Coinberry in Brief
Coinberry provides a quick and easy way for Canadians to buy ether and bitcoin using convenient Interac bank transfers. The exchange rolled out Interac support at just the right time in mid-2018, when many Canadian banks announced that they would place restrictions on their customers’ ability to purchase cryptocurrency.
Though Coinberry is extremely easy to use, it’s not the best tool for regular traders. Despite the fact that the company bills itself as a zero fee crypto service, that’s not really true. The exchange makes a profit every time one of its customers places an order. It does this by providing less-than-optimal prices to its customers at the time of purchase.
- Integrates with Canada’s most popular crypto exchanges.
- Highly rated mobile apps for iOS and Android.
- Leadership has extensive business experience.
- No fees for withdrawing fiat money.
- Instant identity verification via Equifax/TransUnion.
- Only available in Canada.
- There’s a 0.0005 BTC (roughly $5 CAD) fee for withdrawing bitcoin and a 0.005 (approximately $2.75 CAD) fee for withdrawing ether.
- “Dynamic” transaction fees may be low or high, depending on a number of factors.
What is Coinberry?
In an episode of The Todd Shapiro Show, Coinberry co-founder Evan Kuhn revealed that his motivation for starting Coinberry in 2017 was reduce the learning curve required to get involved in cryptocurrency.
“So basically the whole idea we had when we started the company was to solve that problem of it being so difficult and convoluted for people to get into the space and to just make a really easy way for people to dabble in cryptocurrencies.”
In addition to the Coinberry mobile app, the company also decided to begin installing bitcoin ATMs all over Canada. The very first Coinberry ATMs were installed in Ontario. In December of 2017, Coinberry partnered with Ghost Technologies to expand its ATM network into Newfoundland.
“Coinberry is pleased to announce that it has entered into a licensing agreement with Ghost Technologies Inc. of Newfoundland to bring the first Bitcoin ATM outside of Ontario into the Coinberry network.”
Coinberry adds support for a popular altcoin
One of Coinberry’s first strategic moves of 2018 was to add support for ether.
A blog post revealed that part of the reason why the leaders of Coinberry opted to add ether support was their belief in Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.
“ETH (the ticker symbol referencing Ethereum) was created in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin – (a Canadian) and was released in 2015, a truly ”Made-in-Canada” cryptocurrency.”
Negative press in New York
In May of 2018, Coinberry received some negative press when a reporter from The New York Post published a story about a cryptocurrency industry party in Manhattan. One of the party attendees was Coinberry Vice President David Tran. The news outlet reported that an unnamed party attendee wrapped his arm around Tran and said:
“I’m, like, a criminal, and I got verified [cleared to trade on Coinberry] right away.”
Coinberry responded by describing the New York Post story as “fake news” in a blog post and explaining that the man who had wrapped his arm around Tran was comedian Todd Shapiro.
“It’s disappointing to see the reporter would deliberately omit Todd’s identity in his article and knowingly flip a joke from a comedic host, one that was meant to poke fun at the fear mongering spread by the mass media regarding crypto-currencies, into an “alternative facts” moment.”
New features, new partnership
Coinberry revealed a new feature in a July 2018 blog post: Interac integration. Interac is a payment network that lets Canadian residents use their bank accounts to pay for goods and services.
“In a time where many banks have shut down direct payments for crypto, we’ve been approved for Interac Online payments.”
News of the new feature came at the right time for cryptocurrency enthusiasts in Canada. Many Canadian banks had announced new restrictions on their customers’ ability to buy cryptocurrency.
In the same month, Coinberry announced that it would be partnering up with the Toronto-based crypto exchange Bunz. Bunz has a digital currency called BTZ which the exchange awards to its traders. In turn, the traders can then use BTZs to buy goods in different coffee shops and breweries in Toronto. The agreement lets people deposit BTZ into their Coinberry account and then convert them into dollars.
Leadership and investors
Coinberry’s leaders are young, but they have a wide range of business experience.
- Evan Kuhn – Co-founder. Kuhn is a self-described “lifelong entrepreneur.” He earned his first fortune in real estate. By the time he was 30, Kuhn was already a multi-millionaire.
- Andrei Poliakov – Co-founder / President. Prior to co-founding Coinberry, Polikov was in charge of Strategic Sourcing at Volvo. Before that, he was head of operations at L’Oreal.
- David Tran – Co-founder / Chief Technical Officer. Tran earned a Master’s Degree in Computer Science at Stanford before interning with Yahoo and Mozilla. He co-founded a PR firm called Upbeat before helping start up Coinberry in 2017.
- Albert Luk – Chief Compliance Officer. In addition to handling compliance issues at Coinberry, Luk is the Chief Executive Officer of two blockchain startups: Haxa Blockchain and Cold Storage Financial.
- Dimitri Giller – Operations Lead. Giller was a manager at JP Morgan & Chase and Rogers Bank before he joined Coinberry to head up operations.
- Diogo Biazus – Lead Developer. Biazus wrote code for a number of Brazil and Canada-based startups including Nulogy and Mitre Media and Catarse.
Protecting customers’ coins
Legal and regulatory compliance
Coinberry bills itself as “Canada’s first federally registered commission-free crypto trading platform.”
According to Coinberry’s AML policy document:
“Coinberry is a reporting entity under current Canadian anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing (CTF) legislation and is registered as a Money Service Business (MSB) with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).”
As part of Coinberry’s regulatory compliance scheme, the exchange maintains written documents that describe its responsibilities under the law. It also hired a compliance officer to make sure that those responsibilities are met. Moreover, Coinberry periodically reviews its AML (Anti-Money Laundering) policies to find out whether or not they are effective.
Coin listing policies
Coinberry currently only lists two marquee cryptocoins: ether and bitcoin.
The exchange has not published any official information about how it decides which coins to list. However, a blog post published after Coinberry added support for ether seems to suggest that the exchange takes user requests into account:
“We’ve begun adding additional cryptocurrencies to our online platform, starting with Ethereum. After Bitcoin, it’s been the #1 requested currency by our most active users.”
Though Coinberry has only been around for about a year, it has managed to avoid a publicized hack.
“We utilize best-in-class encryption protocols for both data-at-rest and data-in-transit. We employ routine penetration tests and dynamic threat models to get ahead of and defend against new vulnerabilities and cyber attacks.”
Unlike most cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinberry does maintain a customer support hotline: 1 (888) 616 – 2646.
In addition to phone support, Coinberry’s support team addresses technical issues and answers questions via email. The official Coinberry site contains a blog and an FAQ page, but it lacks a detailed knowledge base.
Because Coinberry operates in a small market and is not even a year old, it’s hard to judge how the cryptocurrency community views the company.
How to Join Coinberry
Who can join?
Coinberry is only available in Canada.
“Recognizing the global nature of the Internet, you agree to comply with all local rules regarding online conduct and acceptable content. Specifically, you agree to comply with all applicable laws regarding the transmission of technical data exported from Canada or the country in which you reside.”
All users must prove their identities during the account creation process. You can’t even access Coinberry’s interface unless you complete verification.
On the plus side, verification can be a quick and easy process if Coinberry’s Equifax-powered automatic ID verification system accepts the ID you submit. If that process fails, you’ll have to wait for Coinberry’s customer support team to perform a manual ID check.
Coinberry doesn’t have a separate process for onboarding corporate customers. High net worth individuals, however, can get fee discounts and other benefits through Coinberry Freedom.
Coinberry Freedom customers get benefits like one-on-one customer service and exclusive rates. Only Coinberry users with more than $100,000 in their accounts can apply.
What Can You Trade on Coinberry?
Coinberry only supports two cryptocurrencies: bitcoin and ether. However, a recent blog post provided a hint that Coinberry may be considering adding more altcoins soon:
“We’ve begun adding additional cryptocurrencies to our online platform, starting with Ethereum.”
The only government-issued currency that Coinberry supports is Canadian dollars.
Coinberry lets you purchase bitcoin or ether using Canadian dollars. You can also sell bitcoin and ether and get Canadian dollars back in return. You can’t, however, trade ether for bitcoin.
Right now, Coinberry seems entirely focused on helping complete beginners get involved with cryptocurrency. Neither apps have any advanced features. All Coinberry users can do is perform basic tasks, like place buy and sell orders and make deposits and withdrawals.
Trading Tools and Fees
Coinberry’s dashboard displays the price of bitcoin and ethereum. The hamburger menu on the top part of the interface lets Coinberry users perform a handful of basic tasks.
Here’s what the hamburger menu looks like. There are six different menu options available, including Dashboard, Fund Account, Buy / Sell, Withdrawals, Settings and Referrals.
Coinberry users can deposit cryptocurrencies (ether and bitcoin only) or fiat funds. Available deposit options include eTransfer, Wire Transfer and Interac Online.
Mobile app support
The few negative reviews that do exist are complaints about various bugs. These bugs seem to have been addressed, though, because the most recent reviews of the apps are almost entirely positive.
The iOS version of Coinberry has higher marks overall compared to the Android app. One reason for this discrepancy could be that the iOS app is slightly younger than the Android app. The Android version of Coinberry was released in April 2018. The iOS app was released one month later, in May.
Deposits and withdrawals
Coinberry offers free fiat withdrawals and deposits. Deposit options include Interac eTransfer, Wire Transfer and Interac Online. The minimum fiat withdrawal amount is $100 CAD. The minimum fiat deposit amount is $50 CAD. Withdrawal requests are processed within two business days.
Additional information about withdrawals is contained on the official Coinberry website:
Coinberry is one of just a small number of cryptocurrency exchanges that charges its users for withdrawing cryptocurrency. The withdrawal fee for bitcoin is 0.0005 BTC, or approximately $5 CAD. For ether, the withdraw fee is 0.005 ETH, which translates to roughly $2.75 CAD. There is no fee for depositing digital currencies.
Coinberry markets itself as a “zero fee” exchange. Its tagline is “goodbye fees, hello free trading.” Coinberry President Andrei Poliakov even went into detail about his exchange’s commitment to not charging fees in a press release:
“We are leading the pack with 0% fee trading, it’s a Canadian first. Coinberry wants to enable Canadians of all ages to invest even as little as $50 to understand the technology and opportunity of Cryptocurrency. Based on our research, Coinberry’s 0% fees will remove a major barrier for Canadians to invest.”
However, Coinberry does in fact make money each time its users place a trade. Coinberry collects a fee on the spread between the cryptocurrency prices it offers its customers and the actual prices of the cryptocurrencies on the open market.
Information pulled from the official Coinberry website sheds light on how Coinberry calculates its “dynamic” fee:
“Our trading fee is a combination of a number of factors, including: order size, exchange fee, mining fee for the crypto currency (i.e. gas) and a small spread for our services. Our algorithm crunches all the numbers for you to get the absolute best price.”
If you’ve never bought cryptocurrency before, Coinberry might be worth a look. It’s intuitive interface and automated ID verification system make it easy to get started.
For new traders
Few cryptocurrency platforms are easier to use than Coinberry. Coinberry’s apps look nice and have great reviews. The Interac integration feature lets Coinberry users buy and sell crypto is click a few buttons.
For advanced traders
If you intend to buy and sell cryptocurrency on a regular basis, Coinberry’s unpredictable fees may motivate you to take your business elsewhere.