Bitaroo is a relatively new Australian cryptocurrency exchange, founded by Ran Oren and Ethan Timor in May 2020. In this review, I’ll give my honest opinion of it and comment on whether it’s worth using compared to other exchanges.
Why listen to me? As an Australian who has traded crypto on and off for years, I have a fair bit of experience testing different Australian exchanges. Beyond my favorite cryptocurrency exchange Independent Reserve (see my Independent Reserve review) where I’ve traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of crypto, I’ve also tested CoinSpot (see my CoinSpot review), CoinJar (see my CoinJar review) and the not-at-all-recommended Cointree (see my CoinTree review). Recently, I have also tested Digital Surge (see my Digital Surge review) and Swyftx (see my Swyftx review).
Signing up to Bitaroo
Unlike most other Australian exchanges, Bitaroo does not require you to upload a selfie for verification. Instead, it uses something called Digital iD (a service from Australia Post), which requires you to merely enter your name, address, DOB and an ID number (passport, drivers licence etc.) — no selfie required. This is easier, but the disadvantage is that unlike every other exchange, it costs you $4.95 to get verified with Bitaroo:
Once you pay this fee (via CoinPayments, which also allows PayPal), you can go ahead with the verification:
You may think it’s unreasonable to be charged merely for signing up (Bitaroo says they have to charge to cover the cost of Digital iD), but a measly $4.95 is a negligible fee compared to what exchanges charge if you’re actually trading any kind of volume (to say nothing of all the miscellaneous fees exchanges tend to have).
Note that if you start trading significant volume on Bitaroo, per this article, you’ll probably need to do more verification later (such as a video of yourself).
Depositing on Bitaroo
You can deposit on Bitaroo via transferring Bitcoin (on-chain or via Lightning) to an address, using PayID, or just doing an ordinary bank transfer (this is how I deposited):
If you deposit via PayID, your account should be credited almost immediately, while a bank transfer may take a day or so depending on your bank. The deposit fee on Bitaroo is $1.95 (negligible).
Trading on Bitaroo
After you have signed up to Bitaroo, completed verification and deposited funds, you can start trading. Here is what the trading screen looks like on Bitaroo (click to enlarge):
This is a pretty standard looking but perfectly good trading interface. One nice thing about trading here is they give you more order options than you’d expect, beyond just limit and market orders (as I’ve said in my reviews of other exchanges, NEVER USE MARKET ORDERS):
There are also more time in force options than other exchanges (I hadn’t heard of any of these other than Good ‘Til Cancelled which is standard with stock brokerages — see here for an explanation of these from Bitaroo):
What’s good about Bitaroo
Bitaroo’s trading fees are significantly better than Independent Reserve which takes a 0.5% cut of each trade, and as good as or better than CoinJar’s and CoinSpot’s trading fees (depending on how much volume you’re trading):
If you don’t know what “Maker Fee” and “Taker Fee” mean, in my CoinJar review I gave a brief explanation. In short, if you’re trading like a professional, you should be buying on the bid and selling on the ask, making you a “maker”. Then Bitaroo’s fees will probably be either 0.15% or 0.10% for you depending on how much you trade — pretty good.
Beyond good trading fees, Bitaroo’s fees for withdrawing Bitcoin are also better than other exchanges. They charge only 0.00005 BTC for withdrawing Bitcoin (though it costs more if you want it done quicker) compared to 0.0003 BTC from Independent Reserve.
I definitely get the sense Bitaroo is committed to giving good and prompt support, as I asked a simple question and got a response in only 9 minutes.
What’s not-so-good about Bitaroo
Bitaroo trades ONLY Bitcoin, so if you’re looking to trade other cryptocurrencies it’s not the exchange for you. I personally don’t care to trade rubbish scam coins, but I’d like if it at least included Ethereum as well, as not being able to trade Ethereum definitely means losing out on opportunity (e.g. when Bitcoin spikes and Ethereum has yet to move with it).
If you are looking to trade many different cryptocurrencies, the best 2 exchanges in Australia are Swyftx (see my Swyftx review) and Digital Surge (see my Digital Surge review).
Lack of volume
As a relatively new exchange, Bitaroo has far less volume than the bigger older exchanges. Here’s how much volume Bitaroo had traded for Bitcoin over (I believe) the past 24 hours at the time I’m writing this:
Compare that to what’s probably the biggest exchange in Australia, Independent Reserve. CoinGecko shows over $13 million USD worth of Bitcoin alone has been traded on Independent Reserve over the past 24 hours when I’m writing this (see the volume for Independent Reserve here — CoinGecko doesn’t show volume for Bitaroo yet), or around ~350 Bitcoin. So Bitaroo has only around 5% of the trading volume as Independent Reserve. For the vast majority of people this won’t matter too much as there’s still plenty of volume to trade a sizeable amount of Bitcoin, but if you’re trading huge volumes (say, $1M AUD+ per month) you’ll probably want to do it on an exchange with more volume, like Independent Reserve or BTC Markets.
“Express” feature is not recommended
Like CoinSpot’s “instant” platform (see my CoinSpot review where I warn of that), the “Express” feature in Bitaroo is not recommended, since you will get a much worse price there than if you buy through the exchange on Bitaroo. For example, at the exact time of writing it currently costs $49,178 per BTC to buy Bitcoin there, when the lowest seller on the exchange right now is selling for $48,727. If you compare what the “Express” screen quotes you for Bitcoin to the sellers on the actual trading platform in Bitaroo, it’ll be a much worse price.
The bottom line
I recommend trying Bitaroo if you’re not going to be trading huge volume (which is the vast majority of people) and you stick to buying bitcoin on its exchange only (not the “Express” screen), as its fees are as good as or better than any other Australian exchange I’ve looked at, they have a good trading interface, and their support seems excellent.
Other Australian cryptocurrency exchanges
If you’re looking to trade other cryptocurrencies beyond Bitcoin or trade very high volume, you’ll want to consider joining exchanges other than Bitaroo. Have a read through my article on the best crypto exchanges in Australia (I’ve tried all of them) for a summary of what exchanges are best for different use cases.
Finally: Do you have to use an Australian-based crypto exchange if you're Australian?
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).