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CoinIQ

MyBTC Review: An Expensive Way to Convert Fiat to Bitcoin in Canada

Over the past several months, Canada’s top banks have placed blocks on their customers’ ability to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Some banks have only blocked credit card purchases, but others have blocked debit cards and Interac as well.

After news of the new blocks was announced, MyBTC began promoting itself as a potential solution to the problem: 

“We are excited to announce that you can now buy Bitcoin on https://mybtc.ca/ with Interac e-Transfer which is offered by almost all Canadian banks & credit unions. If you know someone impacted by limited buying options due to Canadian banks, share this solution with them.”

MyBTC’s high fees will likely discourage frequent traders from using this service as a workaround for banking issues. However, those looking for a convenient way to make bitcoin purchases might find MyBTC to be worth a closer look. Read on for the full details.

Related: The Best Banks in Canada for Buying Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency

What is MyBTC?

History

Even though MyBTC has apparently been around for several years, not much concrete information about it is available online.

According to MyBTC’s minimalistic LinkedIn page, MyBTC was founded in 2016 and has “2 to 10” employees. No other information about MyBTC is available, other than that it was founded by someone that goes by “Duane S.

MyBTC’s “Duane S.” is probably Duane Seamans. Seamans’ Facebook profile image matches the LinkedIn profile image.

Prior to working at MyBTC, Seamans worked for QuadrigaCX, one of Canada’s largest and most controversial crypto exchanges.

Related: QuadrigaCX Review: Questions Surround Canada’s Leading Bitcoin Exchange

Leadership and investors

The only known executive leader of MyBTC is Duane Seamans.

Duane Seamans – Founder and CEO

According to Seamans’ LinkedIn bio, he worked in advertising at Publicitas Canada and PointRoll before getting involved in bitcoin in 2014. In that year, he created a bitcoin blog called BuyingBitcoin.ca. That blog landed Seamans a job at QuadrigaCX in 2015.

Seamans started out as QuadrigaCX’s Director of Marketing Operations. In January of 2018, he was promoted to VP of Operations. According to a comment left by the official MyBTC Reddit account, Seamans was still working at QuadrigaCX a year ago:

“The CEO of MyBTC.ca is the Director or Marketing & Operations for QuadrigaCX but like QuadrigaCX said, they have no stake in MyBTC.ca. MyBTC.ca started long after QuadrigaCX. So, there you have it … we hope to lead instant online brokerage in Canada much like like they lead the exchange space. Thanks for listening, cheers!”

Protecting customers’ coins

Legal and regulatory compliance

The legal situation around cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada is complicated. In 2014, Parliament passed the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA). This legislation outlined the licensing and reporting requirements for financial service businesses. The PCMLTFA classifies companies that “handle virtual currency” as regulated money services businesses (MSBs), but the law has yet to go in effect.

Related: Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Laws in Canada – The Complete Guide

In the compliance section of MyBTC’s official website, MyBTC states that it doesn’t qualify as an MSB and thus doesn’t need to comply with PCMLTFA requirements:

“Considering MyBTC.ca does not qualify as an MSB (at this time) we are not considered a reporting entity. Nonetheless, we are proactive in developing voluntary compliance measures that we expect to be in lines with the forthcoming regulatory updates. We strive to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing within our country and internationally.”

Coin listing policies

MyBTC only sells bitcoin and doesn’t support any altcoins.

Network security

So far, MyBTC has managed to maintain a solid security record.

A blurb about security on MyBTC’s FAQ page provides a few high level details about its security system:

“MyBTC.ca is running on dedicated hardware in one of the most secured Cloud Providers. All communications are encrypted with SSL and Cloudflare provides us with an additional layer of protection. Plus, we never store your banking or credit card information.”

Unlike large, centralized exchanges like Coinbase, MyBTC has less to worry about in terms of security because it doesn’t store and protect its customers’ cryptocurrency assets. It uses other crypto exchanges and payment processors to provide financial services. MyBTC’s privacy information page asserts that the exchange doesn’t hold credit card data, either:

“All payment information is stored by our payment processor and not by MyBTC.ca. We do not process, hold or store any user credit card data.”

Customer support

Like many crypto exchanges, MyBTC handles customer service issues primarily via email. MyBTC customers can reach out via [email protected] when they run into technical issues.

MyBTC also answers general questions about its services via Twitter and Reddit.

MyBTC reputation

CoinDesk, CoinTelegraph and other prominent cryptocurrency blogs haven’t covered MyBTC, likely because it’s one of Canada’s lesser-known exchanges.

MyBTC’s policy of temporarily holding its new users’ funds after they make a withdrawal apparently frustrates some new MyBTC customers. The official MyBTC Reddit wrote the following response after a customer became nervous when their funds weren’t immediately available:

“Client didn’t read where it said that his first transaction would be held until manually approved on the homepage, payment page and FAQ section and then when he noticed that it would be held he took to reviews thinking he could bully us into an answer he wanted during this extremely busy period — for all in the industry. He demanded we send his Bitcoin ASAP before others in the queue or else he will continue to write negative reviews until received.”

How to Join MyBTC

Who can join?

Only Canadian residents can use MyBTC. There’s no way to purchase bitcoin through MyBTC without a Canadian cell phone.

Verification

Individual accounts

MyBTC advertises the fact that it has low verification requirements. If you have a cellphone and a Canadian phone number, that’s all you need to begin buying bitcoin through the MyBTC site.

According to MyBTC’s FAQ page, the exchange does not allow its users to verify themselves using VOIP phone numbers. If the Canadian phone number you try to use isn’t registered with one of Canada’s phone companies, you won’t be able to unlock your account.

“It’s possible that we have not yet added the mobile provider you are using to our “approved” list. If you feel we should add them then please send us an email with your request — we may ask for additional information. VOIP numbers are not acceptable.”

The FAQ page goes on to explain that MyBTC may use Equifax to verify its users’ identities when they withdraw more than $2,500:

“To pay using Flexepin with a $2500 daily limit, submitting physical ID is not required, however, you must pass an instant multiple choice online verification test offered through our partnership with Equifax. Please create an order or login and then proceed to the verification page.”

MyBTC’s privacy disclosure states that the exchange can also ask for physical proof of identification when it feels the need to do so:

“We may also request further proof of identification in order to verify access to your account, including when your initial credentials are rejected or when you change the phone number or email address associated with your account. Such evidence may include a copy of government photo ID, current photograph, proof of mailing address, proof of cell phone number or email address ownership, as determined by us in the circumstances.”

Business accounts

MyBTC does not have a separate process for on-boarding its business customers. All of its customers have to go through the same verification process and pay the same fees.

What Can You Trade on MyBTC?

Cryptocurrencies

As mentioned above, MyBTC only supports one cryptocurrency: bitcoin.

Fiat currencies

MyBTC supports Canadian dollar purchases through four different payment methods: Interac eTransfers, debit cards, Interac Online and Flexepin vouchers.

In a tweet posted on the 20th of July, MyBTC claimed that MyBTC works with “almost all” Canadian banks:

“We are excited to announce that you can now buy Bitcoin on https://mybtc.ca/ with Interac e-Transfer which is offered by almost all Canadian banks & credit unions. If you know someone impacted by limited buying options due to Canadian banks, share this solution with them.”

MyBTC’s FAQ page provides a full list of Canadian banks that it supports:

“Interac Online supports TD, Scotia and several credit union debit cards that are not co-badged with a VISA or MasterCard logo on them. Below is a full list of financial institutions that support Interac Online. If your institution is supported but you have co-badged card, you may want to see if you can obtain one of the older client cards, open an account with a new institution that supports Interac Online, or use another payment method like Flexepin vouchers which you can buy online or at a retail location with Visa/MasterCard debit cards.”

Currency exchanges

MyBTC currently only sells bitcoin. If you want to cash in your bitcoin funds for fiat, you have to make a withdraw and use a different service.

Advanced trading

MyBTC only offers bitcoin purchases. No advanced trading features are available.

Trading Tools and Fees

Trading interface

MyBTC’s interface presents its users with four different options for buying bitcoin on its main page.

Source: CoinIQ

As similar menu can be found in the navigation bar at the top of the page.

Source: CoinIQ

Clicking one of the four options pulls up the following form. After you type in your bitcoin address and provide the amount of bitcoin you want to buy, you have to verify your identity by typing in a Canadian phone number. After you click the green “Text Me” button, MyBTC will send out a PIN via SMS.

Source: CoinIQ

Mobile app support

MyBTC doesn’t have any official mobile apps.

There is an app on iTunes and Android’s app store called MyBTC, but that app is for a totally different business: a telecommunications provider called Bahamas Telecommunications Company.

Deposits and withdrawals

Fiat currencies

MyBTC charges the following fees for fiat purchases:

  • Instant Debit: 7.75% or $20 minimum, whichever is greater.
  • Interac Online: 6.75% or $15 minimum, whichever is greater.
  • Flexepin: 6.75% or $15 minimum, whichever is greater.

Digital currencies

MyBTC doesn’t charge deposit or withdrawal fees because it doesn’t hold its customers’ funds. After you buy bitcoin thorough MyBTC, the exchange deposits your bitcoin funds directly into your bitcoin wallet.

However, first time bitcoin buyers may have to wait for an unspecified period of amount of time for their transaction to clear. According to MyBTC’s FAQ page:

“All first-time transactions are held until manually verified to prevent fraud, all subsequent transactions are sent instantly.”

Transaction fees

MyBTC’s FAQ page explains how the exchange deducts its fees from its customers’ fiat payments:  

“When Buying Bitcoin, we take the dollar amount you are spending, minus the fee and then divide by the rate at which 1 whole Bitcoin is worth to give you the fractional amount of Bitcoin you are to receive. For example, you have $150 to spend minus the fee of $10.13 which leaves $139.87 divided by $3,500 (hypothetical rate for 1 BTC) = 0.03996286 Bitcoin.”

The exchange recently defended its fee structure on Reddit:

“We think the 345.57% 52-week return Bitcoin has yielded is pretty insane. Based on the tens of thousands of orders our clients have done from within MyBTC.ca, the data suggests 6.75% is a fair price to pay for the convenience of instant verification and delivery of Bitcoin.”

Comparable Non-custodial Exchanges

CoinMama, Changelly and ShapeShift are similar to MyBTC. Like MyBTC, all three companies do not provide a hosted wallet services. They also rely on other cryptocurrency exchanges.

CoinMama

  • Fees: 10.5%

CoinMama is an American retail bitcoin seller that’s similar to MyBTC. Like MyBTC, CoinMama accepts debit and credit card payments. Both exchanges are designed to be convenient to use and easy for beginners to understand. Another similarity: both exchanges have founders with backgrounds in marketing.

On the minus side, CoinMama is even more expensive than MyBTC. The 10.5% standard fee makes MyBTC’s pricey 6.75% fee look reasonable in comparison. In addition, CoinMama doesn’t accept Interac payments or Flexepin vouchers. Another disadvantage is that like MyBTC, CoinMama only supports one cryptocurrency: bitcoin.

Related: CoinMama Review: High Fees, No Way to Cash Out

Changelly

  • Fees: 10.5%

Changelly is another popular beginner-friendly, non-custodial crypto exchange. The main advantage Changelly has over bitcoin CoinMama and MyBTC is that it has a broader menu of altcoins. Changelly’s customers can choose from over 90 different cryptocoins in addition to bitcoin when they make a purchase. The fact that Changelly lets you directly trade one cryptocurrency for another is a another plus.

On the other hand, Changelly’s fees are equally as high as CoinMama’s when you use a credit or debit card to make a purchase. The base commission fee is 0.5%. Using a debit or credit card results in a 5% charge that goes to Changelly, and another 5% charge that’s absorbed by Changelly’s card processor.

Related: Changelly Review: Quick and Easy Trades but No Advanced Trading

ShapeShift

  • Fees: about 0.5%

If you already own cryptocurrency funds and want to diversify by buying altcoins, ShapeShift may come in handy. Its main advantage is that it lets you purchase altcoins without going through the trouble of signing up for a full-featured crypto exchange. In many respects, ShapeShift is similar to Changelly, but there is one key difference: there’s no support for fiat whatsoever. In other words, all you can do with ShapeShift is trade one cryptocoin for another.

ShapeShift advertises that it doesn’t charge any fees. However, this claim is somewhat misleading because the exchange provides what it calls a “profitable” exchange rate to its customers. This profitable exchange rate typically results in a 0.5% profit for ShapeShift, according to a knowledge base article on the topic.

Related: ShapeShift.io Review: More Altcoin Trading Options than Most Exchanges

Final Word

Essentially, MyBTC has one big pro and one big con. On the plus side, it works. You can transfer cash out of your bank account and buy bitcoin. On the minus side, it’s expensive.

If you intend to trade bitcoin on a regular basis, MyBTC’s retail fees and largely anonymous corporate leaders will likely encourage you to take your business elsewhere. On the other hand, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of opening an account with a centralized crypto exchange and you only intend to purchase a small amount of bitcoin, MyBTC may be for you.

For new traders

MyBTC’s interface and purchase wizards are intuitive and not hard to figure out. Though the site doesn’t contain any videos or guides, MyBTC’s FAQ is well-written and easy to understand.

For advanced traders

If you’re a frequent crypto trader and you’re having problems using your Canadian bank to buy crypto, MyBTC presents a possible workaround. MyBTC claims that it works with nearly all Canadian banks.

Note: MyBTC reached out to CoinIQ to say that the exchange has recently raised their limits to $5,000 per 24hrs for Interac e-Transfer and Instant Debit.

Alex Munkachy

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