Here are the best places to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Australia. I’ve personally tried every major Bitcoin exchange in Australia, traded hundreds of thousands of AUD worth of Bitcoin and Ethereum, and have spent dozens of hours testing, writing about and reviewing these exchanges.
The best exchange for you depends on your specific needs:
What’s a good exchange for just Bitcoin?
If you’re looking to buy just a little bit of Bitcoin and nothing else, use Bitaroo (see my Bitaroo review). Bitaroo has very low fees compared to other exchanges if you’re trading small volume (between 0.15% and 0.19%), and its relative lack of trading volume compared to bigger exchanges won’t matter if you’re just buying a little bit of Bitcoin. Bitaroo only trades Bitcoin (nothing else).
What are good exchanges for trading smaller cryptocurrencies?
If you’re looking to trade many smaller cryptocurrencies and altcoins, use Digital Surge or Swyftx (see my Digital Surge review and Swyftx review). Digital Surge and Swyftx both have over 200 cryptocurrencies available to trade, far more than other exchanges (with the exception of CoinSpot which will rip you off with 1% fees for most cryptocurrencies). These are not “exchanges” per-say, but rather “brokers” where when you place an order to buy some obscure cryptocurrency, they will send your order to one of the many market places they have access to and fill your order for you. This is unlike normal exchanges where you’re trading directly with other users of the platform (e.g., with Bitaroo, when you buy bitcoin you’re purchasing Bitcoin from another Bitaroo user selling it — with Digital Surge or Swyftx, you’re not necessarily trading with other Digital Surge or Swyftx users). This allows Digital Surge and Swyftx to accommodate decent trading volume even for tiny cryptocurrencies.
What are good exchanges for trading high volume?
If you’re looking to trade a high volume of cryptocurrency, use BTC Markets or Independent Reserve (see my BTC Markets review and Independent Reserve review). BTC Markets and Independent Reserve are the biggest exchanges in Australia and they have the highest trading volume for Bitcoin and Ethereum, which means their spreads (i.e. the difference between buyer bids and seller asks) are low and it’s much easier to buy and sell a large volume of cryptocurrency on them (if it’s a major cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, at least). I personally mostly trade on Independent Reserve, but if you’re really a big trader BTC Markets is better because their fees go way down if you’re trading high volume.
What are good general-purpose exchanges?
If you’re looking to trade a medium amount of cryptocurrency and want a good general-purpose exchange, use CoinSpot or CoinJar (see my CoinSpot review and CoinJar review). CoinSpot and CoinJar are good exchanges with good fees if you use them properly. CoinJar in particular has fantastically-low fees now (it’s possible to trade there basically for free) as they’ve brought their fees way down in the past year. CoinSpot and CoinJar don’t quite have the trading volume of BTC Markets or Independent Reserve, so I am putting them in my “good general-purpose exchange” category. They will be cheaper for you than BTC Markets or Independent Reserve if you’re not trading large volume, though, and will always be cheaper than Digital Surge or Swyftx if you use their exchange and not their instant buy/sell features (see my reviews of them, linked above, where I explain this).
What’s the worst crypto exchange?
If you’re looking to buy Bitcoin for more than it’s worth and sell Bitcoin for less than it’s worth, use Cointree (see my Cointree review). I consider Cointree the worst place for buying cryptocurrency because the prices they give you (either for buying or selling) have always been far worse than other places when I’ve checked them.
How should you use these exchanges?
Be careful when buying Bitcoin for the first time. There are a lot of ways you can get fleeced:
- Many exchanges above have “instant buy” type features where you just enter how much Bitcoin you want, click the buy button and it’ll buy it for you. Don’t use these — you’ll get a far worse price than if you buy on the actual exchange
- When buying cryptocurrency on an exchange, it’s usually preferable to set a limit order where you enter a bid a little bit below the lowest sellers asking price (or if you’re selling, set a limit order at a price a little higher than the current highest bid). You will have to wait for your order to get filled (or it may not get filled at all), but you’ll get a better price and often your fees will be lower. Only use market orders if you need to get your order filled immediately
- Look at the fees your exchange charges for depositing and withdrawing before you deposit or withdraw, to make sure you’re not going to be hit by an unexpected fee. For example, if you deposit AUD on CoinSpot via their “cash deposit” method, you’ll be hit with a 2.5% fee on your deposit amount when other deposit methods are free
In my reviews for each cryptocurrency exchange (linked above), I explain how to use them the right way. I strongly recommend reading my review of any exchange before you sign up to it!
It's worth mentioning that as an Australian, you're not limited only to Australian-based crypto exchanges. In addition to the above, I also recommend signing up to Binance (see my Binance review), the biggest exchange in the world right now. You can sign up and use them as an Australian and buy crypto with AUD with no issues. I've been a Binance user for a while and enjoy a lot of their features, especially the ability to earn passive interest on crypto and stablecoins. Binance has heaps of features that no Australian exchange offers, so you should definitely sign up to them.
Also, in addition to Binance, check out Bittrex, Bitstamp and Poloniex (all these exchanges allow Australian users). These are my personal referral links which can sometimes get you perks if you sign up through them (e.g. if you sign up to Poloniex using my Referral Code RKLBN4YZ, you'll also get a 10% rebate on trading fees).