Let's face it, finding the right cryptocurrency exchange to purchase your crypto is challenging.
Not only do you have to worry about safety and security, but speed is also important due to the market changing so quickly.
In this review I will cover Changelly exchange to see how it stacks up against the competition and if it is one that you should use to purchase your crypto.
Account Minimum: $0
Fees: .5% per transaction
Promotion: No current promos
What is Changelly Exchange?
Changelly is a leading name in the world of cryptocurrencies as a transaction enabler that many people regard as credible.
Anyone who is a regular user of digital platforms will be familiar with the banners and ads of this crypto platform.
In the last few years of the rise and blossoming of cryptocurrencies, Changelly has enabled several people across the globe to buy their favorite crypto with ease.
The pace and simplicity of transactions on the platform are some of its major selling points.
Changelly has shown through its simple approach and transparent policies that companies can operate with integrity, turn a profit, and soldier on as a corporate brand.
Let us now look at the nitty-gritty of the company.
Who are the people behind Changelly?
Changelly was founded in 2015, originally in Prague, Czech Republic. It also got incorporated in Malta and moved its operations there in 2018.
Originally, the people behind Minergate also gave rise to the exchange, although ownership of these projects have since changed hands and these days, there’s little or no relationship between them.
Its current CEO, Eric Benz, has over a decade of experience in SaaS systems and has been a part of the cryptocurrency community since 2012.
He has also participated in other crypto-related projects, usually as an investor or board director.
This allows the site to usually find the best deals on crypto exchanges.
Operational spread and strength
Changelly currently based in the island nation of Malta. It has more than 2 million users around the world.
There are about 200 employees in the company’s payroll, and so far, it hasn’t displayed any desires to extend its operations beyond the brokering businesses.
Changelly isn’t a large exchange.
In fact, most newcomers won’t find out about it until later on – which is good, considering the exchange’s exclusive crypto-to-crypto, broker-only nature.
As such, it’s not a major exchange, but can count as one of the main players in the crypto field.
Payment Methods and Fees
Although Changelly is primarily a crypto-to-crypto exchange, since the very nature of the market requires dynamism, the company tweaked its approach.
Fiat payments were introduced in recent times in order to cater for the needs of people who desire to make purchases with their debit and credit cards.
Unlike other exchanges that process crypto to fiat, Changelly doesn’t allow its customers to exchange crypto for fiat – only for other crypto.
Rates for withdrawals and deposits
Since Changelly is a non-custodial exchange, it never gets to hold your money – neither your crypto nor your fiat.
Therefore, Changelly has no withdrawals or deposits, which in turn means there are no rates whatsoever for these.
Rates for Buy/Sell transactions using Crypto
When buying and selling cryptocurrencies, Changelly charges a flat 0.5% fee for it's services.
This represents one of the most competitive rates in the market and it’s one of the reasons that some people choose this exchange above other larger platforms.
However, since Changelly never holds your cryptocurrency, every single transaction through the exchange also incurs a network fee – that is, the fee the blockchain itself charges for moving crypto from a wallet to another.
This fee varies, depending on the token you’re trading and the network congestion as at the time of each transaction.
With more network congestion comes higher fees, which is often the case with the Ethereum blockchain as experienced in the heights of initial coin offerings.
Rates for buy - transactions using Fiat
According to Changelly, the 0.5% fee is also upheld for fiat purchases.
However, some other charges might apply depending on where you live, and the payment service provider you are using.
Some debit and credit cards might incur higher charges when they are denominated in other currencies other than the default such as USD, EUR or GBP.
The processes of buying your tokens will commence from charging your card, converting the transaction amount to the base currency, and remitting it to the platform making it possible to buy the tokens.
The only direct currencies that Changelly processes will be for payments in USD, EUR, and GBP.
While you can use your bank card even if it’s in a different currency, if you do so, expect higher charges to result.
Accepted Payment Methods
For fiat transactions, Changelly only accepts credit and debit cards.
Although Changelly is officially supported and included in a handful of crypto wallets, you can trade on the exchange regardless of which wallet you’re using.
Most of the leading cryptocurrencies are also supported on the platform, and as such, if you are doing a crypto-to-crypto transfer, you only need to input the wallet address you are sending from as well as the destination wallet address for the token you intend to receive.
As long as you have a crypto wallet for both the token you’re offering and the one you want in exchange, you’ll be able to trade on this platform.
Transaction Completion Periods
Most transactions on Changelly will be completed within half an hour of sending the payment. The system is automated, and in most cases, users will only experience extremely short waiting times.
These waiting times, however, depend on the blockchain, since users send and receive their crypto through it.
This means that, during times when the blockchain might be congested, these waiting times could increase – if the blockchain is too congested, it might take up to a few hours for your requested transactions to clear.
Larger transactions (1BTC and up) can also take longer to clear and even trigger the security system, leading the exchange to ask for KYC/AML data, which might further delay the transaction.
Operations and Dashboard
Changelly has a strangely simple user interface considering how different from the norm the exchange happens to be.
In a crypto landscape where exchanges seem to be constantly competing to outdo each other on how much data they display to their users, Changelly foregoes all of that data – that traders could find elsewhere anyway, – instead going for a simple, clean design where the user is immediately asked what matters: How much of which token do you want to trade, and for which other token?
The sole fact that Changelly lacks traditional trading pairs, instead allowing users to create their own trading pairs depending on what they need.
This is already an uncommon and a clear departure from regular exchanges, where you can only trade the currencies based on the trading pairs that they offer.
With its uncommon formula, Changelly thus manages to have a unique and oddly simple user interface that’s dedicated to what people go there for: cryptocurrency conversions, and little more.
Changelly can be used through a web browser or a mobile app, as it is now the norm with most crypto exchanges these days.
On top of that, a handful of crypto wallets have Changelly embedded as part of their features, allowing users to exchange their cryptocurrency directly from the wallet in a seamless manner.
In this regard, there is no need to exit those wallet providers ’platforms in order to complete a transaction on Changelly.
Changelly has no online wallets, nor does it offer any custodian services. It has, however, paired up with several crypto wallets to offer direct access to the exchange.
This removes the need for separate apps or accounts.
Since Changelly has no online wallets, new customers looking to use the exchange must have set up a crypto wallet beforehand, as it is one of the exchange’s requirements.
Security and Customer Insurance
Speaking of security on Changelly is difficult, mostly because there’s little to secure.
Most of the time, when crypto exchanges are hacked into, hackers funnel the exchange’s funds, with those funds being the users’ own stored cryptocurrencies.
However, Changelly doesn’t allow users to store cryptocurrencies on its platform.
While the exchange does handle crypto, the manner in which it happens is temporary, and only between trades.
The exchange’s permanent accounts consist in its own holdings, not its customers.
This means that, even in the case of a hack, users accounts and their cryptocurrencies are safe – making any type of insurance redundant.
The same goes for security, at least on a basic level: Even if somebody could access your Changelly account, they’d be unable to do anything from there as the hacker would also need to access your crypto wallet in order to move any of your cryptocurrency.
In the end, Changelly could be considered one of the world’s safest crypto exchanges, if only because due to the way it works as it doesn’t really need to secure much beyond personal data.
Account Opening Requirements
On the matter of accounts, there’s something that needs to be pointed out first: You do not need a user account to use Changelly.
User accounts are mostly optional, made for people who wish to use the exchange regularly and who would like to keep a history of their exchanges.
Creating an account, however, can be a good idea – and it might be necessary if you plan on making large transactions or using the exchange regularly.
As usual with crypto exchanges, to register, Changelly will only ask you for an email and password.
Changelly is notably undemanding when it comes to KYC and AML.
While most large exchanges have implemented or are in the process of implementing the oft-mentioned KYC/AML verification, and most require you to complete a certain level of verification to be able to trade, Changelly requires nothing of the sort. In fact, most people will find out they don’t even need an account to trade.
That doesn’t mean the exchange does not require users to identify themselves or verify their information.
Changelly has its own automated system that checks and verifies transactions, and if any transaction or set of transactions seem suspicious, the exchange will request that the user verifies undergo an identity verification.
Large trades, such as those of 1BTC or more, can also trigger the KYM/AML requirement system. Just as well, people asked to provide identity verification will also have to open an account with the exchange.
That said, it’s still simple to run transactions through Changelly without any type of verification, as long as these transactions are of low value.
This could be an incentive for persons who are in a hurry or desire to have as little personal information as possible online.
Verifying your account
If asked to verify your account, the main requirement Changelly will ask for is a government-issued identification, such as a passport or driving license.
If the transaction was flagged as suspicious for money laundering, you’ll also be asked to provide proof of the origin of the funds you’re trading.
In some cases, extra information, such as proof of residence (usually in the form of a utility bill) will be required.
How A Typical Transaction Works
Purchasing or selling crypto
Changelly’s interface and design is straightforward and directed to its purpose.
As a new user, regardless of whether you have an account or not, you’ll be greeted with two fields: One where you input how much of which cryptocurrency you wish to trade, and a second one where you input the cryptocurrency you want in exchange.
This latter field is automatically populated, showing you the current going rate.
After this, you’ll be shown a checkout page of sorts, informing you of the amount of crypto you’ll be sending, the amount you’ll be receiving, and any extra fees.
You’ll be expected to review the data and then proceed.
Once you proceed with the transaction, you’ll be asked for a crypto wallet where Changelly will send your crypto to, while also requesting a receiving wallet address on the destination end.
Once you have made the payment and confirmed it, you should receive your crypto within 30 minutes.
Pros & Cons
How To Open An Account
Opening an account with Changelly is easy, as you’re only required to provide an email address and password.
Where other exchanges will request that you go through at least a few steps of their KYC/AML verification to be able to trade, Changelly has no such requirements – instead you’re only asked to go through it if your transaction is flagged as suspicious by the system.
Otherwise, you have no specific limits imposed on your account.
Should You Use Changelly Exchange?
Changelly is a bit of an odd fish in a landscape where the vast majority of crypto exchanges work in exactly the same way: Places where you can trade select tokens, park them as much as you want, and then sell them when the moment comes.
This different approach makes the site stand out, and it’s certainly convenient for those looking for a quick trade.
Since it is embedded in several crypto wallets (and the number of wallets embedding it is only likely to go up,) it’s very difficult to assume Changelly will go out of business anytime soon.
The dynamic world of financial services in which crypto is inevitably aggregated is such that cannot avoid regulation.
In this light, it is expected that as governments come up with new laws, platforms like Changelly will have to update their operational methodology.
That said, the core business pattern of Changelly is a winning one that is sure to endure for as long as cryptocurrencies thrive around the world.
Asif is a cryptocurrency enthusiast and journalist who’s been writing on the subject since 2014. He also has a keen interest in social engineering and cybersecurity. When not busy writing about cryptocurrency, he can be found reading books and listening to music. He holds an M.Sc in Life Science and an MBA in Finance & Banking.