The Best Anonymous Cryptocurrency Exchanges 2021
Making Crypto Simple
In the last couple of years, we’ve witnessed a lot of data theft scandals that have tarnished the reputation of some world-leading companies. These data leaks have thus opened our eyes to the lack of digital privacy we enjoy online, with more and more people believing that their online activities are being constantly monitored and used without their consent.
As a result, people are less willing to disclose personal details with online platforms and websites and shudder at the very thought of going through verification processes. However, when you look at the bigger picture, social media is just the tip of the iceberg. People have had enough institutional surveillance in their day-to-day transactions too.
After all, the main incentive behind Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrencies was building a trustless and decentralized payment system. Unfortunately, when cryptocurrency exchanges joined the game, things took a different turn. Now users have to verify their identity and comply with KYC and AML policies to be granted access to trading services.
In this guide, we’ll dig out for you the few crypto exchanges that make it possible to purchase or trade cryptocurrencies anonymously, without compromising your security.
|Exchange Website||Rating||Currencies||Available Cryptocurrencies||Fees||Our Review||Visit Site|
|5/5||42+ Currencies||100+ Cryptocurrencies||0.1%||Binance Review||Visit Site|
|4/5||Crypto Only||70+ Cryptocurrencies||Varies||Shapeshift Review||Visit Site|
|3.5/5||USD & Others||11+ Cryptocurrencies||0.7%||Bisq Review||Visit Site|
|3/5||USD & 20 others||150+ Cryptocurrencies||0.1%||KuCoin Review||Visit Site|
|3/5||Crypto Only||185+ Cryptocurrencies||0.3%||Uniswap Review||Visit Site|
|2.5/5||Crypto Only||31+ Cryptocurrencies||Varies||Balancer Review||Visit Site|
|2.5/5||Crypto only||132+ Cryptocurrencies||Varies||BlockDX Review||Visit Site|
|2/5||USD & 40 Others||10+ Cryptocurrencies||0.075%||Bybit Review||Visit Site|
|2/5||Crypto only||300+ Cryptocurrencies||Varies||1inch Review||Visit Site|
|2/5||140+ Currencies||Bitcoin & Others||Varies||Paxful Review||Visit Site|
The Best Anonymous Cryptocurrency Exchanges – Reviews 2021
1. Binance Exchange
The handiwork of the Chinese developer Changpeng Zhao (or CZ), Binance is a cryptocurrency trading platform with a pristine record that has managed to win over traders from all over the world by offering deep liquidity, a range of services, and incredibly low fees despite its short tenure (operating since 2017).
Unlike some other acclaimed crypto exchanges, who stick to the crème de la crème of the cryptocurrencies only, Binance doesn’t shy away from underrepresented altcoins and promising stablecoins and defi tokens. Naturally, Binance’s team checks the credibility of these assets and disqualifies potential scams, so you can be sure you’re only trading authentic and purposeful tokens.
Although you would expect to be charged sky-high for the impeccable performance and sheer variety of coins and payment options (courtesy of its partner Simplex!), Binance has surprised traders with a flat 0.1% fee on even the lowest orders. The generosity of the exchange definitely knows no boundaries, as BNB (Binance Coin) holders are lined up for an additional 25% fee discount.
Now, we admit that Binance is not the most anonymous cryptocurrency exchange out there, but our list wouldn’t have been complete without this industry champion. If you want to stay under the radar while using Binance’s services, make sure you don’t trade more than 2 BTC daily.
2. ShapeShift Exchange
ShapeShift was launched in 2014 by Erik Voorhees and located in Switzerland. The platform began operating as a digital marketplace where users could purchase all sorts of cryptocurrencies and trade them against one another with ease.
Until 2018, the exchange was under no obligation to require its users to perform KYC (Know Your Customer) checks. However, things took a turn when more and more local regulators across the world started asking crypto exchanges to conduct, as Voorhees himself puts it, a “warrantless collection and surveillance of personal, private information of innocent individuals”.
Although the ShapeShift team didn’t support this practice, they didn’t want to quit the crypto game without some effort first. Finally, in January 2021, their CEO announced that ShapeShift is embracing decentralized protocols as a way for its clients to make anonymous, private transactions without disclosing their identity.
Voorhees vouches that this change of politics won’t affect users’ security but it will affect the choice of cryptocurrencies they’re now able to trade since, for the time being, these decentralized protocols only support Ethereum (ETH) and ERC20 tokens.
3. Bisq Exchange
If you’d rather hedge your bets by investing in a trusted cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, and stay anonymous in the process, we recommend choosing the peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange Bisq.
This platform was created by an Austrian developer as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) built on top of Bitcoin’s blockchain. Bisq has an open-source code which means that enthusiastic developers are encouraged to contribute to its growing ecosystem.
To start using Bisq, all you need to do is download the app to your personal computer. There’s no onboarding process nor KYC procedures. When buying digital assets, you just link your account to a crypto wallet of choice. Bisq has an extensive order book that instead of matching buyers and sellers automatically, leaves this job to traders themselves but requires both of them to make a security deposit to ensure the bond.
The platform enjoys such a high level of decentralization thanks to a decentralized software called Tor routing that makes anonymous communication possible by encrypting the data. This ensures your funds won’t get corrupted by third parties.
4. KuCoin Exchange
The developers over at KuCoin have been tweaking and adjusting the platform to perfection since 2011, before finally launching it in 2017. They wanted to take into account different traders’ profiles and practices in order to cater to everyone’s needs and really get the hang of regulatory policies and thus avoid legal setbacks.
As a result, even though the platform started as a crypto-to-crypto exchange only, their customers’ pleas to add fiat support have prompted the team to add a new Buy Crypto feature that allows buyers to link their bank accounts for direct bank transfers or use their credit/debit card for purchases too.
The best part is that these orders will cost you next to nothing as the trading fee is only 0.1% per order! How cool is that? Between us crypto buffs, KuCoin has been paying close attention to its tightest competitors (we’re thinking of Binance here), both in terms of fees and fee discounts for KuCoin Shares (KCS) holders. Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with taking to such fruitful practices.
Similarly, KuCoin is only partially KYC-free, i.e. you can trade altcoins even if you’re unverified as long as you don’t exceed the withdrawing limit of 5 BTC per day and the daily trading limit of $1,000.
5. Uniswap Exchange
Who would’ve thought that a newly developed decentralized platform could exceed Coinbase’s daily trading volume? We certainly didn’t. Anyhow, this is exactly what happened with the now widely used Uniswap Exchange Protocol in August 2020.
This platform is for all of you who have your eyes on Ethereum and Ethereum-based ERC20 tokens because Uniswap supports these coins exclusively. After all, the project came into existence thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Ethereum Foundation itself.
Uniswap is not actually a decentralized protocol but an Automated Market Maker (AMM). This is the exact opposite of an order book and works by using smart contracts to create a liquidity pool, has users contribute to the assets’ liquidity, and assigns prices based on algorithms that assess the current liquidity of the trading pair in question. If you add liquidity to Uniswap’s pools, you’ll earn liquidity tokens of that particular cryptocurrency. Market makers also earn a percentage of the trading fees (0.25%).
Uniswap only asks users to provide a third-party wallet address (an encrypted piece of code) and no personal information whatsoever.
6. Balancer Exchange
Balancer is another decentralized exchange that’s enjoying momentum these days. It’s relatively new, launched in 2019 by Fernando Martinelli and Nikolai Mushegian (although the latter is no longer working on the project). Within this limited time span, Balancer has already managed to exceed $2.7 billion in TVL (Total Value Locked).
Balancer has been designed in a similar fashion to Uniswap, i.e. as an Automated Market Maker. Likewise, Balancer uses liquidity pools for the supported assets (ERC20 tokens again) to which users are enticed to contribute. They can even create liquidity pools by themselves and determine the percentage ratio of a given trading pair. The twist here is that the ratio doesn’t have to be 50:50 as other DEXs would have it.
The platform uses Smart Order Routing (SOR), an automated selection process that aggregates the best market rates and can be implemented by other exchanges too. (For a more detailed explanation of Balancer’s mechanism, take a look at their official whitepaper.)
If you’re using Balancer, there’s no need to give your real name and details away as you only exchange assets between digital wallets. Balancer takes no custody of your funds during the process. We recommend checking out MetaMask as one of the most secure ERC20-oriented wallets that you can easily integrate with Balancer or Uniswap.
7. Block DX Exchange
Peer-to-peer exchanges are definitely taking off on the crypto market. Next on our list we have Block DX, a trustless, non-custodial P2P network that allows you to execute your crypto trades without any intermediaries getting in the way.
This platform was built on the Blocknet Protocol, which provides decentralized governance and order matching. It can be used by anyone, regardless of their location, to make instantaneous digital asset purchases known as atomic swaps. These purchases are quite affordable and all transaction fees go to Service Node Operators – Block DX’s network peers.
Possibly the best thing about this platform is the fact that it allows cross-chain trading. What this means is that users aren’t restricted to one particular blockchain only but can choose to trade from among 100 different altcoins from different blockchains. Plus, as open-source software, Block DX invites crypto enthusiasts to update its code, audit the system, and help the network grow.
8. Bybit Exchange
We hope you’re still eager to discover more KYC-free crypto exchanges, as we haven’t run out of options yet. Next on our list comes Bybit, an international platform operating from Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, but registered on the British Virgin Islands since 2018.
If you’re still new to cryptocurrency trading, keep in mind that Bybit demands a great amount of technical know-how as its main focus lies with institutional traders. Additionally, Bybit is more of a crypto-to-crypto exchange and only supports fiat deposits for BTC, ETH, and USDT orders via third-party payment services like Banxa, Moonpay, Xanpool, and Mecuryo.
Plus, even though Bybit itself doesn’t have obligatory KYC procedures for crypto traders, if you make a fiat deposit through one of these providers, it’s highly likely that they’ll ask for some personal information to approve your transaction, especially if you prefer paying with debit or credit cards. As long as you stick to trading, Bybit will only ask for your email address to make it possible for you to activate two-factor authentication.
For the time being, residents of the United States are restricted from using Bybit’s services.
9. 1inch Exchange
As you could see for yourself so far, the market abounds with anonymous crypto exchanges with competitive rates. Keeping an eye on all of them is quite challenging, which is why a platform like 1inch could come in handy. 1inch was co-founded in 2019 by Sergej Kunz and Anton Bukov, two Russian developers with previous experience on the market.
The two of them realized that what traders lack is a platform that aggregates liquidity from a variety of decentralized cryptocurrency platforms (some of them like Uniswap are already on our list). This way, they can compare the pricing, fees, and spread on their target pairs and find the most suitable offer. Thanks to 1inch, that time you used to spend browsing through order books is a thing of the past!
The main setback of this platform is the lack of fiat support. Plus, the only digital assets you can swap are ERC20 tokens. If you’re okay with these two limitations, don’t hesitate to give this exchange a go. You only need a web3 wallet (like MetaMask) to execute the transfer. In case you want to place a large order, 1inch can split the order between two or three exchanges just so you can get the best possible rate.
10. Paxful Exchange
Compared to some of the previous cryptocurrency exchanges, Paxful might come across as slightly more centralized. Still, this platform is worth checking out if you want to complete partially anonymous Bitcoin transactions. Launched in 2015 in Delaware, Paxful has been at the forefront of Bitcoin trading on a global level.
For some traders, Paxful’s preference for Bitcoin is seen as a disadvantage, while others see its deep level liquidity and range of fiat payment methods as an important upside. Depending on where you’re located, you can choose one of the following fiat gateways: bank transfer, wire transfer, debit/credit card, gift card, the option to pay in cash, or a digital wallet.
The first step to becoming a Paxful user is to create an account. A couple of years prior, Paxful had no KYC requirements except for users living in countries with strict crypto regulations, i.e. countries that ask exchanges to comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies. Recently, however, Paxful changes its politics and now asks for ID or address verification for most of its services.
How to Buy Cryptocurrency Anonymously
The crypto exchanges that we’re going to discuss below use different mechanisms or decentralized protocols in the order matching process so that they can let you use their services without ID verification.
The majority of them are non-custodial, i.e. they don’t keep users’ funds on their servers or in offline vaults (cold storage). This means that it becomes the trader’s responsibility to look for a third-party Bitcoin wallet (or altcoin wallet for that matter) and keep their private key someplace safe.
Since you don’t share any sensitive data with these platforms, you can make anonymous money transfers by skipping the notorious KYC – Know Your Customer – check. The KYC check is part of the onboarding process and it’s enforced by financial authorities as part of their regulatory frameworks. Its purpose is to verify customers’ identity by asking them to provide things like full name and address, date of birth, phone number, company details, utility bill, a scanned copy of a legit ID, etc.
Although a lot of traders consider KYC checks a breach of privacy, others see it as proof that the exchange cares about users’ security.
Frequently Asked Questions
Peer-to-peer exchanges like Paxful or LocalBitcoins are becoming increasingly popular as they offer an extra level of convenience and privacy to traders. However, since they usually support flexible payment methods, they’re also prone to scams and cyber thefts. To avoid falling victim to these frauds, make sure you do your homework and understand the basics of P2P trading before you start. Most of these platforms offer escrow services as a form of user protection, so if you’re selling crypto assets, don’t confirm the trade unless you’ve already received the payment. Next, stay away from traders who suggest you conduct the trade on a third-party platform, as they might be setting you up for a hoax. Finally, think twice before you agree to meet with someone in person to settle the trade.
Our list above includes ten reliable cryptocurrency exchange platforms where you can purchase Bitcoin anonymously. However, only two of them focus on Bitcoin only – Bisq and Paxful, which means they might have better offers than platforms that offer a range of assets. The difference between the two is that Bisq is a fully decentralized and non-custodial protocol, unlike Paxful which still requires some form of identity verification for higher trading tiers.
Just because our guide focuses on anonymous Bitcoin exchanges, that doesn’t mean that Bitcoin ATMs aren’t another option worth considering if you want to purchase digital currencies under the radar. These machines are typically located in restaurants, airports, retail stores, etc. You can find the closest one to you using a website like Coin Radar ATM which features an interactive map and tells you whether the ATM supports both buying and selling BTC and what the available payment methods are (cash or card). However, you should be aware that some of these teller machines might ask for a government-issued document before they let you withdraw BTC to an external wallet address. Double-check this information online in advance.
Leading centralized exchanges like Coinbase or Kraken are regulated by financial authorities in the countries where they operate which means they verify the authenticity of new users regardless of the services they want to use. This way, they can protect themselves from spam accounts and maintain a high level of security for their trusted users. Changelly, in comparison, as a non-custodial exchange, only has KYC checks for higher volumes or when depositing fiat currencies.