Coinsquare Canada's crypto home

Coinsquare Vs. Coinbase: The Crucial Difference Is Availability

Coinsquare Vs. Coinbase at a Glance

The key distinction between Coinsquare and Coinbase boils down to their different operating regions. Currently, Coinsquare is only available in Canada. Even though Coinsquare has plans to expand into the US, that goal won’t be achieved until after the exchange goes public in September. Coinbase, on the other hand, is already one of the largest crypto exchanges in the US and Europe. Coinbase competes with Coinsquare in Canada, but it’s somewhat crippled by the fact that Canadians can only use the exchange to buy cryptocurrency and can’t place sell orders.

Another important difference between Coinsquare and Coinbase is that Coinbase no longer supports credit card purchases. Coinsquare customers, on the other hand, can still buy crypto using both credit and debit cards. (At publication, Coinsquare had not provided any information about whether or not it will continue to support debit / credit card buys after it expands into US and Europe.)

In terms of fees, Coinsquare offers better rates compared to Coinbase. The base fee added on to most Coinbase transactions is 4%. On Coinsquare, commission fees drop to 0.2% taker / 0.1% maker when you use the advanced trade option to place an order. Those fee differences won’t matter much if all you want to do is make small purchases, but they will add up if you place orders on a regular basis.

Coinsquare Coinbase
  • Supports Canadian bank deposits and debit/credit cards.
  • Low fees.
  • Automated ID verification.
  • Supports US, European and international bank deposits.
  • Good worldwide / US availability.
  • Easy integration with GDAX.
  • Automated ID verification.
  • Only available in Canada.
  • No commission discounts for high volume traders.
  • Poor altcoin support.
  • High deposit/withdrawal fees.
  • Doesn’t accept credit cards.
  • Poor altcoin support.
  • High commission fees.

Visit Coinsquare -- $20 Free Bonus



Coinsquare Canada's crypto home
Source: Coinsquare

Virgile Rostand– Consquare’s  founder and CEO– had a career in academia before he entered the cryptocurrency space. Prior to founding Coinsquare in 2015, Rostand lectured on mathematics at Universite Laval.

In the first few years of Coinsquare, Rostand ran most of its core operations alone. He acted as Coinsquare’s marketing director, security analyst and support chief. It wasn’t until 2017 that Rostand started hiring executives. One of the biggest names Coinsquare hired that year was CEO Cole Diamond, who was the VP of Sales at Jumbleberry and the founder of an online marketplace called Gift Network.

Coinsquare’s major venture capital investor is Canaccord Genuity Corporation. Canaccord led a funding round in 2018 that yielded $30 million total. An unnamed investor helped Coinsquare raise $10 million in 2017.

Related: Coinsquare Review: An Advanced Digital Currency Exchange for Canadians


Source: Coinbase

Coinbase was founded by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. Ehrsam’s background was in finance. He helped develop trading algorithms for Goldman Sachs. Armstrong had launched UniversityTutor.com before founding Coinbase in 2011.

Coinbase was initially just a crypto wallet, but the company began adding exchange features shortly after launch. Today, Coinbase has two faces. The advanced exchange side of Coinbase is called GDAX. The retail exchange part of Coinbase is located at Coinbase.com. Because both sites are owned by the same company, Coinbase can transfer funds into GDAX (and vice versa) instantly and for free.

Coinbase’s major investors include several well-known corporations. The New York Stock Exchange, USAA, BVA, NTT Docomo and Valor Capital Group have all helped make Coinbase one of the most well-funded crypto exchanges on the market today.

Related: Coinbase Review: A Popular Exchange With Smart Money Behind It

Supported Currencies and Listing Policies

Coinsquare and Coinbase both only support Bitcoin and a handful of popular altcoins. Coinsquare offers slightly more altcoins support, though, because it lists Dash and Dogecoin. Both exchanges let their users buy Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Litecoin and Bitcoin.

In an interview with BNN Bloomberg, Coinsquare CEO Cole Diamond revealed that the next coins Coinsquare intends to support are Ripple and Monero. The addition of other popular altcoins may follow.

“We’re going to be adding Ripple, we’re going to be adding Monero, we’re going to be adding other digital currencies that have their own blockchains and new did ICOs (initial coin offerings) – with the exception of Ethereum.”

Coinsquare accepts three fiat currencies: Canadian dollars, US dollars and euros. You can’t trade fiat currencies directly, though. You have to go through Bitcoin first to convert one fiat currency into another.

Coinbase also has good support for fiat currencies because it has a unique feature called “local currency wallets” that lets you deposit whatever government-issued currency is used in your country. The local currency wallets feature supports US dollars, euros and several other European currencies.

Listing policies

Coinsquare and Coinbase both have yet to publish any information about how they evaluate altcoins. That’s probably because both exchanges only support the most popular and well-known coins.

Security and Hacks

Coinsquare and Coinbase both have excellent security records. Neither exchange has been victimized by hackers. However, because Coinbase has been around since 2011, its incident-free security record is slightly more impressive.

Coinbase managed to avoid getting raided by hackers by requiring its employees to pass background checks and by equipping the site with features like SQL injection blocks and IP address whitelists. In addition, a bug bounty problem rewards white hat hackers for finding potential security issues on Coinbase and its sister site GDAX.

Other than a claim that Coinsquare was “built on the same technology of the New York Stock Exchange,” there is no information about Coinsquare’s security system on its site.

Availability and Verification

Though Coinbase is the clear winner in the availability category now, that may change after September when Coinsquare expands into the US and possibly Europe. At the moment, though, only Canadian residents can use Coinsquare.

All US residents can use Coinbase except residents of Wyoming, Hawaii and Minnesota. However, Coinbase is reportedly looking into acquiring a federal banking license. If Coinbase manages to acquire that license, its US availability will likely improve.

If you live in Canada, Coinsquare is the way to go. Coinbase doesn’t let Canadian residents place sell orders through its site. All you can do if you live in Canada is buy. Other countries have similar restrictions. Click here to find out more about which Coinbase features you can use in your country.

Verification policies

Both Coinbase and Coinsquare use automated systems to process identity documents. If your documents make it through the algorithm, you will be able to place orders immediately after signing up.

Trading, Fees and Apps

Trading interface

Coinsquare offers its users two different trading interfaces: a basic interface for quick trades and an advanced interface that offers more trading options and tools.

The basic version of Coinsquare relies on simple drop-down menus. A list of your assets appears on the middle of the screen and there are graphs of popular crypto coins on the right. The only order type that this interface lets you use is market orders.

Here’s what the basic flavor of Coinsquare looks like:

Sourceː CoinIQ

The advanced trade interface depicted below lets you select between limit and market orders. Other than that, the interface is almost the same aside from a more detailed chart that displays an in-depth look at whatever currency pair you select.

Sourceː CoinIQ

Coinbase’s interface is even more basic than Coinsquare’s simple interface.

The Coinbase dashboard shows a quick view of several popular coins. You can flip between different views of what’s going on in the cryptocurrency markets.

pasted image 0 19
Sourceː CoinIQ

To buy cryptocurrencies on Coinbase, you have to first add some type of payment method. The main option for payments now is bank transfers. Though the credit/debit card menu option still exists, Coinbase has placed a hold on its credit card payments system. Debit card payments are still available, though.

pasted image 0 20
Sourceː CoinIQ


Though Coinsquare has lower fees compared to Coinbase, Coinbase’s sister site GDAX offers rates that are about the same compared to Coinsquare.

Coinbase uses an unusual system for calculating its fees. This system consists of two “methods.”

  • Method 1. Coinbase’s first fee method applies a percentage fee to your purchase. This fee varies depending on where you reside.
  • Method 2. Method 2 consists of two fees. The first fee is a 2.49% fixed fee. There’s also a 1% fee that maxes out at $50 USD.

Most US-based Coinbase get both Method 1 and Method 2 fees. To avoid those fees, Coinbase users can open GDAX accounts and place their trades there instead. GDAX is owned by the same people as Coinbase, but that exchange uses an entirely different system for calculating fees. GDAX lets market makers trade commission fee and market takers pay a base fee of 0.30%.

Coinsquare charges a flat 0.4% fee for all quick trades that don’t involve Bitcoin and a 0.2% fee for all quick trades that do involve Bitcoin. If you use the advanced trade fee feature, you only have to pay 0.1% maker / 0.2% taker.

Instead of giving commission fee discounts to frequent traders, Coinsquare offers withdrawal/deposit discounts. If you have $25,000 or more in your account, you only have to pay 0.25% for withdrawals and deposits. You can make wire transfers for free if you have $100,000 or more in your account.

Mobile apps

Coinbase and Coinsquare both have good apps. Both exchanges have mobile apps for Android and iOS, but Coinsquare’s apps have low ratings because the initial versions had limited functionality. Initially, you couldn’t fund your Coinsquare account though the apps– but now you can. Coinbase’s iTunes app has 4.5/5 stars and so does their Android app.

Customer Support and Community

Coinsquare and Coinbase both have good support options. Both exchanges support their users via ticket systems. In addition, both exchanges have detailed knowledge bases. Also, both exchanges are active on Twitter, Reddit and other social media platforms.

Cryptocurrency Regulation

Even though regulators haven’t worked out how they will handle cryptocurrency exchanges, both exchanges have tried to comply with standard best practices.

Coinbase is one of the few cryptocurrency exchanges that has gone through the expensive process of acquiring a New York state BitLicense. On top of that, Coinbase has taken out an insurance policy to cover losses resulting from employee theft and cybersecurity attacks. It is also trying to get a federal banking license in the US.

In order to comply with Canada’s AML (Anti Money Laundering) and KYC (Know Your Customer) standards, Coinsquare sometimes holds funds for a few days if a transaction triggers an alert.

One of the main reasons why Coinsquare has been slow to expand is the fact that it wants to ensure that it’s doing everything by the book. During an interview with Canadian startup news blog Betakit, Coinsquare CEO Cole Diamond explained how regulation relates to the company’s expansion strategy.

“We thought we were a lot safer to take the approach by being focused within this country. The rules of engagement are different in Canada than they are in the US than they are in Europe, so why not just focus here and play along, and bring it to other markets later?”

Final Thoughts

Unless you live in Canada, you’ll probably want to choose Coinbase over Coinsquare. Coinbase has much better US and worldwide availability.

However, one potential issue with Coinbase is its high fees relative to the competition. Coinbase uses an unusual system to calculate its fees. Most US-based Coinbase users get charged 4% for most transactions. These high fees are partially mitigated by the fact that Coinbase users can send their money to Coinbase’s sister site GDAX for free. GDAX’s fees start at 0.30% taker / 0.00% maker.

Once Coinsquare expands into US markets, it could compete with Coinbase and other exchanges. Coinsquare is just as easy to use compared to Coinbase and– like Coinbase– Coinsquare has never been hacked.

Alex Munkachy

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Please note that CoinIQ is reader-supported. When you sign up for products or services through links on CoinIQ, we may receive an affiliate commission.

We maintain strict editorial standards and our recommendations are in no way affected by these commissions.  We do not compromise on our critical approach for any product, service, person, or company.

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