How to Choose the Best Cryptocurrency Exchange 

Cryptocurrency exchanges - for Australian traders

So, you want to trade cryptocurrencies, but you're pretty sure there's a smart way to do it and a dumb way. You're right with that assessment. Here's a hint. A foolish move would involve almost anything other than using a credible online cryptocurrency exchange. The trick lies in discerning the credible from the - shall we say - shady as heck. For Australian traders and investors, check out the following list of trading platforms that have been around awhile (which is a relative term when it comes to the cryptocurrency industry) and proved themselves to be legitimate operators not likely to steal your money and head for the Outback.


Coinbase

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With half a decade in business, this San Francisco-based exchange carries as much industry name recognition as any.

With 7.4 million users and available in 32 countries, Coinbase is a safe bet for Aussies with a yen to trade Bitcoin and more. The AUD counts itself among the major currencies supported. In addition to the aforementioned King of Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin), traders can also use Coinbase to buy and sell Ethereum and Litecoin. Currently, only buyer-side activity is supported in Australia, but if you're looking for a reliable one-stop shop for the cryptocurrency, this is a good place to start.


Independent Reserve

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Formed in 2013, this Sydney-based cryptocurrency trading platform Independent Reserve focuses more tightly than most on regional traders and is fully compliant with Australian financial services laws and regulations. Fiat currencies supported include AUD, USD, and NZD. You can trade Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum. 

While an Independent Reserve account can be opened from anywhere in the world, Australian citizens will more easily be able to take advantage of the full selection of services and functions. Easily buy and sell cryptocurrencies and deposit proceeds in your digital wallet or any number of linked accounts you may choose to set up.


CoinSpot

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We'd consider Coinspot to be one of Australia's most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, probably because it oozes a local vibe. For example, the only supported fiat currency is the AUD, but it's ever so easy to buy and sell more than 50 cryptocurrencies through the platform. In business since 2013, the absence of many of the sorts of fees that international exchanges tack on - like transfer and exchange fees - means Australians get more bang for their buck with CoinSpot. If you do your banking in Australia, the setup and funding process to get started trading cryptocurrency is fast and simple.


CoinTree

As another local-friendly, Australian-based cryptocurrency trading platform, CoinTree aims to be the exchange of choice for those new to the whole idea of buying and selling digital currency.

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The user interface is simple, but if the idea of getting started in this exciting undertaking sends you under the table to nervously suck your thumb, never fear. There's an easy peasy demo to watch that breaks it all down into a simple, straightforward process. Also, you only need $200 to get started, so there's no need to put the kids to work in the local salt mines to support your new habit.


Paxful

This exchange differs somewhat from others on the list in that it focuses on providing a platform where people can buy and sell items that they then pay for with Bitcoin from their Paxful e-wallet. 

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As the practice of Bitcoin mining and trading becomes less financially rewarding, and this most popular of cryptocurrencies settles into the role it was always intended to serve, a medium of exchange, expect more exchanges like Paxful to appear on the scene. Already, Paxful supports hundreds of fiat currencies and offers more than 300 ways for customers to pay for their Bitcoin purchases easily.


LocalBitcoins.com

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This nifty exchange has created a marketplace that allows you to trade Bitcoins directly with others, even face-to-face locally if you prefer.

The advantage of this approach is that the platform fees are low and you'll generally get a better exchange rate when dealing with another individual than going through a traditional cryptocurrency exchange. The dirty little secret is that it can become expensive to transfer Bitcoin internationally, but by keeping it local, LocalBitcoins.com manages to keep it cheaper as well. This exchange already serves more than 200 countries and 14,000 cities and just might be on its way to becoming Craigslist of the cryptocurrencies.


xCoins

If you are interested in lending or borrowing Bitcoin, xCoins is the place for you. You heard right. 

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With xCoins acting as the middleman on this peer-to-peer network, lenders and borrowers can come together to strike their deals with Bitcoin as the medium. The obvious question is why someone would want to borrow Bitcoin in the first place? Believe it or not, there are plenty of legit reasons. Maybe they want to use it as seed money for a business idea, engage in cryptocurrency trading, or beef up a mining rig. Though xCoins accepts only USD as a fiat currency to get started, Australians can easily use the system.


eToro

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Those new to the idea of social trading might not have heard of eToro before, but this company is a pretty big deal in the cyberspace corner where it hangs out. Through eToro, you can trade hundreds of different kinds of financial instruments, including leading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, Litecoin, and Ethereum Classic. The idea of social trading encourages users to interact with one another for trading advice and even copy the trades of successful investors. Think of it as social media for traders.


The Bottom Line

As you can see from the list, if there is something, in particular, you want to do in the cryptocurrency realm, there's probably an exchange (or 10) ready to help you achieve your goal. 

With an industry this new, it's harder to figure out which platforms are genuinely in it for the long haul and which are heading for a crash. As much as can be determined, the preceding exchanges are credible places to trust with your money, though keep in mind that most of the safeguards against scams common to organised stock and bond markets do not exist in cryptocurrencies. What we're trying to say is don't trade with your grocery money!