Oleg Galeev

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CoinNerds Review: Is It A Scam Or A Legit Crypto Exchange For Canadians?

Last updated August 3, 2023

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CoinNerds is a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange. We signed up for an account to see if it’s worth using. Here’s our CoinNerds review.

  • coinnerds-logo

    7/10

  • Pros & Cons

    • Option to buy crypto in person
    • Self-custody of assets
    • Cash, debit and credit cards accepted
    • Buy online with e-Transfer or wire
    • No withdrawal fees or wait times
    • Only CAD deposits accepted
    • Limited choice of cryptocurrencies
    • High fees
    • Only one location
    • No online trading platform
  • Fees

    • 4% buy fee ($100-$999) 
    • 5% sell fee ($100-$999)
    • Fees reduce down to 1% for buy fees and 3% for sell fees ($10,000+)
  • Coins

    Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, DASH, and more

CoinNerds Summary

CoinNerds is a Canadian crypto exchange that offers customers the ability to buy crypto in person at one of their locations. Instead of using a crypto ATM which is expensive, you can exchange your Canadian dollars for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, DASH, and more with CoinNerds for cheaper. 

Compare to BitBuy, which is the #1 best crypto exchange for Canadians in our rating, CoinNerds fees are way higher, and the selection of coins is limited.

CoinNerds aims to give crypto beginners the chance to buy crypto easily, face-to-face, so you don’t have to deal with the learning curve of online exchanges. At their locations, they accept cash, credit and debit cards. If you prefer to buy through their online exchange, you can simply transfer your Canadian dollars via Interac e-Transfer. 

CoinNerds Features

CoinNerds are customer-focused. When you sign up, they are able to guide you in setting up your own wallet (so you can have self-custody of the assets you buy from them.) With their OTC Desk, they can help you if you want to make a large transaction, they can discuss your investment goals, and they also provide face-to-face service at their location, which is in Mississauga. 

They are not a big exchange and therefore are lacking in features. In fact, they don’t have a trading platform. To buy online, you will need to contact them with an order. Send your money and they will send you crypto. However, they are a far cheaper choice than crypto ATMs and they aim to give unparalleled customer service, which is great for beginners who might need their hand held through the trading process. 

Does CoinNerds Offer Staking or Other Services?

CoinNerds does not offer staking.

Does CoinNerds Have an OTC Desk?

CoinNerds are able to provide OTC services for anybody looking to make a crypto large trade in Canada. 

CoinNerds Liquidity

We could not find information about CoinNerds’ liquidity but CoinNerds does have an OTC Desk for making large trades. 

Registration/verification with CoinNerds

What you need to open an account:

  • Must be 18+
  • A government-issued ID
  • Answer questions

When signing up for a CoinNerds account, you will first have to enter your name and email address and activate your email. Next, you’ll need to give your job title, address and date of birth and then provide images of your government-issued ID. This process is standard for regulated Canadian exchanges. 

Registration process with CoinNerds

Once you have filled in the form, you’ll receive an email almost instantly approving you for buying crypto at their Mississauga location. If you want to purchase crypto online, however, you’ll have to email them with your request and provide the wallet address you want the crypto sent.

Extra field to fill in while signing up with CoinNerds

They will send you a quote including their fee, and if you decide to go ahead, you can make an Interac e-Transfer to send the funds. Once cleared, you will receive your crypto directly in your wallet. 

Fees Review

Fees decrease the more you buy and sell. The fees are much higher than most other crypto exchanges, but they are cheaper than using a Bitcoin ATM, whose customers they are targeting. 

It’s worth remembering that since you receive crypto directly to your wallet after purchase, you don’t then have to deal with additional withdrawal fees and withdrawal network fees as you would with a regular crypto exchange when sending to your wallet. 

  • 4% buy fee ($100-$999) 
  • 5% sell fee ($100-$999)
  • Fees reduce down to 1% for buy fees and 3% for sell fees ($10,000+)

List of fees from CoinNerds website

Overall, quite high fees compared to other Canadian crypto exchanges.

Spreads with CoinNerds

A spread is the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay (bid price) and the lowest price a seller is willing to sell (ask price). The spread goes to the exchange as profit. 

Spreads can often be hidden and the exchange won’t always be transparent. So you may think you are paying low fees, but in reality, you’re paying hidden costs. With CoinNers, they give you a quote upfront with their fee factored in, so you always know exactly how much you’re paying and what you’re getting. 

Currencies & deposit methods

When trading cryptocurrency with CoinNerds, you can deposit Canadian dollars via an Interac e-Transfer, or via a wire transfer or bank draft. At their location, you can pay with cash, credit and debit cards. 

You can buy Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, USDT, USDC, DASH, and Dogecoin at CoinNerds.

Design and Usability of CoinNerds Crypto Platform

CoinNerds has a simple website since most of the transactions happen either in person or via your bank. They do not have a trading platform. 

There is some information about the cryptocurrencies they sell as well as information about crypto wallets. General information on the website includes the fee table, refund policy, compliance information and links to their social media. Though they do not offer many features, they have provided a website that feels professional and offers just the right amount of information without being overwhelming.

To buy crypto online in Canada, you must first use the form to sign up and then email them with your request.

CoinNerds does not have a mobile app. 

Front page of CoinNerds website

CoinNerds Security and Safety

Is CoinNerds safe for Canadians to use? We think so, but they have little information about security on their website. They aim to be compliant with FINTRAC and anti-money laundering regulations, which is why they need to collect customer information. When you buy with CoinNerds, you don’t leave your crypto with them on the exchange. Instead, you take full custody of your assets in your own crypto wallet. If you don’t have one, they can help you set one up. If you buy a hardware wallet and go to one of their locations, they can help you set that up too. 

Customer support

CoinNerds aims to provide excellent customer service and will help customers with anything. They will set up a wallet for you, or answer all your crypto investing questions in a bookable phone or in-person consultation. 

Positive reviews for Coinnerds on Trustpilot

While they only have four reviews on Trustpilot, they have a 4-star rating. 

Does CoinNerds Restrict or Freeze Accounts?

CoinNerds does not commonly freeze accounts but any crypto exchange could put a hold on your transactions if they suspect suspicious behaviour such as trading larger amounts than usual. 

Can CoinNerds Track where you Receive and Send Crypto?

CoinNerds can track where you have received and sent crypto since all transactions are recorded on public blockchains. The information available includes time and date, amount sent and both “to” and “from” wallets.

Since users must submit identity documents during the verification process, it is easy for CoinNerds to link wallets and transactions on the blockchain with their customer’s accounts. 

However, CoinNerds also accept cash at their locations, so if privacy is your main concern then you can buy and sell crypto that way, but bear in mind you still need to register with them. 

By following a trail, this is how the Canadian government was able to freeze accounts of the protestors during the “Freedom Convoy”.

CoinNerds Alternatives

There are many Canadian crypto exchanges to choose from such as Bitbuy, which is Canada’s first regulated exchange. It has free deposits and several of the most popular cryptocurrencies. 

CoinSmart is also a good option for Canadians. Here is a comparison of CoinNerds against these other two exchanges. You can see that CoinNerds has the highest fees. 

 

CoinNerds

Bitbuy

CoinSmart

Trading fees

4%

0% to 1.5%

0.2%-2%

Cryptocurrencies

7

35+

16+

Additional features

Physical locations, OTC Desk

OTC Desk

OTC Desk, crypto invoicing

Customer Support

Great

Good

Good

Security

Good

Excellent

Good

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Common Crypto Exchange Scams

It’s crucial to prioritize the security of your cryptocurrency assets, as hackers have been able to steal funds from popular exchanges like Binance and Crypto.com.

To ensure the safety of your crypto, it’s recommended to store them in a private wallet, specifically a hardware wallet, which provides an extra layer of protection.

Customers using crypto exchanges should be cautious about falling for common scams, such as phishing emails. These deceptive emails are designed to resemble legitimate communications, making it essential to verify the sender’s email address and only trust messages from the official email address of the exchange.

With the increasing prevalence of fake emails, it’s essential to be vigilant and avoid clicking on any suspicious links that might lead to scam websites or viruses aiming to steal private keys and passwords. Prior to depositing any funds, always ensure you are using the official website URL of your chosen crypto exchange.

Furthermore, be aware that scammers create fraudulent social media accounts pretending to represent crypto exchanges. To minimize risks, only engage with the official social media accounts of the exchange you’re using.

Luckily, CoinNerds are available in-person at their Mississauga location, should you wish to have ultimate peace of mind when trading crypto. 

Conclusion

CoinNerds are definitely not the cheapest crypto exchange with 4% buy fees and 5% sell fees, however, their target audience seems to be those who would normally use a Bitcoin ATM, which charges in excess of 20% on transactions. With this in mind then, CoinNerds is a far better deal. Additionally, you can still buy crypto with cash, just like with an ATM. 

Having a location, albeit just one currently, can give customers peace of mind. You can have a face-to-face consultation, pay in cash or with credit or debit cards, and even have the CoinNerds team help you set up your hardware wallet.

Buying crypto online at this exchange is not the most simple, since they don’t have a trading platform, but as an alternative to a crypto ATM, it is a good option. 

If you are looking for a Canadian-regulated exchange with low fees, we highly recommend BitBuy instead.

CoinNerds rated as a #27 in the list of the best crypto exchanges for Canadians

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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. 

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