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Changelly and Shapeshift are two of the most popular instant exchanges that currently offer users the opportunity to purchase and trade in various cryptocurrencies, or ‘altcoins’. These services both offer a relatively simple service that combines user-friendliness, speed and low fees. Although many of the services offered by Changelly and Shapeshift are quite similar, there are a number of differences between them.

Changelly vs Shapeshift

This post will consider the merits of both of these exchanges, including any pros and cons associated with them.

Changelly

Established in 2016 in Prague by the same team that established MinerGate (a mining pool that offers a service that guides users through the mining process), Changelly has already attracted over 1 million customers to its exchange.

Changelly

Changelly has a very clear user-interface, and provides a quick and convenient means of buying altcoins. When purchasing crypto on Changelly the exchange rates and time of transaction are made very clear from the outset. However, the rate stated prior to the transaction being executed by the user is an estimated rate, which may not necessarily be the actual amount in crypto received, depending on the exchange rate at any given point in time (which, as we are aware, can rapidly change when it comes to crypto).

Changelly offers users two options (i) the option of choosing crypto-to-crypto exchanges but also, (ii) unlike Shapeshift, it also allows users to exchange fiat currency (US Dollar or Euro) to cryptocurrency by using a VISA or MasterCard credit or debit card. There are no geographical limits to the service so it can be accessed anywhere in the world.

It claims to offer the widest range of cryptocurrencies for exchange, with over 80 different cryptocurrencies currently available for exchange. Although users generally have no limits on the amount they can exchange, there are some limits on transactions via bank cards depending on where you are in the world, which can be found in their FAQ.

Changelly Fees

Changelly states that it charges a flat fee of 0.5% per trade. However, it also states that it offers the best exchange rates for cryptocurrency, which is a matter that is open to debate and may depend on the currency being exchanged and the time and date of the transaction. Therefore, when purchasing cryptocurrency, we would recommend that you do your research when it comes to exchange rates by checking Changelly, Shapeshift and any other exchange that you may be active on before entering into a transaction to ensure that you obtain the best rates.

Instant exchanges do not generally offer the most attractive rates, with speed being their biggest selling point. In addition, although the fiat-to-crypto option is a very convenient option, the exchange rate offered for transactions made through fiat currencies is worse than the exchange rate through crypto, which according to the developers is as a result of Changelly requiring a third party to process such transactions that result in higher fees.

Changelly Send to

Unlike Shapeshift, users need an email address in order to use Changelly. Although this may raise concerns re anonymity for some users, this email address does not need to be verified by users and therefore a fake email can be used if users do have anonymity or privacy concerns. Some users have also claimed that Changelly may ask users to provide social media accounts to verify their identity, but again it appears that no verification is required.

Shapeshift

Established in 2013 by Erik Voorhees, Shapeshift’s premise is offering a direct crypto-to-crypto exchange platform. However, it should be noted that Shapeshift does not let users purchase crypto with fiat currency. It currently offers users the opportunity to swap almost 50 different cryptocurrencies.

Shapeshift

As a cryptocurrency exchange Shapeshift offers a very easy means of swapping cryptocurrencies. The user-interface is very easy to navigate, with users simply entering the relevant crypto address to swap, with no requirements for users to sign-up or provide email addresses (although users may choose to set up an account). As Shapeshift transactions occur instantly, crypto is never held on a centralized exchange, but is delivered straight to users via a deposit address set up by the exchange.

Shapeshift is available anywhere in the world but it does have certain transaction limits, although higher deposit limits are available for Shapeshift, by following the instructions using the ‘specific amount box’ set out here. Comments from users online suggest that, on average, Shapeshift’s order execution times are considerably faster than Changelly, although the recent explosion in popularity of cryptocurrency in general has meant that exchange times are slower across the board as exchanges struggle to deal with demand.

Shapeshift Exchange

Shapeshift Fees

Shapeshift doesn’t charge any service fees, other than the receiving coin’s miner fee, which are listed here.  This is a fixed fee, with some online commentators suggest that Shapeshift makes its money from any difference between the fixed miner fee that the exchange charges and the actual mining fee. In addition, despite there not being an upfront fee, many users have commented that the exchange rates provided by Shapeshift are quite poor in comparison to Changelly and other competitors.

However, unlike Changelly, the rate indicated by Shapeshift prior to the user completed the transaction is the actual amount the user will receive rather than an estimate. What you see is what you get with Shapeshift.

Conclusion

As a more established company, Shapeshift tends to be more familiar and attractive to cryptocurrency investors. The fact that it does not require any sign-up or identification is often cited as a factor in its popularity, as it allows users to remain anonymous and prevents the risk of identity or financial theft. However, broadly Changelly appears to offer better value, despite their stated service charge and they also allow purchasing of Bitcoin and Ethereum with Fiat currency.

However, both exchanges offer broadly similar services, where speed is the key factor. Neither exchange provides the best value on the market but they do allow investors access to a wide selection of altcoins which can be exchanged quickly.

Surfing the web for user comments results in finding lots of frustrated and angry posters, but this is common for most startups in the crypto world, and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

In essence, to choose between them, the best advice is to give both a try and see which one you feel more comfortable with.

Posted by Andrew Norry

5 Comments

  1. Hi there,

    I would like to address a small but important inaccuracy in your article regarding Changelly. You write:

    “Unlike Shapeshift, users need an email address in order to use Changelly. (…) this email address does not need to be verified by users and therefore a fake email can be used if users do have anonymity or privacy concerns. ”

    This is not true, at least when I am posting this comment. The email address *does need* to be valid, because Changelly generates a password and sends it there, and users can’t proceed without logging in with this email/password combination.

    Even though it is possible to use a ‘fake’ email address (fake as in ‘not used for anything else’), there still remains the problem that all user transactions remain on record, forever (Changelly accounts cannot be closed), with all privacy & security implications that follow.

    In fairness to the crypto community, I hope you will consider fixing the factual inacurracy in the article and perhaps reword it further so as to not downplay the importance of having an account with Changelly.

    Reply

  2. I have use Changelly twice with no issue. I tended to use Shapeshift because it was easy to use and I liked the process and probably used it a total of 20 times. Unfortunately I have lost thousands on 2 transactions with Shapeshift. 51k of digibyte and then on another occasion 3000 of ripple. Unfortunately I had done so many transaction on the first lost I did not have the information to try and make a claim and chalked it up to some random unfortunate thing. For the second loss I sent an email to them and have not yet heard back but it has only been a week. There is no phone number and no real way of checking in with these sites. So beware, I have since not used either of these sites and if I trade anything its within my wallet and have had no issues trading in this capacity. So I cannot recommend using exchange sites from my experience.

    Reply

    1. Any idea how you lost the coins?
      Was it sent to the wrong address etc ?

      Did you look the transaction up on the blockchain ?

      Reply

    2. I have only used ShapeShift once it has (so far) not gone well. I have a Blockchain wallet which lets you use Shapeshift to exchange bitcoin to ether. I initiated the exchange on 6th Dec 2017 and it is still shown as “pending” in my wallet (now 11th Jan 2018). I raised a ticket with Shapeshift a couple of weeks ago and I have tried contacting them via email. I have heard absolutely nothing from them, which is very disappointing. The transaction was confirmed, but the bitcoins are still shown as “unspent”.

      Reply

  3. Thank you for the detailed comparison! We are glad to answer any questions related to Changelly.

    Reply

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