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Bitvo vs. Kraken: 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 Please note that the comparison provided below is now outdated and is preserved solely for educational and historical reference.

Bitvo and Kraken are two prominent cryptocurrency exchanges that provide platforms for buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrencies. While both offer a variety of cryptocurrencies and features, there are noticeable differences in their fee structures, accessibility in regions like Ontario, Canada, and the services offered.

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.

Kraken is a Canada-friendly, but US-based crypto exchange that has been operating since 2013. Kraken has a strong reputation due its security and compliance with US regulations. Kraken aims to accelerate mass adoption of cryptocurrency and offers a wide range of coins.

Coins

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

90+

Fees

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

  • nstant buy incurs a 1.5% fee (0.9% for stablecoins) plus: 
  • 3.75% and€0.25 card processing fee or,
  • 3.75% + €0.25 digital wallet processing fee or,
  • 0.5% online bank transfer fee

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)
  • Wide range of coins
  • High fees when not using Pro
  • Good for beginners
  • Free CAD deposits
  • Advanced tools with the Pro platform
  • Staking

Cons

  • 1% CAD withdrawal fee
  • Limited number of coins available
  • Only for Canadians
  • High spreads
  • No Interac e-Transfer
  • Deposits can take 1-5 business days
  • Extremely high trading fees
  • Tend to freeze accounts for no apparent reasons
  • Slow support

Account Limits

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

Low

Methods to buy

  • Interac® e-Transfer
  • Wire
  • Canada Post Load
  • Wire transfer
  • Debit card

Security

  •  It holds 95% of assets in cold storage
  • 5% in hot storage
  • A multi-layered firewall infrastructure to protect the exchange
  • 95% of coins held in cold storage
  • Servers monitored 24/7 by armed guards
  • 2FA available
  • Confirm withdrawals via email
  • Fully Audited

Mobile and Desktop Trading

Bitvo provides a fully optimized trading platform for both mobile and desktop users, with a  3,0-star rating on the App Store. On the other hand, Kraken offers two mobile applications: Kraken and Kraken Pro. Both applications are highly rated with Kraken scoring a 4.2-star rating on Google Play and a 4.7-star rating on the App Store, and Kraken Pro equally high. For desktop users, both exchanges offer user-friendly interfaces equipped with advanced charting tools and order types.

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)

Kraken

Kraken's app is well-designed and offers tools for both beginners as well as advanced tools for more experienced traders.

Kraken has an “Instant Buy” option, where users can purchase crypto in seconds with their card or from funds in their fiat wallet. Instant Buy, while convenient, incurs high fees. There is a standard purchase fee plus an additional fee depending on the method of payment. Still, the Instant Buy option is suitable for beginners and is easy to navigate.

Kraken Pro has more reasonable fees based on the maker/taker method. However, the interface could be confusing for beginners. It shows advanced charting and offers more trading tools and order types.

Kraken’s mobile app has a 4.5-star rating from 3000+ reviews on the Apple App Store and a 2.2-star rating from over 13,000 reviews on Google Play. A lot of users say the app has trouble loading, certain funding or purchase options are unavailable and it is generally not user-friendly.

Kraken desktop interface

Kraken desktop interface

Kraken Pro screenshot

Kraken Pro Trading view

Kraken app interface #1

Kraken app interface

Kraken app interface #2

Kraken 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.

Kraken keeps 95% of users’ funds in cold storage. All account information is encrypted, their servers are locked in cages under 24/7 surveillance by armed guards. 

To help secure your Kraken account you can use two-factor authentication. You will receive an email notifying you of any withdrawal, and there is an account timeout for added protection.

Bitvo ensures the safety of its users' assets by keeping the majority of them offline in cold storage, similar to Kraken, which keeps over 95% of digital assets in cold storage. Bitvo's additional layer of security includes a 2FA feature, and all withdrawals are manually reviewed and approved. Kraken also offers a two-factor authentication, email notifications for any withdrawals, an account timeout, and an account lock feature.

Regulatory Compliance

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

Kraken is fully compliant with US regulations. The exchange is independently audited to show that customers’ funds are properly held. Canadians can use the platform as well.

Bitvo is fully compliant with Canadian federal laws, registered as a Money Services Business (MSB) with FINTRAC, and is regulated as per the standards set by FINTRAC and AMF. Meanwhile, Kraken also operates legally, but it is important to note that not all services are available in Ontario due to the Ontario Securities Commission regulations.

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.

Kraken offers a 24/7 live chat and email support. It also offers a good amount of learning documentation and helpful articles on its website. Unfortunately, many people say Kraken has poor customer support with tickets taking a long time to be resolved if ever.

Bitvo provides 24/7 customer support through phone, email, and live chat, with a dedicated Bitvo Cash Card for users to access their cash or cryptocurrencies instantly. Kraken, on the other hand, offers 24/7 live chat and email support, along with phone support for the USA, UK, and the European Union.

Conclusion

Both Bitvo and Kraken are formidable cryptocurrency exchanges that offer unique features, a variety of cryptocurrencies, and robust security measures. However, considering the no-fee instant withdrawal feature, the live customer support, and Bitvo Cash Card, Bitvo appears to offer more streamlined and user-friendly services, especially for Canadian users. Therefore, Bitvo emerges as the winner in this comparison.

We recommend choosing Bitvo over Kraken 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 Kraken 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.