • Other leading exchanges support more cryptocurrencies

Trading Hours

The cryptocurrency market is available to trade 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Digital assets are not typically subject to market closures, such as public holidays or weekends. Alternative assets such as US equities and environmental instruments have varying trading hours.

Uphold also offers after-hours trading on US equities (typically 9:30 AM to 4 PM ET). An upweighted fee may apply for this service.

Customer Service

Uphold offers limited customer contact options. It was disappointing to see no helpline phone number, live chat or office address. An email contact form is provided for clients to request help, though standard response times are not clear. Alternatively, an FAQ page is hosted on the broker’s website for common issues, queries and step-by-step guidance. Topics include details of margin trading, login security features, halted services and automated trading bot functionality. Still, there are negative reviews indicating unsupportive customer service.

Uphold Verdict

Our Uphold broker review was pleased with the security features, educational content, multi-asset trading and digital wallet offering. Nevertheless, the exchange does have some negative trader reviews indicating challenges with customer support and account lockouts. Overall though, Uphold is a good all-round broker, suitable for new and experienced crypto traders.

Accepted Countries

Uphold accepts traders from Australia, Thailand, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Qatar and most other countries.

Traders can not use Uphold from Cuba, Congo, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Korea, Sudan, Syria, Yemen.