Changelly.com is a special kind of crypto currency exchange, which is focused mostly on exchanging one type of virtual currency for another. Established in 2016, it is a fairly new kid on the block too, as well as – according to some – a Shapeshift copy. At first glance, there is nothing that would point to any sort of scam-proneness on the part of the operation. There are no crypto currency mining and cloud mining offers floated, nor is there anything that could be seen as “too good to be true.” The community chatter about Changelly is mostly positive too, but more on that shortly.
The site is well organized and the interface is intuitive. Transactions are supposed to be “instantaneous,” but of course, they mostly fall short of that mark. Still, they go through in reasonable time and there are close to nil user complaints in this regard.
According to its own About Us section, Changelly.com offers the best exchange rates and secure transactions. Their fees are 0.5%. The problem is though that in practice, that doesn’t always seem to be the case. There have been complaints in this regard, and indeed, when we gave the system a test, it spat out an absolutely abysmal conversion rate for USD/BTC. With the official Bitcoin/USD exchange rate at $2,742, the Changelly system gave us 0.2467 bitcoins for $1,000. According to Coindesk, that should be worth more than 0.36. Granted, under the transaction data, there’s a notification featured about the USD/EUR rate being too high, asking people to double check the data before approving the transaction. All that’s very fair and it might make sense too, though it definitely throws a major spoke in the wheels of the “absolute best rates” argument. The rates do indeed seem to be better though when fiat currencies aren’t included in the equation.
Crypto Currency Conversion and Instant Transfer from Wallet to Wallet
So what exactly does Changelly.com offer? Besides conversion between various crypto currencies, it also provides instant transfer from one wallet to another. One has to know though that whenever a currency other than BTC is converted into another non-BTC virtual currency, BTC is indeed involved in the transaction. The first currency is converted to BTC first, after which the resulting BTC is converted into the other currency, from which the fee is then cut, and the resulting sum is transferred to the user’s second wallet. Besides exchange services, Changelly also offers an API for developers, a payment button and an exchange widget.
Bitcoin (BTC), US Dollar (USD), Euro (EUR), Ethereum (ETH), Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC), DASH, Ripple (XRP), STEEM, Ether Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), FantomCoin (FCN), Steem Dollar (SBD), Synereo (AMP), Aragon (ANT), Ardor (ARDR), Basic Attention (BAT), Bytecoin (BCN), Darcrus (DAR), Decred (DCR), DigixDAO (DGD), Edgeless (EDG), Expanse (EXP), GameCredits (GAME), Golos Gold (GBG), Byteball (GBYTE), Gnosis (GNO), GOLOS, Guppy (GUP), LBRY Credits (LBC), Lisk (LSK), Lunyr (LUN), MaidSafeCoin (MAID), Melon (MLN), NAV Coin (NAV), NuBits (NBT), Gulden (NLG), NXT, PIVX, PotCoin (POT), QuazarCoin (QCN), Radium (RADS), Augur (REP), iEx.ec (RLC), SingularDTV (SNGLS), Stellar – XLM (STR), Stratis (STRAT), Swarm City (SWT), Syscoin (SYS), Chronobank (TIME), Trustcoin (TRST), Tether USD (USDT), WAVES, Wings DAO (WINGS), Xaurum (XAUR), DigitalNote (XDN), NEM (XEM).
How it Works
Now that we’ve set the record straight about what Changelly does, let’s take a few closer peeks into how it works and why crypto currency users should trust the operation.
Changelly is obviously linked up with the biggest crypto exchanges, by means of a robot, which makes split second asks and bids on these exchanges, selecting the best available rate.
Changelly does not fix rates. Some may not like this because – given the volatility of the crypto industry – this essentially means the rate at the end of the transaction may not be the same as the final rate. Changelly could implement a fixed rate system, but this would mean higher fees, on account of the obligation on the part of the operator to cover certain market risks this way. The current commission used by Changelly is a very reasonable 0.5%.
Users have to provide their emails or social media account details to log into Changelly’s system. Some may not like to give out such information, but there is no way around it. Account protection is top-notch at Changelly: 2-factor authentication is available, though it does need a second device with Google Authenticator.
How do you buy coins at Changelly?
For every one of the supported digital currencies, the procedure is the same. It all starts right on the homepage, where the currency one has and the one he/she wants to buy with it, have to be entered. The price calculation is done right away. It has to be noted that the featured numbers are only estimates. The wallet address of the recipient has to be provided then. The user is asked to check and double-check everything, to make sure the transaction data is indeed correct.
When the actual transaction is created, the user is presented with a QR code and a wallet address. This is the address where the coins to be exchanged into the second currency have to be sent. Those using a mobile app can simply scan the QR code. Once the currency is received, it is converted into the output currency, which is delivered to the wallet address of the recipient already provided in one of the previous steps.
In an ideal situation, the transaction time isn’t more than 5 minutes. It can take as long as 30 minutes though, or even more in special cases. Users can track the status of their transactions through the transaction history feature.
Upon completion, a notification is sent, together with a receipt and an output transaction hash.
Obviously, users want to know whether there are minimum and maximum limits on Changelly conversions. The answer is no. One can convert as little or as much as he/she wants to. There are a few pitfalls in this regard though. When it comes to extremely small amounts, one needs to make sure that they are indeed enough to cover the blockchain transaction fees. If the amount is too small, the user is notified. Those who fail to heed these warnings, risk losing their crypto coins.
Changelly conversions are irreversible, the same way blockchain transactions are – after all, that’s exactly what they’re based on. This is one of the reasons why the user is asked several times along the conversion process to check and double-check everything.
As said above, the final amount received after conversion may differ from the estimated amount featured at the beginning of the process. The explanation is simple: crypto currencies are highly volatile and transactions take 5-30 minutes to complete. During that time, the best available price pinpointed by the system may change.
As said, transactions may sometimes take longer than 30 minutes even. Blockchain congestion (which Bitcoin is now trying to address through its pending SegWit2x update) can be responsible, among a number of other factors such as DDOS attacks and coin updates.
Although Changelly is mostly crypto-focused, it accepts USD and EUR too, for which users can buy some 35 digital currencies. In regards to fiat currencies: Changelly only accepts bank-cards. PayPal is not supported yet.
Depending on one’s region of residence, there are certain restrictions in place when using bank cards. In the US for instance, the maximum on the first purchase is set to $50. The next purchase – featuring a $100 limit – can be made in 4 days. After 7 days, another purchase can be made, with a maximum ceiling of $500.
The About Us section of Changelly.com isn’t particularly impressive when it comes to delivering information on the people/corporate entities behind the operation. In fact, we learn nothing in this regard at all. We do find out though that Changelly.com belongs to the people behind MinerGate, and that seems to lend it a lot of credibility in the crypto currency world. Indeed, MinerGate is a fair operation, therefore Changelly must be one too – so goes the reasoning here.
We also learn that some 90,000 people (some sources mention a round 100,000) are using Changelly’s services and they’re all happy with it. This is at least a little questionable, given how we’re dealing with such a young service and how there’s so little information available on it online. It turns out though that those 90-100,000 users are MinerGate users, so when put like that, the numbers do indeed add up.
The bottom line remains though that we do not have any specifics regarding the identities of those who operate the site.
The community chatter about Changelly is mostly positive, though there’s surprisingly little information made available on the service through this channel too. Bitcointalk only features about a page-worth of back-and-forths among a number of users, interested parties and someone from the actual service. While there are some complaints there in regards to some transactions gone awry, the note is generally positive and the takeaway is that Changelly is indeed far from being a scam service.
Reddit threads paint a different picture, with more scam warnings and some downright scam accusations. The bottom line seems to even out there too to the fact that Changelly may not live up to some of the hype, and it may not be known by a massive number of people, but it usually delivers on its promises. Browsing through the Reddit posts we were also fortunate enough to learn that Changelly may in fact be based in Prague. This bit of information should be treated as a rumor though and not as a verified fact.
On to the Changelly.com website. Registered back in 2013, from Panama no less, Changelly.com doesn’t make a very convincing case in this regard. The picture painted is further degraded by the fact that the identity of the registrant is Whoisguard-protected.
The authority score of the domain is not particularly impressive either at 33/100. To make matters worse, there’s a little bit of spam score attached to it too, at 2/17. Its back-link profile looks good though: some 60 unique domains link to it, some of them high-authority entities from the crypto currency industry.
The Alexa traffic rank of the site is around 15,500, which is indeed nothing short of impressive, and a testimony to the fact that many people are indeed using the service. Many of Changelly’s users come from the US, the UK, India, France and Spain.
Changelly Review Conclusion
As far as overall reputation is concerned, Changelly is in a good spot. Many of the top crypto currency portals have run news-segments on it, and some of the biggest names in the industry have chimed in on it at one point or another. Charlie Shrem and Donald Ness have Tweeted about it in favorable terms. The bottom line is that Changelly is indeed legit, despite the fact that we just can’t find out anything about the people behind it. The complaints regarding the exchange fees and the transaction execution times are relatively few and far between. Accusations of scamming from actual, verified users are non-existent.
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