Buying Bitcoins in Canada – A Beginner’s Guide
Last updated: 3/20/19
In this guide, I’ll show you the best options for buying Bitcoin in Canada. I will also explore the legality and popularity of Bitcoin in Canada.
Along with ATMs, there are several methods you can put your hands on Bitcoin in Canada. To buy Bitcoin in Canada, just follow these steps:
- Get a Bitcoin wallet
- Open an account at Coinsquare
- Choose how many Bitcoin you want to buy
- Enter your Bitcoin address
- Select your payment option
Here are the top Exchanges for buying Bitcoin in Canada
If you want a detailed explanation of how to buy Bitcoin in Canada, here’s what I’ll cover:
- Bitcoin legal status in Canada
- Bitcoin popularity in Canada
- Bitcoin communities in Canada
- Buy Bitcoin in Canadian exchanges
- Buy Bitcoin in international exchanges
- Bitcoin ATMs in Canada
While digital currencies aren’t officially recognized as money, Bitcoin is legal in Canada. According to the Government of Canada website, tax rules do apply to digital currency transactions, and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are subject to the Income Tax Act. Canadian residents are therefore free to buy, sell, and trade Bitcoin, which is regulated under anti–money laundering and counter–terrorist financing laws.
In mid-2018, a study by the Currency Department of the Bank of Canada revealed that 58% of Canadians hold Bitcoin for investment purposes. According to the same study, 85% of Canadians are aware of Bitcoin.
Weekly LocalBitcoins volumes for the Canadian dollar shows that interest in Bitcoin has leveled off since the high prices of late 2017 and early 2018. Volumes were fairly low since mid-2018 and into early 2019, with weekly volumes staying around the $500 – $600 thousand dollar level.
Google Trends data for the term “Bitcoin” searched within Canada shows declining interest from January of 2018. Perhaps this is due to the bull market Bitcoin has been experiencing during 2018.
As so many Canadians are involved in Bitcoin, there are plenty of Canadian Bitcoin communities to be found. The main communities can be found on Reddit and CoinForum. There’s also a large Meetup group based in Toronto.
There are many Bitcoin exchanges based in Canada. Among the most popular are QuadrigaCX and Coinsquare:
Founded in 2015, Coinsquare is a Canadian Bitcoin exchange based in Toronto. At the time of writing, it had the highest Bitcoin trading volume. Apart from Bitcoin, it features a handful of other cryptocurrencies available for trading, including Ethereum, XRP, and Litecoin.
Again, you can buy Bitcoin with CAD, and the fees of 0.2% are competitive. The Interac, Flexepin, money order, and bank draft deposit fees are reasonable at 2.5%. Wire transfer deposits have a fee of only 0.5% and credit cards incur a 10% fee. Withdrawals options are limited to direct bank deposit, charged at 2% with a $100 minimum, or wire transfer, charged at 1 – 2% with a $10,000 minimum.
Founded in 2017, Einstein is a newcomer to the Canadian crypto exchange scene. Einstein offers a Bitcoin marketplace and about 18 types of altcoins. Customers may deposit CAD via bank wire / draft or Interac e-Transfer for free, via Flexpin for 2.5%, or via Visa, MasterCard, or Interac Online for a 7.5% fee. Trading fees are 0.25% below $5,000 in volume but decrease with further volume. Einstein offers 24 hour support services.
January 2019 update: QuadrigaCX’s services have been suspended. You can read about it on their home page.
QuadrigaCX, the longest-running Canadian Bitcoin exchange, launched in 2013. The exchange allows users to purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Gold with CAD. Based in Vancouver, the exchange aims to make buying and selling Bitcoin quick and easy with a user-friendly platform.
QuadrigaCX boasts some good security features, and its fees are reasonable; however, it can take a while to get verified, and trading fees are quite high at 0.5%.
While there are some great Canadian Bitcoin exchanges Canada, there are also plenty of international exchanges which cater to Canadian citizens:
With Coinbase, you can purchase bitcoins with a credit card and receive them instantly. This US exchange is one of the most user-friendly places to buy Bitcoin, making it great for beginners. There’s very high liquidity, along with high buying limits, but one issue is that your transactions are tracked, which is a privacy concern.
CEX.IO is a London-based exchange on which you can buy Bitcoin via credit card or bank transfer. Canada is one of many countries this Bitcoin exchange supports. CEX.IO is an easy exchange to use and is known to be reliable, but bear in mind that it has higher fees.
Coinmama operates in over 200 countries worldwide, including Canada. One of the main advantages of this Bitcoin exchange is that you can purchase with a credit or debit card. It’s also an easy platform to use for beginners. However, there’s a 5.5% fee on each purchase, which is high compared to many Bitcoin exchanges.
Kraken was launched in 2011 and caters to Canada, as well as the US, EU, and Japan. Although volume for it’s CAD-based Bitcoin trading is relatively light compared to these other markets, Kraken allows Canadians to purchase about 20 altcoins in addition to Bitcoin. Kraken has very low fees of 0.16% to 0.26%, depending on whether one places or takes an order. Only bank transfers are available for funding, with a minimum deposit of $125, although no fees are charged on this. There’s a $10 fee and $50 minimum for withdrawals, which are conducted via EFT.
Only the United States has more Bitcoin ATMs than Canada. As of early 2018, there were 707 Bitcoin ATMs in Canada according to CoinATMRadar. The majority of these ATMs are located in three major cities: Vancouver has 79, Montreal has 106, and Toronto has 222.
There are a dozen different operators with varied buy and sell fees. Many of these Bitcoin ATMs allow for the purchase of other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum and Litecoin.
Another option would be to visit an Over The Counter (OTC) location and purchase Bitcoins physically from a teller.
Despite the bear market, the Canadian Bitcoin community remains healthy and active. Awareness and involvement is very high in the country, as evidenced by the Bank of Canada’s study, community activity both on and offline, and the high number of Bitcoin ATMs scattered around the country.
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