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CoinIQ
Coinsquare Canada's crypto home

Coinsquare Review: An Advanced Digital Currency Exchange for Canadians

Coinsquare in Brief

With an interface that has both user-friendly features and advanced functionality, Coinsquare is designed to appeal to beginners, experienced traders and corporations alike. Unlike many “cryptocurrency only” digital exchanges, Coinsquare allows its users to sell cryptocurrency for fiat money. And because Coinsquare has low fees and supports six different fiat deposit options, it’s a convenient way to invest in digital coins.

On the other hand, the advanced trading section of Coinsquare does not have margin trading functionality. In addition, Coinsquare is currently only available in Canada. However, expansion plans are in the works.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect the fact that Coinsquare is the only Canadian exchange to have partnered with Canada’s “big five” banks. Coinsquare users that are members of one of these banks can enjoy hassle-free deposits and withdrawals. More information is available here

Pros

  • Multiple order types and several different trade pairs options are available.
  • “Quick trade” feature makes it easy for beginners to get started.
  • Supports Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Squarecoin.
  • Six different fiat deposit options.
  • Experienced leadership.
  • Low fees.
  • Credit card purchases.
  • Easy fiat deposits and withdrawals.

Cons

  • Currently only available in Canada.
  • Margin trading is not supported.

Visit Coinsquare -- $20 Free Bonus

What is Coinsquare?

History

Before founding Coinsquare, Virgile Rostand was a mathematics lecturer at Universite Laval. In an interview with MaRS, Rostand revealed why he left academia for the finance world.

“The world revolves around money and numbers—and I was always good with numbers,” he said. “I decided to go into finance because I needed a career, but my plans changed when I became aware of blockchain in 2014.”

It didn’t take long for Rostand to realize that there was a high demand for digital currency exchanges. So, he decided to go the DIY route and found Coinsquare himself in 2015.

For the first two years of Coinsquare’s history, Rostand acted as Coinsquare’s marketing director, security analyst and support chief. Finally, Rostand started hiring help. In 2017, he found a “right hand man” in Cole Diamond and hired him on as CEO.

“It took a lot of hours to set up the infrastructure and all of the software, which had to be built from the ground up. I carried my notes with me everywhere, working out of coffee shops. Mundane coding and testing took days. If I had to do it again, I’d start out with a business partner right away, instead of trying to do everything myself.”

After raising $30 million in venture capital earlier this year, Rostand brought in CFO Ken Tsang, COO Robert Mueller and CBO Lewis Bateman.

In September, Coinsquare successfully completed an financial audit. This litmus test helped the exchange become the first Canadian crypto exchange to secure a business relationship with the “big five” Canadian banks. In the same month, Coinsquare launched two crypto-related ETFs on the Toronto Stock Exchange: the Coincapital STOXX Blockchain Patents Innovation Index Fund (LDGR) and the Coincapital STOXX B.R.AI.N. Index Fund (THNK).

Leadership and investors

Founder / CTO Virgile Rostand and CEO Cole Diamond are the public faces of Coinsquare.

  • Virgile Rostand – Founder, Chief Technical Officer. Coinsquare is unusual in that it was founded not by Bitcoin enthusiasts or financial experts, but by an academic. After leaving academia, Rostand was a consultant for the Bank of Montreal. He learned about trading application software when he was a Financial Engineer at goNumerical.
  • Cole Diamond – Chief Executive Officer. Diamond brings a wealth of sales expertise to Coinsquare’s leadership team. Before joining Coinsquare, he was the Sales VP at Jumbleberry and before that he founded an online marketplace called Gift Network. He also co-founded TalentEgg, Canada’s most popular job site and online career resource.
  • Ken Tsang – Chief Financial Officer. Tsang is a banking expert that helped introduce shadow banking reforms when he served as the Senior Representative of the Bank of Canada in 2012.
  • Robert Mueller – Chief Operating Officer. Mueller led the finance departments at Blackberry, IBM and also founded several tech startups.

Coinsquare made headlines when it secured $30 million in venture capital funding last February. Funding was led by Canaccord Genuity Corp. In December of 2017, Coinsquare raised $10 million in series A funding. The lead investor was an unnamed “global asset manager.”

Protecting customers’ coins

Legal and regulatory compliance

Like most digital exchanges, Coinsquare is exempt from most financial regulations. However, Coinsquare does comply with Canada’s KYC (know-your-customer) and AML (Anti Money Laundering) policies.

A Coinsquare knowledge base article states that the exchange sometimes requires funds to be withheld for a few days “to comply with AML regulations and to prevent fraudulent behaviour.”

Coin listing policies

Currently, Coinsquare does not support most altcoins. The exchange only supports a handful of digital coins, including: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Squarecoin. According to the official Coinsquare website, support for Ripple is coming soon.

Network security

Coinsquare advertises that it is “built on the same technology as the New York Stock Exchange.” Unlike most digital currency exchanges, Coinsquare has yet to succumb to hackers. However, no specific information about Coinsquare’s security system is available on the Coinsquare website.

In February of 2018, Coinsquare announced that it had partnered with global payment solutions provider Processing.com. Processing.com handles security for all of Coinsquare’s credit card transactions.

Customer support

Coinsquare offers support through their ticket system and it sometimes answers questions via its Twitter account. In addition, Coinsquare has a YouTube channel, a detailed yet easy-to-read knowledge base and a massive blog.

The official Coinsquare email address is [email protected].

Coinsquare reputation

Like most digital exchanges, Coinsquare experienced growing pains last year. Complaints about quality-of-service issues can be found on Reddit and other social network sites.

Perhaps because Coinsquare is currently limited to Canada, the major media outlets have not given it much coverage. However, Coinsquare did attract some media attention when it raised $30 million USD in equity funding in early 2018. Coinsquare plans on using the funding to expand into other markets.

Even though Coinsquare’s competitor QuadrigaCX is currently the dominant digital currency exchange in Canada, Coinsquare has a much better reputation. Unlike QuadrigaCX, Coinsquare has never been hacked. In addition, both of QuadrigaCX’s co-founders have expressed their negative attitudes regarding regulation in multiple interviews. In contrast, the leaders of Coinsquare have expressed their willingness to play by the rules.

Like QuadrigaCX, Coinsquare has expressed interest in going public. However, the two Canadian exchanges have taken two entirely different approaches to achieve that goal. Coinsquare wants to get listed the “normal” way, by meeting the requirements to make an IPO (Initial Public Offering). QuadrigaCX, on the other hand, announced its plans to attempt an RTO (Reverse Takeover) of a shell company back in 2015.

When Financial Post asked CEO Cole Diamond if he would consider using the RTO approach to go public, he responded by saying “Hell no.”

“We believe that there are a tremendous amount of low-quality deals going public. We’re racing, but racing to do it right.”

How to Join Coinsquare?

Who can join?

Anyone can create a Coinsquare account. However, only Canadian citizens that are “over the age of majority” are eligible for verification.

The age of majority is 18 in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. In British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, and Yukon the age of majority is 19.

Verification

Individual accounts

In order to deposit any type of currency into your Coinsquare account (digital or fiat), you have to submit a government-issued ID card. According to Coinsquare’s FAQ page, verification usually takes around one day to complete. Acceptable documents include all of the following forms of identification: driver’s licence, passport, national identity card, permanent resident card, health card (Quebec Only).

Business accounts

Coinsquare does accept corporate accounts. However, corporations have to go through a more in-depth verification process. No information about what process entails is available on the Coinsquare website.

Coinsquare does not provide 1099 forms or any other type of tax report.

“Corporate accounts can become registered and verified on Coinsquare, but each corporation will be verified on a case-by-case basis.” – Coinsquare FAQ

What You Can Trade on Coinsquare

Cryptocurrencies

Available cryptocurrencies include: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Squarecoin.

Fiat currencies

Coinsquare supports gold, silver and four fiat currencies: British pound, US dollar, Euro and Canadian dollar. The Australian dollar was supported at one time, but it is “currently unavailable.”

Currency exchanges

Available currency pairs include: CAD/BTC, ETH/BTC, BCH/BTC, DASH/BTC, DOGE/BTC, LTC/BTC, XAU.I/BTC, XAG.X/BTC, XAG.ML/BTC, USD/BTC, GBP/BTC, EUR/BTC, AUD/BTC and CSC/BTC.

Advanced trading

The “advanced trade” section of Coinsquare features two order types: limit and market trades. Margin trading functionality is not available.

Trading Tools and Fees

Trading interface

Coinsquare’s interface consists of six parts: dashboard, fund, withdraw, advanced trade, wealth and transactions.

The “dashboard” section lets you perform quick trades, view your holdings and find out what’s going on in the digital currency market.

1interface
The Quick Trade box on the left lets you execute trades. The holdings box shows you how much money you have. Major movers displays what’s going on in the market. Source: CoinIQ

The “fund” section lets you add money to your Coinsquare account and view your fiat currency balances.

fund 1
The fund portion of the interface provides an intuitive way to send money into your Coinsquare account. Source: CoinIQ

“Withdraw” lets you take money out of your account.

withdrawalscreen
Source: CoinIQ

“Advanced” gives you the ability to place market and limit trades.

advanced
Though Coinsquare don’t let you customize your limit orders, it at least gives you a way to place them. Limit orders have cheaper fees compared to market orders. Source: CoinIQ

The “transactions” page lists all your deposits, withdrawals and trades.

trans
The transactions tab displays a convenient list of all your deposits, withdrawals and trades. Source: CoinIQ

Coinsquare apps

Coinsquare has apps for Android and iOS.

Coinsquare’s Android app has a 2.5 rating and the iOS app has 3.5 rating. The most common complaint about the apps is that they don’t have funding functionality. In addition, many users have said that Coinsquare’s Android app is laggy.

Deposits and withdrawals

Fiat currencies

There are six ways to send fiat money to a Coinsquare account: Interac Online, Interac e-Transfer, Flexepin, bank draft, money order and wire transfer. Fees are 2.5% for every fiat funding method except wire transfer, which is 0.5%. If you’re willing to pay a 7.5% fee, you can also use your credit card to buy digital currency.

There are two fiat withdrawal methods available: direct bank deposit and wire transfer. The fee for direct bank deposit is 1%. For wire transfer, the fee is 0.5%.

Digital currencies

Coinsquare has its own wallet service that its customers can use to make deposits and withdrawals.

Transaction fees

Coinsquare uses two systems to calculate fees: quick trade and advanced trade.

  • Quick trades. The fee for quick trades that don’t involve Bitcoin is 0.4%. For trades that do involve Bitcoin, the fee is 0.2%.
  • Advanced trades. Advanced trades take longer to process, but have lower fees. The fee for market makers is 0.1%. For market takers, the fee is 0.2%.

Coinsquare awards special discounts to individuals that deposits large amounts of cash into Coinsquare. If Coinsquare users have at least $25,000 in their account, they get reduced wire transfer fees (0.25% withdrawals/deposits) and live chat support. Users with $100,000 or more get their own “dedicated account manager” and 0% wire transfers deposits.

Final word

Coinsquare’s primary competitor is QuadrigaCX– Canada’s leading digital currency exchange. Because Coinsquare has sought out experienced leaders and has never lost money to hacker since it was founded in 2015, it seems to be a more trustworthy option for trading digital currency in Canada compared to QuadrigaCX. The recent public audit and announcement that it had worked out a partnership with Canada’s biggest fiat banks added an additional reputation boost.

If Coinsquare expands to markets outside of Canada, it could become a major player. However, several large regulatory hurdles stand in the way of Coinsquare entering the US. The US places an expensive regulatory burden on digital currency exchanges. The requirements vary depending on the state. In other regions, however, there are fewer regulations to deal with.

For new traders

With its intuitive “quick trade” feature, flexible deposit/withdrawal options and intuitive interface, Coinsquare has a lot to offer people who are totally new to cryptocurrency. The quick trade feature makes sure that you get what you pay for when you buy cryptocurrency and helps avoid surprises when trading during periods of high price fluctuation.

Coinsquare has an excellent blog, which contains cryptocurrency news as well as clearly written information about Bitcoin, Ethereum, blockchain technology and many other topics related to digital currencies.

For advanced traders

If you’re a frequent trader and you live in Canada, Coinsquare is not a bad option. Though Coinsquare does not currently support margin trading, the “advanced” part of the interface does allow users to place limit and market trades. In addition, fees for advanced trades are very low.

Coinsquare has a wealth page that explains some of the benefits that Coinsquare offers high net worth individuals and organizations. Coinsquare offers wire transfer fee reductions and special customer service as part of their Concierge and Diamond programs.

Visit Coinsquare

Alex Munkachy

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