The rapidly growing cryptocurrency market has exploded in value and popularity over the last year. With Bitcoin prices fluctuating heavily, some are now saying it is a great time to buy in ahead of the inevitable bull market.
If you’re ready to get started with cryptocurrency investing, you’ll need to start by purchasing some Bitcoin. It’s the most popular and most trusted coin. This can be difficult and confusing for newer investors, as there are many different ways in which Bitcoin can be purchased.
Recent regulatory crackdowns and geopolitical issues around the world have placed Bitcoin under intense scrutiny, which has made it more difficult in some cases for investors to purchase cryptocurrency with fiat currency (such as Australian dollars).
While these events have made it slightly more difficult to buy bitcoin in Australia it’s still relatively easy to buy with the right method. In this guide, we’ll break down the five safest, simplest, and most reliable Australian Bitcoin exchanges.
What to Know Before Getting Started
Before jumping in and buying Bitcoin from any of these platforms, it’s important to ensure you understand how a Bitcoin wallet works. In order to receive your Bitcoin, you’ll need to provide your chosen Bitcoin broker with a valid wallet address.
You may also want to learn how to keep your coins safe and consider investing in a hardware wallet such as the Trezor or Ledger Nano S if you intend to purchase a large amount of Bitcoin.
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a Bitcoin broker:
- Payment methods: It’s possible to purchase Bitcoin with payment methods such as BPAY. Some platforms allow users to buy Bitcoin in person at a local news agent. Due to recent disruption from the big four banks both POLi and credit/debit card purchases are generally unavailable in Australia, although some highly compliant platforms still provide POLi payments.
- Fees: A Bitcoin broker will charge a fee for their service, which will vary from broker to broker.
- ID verification requirements: All Bitcoin brokers operating in Australia are required to comply with Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering laws, which means you’ll need to verify your identity before buying. The sole exception to this rule is LocalBitcoins, which makes it possible to purchase Bitcoin completely anonymously with cash in person.
Swyftx is one of Australia’s top-rated exchanges, boasting high TrustPilot scores and offering over 300+ tradeable crypto assets including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Solana. The exchange is highly secure being AUSTRAC registered and ISO27001:2013 certified giving its users peace of mind that their data and investments are safe.
Swyftx is a feature-rich trading platform, one of its stand-out features is its ‘demo mode. This feature lets beginner crypto investors practice trading with US$10,000 in a risk-free simulated environment. Other notable features include recurring orders, trigger orders and price alerts.
Swyftx users can also earn interest on their Bitcoin investments with the exchange’s new Earn feature. This feature lets investors daily rewards on their Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies when they add it to their Earn wallet. There are no associated fees with Earn and the funds can be pulled out of Earn at any time with no cost.
Swyftx is also great for any investors looking to purchase large amounts of Bitcoin (BTC). The exchange has one of Australia’s top-rated OTC desks, where investors can speak with an industry-leading expert about making high-volume trades over $100,000 AUD.
There are numerous deposit methods on Swyftx’s exchange including; PayID, Bank Transfer, OSK, POLi and credit/debit card. Many of these payment methods allow for near-instant transactions.
Swyftx charges a trading fee of 0.6% which is lower than the Australian average. No fees for charged for deposits or withdrawals.
Independent Reserve is one of the most popular options for purchasing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Australia and operates as a fully-functional exchange. This means that you don’t need to set up a separate wallet to buy Bitcoin from Independent Reserve as they offer a hosted wallet solution.
Independent Reserve is the first Australian crypto exchange to be insured by a leading global insurer and the first crypto exchange to have an integrated KPMG tax tool.
The identity verification process for Independent Reserve involves uploading both a standard photo ID and proof of address documents as well as an extra step in which new users are required to confirm their account with a security code sent in the mail.
Independent Reserve also provides an easy-to-use exchange that can be used to sell or buy Bitcoin for fiat currencies. Capital generated from the sale of Bitcoin on Independent Reserve can be withdrawn directly to your bank account.
Independent Reserve also supports 13 popular cryptocurrencies including ETH, LTC, BCH, XRP, XLM, EOS, REP, GNT, BAT, OMG, ZRX and PLA, and allows users to trade in USD, AUD and NZD.
For AUD deposits, Independent Reserve offers Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT), Osko (PayID), and POLi. SWIFT payments are available for USD and NZD deposits and withdrawals.
EFT deposits under $100 AUD are subject to a $0.99 processing fee, while larger deposits are free. SWIFT deposits over $5,000 are free, while smaller deposits are charged a $15 fee. Withdrawals from Bitcoin wallets hosted by Independent Reserve cost 0.0003 BTC. Bitcoin deposits are free, and AUD withdrawals are free. ‘Premium Account’ holders benefit directly from this insurance, the highest levels of support, reduced trading fees, and the very best of the platform.
CoinJar was the first Australian cryptocurrency platform to launch with support from venture capital funding and, like Independent Reserve, offers exchange and hosted wallet services. CoinJar stands out from the crowd with a slew of features that include a dedicated smartphone app and even a “CoinJar Swipe” debit card that allows users to spend cryptocurrency directly in fiat currency.
It’s possible to use CoinJar as a simple hosted cryptocurrency wallet anonymously, but in order to purchase Bitcoin you’ll need to verify your identity by providing proof of identity and proof of address documents.
CoinJar supports Blueshyft (which makes it possible to fund your Bitcoin purchases with cash in person), BPAY & PayID (instant deposits via NPP/Osko). As of Oct 2018, they no longer support POLi deposits.
BPAY transfers are free from fees on the CoinJar platform while Blueshyft payments are subject to a processing fee of 1.5%. Although the fees are lower than Coinbase, we have found the price of Bitcoin on CoinJar to be slightly more expensive.
Coinbase is the undisputed king of cryptocurrency brokerage, and boasts almost 8 million users around the world. Based in San Francisco, Coinbase is available in 32 countries internationally and supports a selection of cryptocurrencies that includes Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
The Coinbase platform is not an exchange, and thus doesn’t make it possible to actually trade Bitcoin, but does offer hosted wallet solutions for all of the aforementioned cryptocurrencies. The Coinbase identity verification process involves both ID and phone number verification, but due to a massive surge in users the verification process is delayed at the moment – some new users are reporting verification times of more than one week.
The biggest drawcard of Coinbase is the simplicity and ease of use the platform offers. Instead of confusing new users with order books and trading screens, Coinbase delivers a straightforward buying process that doesn’t leave much to interpretation. Another drawback is that they restrict how much you can buy per week, with limits increasing with use.
As Coinbase is based internationally, it doesn’t support POLi payments. The only way to purchase Bitcoin via Coinbase in Australia is via credit or debit card, which requires identity verification. All Bitcoin purchases made via this method are instant, however.
Coinbase charges a rate of 3.99% for all credit and debit card purchases in Australia.
Caleb & Brown
Caleb and Brown is an award-winning digital currency brokerage registered with AUSTRAC. Founded in 2016 with a vision to become the conduit between cryptocurrency and the financial services industry, Caleb & Brown gives clients a sensible means to legally and safely engage in the cryptocurrency market with an experienced brokerage team providing an unparalleled service for both new investors and seasoned traders.
List of services includes: Retail Brokerage – access to over 1600 cryptocurrencies; OTC Trading desk; Cryptocurrency Education; Crypto Security and Wallet Set Up services; Crypto Tax Assessment services; ICO liquidations.
Caleb and Brown specialise in high-volume trading of digital currencies from $5,000 up to $100 million. They are Australia’s only brokerage service that enables same-day trading up to $2 million in purchases prior to banking deposit clearance for verified clients. Caleb & Brown was named FinTech start-up of the year at the 2018 Stockbroker and Financial Advisers Association (SAFAA) conference.
Simple bank-to-bank transfer from any local and international banks with KCY/AML verifications. Accepts all major international currencies.
Caleb & Brown charges a commission varying between 2%-4% depending on the volume of the trade. NOTE: Caleb & Brown quotes a spot price derived as an average of international exchanges. No further spread is added to the spot price quoted.
BTC Markets is a slightly more complicated cryptocurrency platform geared towards experienced investors and traders. Based in Melbourne, BTC Markets is a full-service exchange and offers hosted wallet solutions.
Purchasing Bitcoin on BTC Markets is slightly more complicated than the other platforms in this guide. In order to buy Bitcoin with BTC Markets, users need to deposit AUD into their account and then trade on the BTC Market BTC/AUD exchange. This process may be somewhat intimidating to newer investors, but does present a range of different order types for experienced investors.
BTC Markets supports both POLi payments and BPAY. POLi payments under $500 typically clear within minutes, while BPAY payments can take up to two business days.
Depositing AUD into a BTC Markets account with BPAY is free, while POLi payments incur a $3.30 fee.
Digital Surge is a crypto exchange based out of Brisbane, Australia. The exchange is focused on making crypto trading easy for beginners with a simple sign-up and verification process. Digital Surge users can easily track their portfolio and trade Bitcoin thanks to the crypto exchanges’ intuitive and minimalistic interface.
Digital Surge is also one of the cheapest Australian exchanges, offering customers trading fees as low as 0.1%. The exchange also has numerous trading features like price alerts, recurring orders and trigger orders. Users can also earn daily interest on 12+ cryptocurrencies thanks to Digital Surges’ new staking feature.
Digital Surge accepts payments via BPAY, POLi and PayID. The exchange currently does not accept credit card payments or bank transfers.
All purchases made through Digital Surge come with a transaction fee that ranges from 0.1 to 0.5% depending on trade volume.
CoinTree is an Australian cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to purchase Bitcoin as well as trade a variety of different altcoins. Like Coinbase, CoinTree is designed with ease of use in mind and is geared towards newer cryptocurrency investors.
CoinTree has been in operation since 2013, and has gathered a significant amount of support in the Australian cryptocurrency community. The CoinTree platform also provides users with hosted wallet solutions.
Interestingly, CoinTree also makes it possible to pay bills using Bitcoin. Users are able to pay any common Australian bill by entering the biller code and customer reference number into the platform. CoinTree then provides the total converted rate into Bitcoin and pays the bill, fee-free.
CoinTree allows users to deposit cash directly into their account at any Australian bank, as well as POLi payments. Credit card or debit card purchases are not currently supported.
CoinTree offers extremely simple fees – all Bitcoin transactions are charged a 3% rate, while all other transfers are free.
CoinSpot is an Australian FinTech company founded in 2013 with a well-regarded reputation and customer service. CoinSpot also provides a competitive affiliate program receiving 25% of the commission fees they take on anyone you refer to them.
POLi, BPAY and Cash.
For Bitcoin and Litecoin, the fee is 0.9% and for other coins it’s 2%-3% depending on the coin.
LocalBitcoins is wildly different from the other platforms presented in this guide. Using LocalBitcoins it’s possible to purchase Bitcoin completely anonymously with cash in person, but it can be somewhat riskier.
LocalBitcoins is essentially a marketplace that allows individuals to either buy or sell Bitcoin in person with cash or via bank transfer, PayPal, and many other payment methods. To buy Bitcoin on LocalBitcoins you’ll need to search for sellers in your local area and select your payment method.
LocalBitcoins provides users with a hosted wallet. When purchasing Bitcoin, a seller will place Bitcoin in escrow with the LocalBitcoins platform. When payment is complete the seller will release the escrow to the buyer’s wallet. If you decide to use LocalBitcoins to purchase Bitcoin anonymously, always be sure to check the seller’s profile page for positive feedback.
Cash, Paypal, Bank Transfer, Western Union, BPAY and more.
The price of Bitcoin on LocalBitcoins is determined by the seller and varies wildly. You may find that purchasing Bitcoin anonymously is more expensive than using a more reputable broker platform. LocalBitcoins also charges a fee when Bitcoin is transferred to another wallet from their hosted wallet. An explanation of LocalBitcoins’ outgoing Bitcoin transfer fees can be found here.
Despite heavy resistance from incumbent financial institutions and major price fluctuations, Bitcoin is here to stay. Whether you choose to purchase Bitcoin from an exchange, a broker, or from an anonymous stranger, always be sure to remain cautious and keep your cryptocurrency details highly secure.
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