How We Compared Best Crypto Exchanges For Canadians: My Methodology

Canadian woman is looking for the best Canadian crypto exchange Canada

To fully assess the Canadian crypto exchanges outlined in this article I took into consideration several key metrics as noted below. The trading fees mentioned apply to the lowest trading volume. When choosing a cryptocurrency exchange in Canada, it’s important to consider a variety of factors like deposit methods, ease of use, coin selection, fees, app rating, security customer support, and reputation overall.

Basic trading features

Basic features of a cryptocurrency exchange include how many cryptocurrencies available to trade, deposit and withdrawal methods (plus applicable fees), verification and KYC process (for Canadians), liquidity, and general usability. 

Pro trading features

Pro trading features include different order types such as stop and limit orders, charts, order book data and other metrics any experienced trader might need. 

Compliance with Canadian laws

We checked to ensure the crypto exchange is registered with FINTRAC and if they have a robust verification process including a financial questionnaire, which is required by Canadian regulators. 

Trading Fees

We looked at the cost of buying and selling crypto on each exchange. We bought $100 worth of bitcoin on each crypto exchange to see how much we lost to fees. 

Security and safety

We evaluated security and safety by checking how the exchange stores its digital assets in Canada. A minimum of 95% of assets stored in cold storage is required. Some exchanges used third-party custodial services such as Coinbase Custody, which is also sufficient. 

We also checked if the exchange has insurance coverage, if they comply with Canadian regulations, and if they have security measures such as wallet whitelisting, two-factor authentication, email notifications, and any other security features for users.

Security is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange. You’ll want to find a cryptocurrency exchange that utilizes a cold storage system, which means to store coins offline and therefore less likely to be stolen by hackers.

Some of the best Canadian exchanges will be insured for losses. For example, Wealthsimple’s coins are held by Gemini Trust Conmpany LLC™ with $200M in insurance coverage.

The safest exchanges for Canadians will require you to go through a Know Your Customer (KYC) verification process when signing up. If the exchange requires you to submit identity documents then you know they are fully compliant and take money laundering and fraud seriously. These verification steps ensure your privacy and security. 

Staking opportunities

Staking opportunities are not always available so we checked to see what opportunities there were for users to earn on their crypto holdings.

Crypto credit cards 

Crypto credit cards are a great option to get additional cashback in crypto (usually Bitcoin). There are many crypto credit cards available but not all are available in Canada

Margin trading

Margin trading is not always available to Canadians due to regulations, so we checked to see if they were.  

Spot (pair) Trading

There are many cryptocurrency pairs available but not every Canadian exchange has every pair. The more pairs an exchange has the more options a user has for trading. 

OTC desk

An OTC desk is the best way for investors to buy or sell large amounts of cryptocurrency but not every crypto exchange offers these services. I took into consideration if a Canadian crypto platform has an OTC desk or not.

Deposit methods for Canadians

Newton mobile app interface

When picking a cryptocurrency exchange in Canada to buy digital assets, you want to make sure that they offer a few deposit methods and accept CAD. Depositing Canadian dollars quickly and cheaply is key for Canadian investors. Interac e-Transfer is the deposit method we looked for the most since it is the cheapest and fastest deposit method for Canadians. 

Global popular crypto exchanges such as Coinbase and Binance may offer the ability to purchase crypto with your Canadian debit or credit card, however, this will often come with a hefty exchange rate fee. You can therefore bypass this and get your crypto as cheaply as possible by using a Canadian-based cryptocurrency exchange that allows Interac e-Transfers.  

Coin selection

Coinberry desktop interface

There are thousands of cryptocurrencies but few Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges that list more than 100 of them for trading. I checked to see if exchanges offered the most popular coins as well as less popular altcoins. 

Perhaps you’re only interested in trading Bitcoin and Etheruem. After all, these two coins hit the headlines the most. However, if you’re looking to trade altcoins, perhaps for short-term profits and day trading, then you’ll need to find a Canadian crypto trading exchange that offers more than just Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Educational Materials

Not everyone who invests in crypto is well-versed in the technology and terminology so educational articles are extremely useful. We checked to see if the crypto exchange had educational information available to its Canadian users.

Spreads

Spreads are how crypto exchanges make money. A spread is the difference between the price of a crypto bought and sold whereby the exchange keeps the difference. We bought $100 worth of bitcoin on each exchange and by subtracting the trading fees we were able to determine the spread of each trade. The higher the spread the more costly the trade. 

Ease of use

Bitbuy's Pro trade

It’s important to find a cryptocurrency exchange that makes the process of trading crypto as easy and intuitive as possible. Some reputable exchanges have advanced interfaces with charts and order books that might be suitable for seasoned investors, but anybody new to crypto might find those tools overwhelming. A simple cryptocurrency exchange platform that is beginner-friendly will give you confidence that you’re making the right moves. 

Fees

Bitbuy fees summary

There are several types of fees to consider when choosing a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange. Some popular crypto exchanges offer free fiat deposits and withdrawals and others don’t.

On top of that, you’ll need to pay transaction fees when you buy crypto with fiat, buy crypto with another crypto, or sell crypto for fiat.

You’ll also be charged a fee when you withdraw crypto off the exchange to a wallet. These fees cover the mining costs which include validating your transaction and adding it to the blockchain. 

Popular cryptocurrency exchanges will also take a commission from trades, which means they will incentivize you with lower fees the more frequent and higher your trades are. Most top crypto exchanges in Canada will have a full list of their fees on their website. 

App Rating

A cryptocurrency exchange that has its own app may or may not be important to you. If it is, you’ll want to find one that has a simple interface that makes trading on the go a breeze.

Be sure to read reviews of the app and make sure that the exchange has released multiple versions - it means they continuously fix bugs and keep it up to date. We did not pick crypto exchanges that have rating lower than 2.

The last thing you want is an app that is at risk for a security breach. Watch out for crypto exchanges that only have an app for iPhones or Androids but not both. Make sure you sign up for an exchange that has an app compatible with your phone. 

Customer support

Good customer service is imperative when it comes to the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms. Some Canadian exchanges will only offer email support, while other will offers support via phone, email, live chat and social media.

Things can go wrong when trading crypto. You could be locked out of your account, or a deposit might not clear, or your verification process might have failed. Whatever happens, you’ll want peace of mind knowing you’re with an exchange that takes their customers’ technical issues seriously.

We tried to contact over 30 crypto exchanges available in Canada to figure out which of them really offer 24/7 support and reply fast.

Reputation

If they’ve been around long enough, most cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada will have customer reviews. We compared customer reviews on Trustpilot, Reddit and get a feel for what these crypto trading platforms are good at and what their customers like and dislike about them.

If an exchange has more bad reviews than good ones, then it’s probably best to stay away. Ask people in local communities on Facebook or Reddit.

What’s the best way to buy crypto in Canada?

There are a few different ways to buy crypto in Canada, and the best method for you will depend on your needs and preferences. If you're looking for the simplest and easiest way to get started with buying crypto, then using a Canadian crypto exchange like Coinsmart is probably your best bet. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which method is best for you. If you want to know more ways, check our big article on how to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Canada.

How Crypto Exchanges Are Regulated In Canada?

While cryptocurrency laws and regulations are still being ironed out, Canada has acknowledged its growing use and has published official guidance for clarity. For example, you must disclose certain cryptocurrency transactions in your tax returns. In Canada, cryptocurrencies are regulated under securities laws and they are not considered legal tender.

Which crypto exchange has the lowest fees in Canada?

There are a few different crypto exchanges that are popular in Canada, and each one has its own fee structure. Some exchanges charge higher fees for certain trades, while others have lower overall fees. You might think that Shakepay or Newton have the lowest trading fees in Canada because they are advertised as "no-fee exchanges". In fact, you pay high spreads on your crypto trading activities. After careful research, our team found out that Coinsmart is the lowest trading fee cryptocurrency app in Canada with only %0.2 trading fees and free deposits over $2000

What’s the best altcoin exchange in Canada?

The most reputable exchanges with the biggest selection of altcoins for Canadians are Uphold (offering over 50 altcoins) and Newton (offering over 40 altcoins). 

Conclusion

Not all cryptocurrency exchanges are perfect, but if you keep these factors in mind, you’ll be able to find one that suits your wants and needs.

Author

Oleg is a Canadian citizen & crypto expert who has been trading since 2016. He started out with Coinbase, Kraken and Peer-to-Peer exchanges. After some time, centralized exchanges started charging crazy fees to their users.

He decided to review different crypto exchanges that operate in Canada and start a Youtube channel in order to educate Canadians on what kinds of things are going inside each one while giving them unbiased advice. On top of that, Oleg also has experience with NFT, airdrops, and crypto staking and he is constantly checking on new crypto assets.

His writing has been featured in popular Canadian media sources such as Toronto Sun and Ottawa Citizen.