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CoinSpot Review For Australians [2020] + A Warning

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CoinSpot is a cryptocurrency exchange based in Australia that I signed up to two years ago. In this CoinSpot review I’ll be detailing my experiences with them and also comparing it to two other cryptocurrency exchanges I’ve used extensively and also reviewed in Australia (Independent Reserve and CoinJar – have a read through those if you’re also looking for other exchanges).

Here are the first couple of emails I received from CoinSpot since joining, showing that I first joined on June 9, 2018:

CoinSpot requires you to verify yourself before you can do anything, like other exchanges, and their requirements are seen by some as a little more stringent – you have to take a selfie of yourself with a piece of paper that basically says “my name is XXX and I want to open a CoinSpot account to trade BTC” along with your ID. There have been some reports of people getting frustrated with the effort it takes to get verified on CoinSpot (eg. here and here), but for me personally, I had no issues – I was verified within 24 hours of uploading my verification details.

Once you’re verified, you can get started by either depositing AUD to buy cryptocurrencies, or depositing cryptocurrency to CoinSpot to then sell on their platform. Here are the options for depositing AUD:

I strongly recommend not depositing cash via the BPAY (0.9% deposit fee) or “Cash Deposit” (2.5% deposit fee) methods – these are a waste of money when it’s free to deposit via POLi or PayID. POLi and PayID are both instant and free and there are precisely zero reasons to go with BPAY or a Cash Deposit. In my personal experience, POLi has always worked perfectly for me and I’ve used it to deposit money for many services over the years.

If you want to deposit cryptocurrency into your CoinSpot account instead, you can do so by going to Wallets (in the top nav menu) -> click on the cryptocurrency you want to deposit -> Receive [cryptocurrency]. Here’s an example for Bitcoin:

Once you’ve been verified and have deposited some money and/or cryptocurrency into your CoinSpot account you’re ready to start trading.

A warning about trading on CoinSpot – buy on the market, don’t use the “instant buy/sell/swap” feature!

CoinSpot seems to me to be more catered towards newcomers who just want to buy some cryptocurrency for the first time, and if you’re one of those people, you’ll easily get taken advantage of if you’re not careful. Take a look at CoinSpot’s fees:

CoinSpot’s fee for buying, selling or swapping cryptocurrency is TEN TIMES HIGHER (at 1%) if you do it through their “instant” platform than if you do it through their market of buyers and sellers from users of their platform (at 0.1% fee). Say if you buy $10,000 AUD of Bitcoin through their “instant buy” screen, and then sell it a couple of days later – you’ll have paid $200 (1% of $10,000 for the buy, and 1% of $10,000 for the sell) for that transaction.  If you’d also deposited your $10,000 AUD through cash deposits, you’d also have been charged 2.5% for depositing that money, so a total of $450 in CoinSpot fees for buying and selling $10,000 worth of Bitcoin. It’s easy to see how CoinSpot fees can get nasty if you don’t pay any attention to them (fortunately, their fees can be vastly minimized if you just trade the right way).

To be clear, here are the screens in the CoinSpot dashboard you should be avoiding:

These screens are naturally appealing to beginners (who doesn’t want to just enter some amount and click a button to instantly buy some crypto?) but will result in paying a 1% fee for just a one-way trade, which is frankly a ripoff. It’s obviously CoinSpot’s hope that people just go through and buy cryptocurrency this way as that’s where they make their money. You don’t need to buy and sell cryptocurrency on CoinSpot’s BUY/SELL screen (use the “MARKETS” screen as explained below), and CoinSpot’s ‘swap’ and ‘bundle’ screens are not at all necessary. If you want to ‘swap’ cryptocurrency you should sell the cryptocurrency you have for AUD, then use that AUD to buy the cryptocurrency you want. Similarly, if you want to buy ‘bundles’ of cryptocurrencies you can buy however much of each cryptocurrency you’d like yourself.

The MARKETS screen is the only screen you should be using if you sign up to CoinSpot:

When buying and selling cryptocurrency through here, you’ll be paying only a 0.1% fee, which is very reasonable (the same or similar as CoinJar, and much better than Independent Reserve). Here you can see a level 2 list of buyers and sellers (these are other users on CoinSpot using the market to trade) and place limit orders to buy or sell at certain prices:

As I mentioned in my Independent Reserve review, to get the best prices, you should buy on the bid and sell on the ask (ie. if you’re buying, place a buy order at a rate below the current lowest sell price, and if you’re selling, place a sell order at a higher price than the current highest bid), otherwise you can lose a lot on the spread between the bid and ask prices.

So trading on CoinSpot’s market is the only way to use it – but is there a reasonable amount of trading volume there?

This is an important question as the more trading volume there is, the easier it is to trade and the more liquidity there will be. From my experience with CoinSpot and in looking at all the open buy and sell orders for major cryptocurrencies in their market, there seems to be a reasonable amount of trading volume for Bitcoin at least, though curiously they do not report their total volume (see here), unlike other cryptocurrency exchanges. But although volume for Bitcoin appears reasonable, if you’re trading other cryptocurrencies, the volume and orders may be severely lacking – here’s an example for GAS:

There is so little trading volume and orders here that if you buy or sell just a few thousand dollars worth of this cryptocurrency, you’ll massively change the market price. So if you’re trading any cryptocurrency on CoinSpot other than Bitcoin (or even with Bitcoin, for that matter) you should take a look at how much trading is actually taking place before doing anything. In these cases it is even more crucial to place sensible limit orders that will not take out a huge number of buyers or sellers and get you terrible execution prices.

What about all the coins you can trade on CoinSpot?

CoinSpot advertises “Buy and Sell more cryptocurrencies than any other exchange in Australia,” which I believe to be correct – you can see all the coins you can buy from them here. However, the vast majority of these cryptocurrencies do not have a market on CoinSpot like the above screenshots I showed for Bitcoin and GAS – you can only buy and sell them through their “instant buy/sell” feature, which as mentioned above, will cost you a 1% fee each time. Again, this is not recommended at all. Only a small fraction of the coins you can buy on CoinSpot through their instant buy/sell feature have a market where you’d only pay a 0.1% fee (see the list of CoinSpot coins with a market here).

If there’s some cryptocurrency from this list that you really want to buy on CoinSpot which is only available through their instant buy/sell feature, first check what other exchanges (any exchanges – not just those based in Australia) have it listed, and compare prices and fees. I recommend livecoinwatch.com for checking this, as for each coin they’ll list the exchanges that allow you to trade it. Here’s the info screen for GAS, for example. Scroll down a bit to the “GAS Markets” section and you’ll see some exchanges (HITBTC, BINANCE etc) that have it.

Is CoinSpot recommended?

CoinSpot’s exchange works well (as long as there’s decent volume for the cryptocurrency you’re trading) and their fees on it (0.1% per trade) are very reasonable. Therefore, I’m comfortable recommending it along with other exchanges like CoinJar and Independent Reserve. If you sign up to CoinSpot just remember to use its exchange only, as mentioned above.

Joma Kleen

I am a WordPress developer and computer science major responsible for reviewing tech-related products such as autoresponders, WordPress plugins, apps and B2B software.
Joma Kleen
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