Believe it or not, there are several dependable ways to exchange one crypto for another without having to provide identification.
In this review we discuss the pros and cons of six of the best cryptocurrency exchange services that allow its customers to remain anonymous. These services do not operate like traditional crypto exchanges and primarily provide the automated swap of one coin or token into another. There are several benefits to using them, including not having to bother registering for an exchange – a process that can be pose several inconveniences.
Unlike ETH token swapping services like Uniswap, coins from several different blockchains can be exchanged for one another using these exchanges. Like Uniswap, however, all the transactions are handled in the backend, which allows for delivery of a very simple user interface. Also like Uniswap, you don’t necessarily have to sign up for an account to use them. Most of the time, the only thing you’ll need to provide is a deposit address. An email address is required for some of them, and most of them will never ask you to provide identifying documents.
In addition to saving time, using a registration-less exchange has several benefits not shared by traditional cryptocurrency exchanges, including:
- Not having to trust an entity to appropriately store and use personal information provided for KYC.
- Not suffering a loss of balance funds if the exchange is hacked or pulls an exit scam.
- Not having to make deposits, trades and withdrawals; this also includes not having to wait for them to process.
- Not having to perform several trades in order to exchange one cryptocurrency for another.
With anonymity-minded exchange services (which are more geared for coin swaps than trading), trust is everything. Most exchanges depend on building up the trust of their customers for long-term survival, but exchanges like the ones mentioned below rely on trust almost exclusively. These businesses seldom report to any governing body (if ever) and the recourse for them running away with your money is very little – except for the fact that their reputation among the community will be finished as a result. That’s why we recommend sticking to operations with proven reputations, such as those listed below.
Here is a quick breakdown of the six exchanges we will be reviewing to make it easier to find the service most suitable for your needs:
Tips for Maintaining Your Anonymity
If you’re going to be using an anonymous exchange, you might as well maintain your anonymity to the best degree possible and register for any of these exchanges using a VPN (virtual private network). This will remove the connection between your actual location and the exchange, making it all the harder to associate your actions on the exchange with your real life identity. In addition, certain countries are treated differently than others by crypto exchange services with minimal ID requirements. For example, most such services do not accept customers located in the U.S., which is a problem that can be avoided using VPN.
Other ways to maintain your anonymity, or at least a sense of privacy, include using fresh email addresses when having to register an account, and never registering using a social media option (such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.) even if the ease makes it a tempting alternative.
Disclaimer: nothing stated in this guide should be taken in the context that it is OK to break the laws of your country of residence.
With over 140 coins and tokens that can be easily swapped for one another within minutes, Changelly is one of the longest-running and most flexible cryptocurrency swapping services around. They’ve built up a solid reputation over the last six years by providing dependable service and never leaving customers hanging. For those who plan on doing a lot of conversions or trading, Changelly PRO subscribers are offered access to a mobile app. Interestingly, the only countries restricted from using Changelly including the United States, its territories, and countries embargoed by the United States.
Changelly offers four different signup options: one is email and three are social media options. We recommend signing up using email, using an email address not associated with your real-life identity.
When creating a swap (using the Exchange screen), Changelly offers two different rate options: Floating Rate and Fixed Rate. If you want to make sure you will be receiving an exact amount of coins in your swap, choose Fixed Rate. If you don’t mind if the amount is a little more or less, Floating Rate is the way to go. The Exchange screen, which looks like this, is set to Floating Rate by default:
Here the screen is configured to exchange 0.1 BTC for 2.53327 ETH. This means we will be sending 0.1 BTC and Changelly is sending us (approximately) 2.53327 ETH. The exchange is being conducted at a rate of 1 BTC = 25.396 ETH. At present time, the price of BTC is $64,700 and the price of ETH is $2,500. This puts the actual exchange rate at 1 BTC = 25.88 BTC, meaning there is a 2% premium tacked on. Included in this premium are Changelly’s 0.25% exchange fee and the Ethereum gas fee, which fluctuates but is currently quite high.
If you want to exchange a much smaller amount, say 0.01 BTC, the gas fee is going to be proportionally higher. 0.01 BTC is thus converted into ETH at a lower rate, 1 BTC = 25.237 ETH, which equals a total fee of 2.5%. Changelly will pass on the savings to customers who want to receive coins with lower transaction fees, but smaller coins with low liquidity will likely result in less favorable exchange rates.
Swaps of smaller coins for another will have even lower exchange rates as sometimes multiple trades are involved behind the scenes. Generally speaking, however, it’s tough to create a trade where you will find a total fee above 5%, which renders Changelly one of the more competitive auto-swapping websites out there.
You can also buy and sell cryptocurrencies on Changelly by switching from the Exchange to the Buy or Sell tab. Changelly uses different third party payment processors for buying and selling, with the three most common fiat gateway options being credit/debit card, bank transfer, or ApplePay. This is a screenshot of a sample Buy order:
After selecting the coin you wish to purchase and entering the quantity of money you wish to spend, ePayment processors will be arranged with the best deal first. Fees are somewhat to considerably higher using this option, so we recommend sticking to crypto swaps exclusively when using Changelly.
While we have full confidence in Changelly’s trustworthiness as a company, bear in mind that purchasing crypto using an account tied to your identity will then tie that crypto to your identity, even if this information is only maintained by the third party processor.
One of the newer contenders in the market, SideShift advertises themselves as the “no sign-up crypto exchange,” which sounds perfect for those looking lot quickly get in and out of a coin swap. SideShift’s coin selection is rather limited, but they do carry several major coins, including BTC, ETH, XMR, XLM, USDT, and BCH, among others. Fees are generally quite reasonable and start at around 2%.
The exchange layout is almost the exact same as Changelly’s, with the biggest difference being there is no actual login process. Instead, each user is issued an “Account Secret”, which is stored in your browser and serves as a username/password combination. If you plan on using SideShift more than once, it’s a good idea to store your Account Secret for later use. Your Account Secret can be found by clicking on the “Account” menu option toward the top of the screen and then scrolling down to the “Human’s Account Secret” area. Press the “Show Account Secret” button to reveal it:
The SideShift terms of service state their website is “not intended for use” by citizens of the U.S., Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and a handful of other countries. This is a bit more lax verbiage than Changelly, but you’ll still want to visit using a VPN if you live in one of the aforementioned countries, to avoid any potential unpleasantries. SideShift doesn’t have a mobile app, but they do have a staking system where users can stake XAI – a token earned by referring others to SideShift.ai – to earn additional awards.
Reviews of SideShift have been generally favorable, and it is favored among users of Monero (XMR), which was delisted from several exchanges during 2020 and the first half of 2021. For those who want to trade Lightning (LN) or Liquid (L-BTC) Bitcoin, SideShift supports conversions in and out of those forms of BTC as well.
SideShift seems to have a bit more of a personal touch than bigger operations and appears to value the input of their customers. A few users have reported having problems with orders not going through, but complaints are almost always resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, and in general, the company runs a tight operation.
A website with a more modern feel and design, Xchange.me claims to scour dozens (or hundreds) of different markets looking for the cheapest way to exchange one coin into another, at the best rate. The concept is extremely similar to Changelly or SideShift, except Xchange.me offers a simple % fee for each swap, and supports over 200 cryptos for swapping. Regardless of what conversion you are making, trades for BTC or XMR carry a fee of 1.5%, and all other trades carry a fee of 2%.
There is no language in the Xchange.me terms of service that indicates U.S. residents – or residents from any country for that matter – are restricted from using their services. They do mention that it is the user’s responsibility to comply with local laws before/when using their service.
Xchange.me’s swapping process is one of the most straight-forward around. There is no signup process involved unless you are planning to register as an affiliate. Just select the two coins/tokens you wish to swap, press “Exchange Now”, enter a refund and deposit address, and press “Exchange”. Your order will be created for a simple, straight fee.
One of the only drawbacks to Xchange.me is its slow speed. The company provides a service at a very competitive rate because it does not guarantee trades will be executed within certain time constraints. Instead of a swap taking up to half an hour, they warn most swaps take between 30 minutes and two hours. If time is not of the essence, using Xchange.me’s flat rate can result in significant savings compared to similar exchanges, especially for smaller coins that aren’t likely to be supported elsewhere.
Some of the most popular altcoins supported by Xchange.me include privacy coins like DASH, XMR and ZEC. They also carry all of the heavyweight regulars, including ETH, LTC, DOT, DAI, USDT, ADA, etc. In all, there isn’t much of a cleaner service for exchanging one crypto for another if you don’t mind a slight, additional waiting period.
As in name, ChangeNOW shares a lot of similarities with Changelly; the main difference being they have no signup process and offer a flat 1.5% rate for each trade. They also offer a sizeable array of 235 different trading options, including 18 fiat currencies. ChangeNOW also supports several different stablecoin options, including USDT (OMNI, ERC20, TRC20), BUSD, USDC, DAI, and HUSD.
In addition, ChangeNOW offers the purchase of crypto with credit card, though the fee for this service can be as high as 12%. The high fees are due to the process being outsourced to a 3rd party payment processing company, some of which could require collection of personal data. Competing offers from the different payment processors will be displayed, though Changelly will automatically select the best deal for you.
If your goal is to remain anonymous while purchasing cryptocurrency, you most likely will want to avoid using ChangeNOW. The upside is everything will likely go according to plan if you don’t mind having to supply your personal information to them (this is actually a possibility with ChangeNOW).
On the downside, ChangeNOW has a reputation for confiscating coins from customers who refuse to respond to requests for KYC documentation. In one instance, ChangeNOW was accused of holding a significant amount of user coins over KYC issues, until their hand was forced by the community to finally return them to the customer, some several weeks later.
Another drawback of ChangeNOW is they have a maximum trade size of the equivalent of $2000 USD. To be honest, we really wouldn’t recommend depositing more than a couple hundred dollars worth of coins to begin with. Test the waters first to determine whether the process works to your satisfaction. There’s no worse feeling in the world than having your coins held hostage because an exchange decides to spring KYC requirements upon you.
We don’t mean to create a negative impression of ChangeNOW. Most people who use them have zero issues while appreciating their low fees and readily-reachable customer service. It should be stressed, however, that this may not be the exchange service for you if you don’t want to risk having to sacrifice your anonymity.
Having been in operation since late 2017, MorphToken has quietly been one of the most dependable crypto swapping services around, with one of the lowest fees for making simple swaps between BTC and ETH (approximately 1%). Like most of the others, MorphToken charges a small fee officially (0.25%) but actually makes most of its profit by offering less-than-competitive exchange rates. Overall, fees are still somewhat smaller for most trades than more popular exchanges like Changelly, which makes MorphToken a decent competitor if you are trading one of the six coins they support.
The coins/tokens that can be swapped on MorphToken include BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, DASH and XMR. Something that sets MorphToken apart from similar exchanges is that they post their exchange rates on their home page. The rates are constantly updated so you can get a good idea of what you are getting before you initiate a swap.
Another unique feature of MorphToken is its ability to split one coin into two or more other cryptocurrencies, which can save a lot of time for those looking to do conversions in a hurry. In the example below we can see 0.1 BTC is going to be swapped for about 8.02 DASH and 9.44 LTC. This reflects a 50/50 split of the dollar value of the 0.1 BTC. If you want a greater proportion of one coin or another, you can adjust the “weight” for each output accordingly.
The downsides to MorphToken are plentiful: they only offer 30 swap combinations, don’t accept U.S. customers, don’t support fiat, and there isn’t much information available about the company itself. However, they are generally regarded as highly competent when it comes to performing the services offered. For the programmers among us, MorphToken offers an extensive selection of API tools and utilities, making it easy to integrate their services into any website.
We potentially saved the best for last with Godex, an exchange with an extensive selection that has been dedicated to protecting the privacy of its users since 2017. Godex has never requested personal information from its users beyond an email address. It is considered to be among the most reliable and efficient swapping services though remaining hidden under the radar from most of the crypto community. Godex boasts quick, limitless transactions with fixed rated, usually completed within 5-30 minutes.
Probably the best feature of Godex is the fact that they use a fixed rate from beginning to end. This way it is possible to know exactly how many coins you are getting ahead of time, with none of the worry about what kind of a rate you actually end up getting. Clicking the refresh button will update the rate, which is constantly changing.
Godex supports over 200 coins and tokens, with some of their most popular trading options being BNB, XRP, XMR, ZEC, USDT, TRX and ZRX. At 3 – 3.5%, the overall fee can be a bit high compared to similar exchanges, but it is worth piece of mind that you will never have to provide your personal information or worry about getting ripped off altogether. There are also no limits on how many swaps a user can conduct in one day, and no dollar limit to each swap.
Godex says they have plans to launch apps for both Android and iOS devices in the near future. It’s hard to imagine these plans surviving the complex legal hurdles involved in getting such an app made available to a global audience, but we give them credit for trying. It says a lot about the company’s highly-private owners and their commitment to providing a fully-anonymous means of swapping coins.
Although Uniswap has certainly taken a bite out of the business of anonymity-minded swapping services, the demand for intra-blockchain swaps is still on the rise, thanks to the stupendous growth of cryptocurrency markets so far this decade. Making proper use of these types of services can not only save time and money but also prevent headaches involved with KYC procedures. They may not be as fancy as traditional crypto exchanges but they tend to be a lot more user-friendly and less privacy-invasive. For such reasons, these types of exchanges provide a valuable service to the crypto community and are worth adding to any trader or investor’s arsenal of tools.