Canada has 14 homegrown cryptocurrency exchanges, but none of these options offer the full range of services offered by other exchanges. Fortunately, most exchanges around the world do business with Canadians and some even accept Canadian dollar deposits. Check out this complete list of cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada to find the right one for you.
Founded by a mathematics professor, Coinsquare takes a security-first approach to cryptocurrency trading. Heavy stress testing, including thousands of daily audits, have kept the exchange hack-free.
Coinsquare lists six of the largest cryptocurrencies with support for ripple on the horizon. Besides crypto-to-crypto trades, you can buy and sell coins and deposit Canadian dollars, British pounds, US dollars and euros. The only advanced trading tool Coinsquare offers, a limit order, is only available for bitcoin trades.
Coinsquare requires verification of all its customers. The automated process lets Canadians set up new Coinsquare accounts almost instantly. Once you can trade, your market orders will trigger a 0.2% fee when trading bitcoin and a 0.4% fee for the altcoins. Bitcoin limit orders will trigger a 0.1% fee for market makers and a 0.2% fee for market takers.
Coinsquare is another good option for Canadians just getting into cryptocurrency. Experienced traders, however, won’t appreciate the high fees and the limited number of altcoins.
Einstein Exchange is a Vancouver-based startup still going through its beta testing phase. Although new, the exchange already outclasses the more established Canadian exchanges with nine cryptocurrencies in its listing. Whether you place market, limit or stop orders, Einstein Exchange charges a flat 0.25% trading fee.
You can deposit and trade crypto without getting verified. However, only verified customers may withdraw crypto or trade fiat currency. Customers who don’t want to wait for the online verification can visit Einstein Exchange’s Vancouver office for an instant verification.
Einstein Exchange supports electronic deposits and bank wire transfers. You can also buy bitcoin with a credit card. In addition to your card provider’s fees, Einstein Exchange charges a 10% fee for credit card purchases.
Toronto-based Coinberry is a trading service that scans multiple exchanges and places orders on its customers’ behalf. The only cryptocurrencies Coinberry supports, however, are bitcoin and ether.
Fees on Coinberry are a little mysterious. Rather than publishing a rate schedule, Coinberry calculates trading fees dynamically based on the size of the order, the exchange involved in the trade and a spread on the exchange rate, among other factors.
The collapse of crypto exchanges, from Japan’s Mt.Gox to Canada’s own CAVIRTEX, helped QuadrigaCX become the largest crypto exchange in Canada.
In addition to bitcoin, you can trade bitcoin cash, ether and litecoin on this exchange. The fees QuadrigaCX charges, however, are fairly high — either 0.5% or 0.2%, depending on the coins being traded.
QuadrigaCX accepts deposits of both Canadian and US dollars. However, customers who want to trade fiat currency must go through the exchange’s verification process. Since the online verification process can take as long as 72 hours to complete, QuadrigaCX customers can go to their local Canada Post retail outlet for an in-person verification.
The most popular cryptocurrencies and support for dollar deposits make QuadrigaCX a solid but unexciting choice. With no advanced trading options, more experienced crypto enthusiasts may want to look elsewhere.
As its name suggests, MyBTC is a bitcoin-only trading platform. You can use Interac or Flexepin to fund your purchase or directly debit your bank account. That convenience, however, comes at the cost of high fees. MyBTC charges 6.75% for Interac and Flexepin transfers and 7.75% for debit payments. Most Canadians can set up an account instantly as MyBTC uses Equifax’s verification system. Only in cases where the Equifax system fails does MyBTC require a photo ID for verification.
Vancouver’s EzBTC promotes itself as “the fastest exchange in Canada” with support for bitcoin and more than 40 altcoins. You can fund your account through electronic or wire transfers or by making an in-person cash or card deposit at EzBTC’s offices in Vancouver or Toronto. Trading fees on EzBTC are a little steep at 0.3% with no option for volume discounts.
SMS verification is all that’s needed to trade crypto-to-crypto. Funding or withdrawing fiat money, however, requires verification — a process that can take 24 hours to complete.
NDAX only opened its doors to customers less than two months ago. The Calgary-based exchange is still in “soft launch” mode so put its systems to a real-world test with early customers. As a result, you won’t find services like mobile apps or the exchange’s full range of cryptocurrencies.
Still, you can place market and limit orders for bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, litecoin and ripple. You can also place stop-limit and other advanced order types that few Canadian exchanges provide.
NDAX has an all-but-instant Basic Verification level that will let you deposit Canadian dollars and begin trading. Enhanced Verification requires full documentation in order to increase withdrawal limits.
Market takers will end up paying a 0.3% trading fee. Market makers pay nothing. In addition, NDAX charges fees for deposits and withdrawals.
Montreal-based Shakepay was once a bitcoin prepaid card issuer, but had to shut down when Visa cut off its credit card processor. In early 2018, Shakepay relaunched as a trading service for bitcoins and ether as well as a peer-to-peer mobile wallet. The company’s apps for Android and iOS offer several features:
- Buy and sell bitcoins and ether.
- Send and receive dollars or bitcoins within the app.
- Deposit from or withdraw to bank accounts with Interac or wire transfer.
Signing up in the app is easy as a “soft check” on your credit report provides the necessary verification almost instantly.
The only fee Shakepay charges is a 1.75% transaction fee “on top of the best available exchange rate.” There are no fees for deposits or withdrawals — it even covers gas and miners’ fees.
Vancouver-based CoinField threw its hat into Canada’s crypto ring back in February. To give itself time to iron out kinks in the trading platform, the new company limited new customer on-boarding to 500 per day until March when it opened up to broader public interest.
The centralized exchange supports trading in bitcoin, bitcoin cash, bitcoin gold, dash, ether, litecoin and ripple. The base markets those coins trade on are Canadian dollars, US dollars and bitcoin.
CoinField charges a flat 0.49% fee on most currency trades. Ripple-based trades incur a 0.69% trading fee. Fiat deposits and withdrawals also have fees based on the transaction method you use.
Montreal’s Morrex lets customers exchange crypto and dollars. Besides bitcoin, the custodial service supports litecoin and feathercoin. You can’t make crypto-to-crypto exchanges.
Morrex charges a 1% fee on all transactions. Dollar deposits and withdrawals may have fees depending on the funding message.
BitBuy is a Toronto-based crypto trading service that lets you exchange between Canadian dollars and bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum or litecoin. There’s no option for crypto-to-crypto trading. The company differentiates itself through fast fiat transfers and responsive customer service. However, many of its processes are manual which could prove problematic as the company scales.
Bitbuy charges fees of 0.5% on sales and 0.75% on purchases in addition to fees on dollar deposits and withdrawals.
Ottawa-based exchange Canadian Bitcoins offers six cryptocurrencies. It lets you fund your crypto purchase with electronic transfers or by paying cash at their office or through express mail.
Buy Bitcoin Canada
Buy Bitcoin Canada is a bitcoin seller owned by Ottawa-based blockchain company Bitaccess. You can fund your purchases with direct debit from a bank account or by using cash to buy a voucher from a Flexepin retailer. As it name suggests, Buy Bitcoin Canada is for purchases only you cannot sell bitcoin there.
You won’t pay fees for direct debit purchases, but Buy Bitcoin Canada does charge a 5% fee for Flexepin purchases.
QuickBT is another sales-only crypto company. Customers are not limited to just buying bitcoin, they can also buy litecoin and ether from QuickBT. Purchases can be made through Interac or by purchasing Flexepin vouchers from a local retailer.
QuickBT limits purchases to $200 per day and does not list fees.
Edmonton-based Bitcoin Solutions is operates a bitcoin ATM network in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Their ATMs are located in Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Medicina Hat, Red Deer and Saskatoon.
People across Canada can also buy bitcoin through the company’s website using Interac or Flexepin.
Customers can also sell bitcoins to Bitcoin Solutions for dollars, although there is a $2,500 minimum for any sale.
Bitcoin Solutions charges a $10 fee for Flexepin purchases, but does not list fees for any other purchase method.
Exchanges Taking Canadian Dollars
Before leaving Canada…
The laws requiring crypto exchanges doing business in Canada to register with FINTRAC haven’t gone into force. When they do go into effect, you may find your international crypto exchange won’t want to do business with you. Some exchanges are philosophically opposed to collecting their customers’ personal information, while others don’t want to deal with regulators. In either case, some of these exchanges may stop serving Canadians rather than sign up with FINTRAC.
Abra is a mobile-based platform that lets you trade more than 50 fiat currencies, including Candian dollars, and 20 cryptocurrencies. The system of synthetic currencies Abra uses gives the platform a lot of flexibility, but has some side effects. None of the balances in your Abra wallet are real — they are actually smart contracts recorded to the litecoin blockchain. When it’s time to cash out, you can only withdraw fiat, bitcoin or litecoin.
Abra does not require verification, but leaves open the possibility that “some users may have to submit additional documents for verification.”
You don’t pay fees for the cryptocurrencies you trade, but Abra does introduce a spread between the exchange rates you receive and the exchange rates they get.
Bisq is a decentralized, peer-to-peer trading app which doesn’t hold its customers’ assets — or even collect their email addresses. The app’s main market is bitcoin which has a 70 altcoin listing. You’ll also find markets for dash, dogecoin and litecoin.
Bisq supports Interac transfers, which you can use to fund your crypto purchases with Canadian dollars.
One downside to Bisq is the murkiness of its transaction fees. Rather than set a fixed schedule, the app calculates fees on a trade-by-trade basis. The size of the trade, the difference between market and offer prices, and other factors determine how much any trade will cost.
Coinbase Prime and Coinbase Pro
With more than $200 million in venture capital investment, Coinbase has a strong foundation upon which to build its approach to the cryptocurrency market. The exchange has a small listing consisting of bitcoin and three high-volume altcoins. Coinbase does support fiat transactions, but its Canadian dollar support is limited to credit card and debit card purchases. You cannot withdraw Canadian dollars.
The Coinbase Prime interface lets you place simple market orders. Upgrading to the Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX) interface gives you access to limit and stop orders. When you make a trade, Coinbase builds in a spread between your exchange rate and theirs of ”between 0 to 200 basis points determined by the size of your transaction, market volatility and length of time using Coinbase.”
All Coinbase customers must verify their phone number and email address. If you want to deal in fiat currencies, however, you must submit more detailed identification documents.
American exchange Kraken has built a reputation for security and stability. This was the exchange Japanese regulators turned to for help winding down the Mt.Gox debacle. Kraken supports trading in 17 cryptocurrencies and 5 fiat currencies — including the Canadian dollar. Besides market and limit orders, Kraken lets advanced traders place margin orders to boost their returns.
Kraken requires verification before allowing customers to place a trade. You won’t need to provide a photo ID if all you want is to make pure-crypto trades. If you want to trade fiat, then you’ll need to scan your passport.
Trading fees operate on a maker-taker basis starting at 0.16% and 0.24%, respectively. Volume discounts will lower the fees further. Plan ahead before cashing out. Kraken charges a $10 fee for each withdrawal of Canadian dollars.
Exchanges Taking Other Fiat Money
Bitfinex has suffered hacks, server crashes and scandals since its founding in 2012, yet still ranks among the largest crypto exchanges by trading volume. You’ll find a wide range of altcoins on Bitfinex. The bitcoin, US dollar and ether markets each list more than 70 coins. Markets in euro, pounds and yen, on the other hand, only have half a dozen each.
The trading tools Bitfinex offers go beyond simple market and limit orders and even support leveraged trades. The maker-taker fee schedule rewards Bitfinex’s high volume customers while still charging low fees for new customers’ trades. Makers pay a 0.1% fee and takers pay 0.2%.
The largest European crypto trading platform Bitstamp was also the first to become a registered financial institution in the EU. Bitstamp is also part of the basket of exchanges the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s parent company uses to price bitcoin futures.
You only get access to five cryptocurrencies on Bitstamp, but you can trade those coins with US dollars and euros. The mandatory verification process is only partially automated, so setting up a new account can take days if Bitstamp’s staff is swamped with work.
New customers will pay relatively high 0.25% fees on their Bitstamp trades. If you build the right 30-day trading history, you may qualify for volume discounts. Be sure, though, to check the Bitstamp fee schedule. The exchange has dozens of small fees that you could unintentionally trigger.
Similar to Canada’s Coinberry, Changelly scans multiple exchanges and places trades for you. There’s no verification process so, once you sign up, you’ll have access to more than 90 cryptocurrencies. Also like Coinberry, Changelly charges a high 0.5% fee on all trades it places on your behalf.
Malta-based Binance is only a year old, but is already one of the largest crypto markets. That success is due in part to the listing of more than 110 altcoins in Binance’s bitcoin, ether and tether markets. The website and Binance’s mobile app support market orders. The only way to place limit, stop-loss and stop-limit orders is through the Binance website.
The flat 0.1% trading fee, however, may turn off high-volume traders as Binance does not offer volume discounts.
Based out of Seattle, Bittrex is one of America’s largest crypto exchanges. You’ll find more than 190 altcoins in the bitcoin market. The ether market, by contrast, only has a 64-coin listing.
Verification is required of all customers. Different tiers unlock higher withdrawal limits in exchange for more detailed identity documents.
The flat 0.25% trading fee, however, is a little steep for an exchange that serves high-volume traders.
New Zealand’s Cryptopia makes up for its small size with a huge 400-coin listing on its bitcoin, dogecoin and litecoin markets. You don’t get many trading options — just market and limit orders. In keeping with the site’s simplicity, Cryptopia charges a flat 0.2% fee on all trades.
A tiered verification system lets you trade your information for higher limits on your withdrawals.
ShapeShift is a non-custodial trading platform that lets you exchange more than 50 cryptocurrencies. Those easy exchanges, however, have a 0.5% commission built into the exchange rate.
One of the largest exchanges in the world, Hong Kong-based OKEx has a 120-coin listing on its bitcoin, ether, tether and bitcoin cash markets. OKEx caps the size of your trades, but you can increase the limits by upgrading your verification tier. In addition to market and limit trades, OKEx lets more sophisticated customers engage in index, futures and leveraged training.
Although OKEx does not support fiat trading, the exchange hosts a peer-to-peer trading service that lets its customers buy and sell with fiat amongst themselves.
The baseline maker fee, 1.5%, is a little higher than similar exchanges. High-volume traders, though, will pay less. Taker fees start at 0.2%.
Poloniex stumbled under the pressure of last year’s run-up in the crypto markets. Withdrawals and support slowed to a crawl. But earlier this year, Wall Street-backed Circle Internet Financial bought out Poloniex’s founder and began turning the exchange around.
All customers must be verified before Poloniex will let them trade. The exchange’s primary market pairs bitcoin with more than 60 altcoins. Poloniex also has markets in ether, ripple and tether, but those on list a dozen coins each.
Although Poloniex does allow you to place orders on margin, that feature is limited to specific bitcoin-based trading pairs. You will pay maker (0.1%) and taker (0.2%) fees on their trades, but those will fall as your trading volume increases.
Canadians who want to start trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are well-served by the domestic cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada. EzBTC, with its large altcoin listing and its middle-of-the-pack fee schedule, may be worth considering over a mainstream exchange like QuadrigaCX.
Once you gain some experience, however, you may grow weary of these exchanges’ limited selection of altcoins, lack of advanced trading tools and high fees. Then you’ll have to choose one of the international crypto exchanges. Kraken may be your best option as it accepts Canadian dollars and offers advanced trading tools. If you’re not as concerned about fiat currency, then Binance is a good alternative.