The Best Crypto Exchanges in Canada

“What exchange should I go with…? What is the best cryptocurrency exchange in Canada?”

You might be wondering what are the differences between all the exchanges in Canada and most importantly, which one fits your needs the best.

Don’t worry, we’ll list the best exchanges and give you a brief summary with the key information for you to make your decision!

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We Compared 6 Canadian Crypto Exchanges

Rank Exchange Rating Cryptocurrencies Deposit Fees Withdrawal Fees Best For Website
1
BTC, ETH , LTC, +3 more 0.5% - 1.5% 1.5% Beginners Visit Site
2
BTC, ETH, LTC, +3 more 0% 0% Beginners and Fee Haters Visit Site
3
ndax logo black
BTC, ETH, LTC, +7 more 0% Fees Vary Desktop users concerned about security Visit Site
4
BTC, ETH, LTC, +3 more 1.5% (0% on deposits over $2000 Fees Vary Support lovers Visit Site
5
mybtc.ca_logo
BTC 4.5% - 9.5% 0% Those interested in BTC only Visit Site
6
BTC, ETH 0% 0% Mobile users Visit Site
1

Bitbuy is perhaps one of the best exchanges to use in Canada. Their platform is extremely solid and easy to use for any investor – a big reason is because Bitbuy’s customer service is well done. They usually respond to tickets within 12 hours and you can also reach them by phone line or live support.

In regards to trading spreads, they also have one of the tightest margins when compared to other Canadian exchanges and only take a 0.1% fee on trades.

Bitbuy is also heavily focused on the security aspect and stores a majority of 95% of crypto assets in cold offline storage. They are also transparent about not pulling any shady manipulations as they are 1:1 backed by Knox Custody so you know every Bitcoin on the exchange is backed by a real Bitcoin.

Even the best exchanges have a downside and the cons for Bitbuy is that they don’t offer many coins to trade with. A total of 7 is good if you’re only interested in those. Bitbuy’s deposit fees are also a little higher than average Canadian exchange rates at 1.5% deposit fees. But other than those, Bitbuy is a solid choice for Canadian investors.

This exchange was founded in 2013 and has continually grown because of the great customer support system they have implemented and the security aspect to keep investors safe.

Read our full Bitbuy review.

  • Rating:
  • Best For:
    Beginners
  • Country:
    Canada
  • Currency:
    CAD
  • Deposit Fees:
    0.5% - 1.5%
  • Withdrawal Fees:
    1.5%
  • Trading Fees:
  • Available Cryptocurrency:
    BTC, ETH , LTC, +3 more
  • Pros
    Fast deposits and withdrawals, good rates, and strong security features
  • Cons
    Only supports major cryptocurrencies
  • Visit Website

Being quite a new exchange, launched in 2017 Coinberry is quite innovative in how they differentiate themselves from the competition. They have 0% fees on deposit and 0% fees on withdrawal – including network fees. So you don’t have to pay any of the fees required by the Bitcoin protocol or Ethereum protocol for example.

In regards to security Coinberry also stores the majority of user funds in offline cold storage but they also have 3rd party audits regularly to keep their systems and protocols updated.

For Coinberry’s customer service, you can call them up and talk to a live agent if you have any problems, or email their support team or social media accounts. It’s good to have many avenues of support as Coinberry will be able to support you in any way.

Conberry’s mobile app is also simple to use in place of the desktop website version.

The cons of Coinberry is the range of 6 cryptocurrencies listed available to trade. They also take a high 0.5% fee per trade but it’s understandable as that is the only way Coinberry generates revenue as the other ways are all free for users.

Overall Coinberry is a great exchange for users as 0 withdrawal fees are extremely attractive.

Read our full Coinberry review.

  • Rating:
  • Best For:
    Beginners and Fee Haters
  • Country:
    Canada
  • Currency:
    CAD
  • Deposit Fees:
    0%
  • Withdrawal Fees:
    0%
  • Trading Fees:
  • Available Cryptocurrency:
    BTC, ETH, LTC, +3 more
  • Pros
    No Fees, fast purchases, FINTRAC registered and PIPEDA compliant
  • Cons
    Limited cryptocurrencies, spreads can be high
  • Visit Website
3

National Digital Asset Exchange is a Calgary based exchange who focuses tightly on security. They store up to a staggering 98% of user funds in an offline wallet to minimize any loss potential.

NDAX have also implemented multiple data servers in order to have backups in case if any one gets compromised – their data would be safe and NDAX can avoid minimal downtime for their users.

In terms of customer service, NDAX does have a live support phone line at 1-833-727-6329 and a support email/ticket system for anyone to use. So when it comes to customer support NDAX is great to be on.

The cons of NDAX falls on the limited amount of cryptocurrencies they offer – 10 are currently listed on their exchange. The fees of NDAX are also a little higher compared to other exchanges but you could see it as paying a premium for security.

When it comes to the mobile version of NDAX, it is also not available so you’ll always need to be on your computer when using NDAX.

NDAX is a decent overall Canadian exchange with a sleek interface which is easy to interact with. A good exchange to use if security is something you value.

Read our full NDAX review.

  • Rating:
  • Best For:
    Desktop users concerned about security
  • Country:
    Canada
  • Currency:
    CAD
  • Deposit Fees:
    0%
  • Withdrawal Fees:
    Fees Vary
  • Trading Fees:
  • Available Cryptocurrency:
    BTC, ETH, LTC, +7 more
  • Visit Website

Coinsmart is a newer exchange, being founded in 2018. Their mission is to make cryptocurrency investing as simple as possible for everyone.

Have they that achieved that goal?

They do have excellent customer support with a live phone line at 855-390-2646, support email and FAQ section.

Their ‘Smart Guarantee’ policy assures users that when you deposit, your funds will be available within 1 business day.

But when it comes to fees, they are on the higher side when compared to the other Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. And the fees are larger when you don’t involve bitcoin in the trades.

Overall, Coinsmart is a decent exchange to trade on.

Read our full Coinsmart review here.

  • Rating:
  • Best For:
    Support lovers
  • Country:
    Canada
  • Currency:
    CAD
  • Deposit Fees:
    1.5% (0% on deposits over $2000
  • Withdrawal Fees:
    Fees Vary
  • Trading Fees:
  • Available Cryptocurrency:
    BTC, ETH, LTC, +3 more
  • Pros
    Excellent customer support
  • Cons
    Fees can be high
  • Visit Website
5

MyBTC is a unique exchange in that it only offers bitcoin – and it instantly sends your bitcoin into your wallet when you buy from their exchange. They don’t store your funds at all.

But despite the website looking like a bargain page, MyBTC does have a live phone line at 647-875-6717 for you to reach if you want to speak to a live agent.

And because they send you the bitcoin as soon as your deposit clears, you’re actually not exposed to much risk in terms of the exchange being hacked as you’ll have no liabilities on the exchange.

The only downside to MyBTC is that their fees are almost 7x higher than other exchanges when you buy. And in our opinion, you could withdraw instantly on other exchanges to accomplish the same task as MyBTC but with a much lower fee.

Read our full MyBTC review here.

  • Rating:
  • Best For:
    Those interested in BTC only
  • Country:
    Canada
  • Currency:
    CAD
  • Deposit Fees:
    4.5% - 9.5%
  • Withdrawal Fees:
    0%
  • Trading Fees:
  • Available Cryptocurrency:
    BTC
  • Pros
    Easy way to buy bitcoin, simple fees, fast purchases
  • Cons
    Only supports BTC, no trading options
  • Visit Website

This unique exchange was launched in 2015 and their special selling point is the lack of all fees. Zero for trading, deposits and withdrawals.

You don’t have to pay a single cent in the traditional way. But how do they make money? Well they do it simply through spreads. This means bitcoin and Ethereum (The two cryptocurrencies they offer) are slightly higher in price compared to the average market price. The difference in price is what they take to generate revenue.

Shakepay also has a mobile app for you to use if you want more convenience.

The only downside to Shakepay is the diversity in coins. Only two coins are listed so you’d quickly need to use other exchanges if you’re interested in more. But overall, Shakepay is a great exchange as they are transparent with their spread fees and their zero fee policy.

Read our full Shakepay review here.

  • Rating:
  • Best For:
    Mobile users
  • Country:
    Canada
  • Currency:
    CAD
  • Deposit Fees:
    0%
  • Withdrawal Fees:
    0%
  • Trading Fees:
  • Available Cryptocurrency:
    BTC, ETH
  • Pros
    No Fees, fast purchases, great security
  • Cons
    Only BTC and ETH. Higher spreads
  • Visit Website

What to look for in an exchange

Reputation (Security)

Reputation and Security is perhaps one of most, if not the most important metric to look at when evaluating if an exchange is safe to use. As there have been many hacks over the years with exchanges, it’s super important to know what kind of security measures the exchanges use to protect users and their funds.

As a general rule in 2021, if you’re interacting with an exchange, you want to at least make sure they have cold offline storage. What this means is they store the majority of user funds in an offline storage where it’s not exposed to the internet and makes it hard for hackers to get in.

So if an exchange does not have offline storage then we would recommend you to stay away as every second you are on the exchange, you’re being exposed to potential hacks – and remember you will never know when it happens.

Currently the king of security for exchanges is Gemini Exchange – co-founded by the Winklevoss Brothers. They tackle every aspect of security from hackers to inside exploitations to even not giving power to the founders themselves. On the other hand, exchanges you want to avoid are exchanges with no cold storage, anonymous team, bad online reviews and if you type their name on google, general sentiment for the exchange comes up as ‘scams’.

Other risks concerning exchanges are the team themselves. They could one day stop withdrawals on your crypto assets when they want. This has happened multiple times starting with the infamous exchange Mt. Gox and most recently OKEx – a well ‘reputable’ exchange nonetheless. Although fortunately OKEx did enable withdrawals again after a month of silence.

What we at Coin Companion look for:

We look for at least Cold Storage for User funds, 2FA and KYC. This is the bare minimum of security an exchange should have in 2021.

Trading Fees

The next metric to evaluate are the trading fees. You don’t want to pay staggering amounts every time you make a simple trade. Some exchanges have fees so high it feels like a robbery and you wan’t to avoid those exchanges at all costs – Unless they offer air-tight security or other benefits to make up for the high fees.

Fees also comes in different forms and it’s not always as simple as a trade fee. Exchanges often like to hide fees in numerous areas to make it seem like fees are low but in fact if you add it all together it might surprise you.

Common areas to hide fees are deposits, withdrawals and spreads. Withdrawals are easy to include a big fee as most users don’t check the withdrawal fees until they already have cryptocurrencies on the exchange. When you withdraw, you’ll need to pay the base network fee of the crypto but exchanges like to add their fee on top of that.

The other money sucking place is spreads where the price you buy a coin is higher than average. For eg, if BTC trades for $20k on most exchanges, and your exchange trades for $21k… then they are likely hiding a massive fee inside the spreads.

Some exchanges also offer trading fee tiers to entice users to come on to their platform. The way this works is the more volume you trade in 30 days, the lower your fees are. This is great if you do large amounts of trades.

What we at Coin Companion look for:

We look for a combination of fees that come from deposit, withdrawal, trading and spreads and evaluate if those fees make sense for what the exchange offers.

Payment methods

The most common ways of paying and buying crypto nowadays through a Canadian exchange is using Interac e-transfer. It offers the fastest deposit deposit and more often than not, zero fees associated with the method.

Should you need to deposit a large sum of money at once, oftentimes exchanges will offer a Bank Wire method for you to use.

What we at Coin Companion look for:

The exchange needs to have Interac e-transfer as a payment method as that is the cheapest and faster method in 2021.

Verification Process

In 2021, performing Know Your Customer is the norm. Regulations are tightening up on the industry as a whole so if an exchange does not do KYC, then it is a bit risky to use them.

A good KYC process should not take days and days for you to be verified and finally deposit and withdraw.

Some exchanges allow unverified users to deposit and even trade but if you want to withdraw, then you’d need to be verified to do so.

Another system which some exchanges use is a tier system. If you’re unverified, you can potentially deposit and that’s it. Then they would have Tier 1 verification where you only need to submit a light document. And this would open you up to all the other functions of the exchange, but you’ll have daily deposit and withdrawal limits.

At Tier 2, you’ll need to provide more documents and then the exchange will increase your daily limits.

What we at Coin Companion look for:

We look for a fast verification process which does not force users to wait a long time and be too hassled with the documents.

Geographical Restrictions

There are many exchanges which operate globally and there are also exchanges which operate solely in Canada. There are certain advantages when going with a Canadian only exchange compared to a global one.

Canadian only exchanges allow for the cryptocurrencies listed to be paired with CAD directly. This means you don’t need to do conversions of CAD to USD when buying cryptocurrencies and that makes taxes easier to calculate.

It might also be easier to deposit and withdrawal from a Canadian only exchange as are native to the Canadian banking system.

On the other hand, global exchanges can offer more features, security, and coins to buy.

What we at Coin Companion look for:

For ease of use for Canadian cryptocurrency investors, we generally recommend one of the Canadian exchanges such as Bitbuy as they are quite competitive with the global exchanges but are native to Canada.

Exchange Rates

We touched on spreads a little bit in the Fee section but let’s dive a little more into the spreads that we like to look for.

As you know, different exchanges will have different prices of cryptocurrencies. The buy price may be higher and the sell price may be lower. Exchanges do this so they can make profit in addition to the trading fees or lack thereof.

What we at Coin Companion look for:

We generally like to look for exchanges with low and competitive spreads to the general price consensus of the market – but there are exchanges where higher spreads are justified. If they charge no fees in trading, deposits and withdrawals then higher spreads are the only source of income for their service.

Understanding the Types of crypto exchanges

Centralised

Centralised Exchange or CEX refers to all the exchanges run by companies. Binance, Huobi, Gemini are all examples of those. With these exchanges, you are required to provide documents to verify your identity before being allowed to use them.

You’re also trusting that the exchange won’t run away with your crypto as the popular saying goes ‘not your keys, not your crypto“. Exchanges are the best way currently to change fiat into cryptocurrencies.

Decentralised

On the rise lately have been Decentralised exchanges or DEXes. The most popular is Uniswap but there are other ones as well. These exchanges are not run by any companies so you don’t store any funds on them. They are essentially smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain and you use these DEXes by calling the functions of the contracts.

You just need to connect it to your Metamask account and it will immediately do your trade.

The difference between CEXes and DEXes aside from centralization and lack thereof is the way trade happens.

On CEXes, you may have noticed an orderbook where you’ll have a list of people wanting to buy Token A at a price and a list of people wanting to sell. Then where there is a price agreement, a trade is made.

However, on DEXes, this is not the case. They don’t have a list of people at all. DEXes use a formula known as Automated Market Making or AMM. We won’t get too into the details as it’s just complicated but just know that DEXes will automatically adjust the price based on exact supply and demand and that can instantly execute your transaction.

Trading platforms

Trading platforms focus on derivatives such as futures trading, leverages or even options. Some of these platforms are Derebit and Bybit.

You’re able to use leverage to long or short bitcoin on these platforms. We don’t recommend you use these platforms unless you’re an experienced trader.

Direct trading

Direct Trading or Over The Counter (OTC) refers to buying and selling cryptocurrencies off the market order books.

Two parties will come together and agree on a set price for a bulk of bitcoins. This is done because if a party is buying millions dollars worth of bitcoin, they don’t want to drive up the price. And Vice versa for the sellers.

The big reputable exchanges such as Coinbase or Binance offer OTC trading.

Brokers

Brokers refer to traditional stock broking companies who are offering cryptocurrencies now. The likes of CMC Markets. These companies are heavily regulated because they are already involved in stock trading.