How to Buy Crypto in Australia

By Ben Knight August 07, 2023

In short

There are several ways to buy crypto in Australia, with the most common one being buying through an exchange. Simple choose an exchange (we choose Swyftx) and then follow these simple steps:

  1. Create an account
  2. Verify your email address, phone number and ID
  3. Deposit funds from your bank account to your exchange
  4. Choose the crypto you want to purchase
  5. Confirm your order and buy crypto


Choosing an exchange

The first step along any journey can often be the hardest and venturing into the crypto world is no exception. Choosing an exchange is a vital part of the crypto-buying process, but the wide range of options available can quickly overwhelm newcomers. That’s why it’s so important for new investors to research reputable exchanges – only they can determine which platform is best suited to their unique financial goals.

Australians wanting to keep things simple should stick to a local-based crypto exchange. Such platforms fall under the thumb of the Australian Government and must abide by stringent financial regulations to operate in the country. Additionally, local exchanges accept AUD deposits and withdrawals, are less of a target for hackers, and often boast an Australian customer support team. Swyftx is an excellent example of a secure, trustworthy Australian exchange with competitive fees.

Other factors worth considering include:

  • Fees (transaction, spreads, deposit and withdrawal)
  • Supported cryptocurrencies (Does the exchange sell the cryptocurrency I want?)
  • Customer service (Do they have live chat? What are their business hours?)
  • Security (Do they have an insurance fund? Has customer information been compromised?)
  • Deposit and withdrawal methods (Does the platform support fast and free bank transfers)

We have compared the best crypto exchanges in Australia for more information.


How to buy crypto in Australia

Once we’ve decided on a trustworthy and secure cryptocurrency exchange, it’s time to learn how to buy crypto. We will use Swyftx as our platform of choice for this demonstration, but there are several other fantastic exchanges that also work.

You can view our in-depth review of Swyftx for more details.

1. Create an account

Creating an account on most modern exchanges is usually very straightforward. Head to the website’s home page and select “Sign Up”, “Start Trading” or a similar call-to-action.

New users will be presented with a standard application form that requests basic personal information, including mobile number, date of birth, email address and nationality. Ensure you can access a smartphone and email address to move forward as quickly as possible.

Verify the email and mobile number through a six-digit code sent to each address and move onto the final part of this step – deciding on a password. Make sure to use a unique passcode with special characters, capitals and numbers.

2. Verify account

Now that our Swyftx (or other exchange) account is ready to rock and roll, it’s time to deposit funds. Due to the Australian Government’s Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, users must verify their identity before depositing AUD. New users can begin this process by selecting “Verification” from the settings dashboard.

It’s a good idea to have government-issued documentation such as a driver’s license or passport on hand to speed up this process. New accounts must provide images of these documents to the exchange before depositing AUD (or another fiat currency).

All up, the verification process should only take five to ten minutes.

3. Deposit funds

Once our new account is verified, we’re ready to deposit AUD. Most Australian exchanges like Swyftx support several fast and free deposit methods, giving new users plenty of flexibility for funding their accounts. 

Click “Deposit” from anywhere on the platform and select the asset being deposited – for most, this will be Australian Dollars (AUD).

Choose a deposit method – Swyftx offers POLi, PayID, Debit/credit card or bank transfer – and input the amount of cash to be transferred. Confirm that the transaction and the exchange account should be funded within 48 hours (depending on the deposit method used).

4. Pick your chosen cryptocurrency

Possibly the most important decision any investor must make is what to actually invest in. New users should reflect on a myriad of factors that can influence the long-term viability of each potential investment (i.e., project developers, historic performance, real-world functionality). Generally, it is recommended that beginners start off with safer options like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) before branching out into more speculative projects.

Navigate to the exchange’s trading hub to bring up a list of supported cryptocurrencies. Finding the coin you want to buy is easy – you can either scroll through the list or simply search for the asset’s name.

5. Confirm your order and buy crypto

Now that we’ve chosen and located the crypto we wish to buy, it’s time to complete the transaction. Select “Buy” to bring up the trading interface. Here, we can decide how much cryptocurrency we wish to buy. 

Once everything looks good, simply review and confirm the transaction. That’s it! The newly purchased cryptocurrency should hit your exchange account within a few minutes.

Other ways to buy crypto

Owning crypto coins directly is one of many ways for investors to expose themselves to the blockchain market. The main advantage of using an alternative is avoiding storing and managing a potentially volatile crypto portfolio.

Invest in companies connected to crypto

A few companies operating in the crypto space offer shares on public stock markets. Perhaps the most prominent example is Coinbase, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges. The US-based company went public in 2021 and was the first-ever exchange start-up to sell shares on the stock market. Like the crypto market, Coinbase’s stock has experienced a rough time since its initial public offering (IPO) and is down 50+%.

Another option is to stick to crypto-connected businesses that aren’t exclusively associated with the blockchain industry. A great example is MicroStrategy Inc., a multi-national analytics company that has invested in over 150,000 BTC. Therefore, investing in the stock (Ticker: MSTR) provides exposure to their massive BTC holdings and other unrelated business operations. Like Coinbase and the broader crypto market, MSTR hasn’t performed super well since 2021 – but the stock is up 200+% since its inception in the early 2000s.

Other crypto-connected companies that offer public stocks include:

  • PayPal Holdings (PYPL)
  • Block, Inc. (SQ)
  • Tesla (TSLA)
  • CME Group (CME)
  • Hive Digital Technologies (HIVE)

Interested investors can buy these stocks via their preferred international stockbroker. 

Invest through crypto ETFs

Rather than purchasing the stock of a single company connected to the crypto industry, investors should also consider exchange-traded funds. These are baskets of assets (rather than just one) that usually track the price of an underlying index, commodity or security.

Australian investors aren’t spoiled for choice when it comes to crypto ETFs. The only option on the ASX comes from wealth manager BetaShares, who released the Crypto Innovators ETF (ASX : CRYP) in 2021. This fund doesn’t track the price of a specific crypto asset. Rather, it provides exposure to several blockchain-related companies (such as Coinbase and MicroStrategy).

Investors can also consider a Bitcoin/Ethereum Futures ETF (like 21Shares Bitcoin ETF) through an international stockbroker. These funds intend to track the price of Bitcoin or Ethereum. However, they do not actually expose investors to actual BTC. Instead, futures ETFs comprise futures contracts – agreements to buy and sell BTC/ETH at a specific price on a specific date. Therefore, such ETFs don’t always accurately mirror the price movements of Bitcoin and can also come with a premium attached.

However, it may not be long until Australian investors can purchase Bitcoin ETFs that hold BTC. Several major US institutions like BlackRock and Invesco have filed applications to release their very own spot Bitcoin ETFs. These funds better reflect the day-to-day movements of the BTC market, and it appears likely that a few will be approved before the end of 2023. 

Why do people buy crypto?

Profit from price speculation

Let’s be honest. Most people buy cryptocurrency because they want to spin a profit.

Since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009, its price has increased by a ridiculous 4 million percent. And while historical performance isn’t a guarantee of future price movements, new investors are banking on the continuation of these crazy returns.

Many cryptocurrencies have excellent use cases in theory but still need to achieve widespread adoption. So, crypto investors often speculate that the potentially groundbreaking technology of certain blockchain projects will break into the mainstream in the coming years. Such an event would likely result in significant price gains.

Related: How to buy Bitcoin in Australia.

Inflation hedge

Inflation is the reality of any government-printed fiat currency. Generally, central banks target an inflation rate of 3% per year. This means that every AUD loses 3% of its spending power yearly – typically via products like energy, groceries or fuel becoming more expensive. 

In the early 2020s, governments worldwide implemented record-low interest rates to help combat the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic. While this helped jolt the economy in the short term, it caused inflation to run rampant and fiat currencies like the AUD to become debased.

Holding cash is an investment position like any other. So, when inflation is sky-high, an AUD bank account could lose 6-8% annually. This is why Bitcoin and other deflationary cryptocurrencies are often used to hedge against inflation. BTC has a limited supply of 21 million, as opposed to AUD, an inflationary currency with no maximum supply. As more and more BTC is mined, it stands to reason upward pressure on the coin’s price will follow (this assumes demand remains the same, which is impossible to predict).

Investigate and try out new technology

Cryptocurrency is so much more than coins that people invest in. It’s a trillion-dollar sector loaded with thousands of ambitious projects. Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionise modern databases. It can shake up the supply chain, pressure banks to reduce their monopolies and democratise governance among big and small businesses. A lot is happening in the crypto world – and many people buy tokens just to get a taste.

NFT-based gaming is a perfect example – the top games can see unique active wallets (UAW) of over 100,000. These burgeoning communities are often built around an in-game economy, for instance, AXS, the token used in the Pokemon-esque release Axie Infinity. Others may buy SAND tokens to pay for unique metaverse experiences via The Sandbox gaming platform.

The blockchain and crypto space is constantly evolving, with new sectors popping up constantly. For instance, a hot topic right is the tokenisation of real world assets (RWA). CEO of BlackRock Larry Fink has stated that he sees this a huge use case of crypto and one that will still large adoption in years to come.

Earn passive income

Cryptocurrency – specifically decentralised finance – roared into the public’s eye in 2021 as inflation started taking hold of the global economy. Banks were slow to adjust their interest rates, leading investors to consider alternatives to protect their wealth. One potential alternative was DeFi, as it provided multiple ways to earn passive income on top of superior rates to your average high-interest savings account.

The easiest way for investors to accrue passive income is through a basic lending protocol. These are available on major centralised exchanges and often provide annual yields of 4-10% – making it a fast and easy earning method. A common strategy is to convert fiat currency like AUD into a stablecoin. Therefore, the investor’s portfolio isn’t subject to the crypto market’s wild swings while benefiting from its better yields.

More advanced users can dive into the breadth of earning options available in the DeFi ecosystem. Staking on-chain has two advantages – contributing to a blockchain’s safety while generating cash on the side. Some investors even try their luck with yield farming. This complex earning mechanism takes advantage of short-term liquidity pool imbalances. Either way, none of these unique and productive income-generation techniques are accessible without first buying cryptocurrency. 

Frequently asked questions

Yes, but only a handful of exchanges in Australia offer support for AUD PayPal purchases. Australian residents can not yet buy, sell, or hold major cryptocurrencies with their PayPal accounts, unlike those from the UK and the US. It is likely that PayPal will introduce crypto integration for Australian customers in the coming years.

Beginner investors in Australia should stick to local, trusted and low-fee exchanges. Local exchanges tend to have better customer support and must abide by all regulations handed down by the Australian government. Swyftx is an Australian-based, cost-effective trading platform that is well-respected among the crypto community.

Yes, being able to buy crypto with credit card is becoming more and more common among centralised exchanges. Several major trading platforms in Australia support buying crypto with a credit or debit card, such as Swyftx and Coinspot. It’s worth noting that buying digital assets with a credit card can be quite expensive, with fees of 2.5%+.

Buying from Australian-based exchanges with a reputation for excellent customer service and security is the safest way to build a crypto portfolio. Keep an eye out for platforms with ISO27001 certification, such as Swyftx, Coinspot and Independent Reserve.

Yes, buying, selling and trading crypto is legal in Australia. Although cryptocurrency is not accepted as legal tender, some merchants do accept payments in specific digital currencies like BTC or ETH.

Ben Knight

Ben Knight

Ben Knight is a writer and editor from Melbourne with a passion for all things music and finance. He enjoys turning complex topics – especially the technical details of cryptocurrency – into digestible bites that anybody can understand. He acquired his Master’s in Writing, Editing and Publishing from RMIT in 2019 and has run his own creative writing business ever since.