Bitcoin and other digital currencies have surged in popularity in recent months with many major news outlets now regularly featuring Bitcoin in their headline news. After being asked how to get involved in digital currency trading by many of my colleagues, I have set up this guide to show you how to get started with trading Bitcoin from New Zealand.

How Exchanges work

Before we can purchase Bitcoins we need to sign up to an exchange. Exchanges are essentially businesses which allow for the transfer of coins (such as Bitcoin) between buyers and sellers. Each exchange will have varied fees for trading on their site and more often than not the price of Bitcoin will vary from exchange to exchange.

New Zealand based exchanges tend to have a higher than ‘market rate’ price for Bitcoin, however, are the easiest for kiwis to send NZD to in order to purchase digital currency.

If you’re interested in purchasing digital currencies other than Bitcoin it is important to note that not all exchanges offer the same digital currencies.  Check in the exchange’s marketplace for the currency you are interested in purchasing before registering.

Signing up to an exchange

Today we will use the exchange Cryptopia to purchase our Bitcoin.  In an upcoming article I will do a comparison of the available exchanges which accept New Zealand dollars, but for the purposes of this post, we will use the exchange Cryptopia (a site I have previously used to purchase digital currencies).

Step 1: Sign Up To Cryptopia

Register for Cryptopia and follow the prompts to complete sign up.

Step 2: Get Verified

In order to transfer NZD into Cryptopia, we need to first gain level 2 verification.

Click here to be taken to the verification page where you are required to supply:

  • Details regarding your full name and address
  • An image of your ID (accepted forms of Identification include):
    • Passport
    • Driver’s License
    • Firearm License
    • National Identity Card (e.g. 18+ card)
  • An image (selfie) of you holding the same ID so they can see your face and confirm you are who you say you are:

Person holding their ID card

Note: It can take up to 2 weeks after you have submitted an application for it to be reviewed. 

Step 3: Transfer NZD into Cryptopia

Now that you’re verified, it’s time to send NZD to Cryptopia in order to be able to buy Bitcoin.

Login to Cryptopia and click the B icon next to your login name as per the image below and select deposit.

Select deposit from the dropdown


This will take you to their deposit screen where you will need to select NZed(NZDT) aka New Zealand dollars from the drop-down and click Next.

select NZD from deposit field

Note down the bank account and bank reference numbers to use for the transaction and head over to your regular bank account to transfer NZD to the listed account just as you would any ordinary bank transaction. Transactions can take up to 1-3 business days to show up in your Cryptopia account.

Step 4: Purchase Bitcoin!

Confirm your transfer has been successful by logging into your Cryptopia account and clicking balances.

click balances from the home page

Here you should see NZeD(NZDT) has an available balance equal to the amount you transferred into your Cryptopia account during the transaction.

Head over to the exchange to view the marketplace in action and purchase your Bitcoin.

The dashboard can be a little intimidating at first and I will go over how to understand this in more detail in another blog, but for now, navigate to NZDT and select Bitcoin (BTC).

Cryptopia exchange dashboard

Scroll down and you will notice both ‘Buy BTC’ and ‘Sell BTC’ sections (red and green box areas).  This is where you can enter the quantities and price you are willing to pay to purchase or sell bitcoin.

How to place a buy or sell order

Below the buy and sell options (blue box area) are the current buy and sell orders for Bitcoin on this exchange.

Buy orders represent what people are prepared to pay to purchase Bitcoin, and sell orders represent what people who currently own Bitcoin are prepared to sell for. The amount, total and sum columns represent the total quantity of Bitcoin available for sale or purchase at the set price point.

Can I Buy Less than One Bitcoin?

Absolutely! Each Bitcoin is divisible to the 8th decimal place, which in plain English means into 100,000,000 pieces. Each piece of Bitcoin is called a Satoshi (named after the creator Satoshi Nakamoto).

In the amount text field of the ‘Buy BTC’ area, enter the total amount of Bitcoin you want to purchase.

Using a Bitcoin to NZD converter such as will ensure the decimal places are correct.

For the price text field enter your purchase price for Bitcoin and click ‘Buy BTC’ to place your order.

Once enough sellers have placed sell orders at your purchase price, you will own your very first Bitcoins (or Satoshi’s) Congratulations!