- Very simple exchange platform
- Cash payments made at a network of banks and newsagents
- Secure. Wallets and funds not hosted on the exchange and only OTC service
- Exchange backed by solid team and investors
- Strong customers service reputation
- Only Bitcoin and AUD supported
- Deposits must be made in cash and can’t be transferred online
- Limited functionality and only buy and sell orders process
Bitcoin.com.au is an Australian owned and Melbourne based cryptocurrency exchange established in 2015 by Richard Hackett, the current CEO. Despite the domain name, Bitcoin.com.au is not in any way officially affiliated with Bitcoin itself but is a privately owned exchange. Early stage investors in the exchange include Dominet Venture Partners and Alium Capital, one of Sydney’s highest profile investment firms. A recent capital raise over the summer of 2017 saw a $500,000 round oversubscribed two-fold with $1 million finally raised. The capital is earmarked for investment in the expansion of sister exchanges in the UK and Canada as well as adding Ethereum and Ripple support to the exchange, which currently only offers Bitcoin.
A particularly popular quality to the Bitcoin.com.au exchange is that Bitcoin holders who sell their cryptocurrency on the exchange can pick up the cash at a network of over 1200 locations across Australia. These include Commonwealth and Westpac bank branches as well as selected newsagents. This speeds up the time in which Bitcoin sellers will receive their cash in comparison to withdrawal to a bank account.
The Bitcoin.com.au exchange is a little different to most cryptocurrency exchanges. It is a hybrid online-offline exchange model. Most cryptocurrency exchanges also host wallets that can be funded with fiat or cryptocurrencies and through which buy and sell orders are processed. Bitcoin.com.au only accepts cash payments for Bitcoin purchases, which must be made through its agent network of bank branches and newsagents. The reason for this, provided by the exchange, is that because Bitcoin transactions are irreversible and Bitcoins are transferred within 30 minutes of a deposit being received, the only equally irreversible payment option available in Australia is cash.
However, another benefits of this cash deposit system for Bitcoin buyers is that they retain anonymity. From the point of view of Bitcoin.com.au, not hosting client funds in wallets associated with the exchange means they can never fall victim to the reputational and financial damage of a hacker attack, as well as avoiding the significant expense of putting the necessary cyber security measures in place. The pure over-the-counter cash exchange model also places lighter regulatory requirements on the exchange.
To buy Bitcoin over the Bitcoin.com.au exchange, users first have to set up their own wallet. The exchange does provide good quality guides that explain the different options available and how to go about setting a wallet up. To create a buy order, users select the location they wish to deposit the cash payment, the value of the order and their wallet address. Once the cash deposit has been made at the selected bank or newsagent, the Bitcoin should appear in the wallet address provided within 30 minutes.
If selling Bitcoin the process is similar but reversed. The user must transfer the Bitcoin being sold from their wallet to a wallet address provided by the exchange. Bank details are provided, with only Australian bank accounts serviced, if a transfer is preferred or cash can also be picked up from the same network of banks and newsagents that accept deposits.
At present the Bitcoin.com.au exchange only supports Bitcoin and AUD as cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies that buy and sell orders can be made in. However, the exchange does plan to add Ethereum and Ripple to its tradable markets at some point during 2018, though no official date has yet been announced.
Bitcoin.com.au charges a flat 5% commission on Bitcoin purchases and no commission on sell orders. 5% may sound high but it is actually towards the lower end of the commission levels charged by most cryptocurrency exchanges, which are significantly higher than those of other financial exchanges. Commission levels are typically between 5% and 9% though are gradually moving lower as competition between exchanges increases.
Bitcoin.com.au offers support through email, telephone and chat. However, as the exchange doesn’t host wallets, payments are made in cash and only Bitcoin and AUD are currently supported, the process is very simple and support requirements should be limited. The exchange does, however, have a solid reputation and little history of user complaints.
Security & Fairness
Again, because transactions are made from users’ own wallets and payments made in cash, Bitcoin.com.au has far lower cyber security vulnerability than other more complex exchanges. The buy and sell process is clear and fair and flexibility framework on the time by which cash deposits must be made after an order has been confirmed transparently outlined on the exchange’s website.
The exchange is also backed by well-established investors, a background which provides additional peace of mind to users.
Bitcoin.com.au’s simplicity will appeal to users who simply want to make a small Bitcoin investment. The same simplicity is likely to put off more advanced cryptocurrency investors or traders as Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency supported and only simple buy and sell transactions possible.