As an active crypto trader based in Australia, I’ve tried a lot of the different crypto exchanges and am on a mission to review all of them. What follows is my extensive CoinJar review for 2021 based on my experience with the platform. Throughout the review, I will often be comparing it to Independent Reserve as it’s one of the biggest exchanges in Australia and the one I’m most familiar with personally.
Why listen to me? As an Australian who has traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of crypto, I have a fair bit of experience testing different Australian exchanges. Beyond my favorite cryptocurrency exchange Independent Reserve (see my Independent Reserve review), I’ve also tested CoinSpot (see my CoinSpot review), Bitaroo (see my Bitaroo review), Digital Surge (see my Digital Surge review), Swyftx (see my Swyftx review) and the not-at-all-recommended Cointree (see my CoinTree review).
Signing up to CoinJar
Sign up to CoinJar here (my personal link) and we’ll both get 500 CoinJar points (worth about $5).
I first joined CoinJar in early 2017, though I only got started doing some trading on it in 2018. Here are the first few emails from CoinJar showing my first history with them – I first signed up in May 2017, but only verified my account in January 2018, and did a deposit in February 2018:
Like all reputable exchanges, you’ll have to input your personal details and verify your identity with CoinJar (this was a very quick process for me), and then there are two ways to get started trading: you can deposit fiat currency (AUD – I assume you’re an Australian reader), or deposit cryptocurrency. For myself, I first began on the exchange by depositing some AUD via Bpay (it got processed within 2 days):
Once your account is verified and you have deposited some money or cryptocurrency, you’re ready to start trading.
A quick distinction: CoinJar vs CoinJar Exchange – What’s the difference, and which one should you use?
You’ll notice on the CoinJar.com website that there are three main products: the CoinJar digital currency account, the CoinJar Exchange and CoinJar for Institutions (as an individual you can ignore that one). I strongly recommend only using the CoinJar Exchange to buy and sell cryptocurrency and not messing around with the CoinJar digital currency account. The CoinJar digital currency account comes with a 1% buying and selling fee (far higher than any exchange) and there is no real reason to use it. Sure, you can download the iOS or Android app to use cryptocurrency you buy there to buy real things, but why do that when you can just directly use fiat money to buy goods?
Regarding the feature of being able to use the CoinJar app to send and receive cryptocurrency, that does not require any outside service — you can do it yourself and store your own private keys on your computer or your own hardware wallet (always a much more secure and preferred method to storing cryptocurrency with an outside company), and use free software like Bitcoin Core (for Bitcoin) or MetaMask (for Ethereum) to view your balance and send crypto. You can easily buy cryptocurrency on any exchange, including CoinJar Exchange, and withdraw it to your own private account(s) to bypass a CoinJar digital currency account completely.
This CoinJar review will be specifically covering the CoinJar Exchange, not the CoinJar digital currency account.
What’s good about the CoinJar exchange?
First, CoinJar has a nice clean interface and shows a graph along with the level 2 table showing the buyers and sellers (an advantage over Independent Reserve that only shows a level 2 table without a graph):
CoinJar’s interface works just fine and I have not had an issue with it before. On the left-hand side of the screen, you can enter buy or sell orders, and it’s easy to track open/closed orders (at the bottom).
But my favorite part about CoinJar is its trading fees. Here’s what they charge:
These fees are outstanding, and have come down a lot in the past year (when I first reviewed CoinJar, there fees were much higher than this — only recently did they start 0% Taker fees). A “taker” fee is charged when you place an order that immediately gets filled and takes out an existing order. For example, if someone has a sell order placed to sell 1 BTC at $10,000 AUD and you put in an order to buy that which gets filled, you are “taking” that sell order out and charged a taker fee. A maker/auction fee is charged when you place an order that someone else fills (eg. you place an order to sell 1 BTC at $10,000 AUD, which stays open for some time before someone decides to buy 1 BTC from you and your order gets filled).
I normally recommend acting as a “maker” and not as a “taker” as you’ll get better prices (see my Independent Reserve review where I talk about this), but there’s certainly a major benefit to being a taker with CoinJar when you can trade with no fees.
The disadvantages of CoinJar
While its trading volume is respectable, CoinJar does not have as much trading volume as more popular exchanges like Independent Reserve, and thus it may not be suitable for those looking to trade high volumes because the liquidity just isn’t there. With lower trading volumes there also tend to be higher bid/ask spreads, so as I mentioned in my Independent Reserve review, it’s very important to only buy on the bid and sell on the ask. Lower trading volumes can easily mean you could buy and sell at less-optimal prices than at a very active exchange.
A good website for comparing the trading volumes between exchanges, by the way, is CoinGecko.com. At the time of writing (this will change every day) CoinGecko is showing that total volume of $3,937,341 USD was traded on Independent Reserve over the last 24 hours, compared to only $880,879 USD on CoinJar:
As expected from an exchange with slightly lower volume, the cryptocurrency available to be traded on CoinJar are also more limited than others: at the time of writing (2020), the only available currencies are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Zcash and Litecoin, and these can only be traded against Bitcoin and/or AUD. Independent Reserve, by comparison, also offers Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Ethereum Classic, Basic Attention Token and many more. But if you’re a casual trader and only really interested in Bitcoin/Ethereum over some of the lesser-known cryptocurrencies, this shouldn’t bother you much.
How is CoinJar’s customer support?
We have not yet had an interaction with CoinJar’s customer support, and will update this post when we do. There are some reports of poor CoinJar support from some sources (eg. BitcoinAUS on reddit: reddit.com/r/BitcoinAUS) but we haven’t been able to verify any of these. If you have anything to say about CoinJar’s customer support (or anything else regarding CoinJar, for that matter) please comment below.
The bottom line
CoinJar is a great exchange that works well, and given that its fees are vastly more attractive than Independent Reserve, I recommend it if the relatively low volume doesn’t bother you and you aren’t looking to trade anything beyond Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Zcash and Litecoin.
Sign up to CoinJar
If you’d like to trade on CoinJar, sign up through my link here and we’ll both get 500 CoinJar Points, which can be used to reduce your fees or get random CoinJar stuff such as shirts or socks. If you choose to sign up directly through coinjar.com and bypass my link above, you’ll miss out on the points.
Other Australian cryptocurrency exchanges
I’ve spent many hours digging into different exchanges and reviewing them. Beyond CoinJar, I recommend considering signing up to these other exchanges as well:
- Independent Reserve (see my Independent Reserve review)
- CoinSpot (see my CoinSpot review)
- Bitaroo (see my Bitaroo review)
- Digital Surge (see my Digital Surge review)
- Swyftx (see my Swyftx review)
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).