The Top 2018 Cryptocurrency Exchanges and CFD Trading for Australian Crypto Traders
Purchasing cryptocurrency is now relatively simple, with many brokers making it possible to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies quickly and easily. Trading cryptocurrency, however, can be somewhat more complex. In order to invest in promising altcoins or turn a profit from day trading it’s necessary to select an exchange platform on which to trade.
There are now more than 140 different exchanges active online today. Each exchange offers different strengths and benefits. Some exchanges are designed with simplicity in mind, while others are geared toward advanced traders and professionals.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best exchange platforms for Australian traders and highlight their various features and benefits.
Getting set up with any given cryptocurrency exchange is relatively simple. While all exchanges follow the same basic procedure and operate in a similar manner:
- Registration: New users need to register an account and verify an email address.
- Identity Verification: In order to comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money-Laundering (AML) regulations, most exchanges require ID verification. This covers their back and also yours if you forget your password.
- Deposit: To get started with trading, you’ll need to fund your account. Most exchanges allow users to fund their accounts with cryptocurrency, however some still make it possible to purchase cryptocurrency directly with fiat currency (such as Australian dollars).
- Trade: Exchanges offer a range of different markets, which usually focus on specific trading pairs such as Bitcoin/USD, or Ethereum/Bitcoin. Some trading interfaces are relatively complex, while others are extremely simple. It’s possible to make simple orders on some platforms or more complicated orders on others.
Withdraw: After trading, it’s best to withdraw your capital to a safe “cold” wallet Many exchanges are able to send fiat currency directly to a bank account.
What to Look for in an Exchange
There are a number of factors to consider before getting started with exchange trading. It’s possible to spend endless hours combing through privacy agreements, order type support, and technical security jargon, but there are a number of basic elements that should be included in any exchange assessment:
- Security: How secure is the exchange? Do they offer two-factor authentication? How is user capital stored? Security history is critical in any exchange assessment such as when was the last time they we hacked? and did they reimburse customers?
- Supported Currencies: Does the exchange support the cryptocurrencies you’d like to trade?
- Withdraw/Deposit Methods: How does the exchange handle funding or withdrawals? Has the exchange got a bad reputation on withdrawing funds?
- Fees: What fees does the exchange charge for their services? Including the withdrawal fees.
- Ease of Use: Does the exchange offer a simplified trading interface? Conversely, does it offer the advanced trading tools you’re looking for?
We’ll now proceed to break down the best exchanges for Australian cryptocurrency traders:
Independent Reserve Crypto News Media Partner
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.
In addition to offering users the ability to purchase Bitcoin, 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 to any bank account in the world.
Independent Reserve also supports 13 popular cryptocurrencies including ETH, LTC, BCH, XRP, XLM, EOS, REP, GNT, BAT, 0x, ZRX and PLA, and allows users to trade in USD, AUD and NZD.
Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) is available to Australian residents only. SWIFT payments are also available for USD and NZD deposits and withdrawals. Independent Reserve supports Osko and POLi instant deposits.
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 are free withdrawals in AUD (except for XBT they charge 0.0001 XBT). 'Premium Account' holders benefit directly from this insurance, the highest levels of support, reduced trading fees, and the very best of the platform.
CoinJar ExchangeCrypto News Media Partner
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 Exchange is their advanced trading platform for more experienced traders, which works in tandem with their wallet and simple buy/sell platform for on ramp/off ramp capabilities and portfolio management.
CoinJar Exchange supports the following trading pairs: BTC/AUD, ETH/AUD, XRP/AUD, LTC/AUD, ZEC/AUD, ETH/BTC, XRP/BTC, ZEC/BTC and LTC/BTC. The core features of their trading platform include three daily auction windows, real-time fully extensible API access, flexible interface, data insights and 0% maker fees.
BPAY and PayID are free from fees on the CoinJar platform, while Blueshyft payments are subject to a processing fee of 1.5%. They do not charge fees for AUD withdrawals to bank accounts. In terms of trading fees, they do not charge fees for maker or auctions trades, and taker trades range from 0.10%-0.50%.
Binance is a China-based exchange that launched live trading in July 2017, and offers a robust tool set suitable for both beginner investors and professional traders. Like most big exchanges, Binance doesn’t offer fiat currency funding options, so in order to get started with this exchange you’ll need to already own cryptocurrency.
Binance is one of the few exchanges on this list that offers advanced features such as margin trading, and presents traders with a broad variety of order types. Users have the option of either using an unverified account with a limit of 2BTC in withdrawals every 24h, while ID-verified accounts are able to withdraw 50BTC every 24 hours.
The Binance exchange supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and more than 45 different altcoins. Many professional traders prefer Binance as it supports coins that are not listed elsewhere, such as Bitcoin Gold, IOTA, and Walton.Image: Binance volume chart with trading pair volume over 24 hours courtesy of cryptocoincharts.info
Cryptocurrency funding only.
All deposits are free, although trades are charged at a competitive 0.1% fee.
- Supports more than 100 different coins
- Competitive fees
- Both basic and advanced trading tool
- Very smart CEO & excellent scaling plans - watch this video
- Binance collects some user data (such as IP logging) that could turn away privacy-focused traders
- Two-factor authentication is currently only available to Chinese mobile phone numbers
- Long term viability depends on Chinese regulatory movements
Bittrex is based in the United States and boasts more than 50 years of experience in cybersecurity across their dev team, making the platform one of the most secure options available. Founded in 2014, Bittrex focuses primarily on trusted, established counts, but does offer an extensive list of altcoins.
Bittrex does support account funding via fiat currency, but only through wire transfer with a minimum of $100,000 USD— which is less than ideal for beginner or intermediate traders. Fortunately, it’s simple and easy to fund a Bittrex account with cryptocurrency, with no fees.
Unverified accounts with Bittrex are limited to 1 BTC per day, while basic accounts that possess two-factor authentication are provided with a 3 BTC daily limit. An “enhanced” account, which involves identity verification, allows for up to 100 BTC daily.Image: Bittrex volume chart with trading pair volume over 24 hours courtesy of cryptocoincharts.info
Cryptocurrency transfers only, with fiat transfer available for extremely large deposits.
Bittrex offers a flat 0.25% commission on all trades. There are no fees for cryptocurrency deposits or withdrawals.
- Simple, streamlined user interface
- Extremely strong security
- Automated features for advanced traders
- Lengthy delay in verification for enhanced accounts
- Poor customer service reports from users
- Lack of fiat funding options
Kucoin is one of the newest players in the cryptocurrency market. Based in Hong Kong, Kucoin was founded in early 2017 but has quickly developed a strong reputation and fostered partnerships with large industry players such as Youling, GF Securities, and iBOX Pay.
The Kucoin trading interface is extremely simple and straightforward, and supports a diverse range of cryptocurrencies. The one drawback of Kucoin is that it doesn’t support fiat currency— in order to trade on Kucoin, you’ll need to fund your account with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
The security history of Kucoin is flawless, and the platform itself incorporates two-factor authentication for both login, transactions, and trading actions. Interestingly, Kucoin doesn't require any identification verification whatsoever— users simply need to verify an active email address.
Kucoin has also developed a reputation as an early adopter of promising new altcoins, making it the ideal platform for traders interested in promising new coins. Lastly, the platform also offers a loyalty program in which regular users are rewarded with KCS tokens. These tokens provide holders with dividends generated from the exchange fees charged by the platform.
Kucoin is one of the best exchanges for Australian traders as it doesn’t require extreme verification and offers fast withdraw times as well as support for a diverse range of cryptos— although you will need to own cryptocurrency already to get started.Image: KuCoin volume chart with trading pair volume over 24 hours courtesy of cryptocoincharts.info
Cryptocurrency deposits only. It’s possible to fund your Kucoin account with more than 70 different cryptocurrencies.
Kucoin charges no deposit or withdraw fees. Trading fees are set at a highly competitive 0.1%.
- Supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies
- Streamlined trading interface
- No fiat currency funding support
- Hong Kong-based customer support can be difficult to navigate
- No margin trading support
> Click here to get started with Plus500.
Please be aware 'Your Capital is at Risk' when trading with real funds.
Plus500 provides a trading platform in Australia with most popular markets for trading. You can also create a demo account without any deposit required. The Web Trader interface is clean and simple to use and updates your positions in real-time which is essential for CFD trading.
Credit/Debit Card (Visa or MasterCard), PayPal, Skrill (Moneybookers), or Bank Transfer.
No fees for deposits using Aussie bank account. There may be a charge for exceeding the maximum number of monthly withdrawals. No fixed fees per trade. Plus500 is mainly compensated for its services through the spread. Inactivity Fee - A charge of up to $10 will be levied, should you not log in to your trading platform for a period of three months.
- Easy to use trading interface
- CFD trading (derivative and options trading)
- Plus500AU Pty Ltd (ACN 153301681), licensed by: ASIC in Australia, AFSL #417727, FMA in New Zealand, FSP #486026; Authorised Financial Services Provider in South Africa, FSP #47546. You do not own or have any rights to the underlying assets. Please refer to the Disclosure documents available on the website.
- Only has the most popular CFDS on cryptocurrencies for trading
- CFD trading is only for those that know what they are doing
Digital Surge is an Australian digital currency exchange designed to offer safe and simple crypto trading. With a focus on ease of use, the platform allows users to buy and sell bitcoin (BTC), as well as pay any Australian bill using your BTC holdings.
Digital Surge platform allows users to deposit Australian dollars (AUD) via bank transfer or POLi Payments, and then use those funds to start trading BTC. While POLi Payments transactions are processed instantly, bank transfers take 1-2 business days to clear. POLi Payments: $1,000 per day, Bank transfer: $10,000 per day.
If you’re depositing money into your account via bank transfer, no fee applies. However, POLi Payments deposits attract a fee of anywhere between $2 and $3.30. There are no fees for AUD withdrawals, but bitcoin withdrawals attract a 0.0004 BTC fee to cover the cost of network transaction fees.
- Simple and straightforward to use - designed for Australian traders
- 98% of customer funds held offline in cold storage
- Fast sign-up and verification process
- Only supports Bitcoin
- Unless you’re a high-volume trader, fees may be costly
- Credit card transactions not supported
Professional traders and experienced investors can choose to jump into trading derivatives in bitcoin through the BitMEX platform. It's more suited for those with a background in traditional finance. BitMEX claims to have high leverage on its derivatives products and strong site-wide security protocols.
BitMEX, short for “Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange”, is an advanced derivatives trading platform for cryptocurrencies. BitMEX serves as an interface for investors to interact with global financial markets using bitcoin. Unlike many cryptocurrency exchanges, which trade one cryptocurrency for another, BitMEX is focused on derivatives trading. BitMEX offers perpetual swap contracts as well as daily and weekly futures contracts.
BitMEX deals only in bitcoin, you will be given an address to a secure multi-signature wallet designed to accept bitcoin.
The fees on BitMEX vary and it can get quite complicated. In simple terms BitMEX does not charge fees on deposits or withdrawals (other than the BTC network fee). Contracts and Futures fees are split between the maker and taker.
- Up to 1:100 leverage
- Practice trading in the "Sandbox"
- High liquidity for BTC spot and futures.
- Not suitable for inexperienced traders
- Fiat deposits not accepted
- Low volume on altcoin assets
GDAX is Coinbase’s “older brother”, and is paired directly to the Coinbase brokerage platform. As such, GDAX is the ideal starting point for newer traders interested in getting involved in the market. Launched in 2016, GDAX offers both simple and advanced trading views, and is insured by industry investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and the New York Stock Exchange.
GDAX supports a smaller set of trading pairs, limited to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin paired only with USD or EUR. The advantage offered by GDAX is that it’s possible to fund a GDAX account directly with fiat currency, as well as the forgiving user interface.Image: GDAX volume chart with trading pair volume over 24 hours courtesy of cryptocoincharts.info
GDAX supports Automated Clearing House transfers, SEPA withdrawals and deposits, or direct wire transfer in USD. For Australian traders, however, it’s far easier to simply purchase Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency via Coinbase and transfer to GDAX.
Like Bitfinex, GDAX operates on a “maker/taker” model in which fees are lowered as trading volume increases. These fees are calculated on a 30-day basis, with fees starting at 0.25%.
- Forgiving and simple user interface
- Seamless integration with Coinbase
- Competitive fees
- Small selection of altcoins
- Withdrawal limits set at $10,000
- Lengthy ID verification process
Bitfinex has been a world leader in cryptocurrency trade by volume. Based in Hong Kong, this highly popular exchange launched in 2014 but experienced mainstream adoption in 2014. Bitfinex is currently the largest exchange in the world by sheer volume, and offers over-the-counter services for large-scale traders.
The Bitfinex platform offers highly advanced features and is designed solely for serious traders— in order to open an account and begin trading, it’s necessary to deposit a minimum amount of capital equivalent to $10,000 USD in equity. This high entry barrier ensures that the exchange is the ideal professional expert trader environment.
Bitfinex boasts deep liquidity, highly complex customization features, and an incredible range of altcoins and trading pairs. Bitfinex was subjected to a high-profile hack in 2016 in which more than $72 million worth of cryptocurrency was lost, but an innovative democratic token issuance program ensured that all affected parties were fully recompensed.Image: Bitfinex volume chart with trading pair volume over 24 hours courtesy of cryptocoincharts.info
Bitfinex currently only supports deposits via cryptocurrency.
Bitfinex offers a scaling fee structure based on trade volume. The higher the trade volume of a user, the lower the fees. Traders with volumes between $0 and $500,000 are subject to a 0.1% maker fee, or a 0.2% taker fee.
- Highly technical and complex
- Vast liquidity
- Highest volume exchange in the world
- Large equity deposit required
- Unsuitable for beginner traders
- Security history features a high profile hack, which may turn away some investors
CEX.IO is one of the longest-running players in the cryptocurrency exchange ecosystem. Based in London and founded in 2013, CEX.IO supports cryptocurrency trading but, unlike Kucoin, makes it possible to purchase cryptocurrency directly with fiat currency.
The CEX.IO exchange doesn’t support as many different coins as Kucoin or other exchanges, but still covers the highest market cap cryptos. It is possible to trade on CEX.IO without identity verification, but in order to either withdraw fiat currency or purchase cryptocurrency directly with fiat you’ll need to submit ID documents.
CEX.IO is attractive to more advanced traders as it offers a high liquidity order book with a low spread, and benefits from advanced order matching algorithms. The CEX.IO has a flawless security record, and also offers a dedicated mobile app for trading on the go.Image: CEX volume chart with trading pair volume over 24 hours courtesy of cryptocoincharts.info
CEX.IO makes it possible to buy Bitcoin with fiat via credit card at a 3.5% + $0.25 fee. Bank transfer funding with fiat or funding with cryptocurrency is free.
Bank transfer funding with fiat or funding with cryptocurrency is free. Withdrawing fiat currency to a Visa or Mastercard is possible, with fees of USD$3.80 and 1.2% + US$3.80, respectively. Bank transfer withdraws are priced at US$50. Trades are subject to a fee of up to %0.2 transaction fee.
- Bank transfer, credit/debit card payments, AUD supported
- High liquidity
- Strong security
- Higher fees than other exchanges
- Poor exchange rates
- Maximum of US$500 daily deposit/withdraw limits for unverified accounts
- Bad reputation for slow support requests
While there are a number of exchanges based in Australia that offer similar services to those listed above, these international platforms currently offer the best services, fees, and features in the market at this point in time. When using an exchange, always remember to keep the majority of your crypto capital in a secure cold wallet and only transfer it into a hot exchange wallet when trading.
24/08/2018: Added Digital Surge & Bitmex sections.
09/04/2019: Added Plus500 section.
28/06/2019: Added Independent Reserve & CoinJar sections.