2021 has been the year of Bitcoin. Attention-grabbing headlines, wild price swings, the country of El Salvador promising to mine Bitcoin using volcanoes – and that’s just the beginning.
But the over-the-top elements of the Bitcoin story are just distractions from a more basic truth: Bitcoin is increasingly seen as a serious investment vehicle and everyone from Elon Musk to Goldman Sachs to your Uber driver seems to be getting in on the action.
Australian investors might feel like they’re a long way from the action, but there’s a wide range of local companies offering both introductory and sophisticated Bitcoin investing services, making it easier (and faster) than ever to start buying Bitcoin – whether with cash from your bank account or even your credit card.
An obligatory warning: Bitcoin, as with most cryptocurrencies, is a highly speculative investment and the price is subject to extreme price swings in both directions. Invest with caution.
How to buy Bitcoin
While buying Bitcoin in Australia used to be a complicated process, these days online exchanges make it simple and fast to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
First you need to pick an exchange and complete the sign-up process. You can check out some recommendations below.
In addition to signing up, most exchanges will require you to complete ID verification before you can buy or sell any cryptocurrency. This is a requirement of the Australian government to help prevent money laundering. Fortunately, for most exchanges this is an automated process that takes less than five minutes and only requires a valid form of Government ID such as a passport or driver’s licence.
Once you’re verified, you’ll need to transfer some cash over from a bank account. Exchanges typically offer BPAY, PayID and/or Osko functionality but it can take anywhere between a few seconds and 24 hours for funds to arrive depending on your exchange and which type of transfer you used. If you can’t wait, some exchanges (such as CoinJar) also offer instant purchases with a credit or debit card.
When you have cash in your account, it’s just about choosing when to buy your Bitcoin. Your exchange will handle the mechanics of the transaction and storage of the coins.
If you want more security for your coins, it may be worth investing in a cold storage wallet such as the Ledger Nano X. However, most exchanges now offer high-level security and cold storage (and if they don’t, don’t use them), so as long as you’re diligent about setting up 2FA on your account and have an uncrackable password then the risk of anything happening is relatively low.
Best Bitcoin Exchanges
The simplest way to buy Bitcoin is by creating an account on a reputable exchange and letting them handle the buying and storage of your coins. Australia has a number of established and world-class exchanges to choose from.
Australia’s longest-running exchange, CoinJar offers instant cash deposits and withdrawals through PayID, as well as the ability to buy Bitcoin with a credit or debit card, CoinJar’s focus is on making it as simple, fast and secure as possible to buy, sell and spend Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – all from the comfort of their market-leading iOS and Android app.
CoinJar also boasts low 1% buy fees, excellent customer support, more than 30 cryptocurrencies to trade – including Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), Uniswap (UNI) – and the option to order a fully-featured Mastercard that lets you spend your crypto like cash.
Another veteran Australian crypto player, BTCMarkets lets users buy and sell Bitcoin and 20 other leading cryptocurrencies with some of Australia’s lowest fees. Offering same-day deposits using BPAY, PayID and Osko and a clean trading interface, BTCMarkets may not be the simplest option for first-time Bitcoiners but gives more advanced traders the tools they need to move with the market.
A leading exchange in both Australia and New Zealand, Independent Reserve offers 25 cryptocurrency-to-AUD trading pairs, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Enjin, Bitcoin Cash and a whole lot more. With a 5-minute sign-up process and $10 minimum deposit, Independent Reserve is designed to get beginners up and running as quickly as possible. They also have dedicated desks catering to OTC buyers and self-managed super funds (SMSFs).
Cointree is another exchange that prioritises ease-of-use and rapid sign-up - you even get a $10 bonus when you make your first trade. With more than 160 cryptocurrencies to choose from (including Bitcoin, obviously), Cointree has one of the biggest trading ranges in Australia – although the risks of cryptocurrency trading are multiplied when it comes to these “low cap” coins. Cointree also offers themed Portfolios that allow users to buy a range of cryptocurrencies with a single purchase.
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