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

Oleg Galeev

Last updated December 27, 2023

In this comparison, we’re evaluating two renowned crypto exchanges: Coinbase, a global leader renowned for its user-friendly interface, and VirgoCX, a Canadian platform distinguished by its no-fee spot trading.

Description

Founded in 2012, Coinbase is a US-based 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.

VirgoCX is based in Ontario, and offers Canadians an easy way to trade crypto. They have an NFT marketplace, OTC services to trade large amounts of crypto, and a foreign currency exchange should you wish to convert your fiat. 

Coins

50+ including BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC

VirgoCX offers Canadians the ability to trade over 50 cryptocurrencies.

Fees

Extremely High
3.99% buy fee
0.50% fee per trade

  • Free CAD deposits and withdrawals
  • Free crypto deposits
  • High spreads

Pros

  • 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
  • Free deposits and withdrawals
  • Interac e-Transfer available
  • OTC Desk
  • NFT marketplace
  • Insurance for crypto assets
  • Fully regulated in Canada
  • USD and CAD accepted
  • Crypto education portal
  • Advanced trading features
  • Quick Trade available

Cons

  • High fees
  • Fewer coins than Binance
  • Complaints of bad customer support
  • No Interac e-Transfer
  • Advanced trading platforms can be confusing for beginners
  • Relatively higher spreads than other exchanges

Account Limits

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

  • Interac e-Transfer deposit maximum is $10000/day (same for withdrawals)

Methods to buy

Debit card

  • Interac e-Transfer
  • Wire Transfer
  • Bill Payment
  • Credit & Debit card

Security

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

  • $1 Million in crime insurance coverage
  • Cold storage
  • All fiat assets are held with their Canadian banking partner
  • FINTRAC and PIPEDA compliant

Mobile and Desktop Trading

Both Coinbase and VirgoCX offer well-received mobile applications alongside their desktop platforms. Coinbase's mobile app sports ratings of 4.6 stars on the Apple App Store and 4.1 stars on Google Play, commended for its user-friendly design and smooth operation. The desktop version mirrors its mobile counterpart, with added features. VirgoCX's app also boasts a strong user rating, with a slightly more technical design catering to intermediate traders.

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

VirgoCX

VirgoCX has a mobile app for both iPhone and Android users. On iOS, the VirgoCX app has a 3.6-star rating with over 50 reviews. On Google Play it does not currently have a rating but has many positive reviews. Some reviewers say the verification process takes a long time, but others say the app is easy to use and reliable. 

Advanced trading with VirgoCX

Advanced trading with VirgoCX

Main dashboard on VirgoCX

Main dashboard on VirgoCX

Quick trade and Advanced trade on VirgoCX mobile app

Quick trade on VirgoCX app

VirgoCX mobile app

VirgoCX mobile app view

Security Compliance

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.

VirgoCX offers $1 Million in crime insurance coverage with Coinbase Custody. Should the exchange be compromised, VirgoCX could potentially refund any customers’ stolen coins. 

VirgoCX’s crypto assets are held in cold storage with Coinbase Custody and only a small amount are kept on the platform for trading. All fiat assets are held with their Canadian banking partner, though it is not mentioned who the partner is. However, we always recommend transferring all the funds to your own Canadian crypto wallet.

Coinbase, being a NASDAQ-listed company, adheres to stringent security protocols, with 98% of assets stored in cold storage. VirgoCX, while not as globally recognized, also follows robust security measures, offering cold storage, SSL encryption, and 2FA. However, Coinbase's public company status offers an additional layer of regulatory oversight, adding a level of trust and safety.

Regulatory Compliance

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

VirgoCX is registered with FINTRAC and PIPEDA. Therefore, it is fully compliant in Canada. VirgoCX also has regular audits which prove that its reserves exist. 

Coinbase, despite being U.S.-based, adheres to Canadian laws and regulations for its Canadian operations. On the other hand, VirgoCX is a Canadian company and is MSB-licensed by FINTRAC, ensuring compliance with Canadian federal regulations. Both are subject to oversight from Canadian federal bodies, albeit to differing extents due to their differing origins.

Customer support

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.

If you need help, you can contact VirgoCX’s support team via email or live chat 24/7. They also offer multi-language support. Not many exchanges offer live chat.

Coinbase's customer support has drawn criticism for delays and unresponsiveness. Despite implementing 24/7 phone support, there's room for improvement. VirgoCX offers a more satisfactory customer service experience, with a responsive live chat feature and a comprehensive FAQ section.

Conclusion

Despite VirgoCX's strong showing as a Canadian-focused exchange, Coinbase emerges victorious. Its established reputation, superior security measures, and seamless user experience outweigh its relatively higher fees and less responsive customer service.

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

If you find that neither Coinbase nor VirgoCX 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.