Comparing the best Bitcoin exchanges in Australia
- Coinbase – Most Trusted Exchange
- Binance – Many Crypto-to-Crypto Trade Options
- Kraken – Largest Euro Volume Exchange
- Cex.io – Focus on Security Features
- FTX – New and Unique Options
- Bitfinex – High Liquidity and Volume
- Bittrex – Safe and Australia Compliant
- Changelly – Peer-to-Peer Trading Experience
- Bitstamp – Loyal Customer Base
- Gemini – Minimalist Interface
Our Crypto Exchange Ranking Process
With so many platforms available in Australia, there are several important factors to consider when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange. Needs and strategies will vary depending on the investor, but a few core qualities need to be present in a well-run system. Here are a few things we looked into when creating this list:
- Reputation – how their customers gauge their service, how they handle loss, and the age of the exchange.
- Security measures – both exchange security (such as cold storage) and personal account security (such as 2FA authentication).
- Supported currencies – each platform has their own strategy on which coins are supported.
- Fees – while fees are necessary, frequent investors will want to minimize the amount they spend on each trade.
- Platform – including both the services offered on the exchange and the user interface.
With these values in mind, we have created a detailed review of our top ten favorite exchanges available in Australia.
1. Coinbase – Most Trusted Exchange
With more than 30 million customers, Coinbase is arguably the world’s most trusted crypto exchange. Coinbase has taken several measures to keep those that use their exchange secure and meets the requirements and regulations laid down by both the EU and US financial institutions. The company is also backed by major mainstream investors, such as the New York Stock Exchange, Union Square Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz.
Coinbase’s security measures include FDIC insurance that will cover losses of $250,000 or less of their customer’s assets in the event of the platform’s failure or a global hack. The company also only keeps 2% of their crypto funds online. The other 98% of their assets are kept in cold storage. The company has also put limits on the amount of Bitcoin that can be bought or sold on a daily basis.
Due to their government regulation, Coinbase users do not have the anonymity they may have with other exchanges. Customers must provide identification as well as banking information so that they can make direct deposits. Coinbase keeps this information secure and does not share it with any third-party companies.
Coinbase launched in 2012 as a wallet service, but fairly quickly evolved into a cryptocurrency exchange. Today, they are operational in over 30 countries, most notably in Australia, European Union, or in Oceania. Due to its intuitive user interface, the platform is ideal for beginners who want to get into crypto.
Coinbase limits the coins they support to those that have passed their Digital Asset Framework. Their trading fees vary depending on location but are generally 1.49% for transactions made through bank transfers and 3.99% for those made with credit/debit cards. They also have apps available for both iOS and Android.
2. Binance – Many Crypto-to-Crypto Trade Options
Binance was founded by a Chinese software developer named Changpeng “CZ” Zhao who had a history in building systems for the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Binance was originally based in China but moved to Japan after the Chinese government cracked down on crypto regulation. Binance ultimately landed in Malta, a decision that may have been influenced by the fact that it was the first country to offer a crypto regulation framework, known as Virtual Financial Assets (VFA).
Binance has a Secure Asset Fund (SAFU) for its users. The company allocates 10% of its trading fees into a money vault in the event of fraudulent activity. In fact, they were able to reimburse funds lost after the platform was hacked in May 2019.
Binance has created a large exchange that allows users to trade coins with a large number of other coins. In fact, the platform has one of the largest amounts of coin pairs in the industry, giving customers a lot of freedom in their trades while minimizing fees. You can also use the exchange for margin and derivatives trading without having to transfer the coins to other platforms. Binance does not deal with fiat currency at all. Its base unit of exchange is Bitcoin, meaning you will need to purchase and transfer your BTC from elsewhere.
In September 2019, Binance was forced to make a separate trading platform for Australia to conform to the financial regulations of the country. With the creation of Binance.us, the Binance token (BNB) was created. Users have the opportunity to use their BNBs in transactions to cut their fees in half. Their standard trading fee is quite low, at only 0.1%.
3. Kraken – Largest Euro Volume Exchange
Founded in 2011, Kraken has continually grown into the largest euro volume exchange in the world. The platform was a partner in the first cryptocurrency bank and it is a great choice for experienced traders who want to take advantage of many options quickly and efficiently.
Kraken supports the trade of over 30 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Etereum, Ethereum Classic, Zcash, Dogecoin, Ripple, Stellar/Lumens, Auger REP tokens, and many more.
Not only does Kraken deal with cryptocurrencies, but they also trade several fiat currencies from around the world. These include USD, EUR, CAD, Yen, and GBP. In fact, for a trading site of their stature, Kraken has a higher amount of coin-to-coin trade options than other similar platforms. Based in San Francisco, Kraken is open to working with clients in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, and several countries in Europe.
Kraken is a solid trading platform that is a great choice for advanced traders who have experience in trading crypto and fiat currencies. While they make strides to make their platform more beginner-friendly (such as informative pages based on your level of experience), the added options (Such as margin trading, futures, and OTC) can make the system seem overwhelming to those new to the industry.
With low fees, a 24/7 support team, and a solid reputation, Kraken is a great site for investors who want to have several options while remaining on a secret platform. Their fees tend to be lower than similar sites and they have strong security features to keep your funds safe.
4. Cex.io – Focus on Security Features
Launched in 2013, Cex now has over 3 million users and a strong reputation for safety. In their years of service, this UK-based exchange has never lost its customer’s funds. Their site is beginner-friendly but has advanced features that attract serious traders as well. Not only is their UI intuitive, but it can be personalized to show the user what they want to see at a moment’s glance. Their security features include full data encryption, DDoS attack protection, and cold storage for the majority of their cryptocurrency.
Cex deals with all of the major coins and a handful of others. They also allow some fiat-to-crypto trading including EUR, GBP, and RUB. You can deposit both crypto and fiat currencies into their system. Cex is supported in 99% of the world’s nations and in 43 US States.
Experienced traders will enjoy some of the advanced features such as cross-platform trading and margin trading (up to 10x leverage). The platform also offers staking options on six different coins. You can earn between 1.3-20% annually depending on the amount you have staked. As with all crypto trading systems, you should adequately research staking before investing.
Cex does have higher fees than some of its competitors for its services, though they do have free bank transfers and reasonable fees for credit cards. Their WebSocket, REST API, and FIX API allow people to integrate their numbers into their personal systems to set up automatic trading. They offer 24/7 support and a fully functional mobile app.
5. FTX – New and Unique Options
Launched in May 2019 by Alameda Research, FTX allows its users to purchase crypto using USD. They offer very low fees that reduce even further for high-volume trades. Fees range from 0-0.10% for maker fees and 0.05-0.40% for taker fees depending on 30 day volume. They also have an app that allows you to trade at any time.
FTX offers several different options for advanced traders with approved accounts. These include margin trading with 10x leverage, futures contracts based on the current BTC mining rates, coin baskets of various smaller coins that can be bought and traded at once. Coins are priced against the USD value.
6. Bitfinex – High Liquidity and Volume
Based in Hong Kong, Bitfinex boasts some of the highest liquidity and trading volumes in the industry. They offer a large number of coins and trading pairs, including fiat-to-crypto and crypto-to-crypto trades. Bitfinex is a very popular exchange in Asia, but has customers from every corner of the globe.
Due to its popularity and high volume, Bitfinex has been a target for hackers and has been successfully hacked twice. Both times, the platform paid back the investors who lost money fully. They have also invested in their security system and now follow strict guidelines. Only 0.5% of the company’s crypto is kept in hot wallets for operation on the site. The rest of the capital can only be accessed if multiple members of the management team work together to do so. They also offer withdrawal protection and 2FA authentication for further security.
Bitfinex offers advanced trading techniques including margin funding and trading up to 5x leverage. They offer low fees for high-value traders, creating an attractive platform for traders. They also offer WebSocket and BEST APIs for easy integration.
Not only is their web interface customizable for easy navigation, Bitfinex also has a full service app that allows you to trade while you are on the go. Traders can even set up notifications so that they don’t miss opportunities for great trades.
7. Bittrex – Safe and US Compliant
Bittrex is an exchange that is based in Seattle, Washington. It is a suitable platform for beginners who are concerned about security. In fact, the company was founded by former security engineers who previously worked at Microsoft, Blackberry, and Amazon. Due to their high-security measures and their full compliance with the U.S. Regulations, Bittrex is considered one of the safest crypto exchanges online. Most of their crypto is kept in cold storage and can only be accessed with management verification.
While Bittrex is a good exchange for beginners, they do offer many advanced features for more experienced traders with reasonable trade fees. These features include several charting tools, GTC, stop-loss, and instant orders even on large orders. Bittrex strives to execute orders as quickly as possible. There are dozens of trade options, and those who have completed a KYC check can also trade USD to crypto.
Not only does the exchange deal with the major coins, they also offer trades on several less-popular coins, allowing their investors to create broad portfolios. Bittrex also has an app that is fully functional and third-party supporting APIs.
8. Changelly – Peer-to-Peer Trading Experience
Changelly is a popular exchange for individuals who want to make fast and anonymous crypto-to-crypto transfers. They service over 90 currencies trades and it takes less than half an hour to complete each transaction. To use their service, you would set up the trade, send the exact amount of crypto needed for the exchange to the provided address, then wait for the other crypto to be deposited in your desired wallet.
Based in Prague, Czech Republic, Changelly is a decentralized exchange with absolutely no geographic restrictions. As the service preserves your anonymity, they do charge higher fees than other exchanges. Their reliable exchange services over 2 million accounts and provide support via chat 24/7. The first few purchases and exchanges are limited, but individuals can make much larger exchanges usually within 30 days.
9. Bitstamp – Loyal Customer Base
Bitstamp was founded in 2011 in Slovenia, but moved to Luxembourg in 2016. It is one of Europe’s best and more popular exchanges. Launched just three years after Bitcoin’s creation, it has a customer base that is loyal and proud to be a part of its history. The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) granted Bitstamp a virtual currency license in 2019.
While the exchange is not beginner-friendly, accounts are free and are easy to set up. Due to its popularity, it provides 24/7 support in a variety of languages. Bistamp has incorporated safety features such as 2-step authentication and storing the majority of their coins in cold storage. Their security has been upgraded several times since their platform was hacked in 2015.
With Bitstamp, you can start trading as soon as you have made a deposit. You can trade Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, EUR, and USD. The platform has low transaction fees, but high deposit fees. Even large transaction processes fairly quickly. While the platform doesn’t have a great interface, it is very reliable. You will need to provide a government-issued ID from your country if you choose to connect your bank account or credit card to your Bitstamp profile.
10. Gemini – Minimalistic Interface
Gemini is known as the exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler. They are well known as the pair who sued Mark Zuckerberg for stealing their idea for Facebook, as portrayed in the movie, The Social Network. In fact, part of their settlement was used to incest in crypto and in the creation of this exchange.
Based in New York, Gemini is a licensed and regulated exchange that deals in USD, Bitcoin, Etereum, Litecoin, Zcash, and Bitcoin Cash trades. They also strictly follow the rules set by the Department of Financial Services and have created requirements that resemble those of a bank. They do have high fees at 1%, but do give discounts to investors who trade in high volume.
The platform is used in the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insures all counts that are based in Australia and most of their crypto is kept in cold storage for its protection.
Gemini has a good reputation for dealing with high liquidity and for their margin trading. They also have a minimalistic user interface that is appealing to people who just want to see the basics. Their only criticisms are their customer service and that their servers overload quickly during certain spikes, though they always put their servers back online as quickly as they can.
What is a Cryptocurrency Exchange?
A cryptocurrency exchange is a platform that allows you to buy, sell or exchange bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with each other or fiat money. Each platform will vary in the coins traded on their sites and will range in security, features and fees.
Bitcoin network was launched on January 3, 2009. While it took some time for the idea of crypto to gain popularity, it was soon clear that there would be a need for a trading system. There are several types of crypto exchanges that are used depending on the needs of the investor.
Types of Crypto Exchanges
Depending on your needs, you will need one of the following types of exchanges:
- Broker – a broker exchange is similar to foreign currency exchanges in that anyone can visit them to purchase cryptocurrencies at the price set by the platform.
- Trading – platforms that find buyers for sellers and vise versa at a fixed market price. The exchange takes a cut of each transaction.
- Direct – allows users to trade with each other at their own prices. Every seller can choose their own rate instead of adhering to the current market rate.
These are further broken down when it comes to what currencies you want to exchange. When you are first starting out, you will need to find a broker that will allow you to purchase cryptocurrency for fiat (traditional – such as USD, EUR, or YEN) money. Once you have crypto in your wallet, you can transfer it to any crypto exchange that accepts that particular currency.
There are also several differences between decentralized and centralized exchanges.
A centralized exchange is a business that allows others to buy and sell crypto. They are similar to traditional banks in that they act as a middle man between transactions or store their users’ crypto on wallets. Most offer very affordable transactions and features that range from simple trades to online staking.
To be a centralized exchange, the companies need to adhere to their government’s regulations with proper licensing. They must also follow the financial laws of the state. For this reason, most will ask for identification via your government-issued ID and may limit your activities until your account is verified.
Centralized exchanges are also known to take additional security measures, making it unlikely for their system to be hacked and funds lost. Most store the majority of their assets in offline wallets (this is known as cold storage) and require 2FA authentication and other features to keep accounts secure.
Satoshi Nakamoto and the other developers of Bitcoin originally designed the coin to make it possible to have peer-to-peer transactions without a middle man taking a cut of every transaction or have it controlled by any government agency. It was launched shortly after the stock market crashed in 2008 when people were greatly affected by current financial institutions.
Decentralized networks allow people to create private transactions between each other. Most decentralized exchanges don’t require a government ID and people merely need to sign in with an email address. As long as they have a wallet with crypto, they can purchase or sell coins. Many of these platforms will have higher transaction rates than traditional exchanges.
While there are trustworthy decentralized exchanges, you should do your research before creating transactions on one. Many times, prices may be inflated or others may not act responsibly. Compared to centralized platforms, there is no protection on peer-to-peer exchanges.
How to Pick the Right Crypto Exchange
When it comes to picking the right crypto exchange, you need to ask yourself which features are most important to you. If you want a quick transaction with anonymity, you will need to find a reliable decentralized exchange. If security is your main focus, find a centralized exchange that takes extra steps to keep your funds safe.
Here are a few other details to consider:
- Coin availability – you will need to find an exchange that trades your desired coins.
- Payment methods – some exchanges are pure crypto-to-crypto platforms while others allow fiat-to-crypto transactions. Depending on your situation, you may need to find one that works with bank accounts or credit/debit cards.
- Trade experience – if you are new to the crypto world, you will want an exchange that is intuitive and easy to use. Work yourself toward advanced features by researching and watching trends before diving into them.
Every trader will require different services. The key is knowing what you need and finding the exchange that meets your requirements.