The Best Crypto Exchanges In Canada
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt witnessed the sudden rise (and fall) in the value of cryptocurrency over the past couple of years. The market crossed the $3 trillion threshold at its peak and continues to dominate the headlines regularly.
One of the easiest ways to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many other coins is through a cryptocurrency exchange. A crypto exchange allows investors to exchange Canadian or US dollars for digital currencies and swap between the coins themselves.
In this review of the best crypto exchanges in Canada, I’ll let you know what the top exchanges offer. Unlike many other crypto reviews, I’ll make my pick for the best overall. Let’s dive in!
Bitbuy: Best Overall Canadian Crypto Exchange
Bitbuy continues to be our top overall pick for Canadian Crypto Exchange in 2022. Not only is it the most established exchange in Canada, but they get top marks for their competitive and transparent pricing. This advanced trading platform includes an iOS and Android app and top-notch customer support.
Bitbuy has gone to great lengths to provide its clients with the highest levels of security. It is registered with FINTRAC, offers 95% cold storage, and all transactions involve 2-step verification. Unless you want greater access to alternative currencies, Bitbuy is the exchange we recommend.
- Twenty-five available currencies, including BTC, BCH, EOS, ETH, LTC, XLM, XRP
- Trading fees .10% to .20%
- Express Trade platform for beginners
- Pro Trade platform for sophisticated traders
- Trade on the go with Bitbuys mobile app for iOS and Android devices
- Transactions secured by 2FA
- Registered with FINTRAC
- 95% of assets are secured by cold storage
Coinsmart: Instant Credit Card Transfers
Coinsmart is a close runner-up to Bitbuy, and holds an advantage over some of the other exchanges on this list by offering sixteen different currencies, low trading fees, and several ways to fund your account. On the downside, there are fees when you deposit or withdraw money from your account.
You can fund your Coinsmart account in four ways: Interac e-Transfer, bank wire, bank draft, or with your credit or debit card. Credit/debit transfers are processed instantly, although the fee is up to 6%. A double trade occurs when you exchange currencies other than Bitcoin.
- Sixteen available currencies, including BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC, QCAD, ADA, BCH
- CAD currency only
- Crypto trades are .20%; 1.5% on EFT deposits, 1% on withdrawals
- Mobile app available
- 95% cold storage on assets
- Four ways to fund your account
- Instant credit/debit card transfers
Newton: Best for Trading Fees
Newton is a fast-rising cryptocurrency app that boasts more than 400,000 users. The Toronto-based cryptocurrency platform has been around since 2018, and they already support more than 60 crypto coins, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Litecoin, Tether, and Stellar, just to name a few.
You can fund your Newton account in four different ways: Interac e-Transfers, wire transfers, pre-authorized debit, and crypto.
Newton stands out because they don’t charge any trading fees when you buy or sell crypto. They also don’t charge any deposit or withdrawal fees, so you can fund your account for free. This gives Newton a competitive advantage as many other crypto exchanges charge for deposits and withdrawals.
If you’re wondering how Newton makes money, it’s in the spread – the difference between the crypto market price and the price Newton charges. But their spreads are reasonable, between 0.20% and 0.70% on average.
If Newton has a drawback, it’s the lack of transparency in their pricing. While it’s great that they don’t charge a trading fee, spreads change frequently, so the pricing tends to be less transparent than other platforms. You may end up paying more than you realized for trades.
With that in mind, the absence of deposit and withdrawal fees makes Newton a crypto trading platform worth considering. Learn more in our Newton review.
- Zero trading fees
- No deposit or withdrawal fees
- Trade more than 60 cryptocurrencies
- $25 referral fee
- The slick mobile app is easy to use
Wealthsimple Crypto: Best for Beginners
In July 2020, Wealthsimple, Canada’s largest robo-advisor, unveiled Wealthsimple Crypto, and entered the cryptocurrency market. Wealthsimple Crypto has several features that appeal to beginner crypto investors. You can open an account within minutes and there are no account minimums.
Wealthsimple executes trades instantly, and there are no fees for depositing or withdrawing to and from your Crypto account. When Crypto launched, you could only trade two coins, Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, they’ve since expanded their offering, and as of 2022, you can now trade more than 50 coins.
On the downside, Wealthsimple trading fees of 1.5% to 2% are pretty high, and you cannot directly transfer coins to and from your Wealthsimple Crypto account. When selling, for example, your only option is to move to CAD dollars before withdrawing funds. That may turn off more experienced traders, but beginner investors will appreciate the simplicity that is Wealthsimple Crypto.
If the price were the only factor in our best crypto exchange rankings, Wealthsimple wouldn’t be on the list. But because they make crypto trading so simple for beginners and offer the stability that comes from being Canada’s largest robo-advisor, Wealthsimple Crypto makes it into our top 9.
Wealthsimple Crypto Features:
- Coins offered: BCH, ETH, AAVE, DOGE, LINK, BAL, UNI, COMP, BAT, KNC, SNX, LTC, MKR, YFI, CRV, and more.
- CAD currency only
- Trading fees of 1.5% to 2%, deposits, and withdrawals are free
- Mobile app only
- Coins stored with Gemini Trust Company, $200M in cold storage insurance
- Fund account with Interac e-Transfer or wire transfer
Coinsquare: Best for Alternative Coins
Coinsquare is aimed at more savvy crypto investors looking for low fees, advanced trading options, and a wide variety of coins. You can trade more than ten currency types with Coinsquare, including selecting alternative coins not readily available elsewhere.
With Coinsquare QuickTrade, you can place instant trades between two coins. If one of the coins is BTC, the fee is .2% for a single conversion. If you’re trading two other coins, i.e., ETH to LTC, a double conversion is involved, and the fee is 4%. This is slightly higher than Bitbuy’s double-conversion fee of .30%.
Coinsquare offers 2FA security on transactions and 95% cold storage. According to their website, they also run multiple backups and distributions daily.
- Coins offered: BTC, BAB, BSV, ETH, LTC, DOGE, DASH, ETC, XRP, XLM
- Fund account with Interac e-Transfer ($20 min) or wire transfer ($10,000 min)
- CAD and USD currency
- Trading Fees (Bit Markets) 1% to 2%
- Trading Fees (QuickTrade) 2% to 4%
- Trade on the mobile app (iOS or Android)
Shakepay: Best for Small Purchases
Shakepay is crypto trading in its basic form, making it an ideal platform for beginners or novices who plan to make small purchases. In other words, if you want to dip your toes into crypto.
They only offer two coins – Bitcoin and Ethereum, and two ways to fund your account: Interac e-Transfer and wire transfer. E-Transfers are almost instant, so you can get trading within minutes of opening your account. There are no trading fees when you buy and sell bitcoin. Instead, Shakepay earns money on the spread by charging a slight premium over and above the market price.
A unique feature is the ability to earn free Bitcoin daily simply by shaking your mobile phone! Start at $.10 on Day 1 and watch your earnings increase the longer you keep the streak going.
- Coins offered: BTC, ETH
- CAD dollars
- No commission fees – revenue earned on the spread
- Fund account via e-Transfer (min $5) or wire transfer (min $5,000)
- Free transfers
- Shake the mobile app to earn free BTC
Netcoins: Limit orders
Netcoins make it easy for traders to place limit orders, allowing you to place trades at a predetermined price. Unlike some exchanges, you can transfer crypto into your account, in addition to fiat currency. Their platform is slick and easy to use, with one major drawback: the lack of a mobile app. This, along with a high trading fee of .50%, prevents Netcoins from being considered a top pick, but it remains a solid choice.
- Coins offered: BTC, ETH, XRP, QCAD, BCH, LTC, USDT
- Fund your account with CAD, USD, or cryptocurrency
- Trading fee .50%
- Funding options include: Interac e-Transfer, online bill payments, bank wires, credit card (limited coins)
- Free transfers, withdrawals
- Registered with FINTRAC
- Desktop trading only (no mobile app)
NDAX: Best for Expert Traders
NDAX is a Calgary-based crypto exchange that’s well-suited for expert traders. It features a meager trading fee of .20%, eleven different coins to buy and sell, and a robust trading platform. NDAX offers four ways to fund your account: Interac e-Transfer, wire transfer, bank draft, and certified cheque.
- Eleven coins offered
- A trading fee of .20%
- Funding options include: Interac e-Transfer, wire transfer, bank draft, certified cheque
- 95% to 98% cold storage
- Instant ID verification
- Mobile app available
Other Crypto Trading Platforms
The following crypto exchanges didn’t quite make the grade for different reasons, but several of them have some competitive features.
If you’re familiar with crypto trading platforms, you may be surprised that Binance didn’t rank higher on our list. It is, after all, the world’s largest crypto exchange, with more than 90 million users worldwide. The problem is that Binance doesn’t work all that well for Canadians. For starters, they are not authorized to operate in Ontario, Canada’s largest province, due to a dispute with the Ontario Securities Commission. There is an allegation that Binance falsely misled Ontario investors by leading them to believe they were allowed to continue operating in Ontario.
The other issue is that you can’t fund your Binance account using Canadian dollars. It adds layers of complexity, not to mention additional costs to fund your account.
This is not to say that Binance doesn’t have its strengths if you live outside Ontario and you can get around the fact that you can’t deposit Canadian fiat currency. They do allow you to trade more than 350 crypto assets, have low trading fees, and a Binance Visa card, making it easy to spend your crypto.
If you’re all in on Bitcoin, MOGO Crypto might be the right exchange for you. They offer a MOGO Visa Platinum Prepaid card that lets you earn 2% Bitcoin cash back on purchases. Imagine being able to earn Bitcoin when you shop for groceries or fill up your gas tank. The platform is easy to use, and you can fund it two ways; via an Interac e-Transfer or wire transfer. The downside to all of this is that their trading fee is very high at 1%.
Active traders can get a rebate of .50%, but you need to buy and sell $10,000 of Bitcoin per month to qualify. Still, if you can take advantage of the rewards program, it should help to offset the higher trading fee.
While we like the rewards capability that MOGO offers, we can’t recommend them as a top crypto trading platform since they only offer one coin (BTC).
Gemini is a New York-based crypto exchange that’s been around since 2014. In Canada, they offer more than 40 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Curve, Uniswap, etc. Crypto beginners will find their trading platform intuitive and easy to use, and they have ActiveTrader platforms for more experienced traders. Gemini also boasts a highly-rated mobile app.
The problem with Gemini is its high fees. You have two options for funding your account with Canadian dollars: wire transfer or debit card transfer. Wire transfers are free, but you’ll pay an arm and a leg for the wire transfer at your bank (up to $50 per transfer). So you’re left with your debit card. But the debit card fee is 3.49%.
When you add that to the 1.49% trading fee for amounts over $200, you’re paying a whopping 5%. That makes Wealthsimple’s fees seem low by comparison.
San Fransisco-based Coinbase is one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, with over 50 million customers. While they have an excellent trading platform and other unique features, I can’t recommend them as a crypto app for Canadians. Much like Gemini, their fees are simply too high: Deposits are close to 4%, and conversion fees are also high, at 2%.
The other problem with Coinbase in Canada is something I’ve touched on in the past – that is, they have an unreliable history in Canada. At one time, you couldn’t sell crypto on a Canadian Coinbase account; you had to move your crypto to a wallet and sell them on a different exchange.
And if you wanted to withdraw funds, you couldn’t move them from your Coinbase account into your bank account – you had to use PayPal as an intermediary.
If you live in the US, you likely have plenty of reasons to feel good about dealing with Coinbase, but not so much for those of us north of the border. For more information, check out our Coinbase review.
Coinberry is a Canadian crypto trading platform that has a chance of moving up our ranks. They offer low fees, including free deposits and withdrawals, and have some unique features that other Canadian crypto exchanges lack. For example, Coinberry Autopilot lets you set up automated crypto purchases to take advantage of dollar cost averaging with your crypto assets.
Regarding fees, they make money on the spread, where they charge between 0% and 2.5%. With approximately 200,000 users, they’re still a small player among cryptocurrency trading platforms, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that number grow substantially in the coming months and years ahead.
Crypto Exchange FAQs
What Is Cryptocurrency?
A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that exists across a decentralized network of computers. You can exchange it between parties without a centralized bank or government oversight, which is one of its greatest appeals. Many cryptocurrencies employ blockchain technology, which maintains the security and credibility of crypto transactions.
Cryptocurrency is not without its critics. This is partly because cryptocurrency lacks intrinsic value, and prices fluctuate wildly based purely on investor speculation. To date, the most common types of cryptocurrency are Bitcoin and Ethereum.
What Is a Centralized Exchange?
There are two types of cryptocurrency exchanges: centralized and decentralized. Centralized exchanges enhance the user experience by acting as a go-between for crypto buyers and sellers. For their service, they charge a small fee for each transaction. Traders dealing on centralized exchanges don’t mind paying the price because they appreciate the simplicity and ease of use.
What Is a Decentralized Exchange?
More experienced crypto traders may opt to trade using a decentralized exchange. The benefits include lower trading fees and a higher level of security, generally speaking. Early versions were used to order books, which kept a record of all open orders of a crypto asset.
More recent decentralized exchanges employ swaps, which execute trades instantly between investors’ crypto wallets. Liquidity pool protocols help to set the price of the asset.
What are the Top Features of a Crypto Exchange?
The best exchanges used to be measured by the number of coins they offered, but these days, most cryptocurrency platforms let you buy and sell dozens of coins. Low fees are an important feature. That includes deposit fees, trading fees, etc. Sophisticated traders look value advanced trading tools such as margin trading, futures trading, advanced research tools, etc. Of course, you only want to deal with a secure exchange, so security measures are a very important feature of top exchanges.
Can You Hold Crypto In a TFSA?
You cannot directly hold cryptocurrencies in a TFSA account. The reason is that the government does not recognize crypto as a qualified investment, like a stock or bond. You can purchase crypto-based ETFs and hold those inside a TFSA account. Check our guides to Bitcoin ETFs and Ethereum ETFs for more information.
Is Binance Good for Canadians?
This is a question that often comes up. I have no issues with Binance as a global exchange, it just doesn’t work all that well for Canadians. If you’re a Canadian crypto trader, you should be able to make bank transfers (Interac e-Transfers) to and from your Canadian dollar bank account. The fact that Binance does not allow that makes it a non-starter for me. Also, the fact that it’s unavailable in Canada’s largest province doesn’t instill confidence in the platform.
Which Crypto Is Best for Long-Term Investing?
The short answer is – all of them. In other words, all digital currencies are speculative in nature, and their returns are highly volatile. So no cryptocurrency should ever be purchased with a short-term mindset. As we have witnessed so far in 2022, the prices of Bitcoin and other currencies can fall sharply in a short period, and you could lose your entire investment. So, anytime you purchase crypto, only do so with money you can afford to lose and keep a long-term mindset.
Is Cryptocurrency Taxed in Canada?
Cryptocurrency is treated much like a stock in Canada, and the CRA works closely with Canada’s cryptocurrency exchanges to ensure that cryptocurrency transactions are reported for income tax purposes. You aren’t taxed when depositing funds into your crypto account or purchasing crypto. However, when you dispose of cryptocurrency, you will be treated like a capital gain (or loss) by the CRA and taxed accordingly. This article has more information on cryptocurrencies and income tax in Canada.
Is Canada Crypto-Friendly?
Canada can be considered a crypto-friendly country. In addition to more than 1000 Bitcoin ATMs across the country, there are several leading Canadian crypto platforms where you can buy and sell Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Best Crypto Exchange In Canada: The Bottom Line
When reviewing the best crypto exchanges in Canada, I must admit; it’s not easy coming up with a number one pick. There are many exchanges to choose from, and each of them adds features and improves functionality all the time.
In selecting Bitbuy as our top choice, we went with the crypto exchange that I believe appeals to the broadest group of crypto traders. Unlike some of the competition, the Bitbuy platform is suitable for beginners and pros alike; it’s established and reputable (that’s important in the crypto world), and it delivers the goods at very low fees, even if they’re not the lowest out there.
Hi Tom! Which one of these exchange is decentralized. Has to be Canada! Thank you