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CoinSmart vs. Kraken: What Works Better For Canadians in 2024

Oleg Galeev

Last updated May 25, 2024

We’ll be looking at two popular cryptocurrency exchanges: Coinsmart and Kraken. While both exchanges offer a variety of features and a range of cryptocurrencies, there are differences in terms of fees, security, and ease of use. Coinsmart is a Canadian-based exchange with a focus on simplicity, while Kraken is a larger, more established exchange with a global reach.

CoinSmart is now part of WonderFi and the platform is not accepting new signups. If you're looking for the best crypto experience in Canada, we recommend signing up to Bitbuy, another licensed Canadian cryptocurrency trading platform operated by the same parent company, WonderFi. With Bitbuy, you will get access to an improved experience on web and mobile, staking rewards, Private Wealth services, and an advanced trading interface. Sign up using our referral link and get free $50 when depositing $250 on your account!

Description

CoinSmart is a Toronto-based Canadian crypto exchange that offers same-day deposits in CAD, EUR and USD. CoinSmart offers crypto trading for both beginners and advanced users.

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

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Stellar, EOS, USDC, Cardano, Dogecoin, Polkadot, Shiba Inu, Chainlink, Uniswap, Solana and more

90+

Fees

  • Interac deposit fee of 1% for deposits between $100 - $1999 
  • Free Interac deposits for deposits of $2000+
  • Free wire and bank draft deposits 
  • Withdrawal fees are 1% 
  • Various crypto withdrawal fees
  • Trading fees are 0.20% for a single trade or 0.30% for a double trade
  • Up to 6% fee for credit/debit card purchases
  • 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

  • Low trading fees
  • Free deposits over $2000
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Advanced trading options
  • Interac e-Transfer available
  • $50 bonus
  • Trade crypto to crypto (no trading pairs needed)
  • Same-day verification
  • CAD, USD, EUR deposits
  • Wide range of coins
  • High fees when not using Pro
  • Good for beginners
  • Free CAD deposits
  • Advanced tools with the Pro platform
  • Staking

Cons

  • There is a 1% fee for Interac deposits less than $2000
  • 1% withdrawal fee
  • 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

  • $100 min to $10,000 max for Interac deposits
  • $100 min to $5,000 max for credit/debit card buys
  • $10,000 bank wire min to $5M max

Low

Methods to buy

  • Credit/debit cards
  • Interac e-Transfer
  • Bank wire
  • SEPA (for EUR)
  • Wire transfer
  • Debit card

Security

CoinSmart is partnered with BitGo to keep customers’ crypto safe in cold storage. BitGo is insured by Lloyds of London for $100 million, so if something were to happen to CoinSmart, your funds might be insured.

CoinSmart offers two-factor authentication to help protect your account.

  • 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

Both Coinsmart and Kraken offer mobile and desktop trading platforms for their users. Coinsmart's mobile app has been significantly improved, and now has a 3.3 rating on the Apple App Store. However, the app still has limited functionality compared to the desktop platform, which is considered more user-friendly for beginners. Kraken's mobile app has also received high ratings, with a 4.3-star rating from 21,000 reviews on Google Play and a 4.7-star rating from 3200 reviews on the App Store. The Kraken Pro app is available for experienced traders, providing access to advanced order types, charting, and order book data. Kraken's desktop trading platform is also highly rated and offers all the tools and features necessary for making advanced trades. Both Coinsmart and Kraken have good desktop apps for cryptocurrency trading, but Kraken's desktop platform is considered more advanced and provides more options for experienced traders.

Coinsmart

CoinSmart has a fun look with bright colours and cartoons. It is enjoyable to use. The dashboard shows everything you need to trade including options to buy, sell, and trade. You can also view your wallets, activity and simple market information. 

To use CoinSmart’s advanced features such as limit orders, you can use their advanced trading platform, which is accessible within your user dashboard. 

CoinSmart’s iOS app has a 3.4-star rating with 309 reviews. Its Android app has a 2.6-star rating from 94 reviews. Users of the app say the app crashes, is slow, and often freezes. This is why we would recommend using their desktop version.

accessing Coinsmart app

Coinsmart App

Cool usability and design of Coinsmart cryptoexchange

Coinsmart App trading screen

Coinsmart app mobile view

Coinsmart mobile app interface

Coinsmart mobile app interface while trading

Coinsmart mobile app interface while trading

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

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.

Both Coinsmart and Kraken take security seriously, but Coinsmart appears to be safer. Coinsmart uses cold storage for digital assets and mandates two-factor authentication. Over 95% of digital assets in Kraken are held in cold storage, and they have a program that offers rewards for those who detect vulnerabilities in their system, called a bug bounty program. However, Kraken has a poor 2.7-star rating on Trustpilot with 68% bad reviews, which may indicate security concerns.

Regulatory Compliance

Coinsmart is fully compliant in Canada. Not only the exchange is registered with FINTRAC but they are also granted status by Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).

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.

Coinsmart is a fully compliant crypto exchange in Canada, while Kraken is not available in Ontario due to regulations from the Ontario Securities Commission. Both exchanges are subject to federal laws and organizations such as the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), which monitors compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

Customer support

CoinSmart states that it has a 97% customer satisfaction rate and this claim is backed up by the 70% excellent customer reviews on Trustpilot. CoinSmart offers 24/7 support via email and online ticketing.

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.

Coinsmart and Kraken offer 24/7 support through live chat, email, and phone support. Both Coinsmart and Kraken have resources available to assist their clients. Coinsmart has a help center on their website, while Kraken provides a blog, videos, a podcast, and numerous guides about cryptocurrency. Both exchanges offer helpful troubleshooting articles to support their clients in resolving any issues they may face.

Conclusion

Both Coinsmart and Kraken are good cryptocurrency exchanges, but Coinsmart is the winner for Canadians. Coinsmart has a user-friendly platform, is fully compliant in Canada, and uses cold storage for digital assets. While Kraken also has a wide range of features for trading cryptocurrencies, its poor Trustpilot rating and lack of availability in Ontario may cause concerns for some users. Overall, Coinsmart is the safer and more convenient choice for Canadians looking to trade cryptocurrencies.

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

CoinSmart is now part of WonderFi and the platform is not accepting new signups. If you're looking for the best crypto experience in Canada, we recommend signing up to Bitbuy, another licensed Canadian cryptocurrency trading platform operated by the same parent company, WonderFi. With Bitbuy, you will get access to an improved experience on web and mobile, staking rewards, Private Wealth services, and an advanced trading interface. Sign up using our referral link and get free $50 when depositing $250 on your account!

If you find that neither Coinsmart 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.