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

Oleg Galeev

Last updated December 27, 2023

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 Please note that the comparison provided below is now outdated and is preserved solely for educational and historical reference.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 analysis, we delve into the comparison between two prominent Canadian crypto exchanges, Shakepay and Bitvo. Although both platforms provide user-friendly services for cryptocurrency trading, they exhibit unique features, security measures, compliance, and customer support mechanisms, forming distinct differences in their offerings.

Description

Shakepay is an easy way for Canadians to buy Bitcoin and Ethereum. Offering fast and free account deposits, Shakepay allows Canadians to sign up and buy crypto in minutes. Shakepay has 600,000+ users.

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.

Coins

Bitcoin, Ethereum

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

Fees

  • Free crypto withdrawal 
  • Free account deposit/withdrawal 
  • Trading fee spread: 1.2% - 2.5%

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

Pros

  • Assets stored in cold storage
  • User-friendly
  • Interac e-Transfer available
  • Funding your account takes minutes not hours
  • Can transfer coins to a private wallet
  • Free to deposit/withdraw
  • Set up automatic recurring buys
  • Referral program gives you free Bitcoin every day
  • Crypto visa card with Bitcoin cashback
  • 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)

Cons

  • Fairly high spread
  • Users do not hold private keys within Shakepay 
  • Only two cryptocurrencies are available
  • 1% CAD withdrawal fee
  • Limited number of coins available
  • Only for Canadians
  • High spreads

Account Limits

Deposit up to $10,000 via Interac daily

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

Methods to buy

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

Security

  • Assets are held in cold storage (percentage unknown)
  • Users can withdraw crypto to private wallets
  •  It holds 95% of assets in cold storage
  • 5% in hot storage
  • A multi-layered firewall infrastructure to protect the exchange

Mobile and Desktop Trading

The mobile app of Shakepay boasts high ratings with a 4.6-star rating on the iOS App Store and a 4.5-star rating on Google Play. The platform is noted for its simplicity, with only a few on-screen options, providing an intuitive and beginner-friendly experience. Shakepay's desktop platform aligns with its app, promoting a clean interface and uncomplicated operations.

Although the Bitvo mobile app's ratings are slightly lower (3-star rating on the iOS App Store and no rating on Google Play), its users appreciate the clean design, which is consistent with its desktop counterpart. Despite some claims of the apps being buggy, the overall experience is praised for simplicity and functionality.

Shakepay

Shakepay offers a simple and beginner-friendly way to purchase Bitcoin and Ethereum via its desktop platform or its mobile app. Shakepay’s app is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. The app has a 4.5-star rating with 12,000 ratings on the App Store and a 4.6-star rating with 7,000 ratings on Google Play. 

Shakepay’s app is incredibly simple to use, just like its desktop platform. Since it is a beginner-friendly crypto exchange, there aren’t many features that will confuse you. It offers a simple and clean interface with basic charting for Bitcoin and Ethereum. Funding your account and purchasing crypto is easy with just a few clicks. 

Shakepay main screen on desktop app

Shakepay desktop interface

Shakepay mobile app screenshot

Shakepay app interface

Shakepay app while trading

Shakepay app interface while trading

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)

Security Compliance

Shakepay hold users’ funds in cold storage, though they do not publicize the percentage. Shakepay has existed since 2015, and so far, never has been hacked.

Shakepay states on its website that digital assets are backed by an insurance policy, though it does not mention any details. 

Shakepay also offers two-factor authentication (2FA) for their customers, so you can be sure no one else is accessing your account. With Shakepay, you will also need to confirm via email when withdrawing funds. If you set up 2FA for your email account, you can be pretty sure no unauthorized person is withdrawing funds from your account.

 

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.

While Shakepay mentions an insurance policy for digital assets, it fails to provide detailed information about the policy or the percentage of assets held in cold storage. This lack of transparency might raise some security concerns.

Bitvo appears to have a more robust security infrastructure, holding 95% to 100% of digital assets in cold storage and maintaining multi-layered firewall protection. This detailed approach to security could inspire more confidence in users.

Regulatory Compliance

Shakepay is regulated as a Money Service Business (MSB) by FINTRAC. Shakepay is based in Montreal and is allowed to operate in every Canadian province. 

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

Both Shakepay and Bitvo are registered as Money Service Businesses in Canada and comply with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) regulations. These federal regulations provide a framework for monitoring and reporting certain financial activities to detect and deter money laundering or other forms of terrorist financing activities.

Customer support

Shakepay offers chat support, helpful FAQs and access to customer support via their website.

Shakepay claims it has “customer service that cares.” It offers a useful support section on its website that can answer some of the most common questions and you can contact support via email at [email protected]. Shakepay claims that support tickets can be answered within hours, even on weekends. We reached out to the support team via email to see how quickly they would respond. We received a reply the next day, less than 24 hours later. 

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.

Shakepay provides an email support system with a response time of less than 24 hours, even on weekends. However, reviews on Trustpilot indicate dissatisfaction with the level of support received.

Bitvo stands out with a 24/7 support system including live chat, email, and notably, phone support. This comprehensive approach to customer service can be a significant advantage for Bitvo.

Conclusion

While both Shakepay and Bitvo are reputable platforms with their strengths, Shakepay emerges as the winner in this comparison. Despite a few transparency issues concerning security measures, Shakepay's high app ratings, unique features such as the "ShakingSats" program and a crypto Visa card, and its clear focus on user-friendliness make it a more appealing choice for beginners venturing into cryptocurrency trading.

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

If you find that neither Shakepay nor Bitvo 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.