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Bitvo vs. Coinbase: What Works Better For Canadians in 2024

Oleg Galeev

Last updated May 25, 2024

WonderFi and Bitbuy, its parent company, took over all Bitvo client accounts in 2023. This means Bitvo is now part of Bitbuy and isn't taking new sign-ups. If you're interested, sign up at Bitbuy instead. By using our referral link to sign up and depositing $250 in your account, you can receive a bonus of $50. Please note that the comparison provided below is now outdated and is preserved solely for educational and historical reference.

In this comparison, we evaluate Bitvo and Coinbase, two prominent cryptocurrency exchanges in 2024, particularly from a Canadian perspective. While both platforms facilitate crypto transactions, notable differences exist in terms of fee structures, user experiences, and customer support, among other aspects.

Description

Bitvo is a cryptocurrency exchange that offers simple trading for Canadians. It's fully compliant in Canada and also has a crypto cash card that can be used for everyday purchases.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase Canada is a cryptocurrency exchange with a simple interface making it a popular choice for Canadians looking to start their crypto journey. However, more Canadians are starting using local exchanges e.g. Bitbuy. Coinbase has 56 million users and became the first cryptocurrency exchange to have an Initial Public Offering.

Coins

You can purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin and more.

50+ including BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC

Fees

The only fee you will pay is a 1% withdrawal fee

Extremely High
3.99% buy fee
0.50% fee per trade

Pros

  • No deposit fees
  • No trading fees
  • Low withdrawal fee
  • Beginner and advanced trading available
  • Bitvo Cash Card available
  • 24/7 customer support (including phone support)
  • Simple and easy interface
  • Good for beginners
  • Secure exchange with cold storage
  • The most popular coins offered
  • Users can set up automatic recurring buys
  • Learn to earn crypto program

Cons

  • 1% CAD withdrawal fee
  • Limited number of coins available
  • Only for Canadians
  • High spreads
  • High fees
  • Fewer coins than Binance
  • Complaints of bad customer support
  • No Interac e-Transfer

Account Limits

A few withdrawal limits & deposit limit that could be found here

High limit. Purchase limit depends on account age and other factors

Methods to buy

  • Interac® e-Transfer
  • Wire
  • Canada Post Load

Debit card

Security

  •  It holds 95% of assets in cold storage
  • 5% in hot storage
  • A multi-layered firewall infrastructure to protect the exchange

2FA, coins held in cold storage with multi-signature wallets, KYC verification process

Mobile and Desktop Trading

Bitvo and Coinbase offer intuitive desktop and mobile applications to streamline crypto trading. Bitvo's app maintains simplicity with clean navigation but has lower ratings (3 stars on iOS and no rating on Android) due to some users reporting bugs. Conversely, Coinbase's app, known for user-friendliness, has higher ratings (4.6 on iOS and 4.1 on Android). Both platforms' desktop versions are praised for their simplicity, although Bitvo has been recognized for its clutter-free, ad-free, and beginner-friendly interface.

Bitvo

Bitvo’s mobile app does not have many ratings. Its iOS app has a three-star rating with 21 reviews and its Android app has a 3.1-star rating with 19 reviews. Some of the reviewers claim the apps are buggy and that the experience on their desktop exchange is better.

Bitvo desktop app main screen

Bitvo desktop app main screen

Bitvo desktop (trading view)

Bitvo desktop (trading view)

Bitvo mobile app

Bitvo mobile app

Bitvo app main screen

Bitvo app (main screen)

Coinbase

Coinbase app offers a clean white background with simple text. It's user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Coinbases’s app is almost identical to its desktop platform making it easy to trade crypto wherever you are. Safely store your debit card information and you can buy and sell top cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether in just a few clicks. On the Apple App Store, Coinbase has a 4.7-star rating with 1.3 million ratings. On Google Play it has a 4.3-star rating with 453,000 ratings.

Reviewing Coinbase desktop version

Coinbase desktop interface

Coinbase main screen with features

Coinbase portfolio

Coinbase mobile app

Coinbase app interface

Made an order with Coinbase app

Coinbase app interface while trading

Security Compliance

It is standard practice to hold most digital assets in third-party cold storage and Bitvo is no exception. It holds 95% of assets in cold storage and 5% in hot storage.

Customers’ fiat funds are held in segregated bank accounts and they also have multi-layered firewall infrastructure to protect the exchange. They also have a third-party that screens any cryptocurrencies looking to be listed on Bitvo. They analyze the coin’s history as well as other factors and don’t list anything that doesn’t align with their policies. This scrutiny helps to protect their customers from investing in scam coins.

Coinbase uses its own digital wallet for storing your cryptocurrency.

Coinbase keeps 98% of its cryptocurrency in cold storage. This makes it hard for thieves to steal crypto assets if the exchange is hacked. Cold storage is the most secure way to store cryptocurrency, so the fact that Coinbase does this is a huge plus.

Both exchanges prioritize user security. Bitvo keeps 95%-100% of digital assets in third-party cold storage, uses multi-layered firewall infrastructure, and scrutinizes any cryptocurrency it lists. Coinbase, too, safeguards 98% of assets in cold storage, encrypts wallets and private keys, and mandates two-factor authentication. Though both platforms are secure, Coinbase's larger scale and public company status necessitate a higher degree of regulatory compliance and transparency.

Regulatory Compliance

Bitvo is registered with FINTRAC and is compliant with Canadian regulations.

Coinbase is a US-based cryptocurrency exchange, however, no restrictions for Canadians. Canadian residents can use Coinbase to their full capacity.

Bitvo is registered as a Money Service Business in Canada, abiding by FINTRAC regulations. Coinbase, a U.S. company, is also registered as a Money Services Business, but with FinCEN. Both are therefore compliant with federal regulations. However, Bitvo, being a Canadian platform, may align better with local rules and banking systems.

Customer support

Bitvo has 24/7 support including live chat, email, and phone support. Bitvo is the first cryptocurrency exchange we’ve reviewed that has a phone support option, so this is a big plus when you need urgent help.

Coinbase customer support is very slow. It took them 4 days to address our request to a real person. Even though they offer 24/7 support and a live chat option, the quality of the support is bad due to a very high volume.

Bitvo offers 24/7 customer support, including phone support, which is quite unique in the crypto space. On the other hand, Coinbase has received numerous complaints regarding customer service, even though it has recently implemented 24/7 phone support. Bitvo's customer-first approach is evident in its promises for same-day processing and customer satisfaction guarantees.

Conclusion

While both Bitvo and Coinbase are credible exchanges, Bitvo stands out as the preferred choice for Canadians in 2024. It aligns well with local banking systems, offers exceptional customer support, and guarantees user satisfaction. Moreover, its competitive fee structure and user-friendly platform make it an excellent choice for beginners and seasoned traders alike.

We recommend choosing Bitvo over Coinbase for your cryptocurrency trading needs. By opting for Bitvo through our referral link, you support us in conducting comprehensive independent analyses of crypto trading options for Canadians.

If you find that neither Bitvo nor Coinbase meets your requirements, we encourage you to explore our monthly-updated list of the best exchanges for Canadians to trade crypto. This list provides a range of alternative options that may better suit your specific needs and preferences.

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.