The rapidly growing cryptocurrency market has exploded in value and popularity over the last year. Major cryptocurrency exchanges and brokers such as Coinbase have experienced than 100,000 new users entering the market every day as Bitcoin hits the mainstream. With Bitcoin prices fluctuating heavily, some are now saying it is a great time to buy in ahead of the inevitable bull market.
If you’re ready to get started with cryptocurrency investing, you’ll need to start by purchasing some Bitcoin. It’s the most popular and most trusted coin. This can be a difficult and confusing for newer investors, as there are many different ways in which Bitcoin can be purchased.
Recent regulatory crackdowns around the world have placed Bitcoin under intense scrutiny, which has made it more difficult in some cases for investors to purchase cryptocurrency with fiat currency (such as Australian dollars). The Australian Taxation Office has recently announced the creation of a new task force to monitor cryptocurrency transactions, which could potentially result in more stringent regulation of the Australian Bitcoin market.
Cryptocurrency investors in Australia have also been inconvenienced by the ‘big four’ banks refusing to provide financial services— including POLi payments— to cryptocurrency brokers. In some cases Australian bank accounts receiving international money transfers from cryptocurrency platforms have had transactions frozen or accounts closed.
While these events have made purchasing Bitcoin slightly more difficult in Australia, it’s still relatively easy to buy with the right method. In this guide, we’ll break down the five safest, simplest, and most reliable platforms that can be used to purchase Bitcoin in Australia.
What to Know Before Getting Started
Before getting jumping in and buying Bitcoin from any of these platforms it’s important to ensure you understand how Bitcoin wallets work. In order to receive your Bitcoin you’ll need to provide the Bitcoin broker you’ve chosen with a valid wallet address.
You may also want to learn how to keep your coins safe and consider investing in a hardware wallet such as the Trezor or Ledger Nano S if you intend to purchase a large amount of Bitcoin.
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a Bitcoin broker:
- Payment methods: It’s possible to purchase Bitcoin with payment methods such as BPAY. Some platforms allow users to buy Bitcoin in person at a local newsagent. Due to recent disruption from big four banks both POLi and credit/debit card purchases are generally unavailable in Australia, although some highly compliant platforms still provide POLi payments.
- Fees: A Bitcoin broker will charge a fee for their service, which will vary based on the payment method used.
- ID verification requirements: All Bitcoin brokers operating in Australia are required to comply with Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering laws, which means you’ll need to verify your identity before buying. The sole exception to this rule is LocalBitcoins, which makes it possible to purchase Bitcoin completely anonymously with cash in person.
We’ll now proceed to break down the best Bitcoin brokers for Australian investors:
CoinSpot is an Australian FinTech company founded in 2013 with a fairly good reputation, good customer service, and an expending team due to high demands. CoinSpot also provides a competitive affiliate program receiving 25% of the commission fees they take on anyone you refer to them.
In terms of of use, it’s website is quite clean and is fairly easy to use and buy Coins, with Bitcoin and over 20 coins listed. But like most other exchanges here you cannot trade coins, only buy and sell. If you want to trade other coins you’ll have to transfer your Bitcoin to an exchange such as Binance.
POLi, BPAY and Cash.
For Bitcoin and Litecoin the fee is 0.9% and for other coins it’s 2-3% depending on the coin.
Independent Reserve is one of the most popular options for purchasing Bitcoin in Australia, and operates as a fully-functional exchange. This means that you don’t necessarily need to set up a separate wallet to buy Bitcoin from Independent Reserve as they offer a hosted wallet solution— although moving your Bitcoin in an offline “cold” wallet is a safer bet.
The identity verification process for Independent Reserve involves both a standard photo ID and phone number verification process as well as an extra step in which new users are required to confirm their account with a security code sent in the mail.
In addition to offering users the ability to purchase Bitcoin, Independent Reserve also provides an easy to use exchange that can be used to sell Bitcoin for fiat currencies. Capital generated from the sale of Bitcoin on Independent Reserve can be withdrawn to any bank account in the world.
Independent Reserve also supports Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum and allows users to trade in USD, AUD and NZD.
Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) is available to Australian residents only. SWIFT payments are also available. Independent Reserve does not currently support POLi or credit/debit card payments.
EFT Deposits under $100 AUD are subject to a $0.99 processing fee, while larger deposits are free. SWIFT deposits over $5,000 are free, while smaller deposits are charged a $15 fee. Withdrawals from Bitcoin wallets hosted by Independent Reserve are free, as are withdrawals in AUD.
Coinbase is the undisputed king of cryptocurrency brokerage, and boasts almost 8 million users around the world. Based in San Francisco, Coinbase is available in 32 countries internationally and supports a selection of cryptocurrencies that includes Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
The Coinbase platform is not an exchange, and thus doesn’t make it possible to actually trade Bitcoin, but does offer hosted wallet solutions for all of the aforementioned cryptocurrencies. The Coinbase identity verification process involves both ID and phone number verification, but due to a massive surge in users the verification process is delayed at the moment— some new users are reporting verification times of more than one week.
The biggest draw of Coinbase is the simplicity and ease of use the platform offers. Instead of confusing new users with order books and trading screens, Coinbase delivers a straightforward buying process that doesn’t leave much to interpretation. Another drawback is that they restrict how much you can buy per week, with limits increasing with use.
As Coinbase is based internationally, it doesn’t support POLi payments. The only way to purchase Bitcoin via Coinbase in Australia is via credit or debit card, which requires identity verification. All Bitcoin purchases made via this method are instant, however.
Coinbase charges a rate of 3.99% for all credit and debit card purchases in Australia.
CoinJar was the first Australian cryptocurrency platform to launch with support from venture capital funding and, like Independent Reserve, offers exchange and hosted wallet services. CoinJar stands out from the crowd with a slew of features that include a dedicated smartphone app and even a “CoinJar Swipe” debit card that allows users to spend cryptocurrency directly in fiat currency.
It’s possible to use CoinJar as a simple hosted cryptocurrency wallet anonymously, but in order to purchase Bitcoin you’ll need to verify your identity by providing proof of identity and proof of address documents.
CoinJar supports Blueshyft, which makes it possible to fund your Bitcoin purchases with cash in person, in addition to both BPAY and POLi. Not all Australian banks are able to use POLi payments to fund CoinJar accounts, however— a comprehensive list of supported banks is listed on the CoinJar website.
Both POLi payments and BPAY transfers are free from fees on the CoinJar platform while Blueshyft payments are subject to a processing fee of 2.5%. Although the fees are lower than Coinbase, we have found the price of Bitcoin on CoinJar to be slightly more expensive.
Bitcoin.com.au is a relatively new player in the Australian cryptocurrency market, but has gathered a large amount of support due to the guides it offers new Bitcoin investors. Instead of expecting investors to have a wallet address ready, Bitcoin.com.au provides step-by-step guides on how to set up mobile, desktop, and cold wallets.
Unlike the other platforms on this list, Bitcoin.com.au does not accept direct transfers, POLI payments, or credit and debit card purchases. Instead, Bitcoin.com.au allows users to deposit cash into their accounts in person at a variety of locations and partners.
Users that are interested in purchasing Bitcoin from Bitcoin.com.au will need to set up their own wallet independently, as the platform does not provide hosted wallet services. Users are not required to submit to identity verification, but are restricted by a daily limit of $9,000 AUD in Bitcoin purchases.
The only way to purchase Bitcoin from Bitcoin.com.au is by creating a “buy order” via the website. After completing a buy order, users are provided with banking details and a reference number. Cash is then deposited into a Bitcoin.com.au bank account with the reference number, and Bitcoin.com.au transfers the Bitcoin to the buyer’s wallet address.
Bitcoin.com.au charges a 5% fee on top of the “spot rate” of Bitcoin, which is gathered from a variety of exchanges with a discrepancy of 0.02-0.1%.
BTC Markets is a slightly more complicated cryptocurrency platform geared towards experienced investors and traders. Based in Melbourne, BTC Markets is a full-service exchange and offers hosted wallet solutions.
Purchasing Bitcoin on BTC Markets is slightly more complicated than the other platforms in this guide. In order to buy Bitcoin with BTC Markets users need to deposit AUD into their account and then trade on the BTC Market BTC/AUD exchange. This process may be somewhat intimidating to newer investors, but does present a range of different order types for experienced investors.
BTC Markets supports both POLi payments and BPAY. POLi payments under $500 typically clear within minutes, while BPAY payments can take up to two business days.
Depositing AUD into a BTC Markets account with BPAY is free, while POLi payments incur a $3.30 fee.
Founded in 2013, CoinLoft is another popular Australia-based cryptocurrency broker that offers a number of convenient payment options. Coinloft doesn’t offer hosted wallet services, which means you’ll need to provide a valid Bitcoin wallet address when purchasing Bitcoin from the platform.
The CoinLoft identity verification process requires photo ID in the form of a driver’s license or passport as well as supporting documents. The payment methods offered by CoinLoft deserve a special mention as they are most convenient available in the Australian market— CoinLoft is one of the only Australian brokers that currently offer POLi payments, and allows users to deposit cash into their account at any bank.
Interestingly, CoinLoft makes it possible to buy Bitcoin at your local newsagency. Using the Blueshyft platform, CoinLoft allows users to purchase Bitcoin at one of more than 1,200 participating newsagents with cash. CoinLoft also supports Flexepin, a service that facilitates the purchase of cryptocurrency via redeeming vouchers bought from participating retailers.
POLi Internet Banking and direct deposit in cash with a supporting reference number at any bank. Retail purchases via Blueshyft and Flexepin. Credit/Debit card purchases are supported by CoinLoft but are not currently available.
All purchases made through CoinLoft are subject to a 5% commission. Newsagency Bitcoin purchases made with Blueshyft incur an additional 2% retail fee, while Flexepin voucher purchases are charged a $5.00 voucher fee.
CoinTree is an Australian cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to purchase Bitcoin as well as trade a variety of different altcoins. Like Coinbase, CoinTree is designed with ease of use in mind and is geared towards newer cryptocurrency investors.
CoinTree has been in operation since 2013, and has gathered a significant amount of support in the Australian cryptocurrency community. The CoinTree platform also provides users with hosted wallet solutions.
CoinTree offers a number of features that make it unique in the Australian cryptocurrency ecosystem. The platform offers the lowest rates in the Australian market, and provides new users with the ability to try a “free demo”. The free demo service allows users to test out the platform without committing to any purchases or potentially making any mistakes.
Interestingly, CoinTree also makes it possible to pay bills using Bitcoin. Users are able to pay any common Australian bill by entering the biller code and customer reference number into the platform. CoinTree then provides the total converted rate into Bitcoin and pays the bill, fee-free.
CoinTree allows users to deposit cash directly into their account at any Australian bank, as well as POLi payments. Credit card or debit card purchases are not currently supported.
CoinTree offers extremely simple fees — all Bitcoin purchases are charged a 3% rate, while all other transfers are free.
LocalBitcoins is wildly different from the other platforms presented in this guide. Using LocalBitcoins it’s possible to purchase Bitcoin completely anonymously with cash in person, but it can be somewhat riskier.
LocalBitcoins is essentially a marketplace that allows individuals to either buy or sell Bitcoin in person with cash or via bank transfer, PayPal, and many other payment methods. To buy Bitcoin on LocalBitcoins you’ll need to search for sellers in your local area and select your payment method.
LocalBitcoins provides users with a hosted wallet. When purchasing Bitcoin, a seller will place Bitcoin in escrow with the LocalBitcoins platform. When payment is complete the seller will release the escrow to the buyer’s wallet. If you decide to use LocalBitcoins to purchase Bitcoin anonymously always be sure to check the seller’s profile page for positive feedback.
Cash, Paypal, Bank Transfer, Western Union, BPAY, SWIFT and more
The price of Bitcoin on LocalBitcoins is determined by the seller and varies wildly. You may find that purchasing Bitcoin anonymously is more expensive than using a more reputable broker platform. LocalBitcoins also charges a fee when Bitcoin is transferred to another wallet from their hosted wallet. An explanation of LocalBitcoins outgoing Bitcoin transfer fees can be found here.