Buying and selling operations with cryptocurrency grew rapidly in popularity following the fulminant ascension of Bitcoin and a similarly impressive increase in the diversity of digital currencies introduced on the Canadian market. Despite the novelty of this market and despite high levels of competition, several exchange services managed to gain ground, earning the trust of Canadian people.
When looking into the reasons these exchange services gained and managed to maintain a dominant market position, we would discover that they offer rich features (for both simple users and professionals), reliable performance (e.g. fast verification speeds), lower fees, a great and intuitive web interface, or come with unique advantages or generous bonuses that are rare among the competition.
Here is a more comprehensive list of aspects to consider when evaluating a given exchange service:
This is a US-based international exchange founded in 2011 that operates in the US, the EU, and Canada. It boasts interesting records in foreign markets, for instance, “the world’s largest exchange in euro volume and liquidity”. The business figures are impressive – more than 4 million clients and $140 billion traded since 2011. It works with a few fiat currencies USD, EUR, CAD (in addition, currencies like GBP can be traded but cannot be used to make deposits or withdrawals). Kraken offers a fairly good choice of cryptocurrencies (BTC, ETH, and more than 20 other, including XRP, XMR, XLM, ICN, REP, ZEC).
CAD can be used for trading and making deposits or withdrawals, but the minuscule trading volume for the BTC/CAD pair represents a disadvantage, given that there might be problems with liquidity. Once BTC is secured, trading it for an altcoin is usually very straightforward and efficient.
Kraken employs the following private and corporate funding options:
Some relevant fees are as follows: 0.16% maker and 0.26% taker fee, no fiat deposit fee (apart from bank fees, e.g. for wire transfers), $10 flat fiat withdrawal fee, no fees for depositing digital currency, minimal crypto withdrawal fees.
The Kraken website is known for speed bottleneck issues during the “hot” winter of 2017 which made the CEO of the company apologize and launch assurances that work on the platform continues. On the other hand, the CEO pointed to the impeccable security record of his platform. Indeed, as one of the oldest services, and an important market player, the exchange service was targeted in multiple hacking attempts, surviving them all with dignity.
It is one of the largest crypto exchanges in Canada (based in Toronto), with a high BTC/CAD trading volume. The site came back with a new look after a complete rework of the user interface at the end of 2017. Importantly, the site looks very clean but offers access to advanced tables and visualizations to enable market analysis (this will likely be appreciated by professional traders). It also features a convenient calculator for selling or buying.
Coinsquare boasts exceptionally high levels of security with SSL encryption and 2-factor authentication at all steps, with 95% cold storage for all digital currency, and with daily backups (encrypted). The service works with a number of fiat currencies, including CAD, USD, EUR, GBP, and AUD, but also with a wide spectrum of cryptocurrencies: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, DOGE, DASH, BSV, CSC, XAG.X, XAG.ML, XAU.I.
As for the fees, they are as follows: 0.1-0.4% trading fees with a 50% discount for market makers (maker fee 0.1-0.2%, taker fee 0.2%-0.4%); no deposit fees for cryptocurrency but very high withdrawal fees; account funding fees - from 0.25%. Payments can be made using credit cards, bank wire, interact, Flexepin, etc.
One issue some users complained about was the lack of transparency with regard to the fees charged when withdrawing digital currency – this becomes visible only after purchasing/loading the latter. Hence, it is needed to pay appropriate attention to this issue – in case it is difficult to locate this information on the site, it makes sense to address the question to customer support before starting to trade.
Quebex is a Canadian p2p bitcoin exchange marketplace, founded in 2016 and with the central office in Montreal, Quebec. It is a federally registered Money Service Business and strictly follows local financial regulations and rules. A p2p exchange takes a decentralized approach to trading by connecting the seller and the buyer directly for each transaction. Such a platform is essentially a tool for displaying offers, for escrow, and dispute arbitration. A decentralized network is less prone to disruptive attack by hackers, to server shutdowns or lack of responsiveness, leading to a more robust operation and fewer failures.
Payment methods available include Bank Deposits, PayPal, and Email Money Transfers. The only fiat currency supported by Quebex is CAD and the only digital ones are BTC, ETH, and LTC. As for fees, there is a 1% trading fee for any digital currencies covered and a 0% fee for any Quebex CAD balance traded. Fees for ETH deposits and withdrawals are almost negligible - a few cents to a few tens of cents. By contrast, both LTC and BTC require a mining fee charged by the network per outgoing transfer -roughly 0.001-0.005 BTC and approximately 0.01-0.05 LTC per transfer.
One potential downside for a regular user is given by the exaggerated requirements following from the “Know Your Customer” policy – the amount of verification when signing up seems excessive, especially considering that this is quite atypical for a p2p exchange. However, this seems to be the price paid for filtering out bad actors.
LocalBitcoins is another p2p service that operates globally by connecting BTC sellers and buyers from anywhere in the world. Following its trending popularity, it got featured in Forbes, Financial Times, BusinessWeek. It gained high popularity in the UK, but could be even more useful in regions with a poor choice of centralized exchange services or with strict regulations. LocalBitcoins has the role of an escrow service, mediating the transactions (validating them and providing scores).
The good news is the service operates with CAD along with many other fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, CHF, CNY, DKK, AUD, BRL, CAD, HKD, HUF, IDR, KRW, MXN, MYR, INR, JPY, KES, RON, RUB, SEK, NGN, NIS, PLN, SGD, ZAR. At the same time, in the crypto dimension it only deals with BTC.
The pricing is somewhat higher than that of Quedex, however. This is in part due to the fact that the fees are set by sellers (this also makes them somewhat higher than in centralized exchange services). At the same time, there are no fees for cash transactions, and the wallet transfer fees are small. Depositing money is also made easier, with plenty of options available: credit card, bank wire, ACH, SEPA, Paypal, debit card, interac, cash, OKPay, Perfect Money, e-transfer, Neteller, Skrill, Money Transfer
LocalBitcoins does not suffer from the same level of privacy intrusion – additional verification is only required after exceeding a threshold volume of trading and even in this case, it is no excessive. On opening, the site displays a few nearby users (judging by many attributes, they seem real) with whom you can engage in transactions. You can click on any of these users and review their feedback scores, the prices offered, the transaction limits and proceed with the transaction by specifying the desired amount (obviously, you have to sign up first).
NDAX was founded in June 2018, in Calgary, Alberta and boasts fast trade execution and deep liquidity. It is fully integrated into the Canadian banking system and designed both for retail and institutional clients. It is registered as a Money Service Business, making it subject to local legal regulations preventing money laundering and those supervising financial transactions.
As declared on the website, funds belonging to clients are not sent offshore, but remain in the country in a segregated bank account, separate from NDAX's operating capital and in agreement with Canadian banking laws. This can serve as an additional safety argument clients can rely upon.
Obviously, this implies that users must pass certain steps of verification. For passing basic verification, one needs to provide the name, birth date, address, and phone number. Enhanced verification is only needed to gain access to higher withdrawal limits - in this case, prepare to share your Canadian government-issued ID and a recent pdf from a utility bill for instance, to confirm both your name and address.
The exchange service also implements advanced security measures: 98% of digital assets are kept offline and behind multiple protection walls, 2-factor authentication is employed, there are measures to counteract DDoS attacks, continuous monitoring of data servers, regular external security audits, etc.
Deposit methods include: interac e-Transfer, bank draft/ certified checque, wire transfer, while withdrawal can be carried out using direct bank deposit, electronic funds transfer (EFT), wire transfer, cryptocurrency transfer. The only fiat currency used is CAD but there are more cryptocurrencies to trade: BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, XRP, EOS.
Charged fees: market maker fees of 0% and market taker fees of 0.2%, no deposit fees, different withdrawal fees depending on the method (e.g. $25 for a direct bank deposit or EFT, $50 for a wire transfer and fixed amounts for cryptocurrency).
Although this last one is UK-based, it is specifically included in this list to honor the demands of Canadian traders that want to get access to more than just the basic set of cryptocurrencies. In fact, this broker (it is an execution only broker), operates with more than 1000 cryptocurrencies in both directions (we won't list them all here, but it is very likely that it includes all digital currencies you ever heard of).
The owners of the business, encourage clients to contact them in case there is a new or rare coin they want to acquire. As for the website, the drop-down menus show roughly 90 different cryptocurrencies you can work with directly using the website alone.
Importantly, CAD is a fully operational fiat currency with this broker (besides GBP, EUR, USD, SGD, JPY, AUD, MXN), which is very good news for Canadians. All other exchanges that we know of that offer a similar choice of digital currencies are either the US or Chinese and unfortunately, do not accept CAD.
The broker has a good number of reviews on Trustpilot, where you can form your opinion and get an impression about the quality of services provided (currently, there is a 99% satisfaction level). As for the fees involved, one can check them very conveniently on the website by going either to the “buy coins” or “sell coins” section, choosing the fiat and the digital currencies, and introducing the desired amount.
BC Bitcoin offers multiple options for managing financial resources: trading, cold storage, coin escrow. Among the payment methods accepted when sending payments to BC, Bitcoin are SEPA, SWIFT, Wire Transfers and Bank Transfers, but the broker suggests to contact them if the client has a specific method in mind that is not in this list. Outgoing payments are done using SEPA, SWIFT, Wire transfers, and International Bank transfers.
To conclude, whichever service you choose, it is highly advisable to always revisit the information about the fees prior to engaging in big transactions in order to avoid surprises from last minute updates (on some platforms, credit card transactions can be up to 10% of the traded value). Also among the first things to check is whether the funding methods accessible to you are supported – otherwise you are likely wasting time researching other details.