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A Beginner's Guide: How to Buy Bitcoin And Other Cryptocurrencies in Singapore

profileJoel Koh

Unless you have been living under a rock, there’s a high chance that you may have heard of a little cryptocurrency called Bitcoin (commonly abbreviated as BTC).

Especially after a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed that Tesla bought US$1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin, and announced that it expects to begin accepting bitcoins as a form of payment for its products in the near future.

Source: Bitcoin.com

Not to mention that Singapore’s biggest bank, DBS (SGX: D05) announced that it will set up a Digital Exchange that will allow investors to trade in cryptocurrencies.

You may have also been following the volatile virtual currency’s price movements and have done your extensive due diligence on it.

Now, you are ready to invest in some Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies that you may have researched.

But you might be wondering: where do you start?

As usual, we got you!

Although the whole investing process may seem a bit complicated for those who are new to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the whole process is actually not too complex if you break it down.

As such, here is our guide to buying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Singapore!

Disclaimer: The information provided by Seedly serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalised investment advice. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing in any investment product. The writer may have a vested interest in the investments products mentioned.


TL;DR: Beginner’s Guide: How to Buy Cryptocurrency in Singapore (Including Bitcoin)

Cryptocurrency ExchangeTrading Fees (Per Trade)Pro Account Trading FeesSupported CryptocurrenicesDeposit Fees (Fiat)Withdrawal Fees (Fiat)Can Buy BTC & ETH With SGD?
Binance International0.1%
(Basic tier)
-500+ (BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC, BCH, EOS, XMR, TRX, XLM, NEO & more)SWIFT transfer (Varies based on bank)

Credit/Debit Card:
3.5% per transaction or US$10 (higher)

P2P: Free (Exchange rate may not be as good)
SWIFT transfer (US$30 + bank fee)

P2P: Free (Exchange rate may not be as good)
Not officially (Can buy using P2P exchange)
Huobi Global0.2%
(Flat)
-372 (BTC, BCH, ETH, XRP, LTC, DOT, DASH, ETC, EOS, QTUM & more)SWIFT transfer (Varies based on bank)Yes
Crypto.com0.4%
(Basic tier)
-100+ (BTC, LTC, ETH, CRO, ENJ, BAT, PAX, USDC, OMG, KNC & more)Deposit with Xfers is free

Credit/Debit Card:
3.50% + $0.10
Withdrawal with Xfers is freeYes
Binance Singapore0.6%
(Flat)
-8 (BTC, ETH, BNB, LTC, BCH, XRP, NEO, LINK)Deposit with Xfers is free

Withdrawal with Xfers is freeYes
Coinhako1%
(Flat)
-21 (BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, ADA, XLM, NEO, XMR, DOT & more)FAST transfer of SGD:
Free

SGD Deposits via Xfers Direct Charge:
0.55%

USD Deposits in form of USDT/USDT:
Free
FAST transfer:
S$2

USD Withdrawals in form of USDT/USDT:
US$15
Yes
Gemini1.49%+
(Flat with minimum sum for trades less than US$200)
Active Trader:
0.35%
(Basic tier)
48 (BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, ZEC, ZRX, MKR, BAT, AAVE, FIL & more)FAST transfer is freeYes
Coinbase Exchange1.49%+
(Flat with minimum sum for trades less than US$200)
Coinbase Pro:
0.5%
(Basic tier)
65 (ATOM, BAT, BTC, BCH, XRP, DAI, DASH, EOS, ETH, ETC & more)SWIFT transfer (US$25 + bank fees)

Credit/Debit Card:
3.99% + 7% of transaction fee (GST)
SWIFT transfer (US$25 + bank fees)Yes

Do save this article if you find it helpful!


Before You Buy Bitcoin

If you have stumbled upon this article and have next to no knowledge about cryptocurrencies, I would urge you to read our cryptocurrency for beginners’ article.

But here are some basic things you need to know.

First, you need to know that Bitcoin is numero uno when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be created and is the longest surviving one thus far.

Its longevity and popularity add to its security due to the nature of how blockchain works. I may be simplifying things a bit but in general, the more blocks a cryptocurrency has, the more secure its network.

This also adds to its trustworthiness and it being used as as a form of hard money.

As such, Bitcoin is in a category of its own as all other cryptocurrencies that are not Bitcoin are classified as Altcoins (short for alternative to Bitcoin).

Whereas for Altcoins, the most popular one is Ethereum which serves as a platform for everyone to build decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts on top of it.

Also, do check out this opinion piece about whether you should invest in Bitcoin by our investment lead Sudhan.

But here is a short primer about Bitcoin and why it has value.

Why Does Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Have Value?

To put it simply, the value of Bitcoin stems from its adoption as a store of value and payment system.

In addition, Bitcoin’s value stems from its finite supply as there can only be 21 million bitcoins that can be mined in total. Once all these bitcoins have been mined, the supply of bitcoin will not increase.

At the time of writing, about 18.58 million bitcoins have been mined which means that about 2.42 million bitcoins are yet to be introduced into circulation.

Essentially, Bitcoin has value due to its increasing utility as a form of money.

Like money, Bitcoin shares certain characteristics:

  • Durability
  • Portability
  • Fungibility
  • Scarcity
  • Divisibility
  • Recognizability.

But, here is where it differs.

Unlike traditional Government-issued fiat currencies that derive their value from trust in central authorities or precious metals like Gold or Silver which derive their value from scarcity and its physical properties, Bitcoin is backed by mathematics and the blockchain.

With all these qualities, the only things left for any form of money to hold value is trustworthiness and widespread adoption.

For Bitcoin, you can evaluate this by measuring the number of users, merchants, companies, banks and institutional investors who have adopted Bitcoin.

At the end of the day, Bitcoin’s value as a currency comes only and directly from people willing to accept them as payment.

But how is it valued?

What Affects Bitcoin’s Price?

Essentially, Bitcoin’s price is mainly affected by the forces of supply and demand.

Here’s how that works. On the demands side, Bitcoin’s price increases when demand increases. When demand falls, the price falls accordingly as well.

On the supply side, the supply of Bitcoin is more stable as there is only a certain amount of bitcoins in circulation. Also, bitcoins are mined and created at a foreseeable and decreasing rate. This means that demand needs to follow this rate of inflation to keep the price of Bitcoin steady.

As Bitcoin is still not as widely adopted, the market for it is still small compared to what it can be. As such, the price of Bitcoin is highly volatile as it does not take significant outflows or inflows of money to affect the price of Bitcoin.

Another important thing to note is that although it is almost impossible for Bitcoin to be hacked, your wallet or exchange account is vulnerable. This is why it is vital that you implement proper storage and security measures.

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Regulation on Cryptocurrencies

An important thing to note is that as cryptocurrencies are a relatively new phenomena, there isn’t as much regulation in Singapore just yet.

The regulation comes in the form of the Payment Services Act 2019. Cryptocurrencies are classified as digital payment tokens (DPT) and the act regulates persons or entities that buy or sell cryptocurrencies or facilitate the exchange of cryptocurrencies.

However, the act is mainly targeted at addressing money laundering and terrorism financing. This means that there is no legislative protection. MAS is not required to safeguard your cryptocurrency or ensure that each crypto transaction is processed in the right way.

This is made clear with this advisory that MAS requires DPT service providers to show to customers:

  • Your DPT service provider is licensed by MAS to provide DPT services. Please note that this does not mean you will be able to recover all the money or DPTs you paid to your DPT service provider if your DPT service provider’s business fails.
  • You should not transact in the DPT if you are not familiar with this DPT. Transacting in DPTs may not be suitable for you if you are not familiar with the technology that DPT services are provided.
  • You should be aware that the value of DPTs may fluctuate greatly. You should buy DPTs only if you are prepared to accept the risk of losing all of the money you put into such tokens.

But things are changing.

On 4 Jan 2021, MAS announced amendments made to the Payment Services Act. Under the new enhancements, any entities that facilitate the transmission, exchange or storage of cryptocurrencies (DPTs) will now have to be licensed and will have to comply with wider rules and regulations set by MAS.

Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung stated that these enhancements will give MAS the authority to implement user protection ‘when necessary,’ adding that:

“This could include, for example, requiring a DPT service provider to segregate customer assets from its own assets.”

What Do You Need to Start Buying Cryptocurrency?

At the very least, there are a few things that you need to start investing in cryptocurrency:

  • Personal identification documents for verification (some exchanges like Coinhako use Singpass MyInfo)
  • A Xfers Account to withdraw your money into your bank account for some platforms
  • Secure connection to the internet (public WiFi is a no-go)
  • Phone for two-factor authentication
  • Cryptocurrency exchange account
  • Valid methods to deposit or withdraw fiat money from the exchanges (bank accounts, debit cards, credit cards, etc.
  • Secured personal cryptocurrency wallet to store your crypto (this is optional but recommended)

Speaking of cryptocurrency wallets there are two main types of crypto wallets you need to know.

Hot Wallets

First, we have Hot Wallets: cryptocurrency wallets operated from devices that connect to the internet.

Although Bitcoin itself is almost impossible to hack, hackers can still steal the private key to your hot wallet and steal the coins stored on your crypto wallet that is connected to the internet.

But, what you give up in security you gain in convenience as you can trade your cryptocurrencies easily.

An example of a hot wallet is the exchange wallet that is given to you when you open your cryptocurrency exchange account. This is basically a custodian account for your cryptocurrency where the exchange holds the private keys to your coins.

Be careful about this as if in the event that the exchange is hacked, you might lose your cryptocurrency.

This is why in the cryptocurrency world, the phrase ‘not your key not your coin’ is wisdom many adhere to.

As without the private keys, you technically do not own the bitcoin.

Cold Wallets

Alternatively, you can store your cryptocurrencies in a cold wallet.

Put simply, the cold wallet/offline wallet/hardware wallet is a cryptocurrency wallet that stores your cryptocurrency offline

These cold wallets store your private key on hardware that is offline. Some even come with compatible software that allows you to view your crypto portfolio without exposing your private key.

There are two main types of hardware wallets that come with their advantages and disadvantages.

You have your paper wallet which can be created and printed out from some websites.

Source: CYBAVO

During the creation of the paper wallet, you have both public keys and private keys that are printed out.

Some people keep their private keys in a highly secured place and only import the private key into the wallet only at the moment of making a transaction.

This method is more secure, but the downside is that it is very inconvenient to trade your cryptocurrency with this paper wallet.

Another type of cold wallet that is more popular is the hardware wallet which is usually a USB drive device like the Ledger Nano X (US$119) and Nano S (US$59).

This hardware wallet can store your private keys safely offline. Some also come with security features that protect the device from malware and viruses.

Thus, a good rule of thumb is to have an exchange wallet to trade cryptocurrencies, a hot wallet to store your small and medium holdings that you wish to trade less often.

Finally, we would recommend that you store your long term or sizeable cryptocurrency holdings on a cold wallet for safety.

Now let’s move on to the crypto exchanges!

Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Here is an overview of the more reputable cryptocurrency exchanges.

We have three main criteria for picking the exchanges for this comparison.

First, these exchanges should allow you to purchase Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in Singapore Dollars.

Second, the exchanges on this list are amongst the largest and most reputable cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.

For example, according to CoinMarketCap, Binance, Huobi Global and Coinbase are three of the biggest cryptocurrency spot exchanges in the world

FYI: CoinMarketCap ranks and scores exchanges based on traffic, liquidity, trading volumes, and confidence in the legitimacy of trading volumes reported).

We are excluding KuCoin due to their legal troubles where an injunction was against the company was filed by the High Court of Singapore. Also, Kraken is excluded from this list as they do not support buying Bitcoin and Ethereum in Singapore Dollars.

Also, we have included some of the more safe and reputable exchanges like Coinhako, Crypto.com and Gemini that have a local presence with offices in Singapore.

Binance with their international exchange and Singapore exchange ticks both boxes.

Cryptocurrency ExchangeTrading Fees (Per Trade)Pro Account Trading FeesSupported CryptocurrenicesDeposit Fees (Fiat)Withdrawal Fees (Fiat)Can Buy BTC & ETH With SGD?
Binance International0.1%
(Basic tier)
-500+ (BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC, BCH, EOS, XMR, TRX, XLM, NEO & more)SWIFT transfer (Varies based on bank)

Credit/Debit Card:
3.5% per transaction or US$10 (higher)

P2P: Free (Exchange rate may not be as good)
SWIFT transfer (US$30 + bank fee)

P2P: Free (Exchange rate may not be as good)
Not officially (Can buy using P2P exchange)
Huobi Global0.2%
(Flat)
-372 (BTC, BCH, ETH, XRP, LTC, DOT, DASH, ETC, EOS, QTUM & more)SWIFT transfer (Varies based on bank)Yes
Crypto.com0.4%
(Basic tier)
-100+ (BTC, LTC, ETH, CRO, ENJ, BAT, PAX, USDC, OMG, KNC & more)Deposit with Xfers is free

Credit/Debit Card:
3.50% + $0.10
Withdrawal with Xfers is freeYes
Binance Singapore0.6%
(Flat)
-8 (BTC, ETH, BNB, LTC, BCH, XRP, NEO, LINK)Deposit with Xfers is free

Withdrawal with Xfers is freeYes
Coinhako1%
(Flat)
-21 (BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, ADA, XLM, NEO, XMR, DOT & more)FAST transfer of SGD:
Free

SGD Deposits via Xfers Direct Charge:
0.55%

USD Deposits in form of USDT/USDT:
Free
FAST transfer:
S$2

USD Withdrawals in form of USDT/USDT:
US$15
Yes
Gemini1.49%+
(Flat with minimum sum for trades less than US$200)
Active Trader:
0.35%
(Basic tier)
48 (BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, ZEC, ZRX, MKR, BAT, AAVE, FIL & more)FAST transfer is freeYes
Coinbase Exchange1.49%+
(Flat with minimum sum for trades less than US$200)
Coinbase Pro:
0.5%
(Basic tier)
65 (ATOM, BAT, BTC, BCH, XRP, DAI, DASH, EOS, ETH, ETC & more)SWIFT transfer (US$25 + bank fees)

Credit/Debit Card:
3.99% + 7% of transaction fee (GST)
SWIFT transfer (US$25 + bank fees)Yes

Alternative Methods for Buying Crypto

Buying cryptocurrencies on exchanges is not the only way to trade cryptocurrencies. Here are two alternative methods.

Crypto ATMs in Singapore

You can head to the cryptocurrency ATMs around Singapore to buy and sell cryptocurrencies directly and instantly with cash.

The buying process is as such: you deposit fiat currency (e.g. SGD) and withdraw cryptocurrency to your secure digital wallet.

Whereas the selling process is reversed.

This transaction method is convenient as you can skip any sign-ups or variation processes.

You only need a safe and secure digital wallet to withdraw the cryptocurrency to.

However, convenience does not come cheap as according to Coin ATM Radar, these ATMs charge between a whopping 4.1% – 6.9% for crypto transactions.

These fees are generally higher than buying cryptocurrencies on crypto exchanges like Coinbase.

Thus, if possible, you should sign up for a crypto exchange account to avoid these high fees.

Crypto ATMs Location

According to Coin ATM Radar, Singapore currently has eight different automated teller machines (ATM) and one teller where you trade bitcoins and altcoins in Singapore.

Source: Coin ATM Radar

Here is the list:

LocationOpening HoursBuy/RateSell/RateOperatorFiat SupportedAdditional Cryptocurrency Support
ATM
Lucky Plaza
304 Orchard Road
#B1-68 (Taula)
Singapore 238863
Mon-Sun: 11:30 am – 7:00 pmBuy: 6%-CryptonicSGDBuy: Litecoin
Millage Shopping (beside Geylang Serai)
55 Changi Road
#02-15
Singapore 419709
Mon-Sun: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Buy: 6%CryptonicBuy: Litecoin
531 Upper Cross St
#03-11
Singapore 050531
Open 24/7Buy: 6 SGD & 4.1%Bitcoin Exchange (Singapore)-
Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) Mall
10 Paya Lebar Road
Singapore 409057
Mon-Sun: 7:00 am – 11:00 pmBuy: 5 SGD & 5.4%Sell: 5 SGD & 6.8%Daenerys Crypto
Funan Lifestyle Mall
109 North Bridge Road
Singapore 179097
Mon-Sun: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Buy: 5 SGD & 5.4%Sell: 5 SGD & 6.9%
Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road
#01-59
Singapore 238839
Mon-Sun: 11:00 am – 8:00 pmBuy: 5 SGD & 5.4%Sell: 5 SGD & 6.8%
Capitol Piazza
13 Stamford Rd
Singapore 178905
Mon-Sun: 5:30 am – 12:30 amBuy: 5 SGD & 5.4%Sell: 5 SGD & 6.8%
The Arcade at Raffles Place
11 Collyer Quay
#02-28
Singapore 049317
Mon-Fri: 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sat: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sun: Closed
Buy: 5 SGD & 5.4%Sell: 5 SGD & 6.8%
Teller
The Arcade at Raffles Place
11 Collyer Quay
#02-28
Singapore 049317
Mon-Fri: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sat-Sun: Closed
Check with tellerDaenerys CryptoSGDBuy and Sell:
Etherium and Litecoin

Peer to Peer (P2P) Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Alternatively, you can consider P2P cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance P2P. 

Think of it like Carousell but for cryptocurrencies.

After you create an account on such a platform, you can post advertisements to sell your cryptocurrency and provide details about price and how to pay.

Like Carousell, you can browse through listings to buy cryptocurrency.

You can then choose who you want to trade with.

Still Have Questions About Cryptocurrency?

Why not ask our savvy community members on Seedly?

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About Joel Koh
History student turned writer at Seedly. Before you ask, not a teacher. My time as a history student has equipped me with the skills to evaluate the impact societal development has on financial and nonfinancial events.
You can contribute your thoughts like Joel Koh here.

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