BTC Markets Review – Not For Beginners, But Good For Big Traders

BTC Markets, founded in 2013, is one of the oldest and biggest (or the biggest) cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia that I first signed up to in early 2018 and traded with them a little bit that year. Now, with cryptocurrency heating up majorly again in 2021 and beyond, I figured it’s time to write a review of them as I have with all the major Australian cryptocurrency exchanges. Here’s me first signing up to BTC Markets in February 2018 (click to enlarge):

And, some of the trades I made with them:

As I have extensive experience with the different Australian cryptocurrency exchanges, in this review I’ll be comparing BTC Markets to its competition and advise who should use it. Click reading for my review or click here to skip to my verdict on BTC Markets.

Signing up to BTC Markets

BTC Markets has a standard signup process:

Once you register, you will need to complete ID verification, which just involves entering some of your ID information (such as passport number) that will be verified by a service called GreenID. You should not need to have to upload a selfie for verification. Therefore, verifying yourself on BTC Market should be a quick and easy process for you.

Depositing on BTC Markets

Like other exchanges, BTC Markets lets you deposit both cryptocurrency and AUD to get started. At the time of writing (2021), these are the cryptocurrencies you can deposit on BTC Markets:

There’s quite a lot there beyond Bitcoin. For depositing AUD, you can deposit either by Osko or BPAY (no option to use POLi unlike other exchanges). I wasn’t even familiar with Osko (other exchanges don’t use it), so for myself, I just used boring-old-BPAY, which takes 1 to 2 business days.

Trading on BTC Markets

BTC Markets has a nice trading interface:

On BTC Markets, like its main competitor Independent Reserve, you’ll be trading directly with other users on the platform. BTC Markets has historically had more volume than every other exchange in Australia, which means it’s easy to trade on and the spreads (i.e. the difference between buyer bids and seller asks) are low. You can see how much volume has traded on BTC Markets on the CoinGecko page here (go to the “Statistics” tab to see graphs like this):

For comparison, here’s the volume traded on Independent Reserve over the past 3 months at the time this was taken (see the CoinGecko page for Independent Reserve here):

It’s a huge positive for BTC Markets that there is a lot of trading volume there, as if you join a smaller and newer exchange like Bitaroo, you’ll find it’s harder to trade a significant amount of volume due to a lack of big buyers and sellers. So a big +1 for BTC Markets here.

Beyond volume on an exchange, the other important thing is of course the fees they charge. Here are BTC Market’s fees:

On BTC Markets you have the option of trading BTC for 3 other cryptocurrencies (Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple) as well as just using AUD to trade cryptocurrencies. If you’re looking to trade BTC against Ethereum, Litecoin or Ripple, BTC Markets is definitely the place you want to do it on, because if you buy on the bid and sell on the ask as you should be doing (i.e. act as a “Maker”), BTC Markets will actually pay you to trade with their -0.05% fee (that’s NEGATIVE 0.05%). Even if you buy on the ask and sell on the bid (i.e. act as a “Taker”), their fee of 0.2% there is very reasonable.

For trading cryptocurrencies with AUD as most users will be doing, however, the fees BTC Markets charges aren’t great if you’re just going to be buying a little bit of cryptocurrency. Independent Reserve, CoinJar, CoinSpot and Bitaroo all have significantly lower fees if you’re just going to be buying a couple thousand dollars of Bitcoin, for example. Where BTC Markets is good for trading cryptocurrencies with AUD is if you’ll be trading a significant amount of volume, because as you can see above, their fees get lower and lower the higher volume you trade.

What about the leaked emails incident?

In December 2020, BTC Markets accidentally exposed their customer names and emails in an email they sent out. Here’s that email from my own inbox:

This was unfortunate and obviously reflects badly on BTC Markets. However, it was a one-off incident and I believe BTC Markets is still a trustworthy business.

The bottom line

BTC Markets is not recommended if you’re just looking to buy a small amount of Bitcoin. For that purpose, there are other exchanges (especially CoinJar, CoinSpot and Bitaroo) where you will pay far less in fees. Say you want to buy $2,000 AUD worth of Bitcoin — BTC Markets would charge you a 0.8% fee for that, which is vastly higher than e.g. Bitaroo which would charge you between 0.15% and 0.19%.

However, here are the 2 scenarios where I do recommend using BTC Markets:

  • If you want to trade BTC against Ethereum, Litecoin or Ripple, since their fees for that are very low or even negative if you’re buying on the bid and selling on the ask
  • If you intend to buy or trade a large volume of cryptocurrency, because BTC Markets has more volume than other exchanges in Australia and its fees get much lower if you’re trading large volume

BTC Markets vs other Australian exchanges

I have tried and reviewed all the major Australian cryptocurrency exchanges, and have written about the pros and cons of each one. I recommend having a read of these to see which exchanges are best for your needs:

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).

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