If you’re discussing decentralized exchanges, then the chances are good that you’re talking about Changelly and Shapeshift. After all, these two platforms often receive credit for bringing the benefits of decentralization to the people. It was these prominent exchanges which changed the way we think of conventional digital currency trading.
Each site eliminated the long processes associated with cryptocurrency exchanges by giving users the ability to make trades without creating accounts or having to trust centralized exchanges to store your funds. If you have cryptocurrency and know what you want, one of these two exchanges would take care of it for you.
However, when it comes to choosing between the two, users often have a hard time making a decision. While these two platforms have a lot in common, they also have a few distinct differences. We’ll point those out throughout our comparison of these two instant exchanges.
To get started, let’s take a look at what Changelly has to offer:
Changelly was founded in Prague in 2016 and has firmly established itself as one of the premier instant exchange platforms in the market. With its sleek design and easy navigation, the site makes buying altcoins a pleasant experience for anyone who visits it.
If you decide to purchase or trade cryptocurrencies on the Changelly exchange, you’ll notice that its rates are clear from the get-go. Just keep in mind that the rate stated before the transaction begins is estimated. It might not be the actual amount you receive. This might change due to how much the rate might change at any given moment.
Those who use Changelly have two options: 1) perform crypto-to-crypto trades or 2) exchange their fiat currency for digital currencies. Changelly allows users to purchase cryptocurrency with Mastercard or VISA credit cards, or with their debit cards. Changelly imposes no limitations on locale, so users have access to the site from around the world.
Changelly claims that it offers the best option of cryptocurrencies for trading. Currently, the site offers nearly 100 digital currencies. While users don’t usually don’t have limits placed on the number of trades they can make, the site does place restrictions on bank card transactions depending on where you reside. You can find this information in the site FAQ section.
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Getting started on Changelly is simple and straightforward, but you do have to create an account on the site. Just follow the process to get your account set up with Changelly, then you’ll have the ability to set up the currencies you want to use.
One item to note is that Changelly does use two-factor authentication, so if you don’t have Google authenticator, you may want to download it.
Once you set up your preferred currencies, click on the Exchange option. On the next screen, you’ll select your deposit address. Here you can choose whether you want to scan the amount or send it to a specific wallet address.
When you click send, you’ll receive your output currency right away. That’s it. You’ve exchange one currency for another. Now move your money to an offline wallet for safekeeping if you haven’t already done so.
Using Changelly to exchange cryptocurrencies is also easy because of the methods of payment the site accepts. Users can deposit funds using credit cards – the site accepts Master and Visa – or via regular fiat transfer, which the site does through corporate partnerships. Of course, users can always use crypto to fund their accounts.
The acceptance of credit cards and fiat transfers is essential in that it gives newer investors in crypto an easy way to purchase currencies. A lot of exchanges on the market today won’t accept any fiat currencies as a deposit method. Changelly sets itself apart by doing so.
Changelly charges a flat commission fee of 0.50% for all exchanges. Users will notice it at the top of each trade they make on the site. Additionally, credit card transactions may incur separate fees from either the credit card company or Changelly’s payment partner.
So while there are a few static fees users will find on the site, Changelly does not list a fixed rate for trades. This is due to the nature of the crypto market. The site does, however, do its best to provide the best rate available when the transaction is made.
Changelly offers a wide range of trading pairs, which makes the site more appealing to those interested in exchanging currencies. By supporting so many digital currencies, Changelly gives users an opportunity to trade any two cryptocurrencies with minimal hassle. Most traditional exchanges only support a handful of trading pairs, which means users have to make multiple trades or visit numerous sites to get the currency they want.
That’s not the case with Changelly. Users can create their trading pairs with one transaction. The site takes care of the trade itself. So, if you want to trade some of your mined Nimiq for some Ripple, you can do so with Changelly.
A full list of the cryptos tradable on Changelly can be found in our dedicated exchange review.
With Changelly, you’re only exchanging currencies. You’re not storing them on the site, so you don’t have to worry about someone stealing your funds. All you do is buy the currency you want or trade for it. Either way, it moves to the wallet address you provide.
It’s the same for your fiat funds. They are not kept directly on the site but instead are only used when you send them through Changelly. The funds move through the site, and you receive your cryptocurrency of choice almost immediately.
The process of completing the transaction from end-to-end without holding them in an onsite wallet makes Changelly a safe and secure option for trading cryptocurrencies. It means that you are responsible for your digital assets and ensuring they are going to the correct wallet address.
Changelly Mobile App
Changelly also offers a mobile app for those that need to perform exchanges on the go. The app is intuitive and easy to use, so you don’t have to worry about a lot of confusion. You can view current exchanges and fees, see your history, or contact support, all right from the app.
Download The Changelly App Now!
Changelly Pros and Cons
- Easy to use interface
- Available in all countries
- Convenient mobile application
- Safe and secure method to trade cryptocurrencies
- Quick access to liquidity
- Cannot sell cryptocurrency for fiat money
- Higher fees than other exchanges
Shapeshift was established in 2013 by Erik Voorhees. This instant exchange focuses on offering direct crypto-to-crypto trades for its users. With Shapeshift, users have the ability to quickly and easily exchange cryptocurrencies. The site is easy to use and navigate and requires little information from the user.
Since Shapeshift transactions happen instantly, no cryptocurrency resides on the exchange itself. Instead, the site delivers the coin right to the wallet address the user provides. Additionally, Shapeshift can be used anywhere on the planet. However, your location might determine your transaction limits.
While the site does boast that its execution times are faster than Changelly, as cryptocurrency continues to grow, exchange times will get slower no matter which exchange you use. Shapeshift does, however, do a great job of showing you the instant rate of a trade, along with the expected miner fees associated with it.
If getting started with Changelly is easy, then it’s hard to know how to describe Shapeshift. There is an account required to use Shapeshift, however, signing up is ridiculously simple. Provide the site with an email address and a password, confirm your address, and you’re all set.
While Shapeshift previously did not require account creation, it moved to a membership platform to provide more features for its users. For instance, users can now access transaction history, as well as discounts on volume exchanges and higher trading limits.
Once you’ve created your account, all you have to do is choose the currencies and amounts you want to exchange, along with your wallet addresses, and you can start trading immediately.
Shapeshift only supports crypto-to-crypto trades, which means all payments must be made using digital currencies. If you don’t have crypto to trade, you’ll have to visit an exchange that will accepts fiat before visiting Shapeshift. The same applies to withdrawing your funds from Shapeshift. You’ll need to send your asset to an outside exchange if you want to withdraw fiat currency.
Shapeshift does not explicitly state its charges aside from a miner’s fee directly paid to each respective blockchain. What the exchange does instead offer a rate which is dependent on current market trends and conditions. This rate is specific to each coin available on the site so that the amount will vary from currency to currency.
The site uses various market resources to determine at what rate each coin trades. Shapeshift earns a small profit from each trade so that it can source coins to replenish its reserves.
While Shapeshift offers quick transactions, it currently supports over 50 different cryptocurrencies. Visiting the site shows that many digital currencies are “temporarily unavailable.” The website states that this is because some coins require special maintenance which makes the temporary unavailable for trading.
Shapeshift does support the more popular coins, so if you want to trade those cryptocurrencies, you’ll have no problems on the site. You can trade Bitcoin, Dash, DogeCoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Zcash, Ripple, and others. Before you get started with Shapeshift, however, you might want to visit the site and determine that they have the cryptocurrency you want.
Shapeshift has made recent changes in its recording processes to ensure that its site is more secure for its users. While you are required to provide personal information during sign-up, the assets you trade wind up in the wallet address you provide. Shapeshift itself does not hold the currency.
This means you’ll get the cryptocurrency you’re trading delivered right to your wallet. You don’t have to worry about the exchange holding it so you can withdraw it later. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about the safety of your funds or Shapeshift’s security policies.
If you’re worried about the security of your personal information, Shapeshift says that the only time this information is accessed is if you log a ticket which requires Shapeshift support. Your personal data is not needed to log a ticket, but instead may be required to resolve a related issue or problem.
Shapeshift Mobile App
Like Changelly, Shapeshift does have a mobile app for its users. It is available on both iOS and Android, so you don’t have to worry about having a particular device to use it. Having a mobile app handy is excellent for those who prefer mobile devices or want to make some trades while they’re not at their computer.
One drawback to the Shapeshift mobile app is that it does not support all the coins the desktop site supports. Shapeshift says that this is because it must follow regulations which stipulate that certain currencies may not trade via mobile.
Download Shapeshift iOS App Now!
Download Shapeshift Android App Now!
Shaeshift Pros and Cons
- Instant transaction times
- Supports 50 different coins
- Only network fees apply to trades
- Currencies do not reside on site; they are deposited straight to your wallet
- Mobile app available
- Exchange rates vary based on which coin you’re trading
- No fiat currency deposits or withdrawals
- Mobile app does not support all coins the website supports
- Low liquidity for less popular coins
Shapeshift vs Changelly Comparison Table
To help give you a better idea of how these decentralized exchanges compare with one another, we’ve created a comparison table putting Changelly and Shapeshift head-to-head:
|Exchange Fees||0.5% per trade||Varies based on the coin|
|Deposit Fees||Medium||No fiat deposit|
|Buy/Deposit Methods||Crypto, Bank, Visa, Credit Card||Crypto|
|Customer Support||FAQ & Email||Help Desk Ticket|
|Made Your Choice?||Sign Up To Changelly||Sign Up To Shapeshift|
|Read Our Full Review||Read More||Read More|
If you’re new to the cryptocurrency space and looking for a way to trade your fiat currency for cryptocurrency without the hassle of using a full-blown exchange, then Changelly is the best fit for you. Changelly goes out of its way to make its site easy to use and understand and offers a long list of cryptocurrencies.
Shapeshift does offer plenty of cryptocurrencies on its site. However, the list is limited. It doesn’t support trading with fiat currencies and isn’t as transparent as you might like with its fees. However, the site does offer plenty of services and features to its users, so you’ll still have a good experience with Shapeshift.
I like that Changelly lets me use fiat currencies to trade. I can buy the coin I want and move it right to my wallet. It saves me time and the hassle of trading from fiat to Bitcoin then heading to a different site to get the cryptocurrency I want. I don’t mind waiting a little longer for the transaction complete if I don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get the digital currency I prefer.
However, I can see the benefit of Shapeshift doing crypto-to-crypto trades if you don’t want your money held on an exchange. There is a definite advantage to having your crypto moved straight to your wallet as opposed to residing on an exchange waiting for you to withdraw it.
Choosing between the two comes down to what you need from an instant exchange. For those newer to crypto, Changelly might make more sense since it accepts fiat. However, if you’re already familiar with cryptocurrency, Shapeshift might be the way to go with its faster transactions and crypto-to-crypto trades.