Aussies can choose from nearly a dozen cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia and avoid the cost of switching to US dollars or euros. If those local exchanges don’t offer the altcoin selection or the advanced trading tools you’re looking for, many more global exchanges are ready for your business. This guide to the available cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia will help you pick the one that best meets your needs.
Austrac verification requirements
All of the Australian exchanges in this guide require new customers to go through a verification process which can take as little as a few hours or as long as several business days.
In April 2018, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) announced the regulation of all digital currency exchanges in Australia. The exchanges must comply with Anti-Money Laundering reporting requirements for collecting customer data, verifying their identity and reporting unusual transactions.
Based in Victoria, ACX claims to have the “largest liquidity pool and orderbook of Bitcoin in Australia.” ACX lists eight cryptocurrencies, five paired with the Australian dollar and three with bitcoin. However, you can only place simple market orders through the ACX site. All trades, buy or sell, incur a 0.2% trading fee.
Deposits and withdrawals are limited to Australian banks.
Melbourne-based Bitcoin Australia is not a full-featured trading platform. Rather, its service lets you buy and sell bitcoin as well as buy ether. When buying bitcoin or ether, you use the Bitcoin Australia site to secure a quote. Only when you deposit cash at a local newsagent with a Blueshyft terminal will Bitcoin Australia send the coins to your wallet.
Like Bitcoin Australia, Sydney-based Bit Trade is a service that buys and sells both bitcoin and ether. Bit Trade’s systems scour several global exchanges to “deliver optimal rates to our customers.” Institutional investors and more sophisticated traders can place over-the-counter trades (minimum $20,000) on Bit Trade OTC. The trading desk supports bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, litecoin and ripple.
Bit Trade charges a 1% processing fee on all transactions in addition to the spread in its exchange rates.
BTC Markets, also based in Melbourne, is one of the most popular crypto exchanges in Australia. The exchange lists six cryptocurrencies which pair with the Australian dollar or with bitcoin. BTC Markets lets traders place both market and limit orders. Bitcoin/altcoin trades incur a flat 0.22% fee. Fiat/crypto trades have volume-based fees that start at 0.85% and decline to 0.1% for the highest-volume traders.
The name almost says it all. Melbourne’s Buy-a-Bitcoin, and sister site Sell-a-Bitcoin, has let Australians purchase and cash in their bitcoins for nearly four years. They are an established part of Australia’s crypto scene and even host bitcoin meetups at the offices of Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
Bitcoin purchases incur a 5% transaction fee.
Melbourne-based Blockbid is a new crypto exchange that began public beta testing in April. The exchange promises a “large number” of altcoins, including all of Australia’s tokens, as well as trading with four fiat currencies. While Blockbid plans to charge trading fees of 0.1% for all market and limit orders, those fees are waived during the beta period.
CoinJar, another Melbourne-based crypto company, launched its Exchange in June 2018 to round out its stable of bitcoin services. The high-frequency trading platform gives Australia’s more experienced traders a local option for their crypto investing. CoinJar Exchange lists four cryptocurrencies that pair with the Australian dollar or bitcoin. High-volume users can use the CoinJar Exchange’s auction service to make large transactions without causing penalizing swings in the market price.
CoinJar offers three membership options. Casual membership is free, but trading fees are 0.5% for both market makers and market takers. Trader-level subscribers only pay 0.2% (makers) or 0.3% (takers) while Premium-level subscribers pay 0.1% (makers) or 0.15% (takers).
The CoinJar Exchange is only available to Australian residents.
Melbourne-based (are you seeing a trend?) CoinLoft is a “digital currency agency service” that sells and buys two cryptocurrencies: bitcoin and ether. CoinLoft accepts cash deposits into its bank account or at Blueshyft network of participating newsagents. Electronic bank transfer or Flexepin vouchers are also accepted.
CoinSpot traders can buy and sell more than 100 cryptocurrencies with Australian dollars. You can also place market orders for bitcoin and three altcoins. CoinSpot’s multi-currency hot wallet offers a CoinSwap feature that let you swap your balance between cryptocurrencies.
CoinSpot charges a 1% trading fee for all purchases and sales. Market orders incur a 0.25% trading fee.
CoinTree is a bitcoin merchant that buys and sells bitcoin. The company also integrates with ShapeShift so you can swap bitcoin with dozens of altcoins. All transactions are fee-free except bitcoin purchases which cost 3%.
Brisbane-based Digital Surge is Australia’s newest crypto exchange. It opened its doors to the general public in July after completing an extensive invitation-only beta program. To make new customer signups as easy as possible, Digital Surge has integrated Australia Post’s Digital ID system. As long as you already have a Digital ID, your verification will clear in minutes.
Digital Surge supports bitcoin purchases with bank transfers and has a trading system that lets you place limit orders. A third service the exchange provides is the ability to pay any BPAY bill with bitcoin from your account. Digital Surge handles all of the conversions and transfers behind the scenes. A 0.75% fee applies to all trades but declines as your 30-day trading volume increases.
Adelaide’s crypto market Hardblock only buys and sells bitcoin, but it’s been doing so since 2014. The spread in the exchange rates lets Hardblock offer its service without transaction fees.
Founded in Sydney five years ago, Independent Reserve lists four cryptocurrencies on its exchange and supports trades with dollars from Australia, New Zealand or the United States. Traders can place market, limit, or stop-limit orders on Independent Reserve’s exchange. For all order types, trading fees start at 0.5% but decline to as low as 0.10% for the highest volume traders.
Sydney-based Lex Exchange lets you place market or limit orders to buy or sell four cryptocurrencies in an Australian dollar market. All transactions incur a 0.55% fee.
The service is still in beta which means some features are not fully developed. Fiat deposits, for example, are only possible from banks using the POLi electronic transfer system.
Melbourne’s MyCryptoWallet is a centralized exchange that supports Australian and New Zealand dollars, bitcoin, ether, litecoin, power ledger and ripple. The service launched as a beta project at the peak of 2017’s crypto craze and has steadily added features in the months since. Some upgrades in the works include US dollar balances and international signups beyond Australia and New Zealand.
MyCryptoWallet charges a 2.8% fee for fiat purchases of crypto. Swaps between any combination of bitcoin, ether, litecoin and ripple have a 3.2% fee. Low-volume traders must pay a 0.7% fee for orders placed on the exchange, but volume discounts can reduce those fees as low as 0.3%.
One of Perth-based NCX’s basic goals is to create an improved trading experience “to engage users outside the general demographic” of cryptocurrency enthusiasts. NCX has a four-coin listing in an Australian dollar market. Uniquely among crypto exchanges, NCX does not charge trading fees. The only fees it charges is a 1% fee on withdrawals.
Trading on NCX is limited to Australian residents.
Exchanges Accepting Australian Dollars
Before leaving Australia…
AUSTRAC’s regulations and the anti money laundering laws upon which they are based don’t seem to exempt foreign exchanges that serve Australians over the internet. As many of these exchanges see themselves as part of the international financial system, you can expect them to do the right thing and register with AUSTRAC. Some exchanges, however, are philosophically committed to anonymity and may choose to suspend service in Australia.
It’s too early to tell how aggressively AUSTRAC will pursue non-Australian exchanges. You need to be aware that these exchanges could ask you to withdraw your deposits on very short notice.
Bisq is another app-based service, although this one is only available on desktop computers. The decentralized, peer-to-peer app enables trading on markets for bitcoin, dash and litecoin. The bitcoin market is the largest with a 70-altcoin listing. The remaining markets support fewer than six coins.
Bisq supports Interac transfers, which you can use to fund your crypto purchases with Australian dollars. The trading fees in Bisq are not predictable unless you dig into the whitepapers and source code. An equation adjusts the fees based on the size of the trade and other factors.
The Bisq app has no verification process.
The four-coin listing on Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX) may not be as large as at other exchanges, but the trading volumes are large enough on Coinbase Pro alone to make one of the twenty largest crypto exchanges. Australians can fund their Coinbase accounts with a debit card. Traders can place market, limit and stop orders which will generate fees calculated at the time of the trade. Coinbase does not divulge the formula but says the “size of your transaction, market volatility and length of time using Coinbase” determines the size of the fee.
Coinbase’s original bitcoin marketplace is available through Coinbase Prime.
All Coinbase customers must verify their phone number and email address. If you want to deal in fiat currencies, however, you must submit more detailed identification documents.
Exchanges Taking Other Fiat Money
The mobile trading platform Abra has a listing of 20 cryptocurrencies and 50 fiat currencies, including the Australian dollar. However, fiat deposits and withdrawals are only possible for people living in the Philippines or the United States. Abra uses a system of “synthetic currencies” that represents your “balances” as smart contracts on the litecoin blockchain. The only cryptocurrencies that you can actually withdraw from Abra are litecoin and bitcoin.
Rather than charge fees, Abra makes its money on the spread between their quoted exchange rates and the rates they get on the market.
Abra does not require verification.
Bitfinex’s consistently high daily trading volume makes it one of the largest digital currency exchanges in the world despite a turbulent history of system failures, hacks and scandals. Most recently the American Securities and Exchange Commission issued Bitfinex a subpoena related to its involvement with the Tether token.
The large 70-coin listing on Bitfinex’s markets for bitcoin, ether and US dollars is one reason for the exchange’s continued popularity. That pairs nicely with more advanced trading options like limit orders and leveraged trading. Although there are no volume discounts, Bitfinex’s flat maker/taker fee structure is still fairly low at 0.1% and 0.2% respectively.
Bitfinex only requires verification from customers who want to trade in fiat currencies.
Bitstamp became Europe’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume by establishing a trusted reputation among crypto investors. The company was the first digital currency exchange to register as a financial institution in the European Union and has maintained strong relationships with European banks.
With only five cryptocurrencies and two fiat currencies, you won’t find much variety on the exchange. You do, however, get access to more than just market orders with support for limit, stop and trailing stop orders. The trading fee for new and low-volume customers is 0.25%. Those fees get discounted significantly as your average 30-day trading volume increases.
Verification, which is mandatory, goes through a partially-automated process that can take several days if things don’t go right.
Changelly is not a traditional exchange. Rather than matching buyers and sellers on its own exchange, Changelly acts as your agent by placing orders for you on other exchanges. The service claims that they can get you the best exchange rates, but that gets offset by the 0.5% fee Changelly charges for the convenience of its services. Having said that, you get access to more than 90 cryptocurrencies.
Changelly only requires email verification and does not ask for any personally identifiable information.
Kraken is one of America’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. Long-time cryptocurrency advocate Jesse Powell founded the exchange after seeing the unprofessional way Mt.Gox was managed. The stable exchange has weathered the ups and downs of the crypto industry without once getting hacked.
Today, Kraken has a listing that includes 17 cryptocurrencies and 5 fiat currencies. Traders can buy and sell using market and limit orders. Kraken also allows leveraged trading on a select number of crypto trading pairs.
The maker-taker trading fees start at 0.16% and 0.24%, respectively, with discounts available to high volume accounts.
All customers must go through a basic verification process. However, a photo ID is not required unless you want to trade in fiat currencies.
Binance is one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges — and it’s only been in business for a year. Even more impressive, Binance maintained its success while bouncing from China to Japan to Hong Kong to Malta in search of a friendly regulatory environment.
One reason for Binance’s popularity is more like 110 reasons. That’s how many coins are listed on the exchange’s bitcoin, ether and tether markets. You can place market, limit, stop-loss and stop-limit orders through the website. The Binance mobile app isn’t as full-featured and only supports market orders. Binance does not offer volume discounts or a maker/taker fee structure, but at 0.1% the trading fees are fairly low.
Binance only asks you to verify your email address.
Seattle-based Bittrex competes with Kraken to be America’s largest crypto exchange. Founded by experts in enterprise-class security systems, Bittrex’s trading platform never had any troubles during last year’s hypergrowth.
Bittrex takes a very different approach from Kraken with a listing of more than 190 altcoins in its bitcoin base market. Even the ether market, with a mere 64 coins, has more trading options than Bittrex’s cross-country rival. Traders can place market or limit orders. Bittrex has a development roadmap that includes support for advanced trading options as well as leveraged trading. Despite its appeal to advanced traders, the flat 0.25% fee Bittrex charges could be a turn-off to anyone with high-volume trading needs.
Bittrex requires all customers to go through some kind of verification process. The more personal information you provide, the higher the withdrawals you can make.
New Zealand’s Cryptopia sits in the middle of the pack on CoinMarketCap’s exchange rankings. The exchange gets attention from crypto enthusiasts who want to trade in the more obscure tokens. Cryptopia’s base markets in bitcoin, litecoin and dogecoin each have 400 trading pairs on their listings. You can place market or limit orders and Cryptopia will charge you a flat 0.2% fee.
Cryptopia’s verification system lets you trade your personal information for higher limits on your withdrawals.
Switzerland-based ShapeShift received early backing from crypto promoters Roger Ver and Barry Silbert. ShapeShift has a listing of more than 50 cryptocurrencies, although the exact ones you see will depend on your country or region’s regulatory environment.
Unlike most exchanges that pair their listed coins with a limited number of high-volume cryptocurrencies, ShapeShift lets you trade any coin on its listing with any other coin. That results in hundreds of potential altcoin-to-altcoin pairings. ShapeShift does not charge trading fees, choosing instead to build a 0.5% commission into the exchange rate.
ShapeShift does not have a verification process and doesn’t even store customer data on its servers.
Hong Kong-based OKEx competes with Binance and a handful of other Asian exchanges for the top spot on CoinMarketCap’s rankings. With 120 coins listed in its bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether and tether markets sophisticated traders can take advantage of margin trading and a number of other advanced trading tools to maximize their returns. Trading fees are calculated on a maker-taker basis. The fees start at 0.15% and 0.2%, respectively, but high volume traders enjoy steep discounts.
Although OKEx does not support fiat trading, the exchange hosts a peer-to-peer trading service that lets its customers buy and sell with fiat amongst themselves.
OKEx has a two-tiered verification process. At the base level, you get access to most of its features. Level-2 verification unlocks the full OKEx feature set and higher withdrawal limits.
Founded four years ago, Poloniex became an early favorite in the crypto community. Fans affectionately referred to it as “Polo”. The company’s internal processes, however, could not keep up with last year’s hyper-growth. Details are scarce, but a Wall Street-backed firm bought out Poloniex’s owners in early 2018. Polo seems to have regained its footing over the subsequent months.
A 60-coin listing on Poloniex’s bitcoin market was one reason for the American exchange’s popularity along with its low maker/taker fees of 0.1%/0.2%. Another factor that drove Poloniex’s early success was its introduction of leveraged trading, which is still available on certain bitcoin trading pairs.
All customers must be verified before Poloniex will let them trade.
There’s no lack of options when looking for cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia. The local crypto scene has led to a healthy community of homegrown exchanges with early-stage startups like Blockbid offering intriguing services. Further afield, Asian giants Binance and OKEx have more advanced features and larger altcoin listings for the more advanced trader.