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The best crypto exchanges in Canada for 2022

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Much like a traditional stock exchange, a cryptocurrency exchange is a platform on which cryptocurrencies can be bought and sold. All you need to do is find an exchange that serves your geographical region, register an account, and verify your identity based on the exchange’s Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements. Then, you can quickly and seamlessly buy cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and others using Canadian dollars. As with stocks and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), all you have to do is:

  1. Open an account with a crypto exchange

  2. Verify your identity based on KYC norms

  3. Transfer dollars to your exchange account

  4. Select the currency you want to buy

  5. Specify how much of it you want to buy


That’s it. You’ll see the newly purchased cryptocurrency in your account or “wallet” in seconds. The exchange also stores your coins for you in a so-called “wallet” assigned to you. But if you want to, you could transfer your coins to an off-exchange wallet you control. Increasingly, exchanges also offer their customers staking-as-a-service. To stake is to pledge and lock up certain coins to contribute to the operation of the blockchain. And for this, you receive additional coins as a reward—the crypto version of passive income.

But before you go ahead and dip your feet in crypto, it’s crucial to select an exchange suitable to you. Here are the best cryptocurrency exchanges that Canadian investors could consider.

CoinSmart

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CoinSmart has been operational since 2018, and of the three exchanges in this article, is the only publicly traded company: ticker symbol “SMRT” on the NEO Exchange and “IIR” on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FSE). Although founded and built in Canada, CoinSmart has a global presence with customers in over 40 countries. Customers’ accounts get verified instantly and Canadian investors can fund their accounts using Interac e-transfers (fee of 0% to 1.5%), wire transfers (no fee) and credit or debit cards (fee up to 6%). For withdrawals, customers are charged 1% of the withdrawal value. The exchange currently lists sixteen cryptocurrencies and charges a trading fee of 0.2% for buying or selling crypto with dollars and 0.3% for trading one crypto for another if neither is Bitcoin.

Pros 

  • Publicly listed company in Canada and Germany
  • Users can buy crypto with CAD, USD or EURO
  • User-friendly app
  • Low crypto trading fees
  • Instant account verification
  • Charting and other advanced tools for active traders
  • Several articles and blog posts on crypto
  • Credit and debit card deposits are available
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • Fee for interact deposits of up to $1,999
  • A smaller selection of cryptocurrencies compared to the other two exchanges
  • High fee (up to 6%) for credit or debit card deposits
  • It doesn’t offer staking services

National Digital Asset Exchange (NDAX)

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NDAX is a cryptocurrency trading platform that offers its customers trading services for a low fee of 0.2% per buy or sell transaction, with no hidden costs or spreads. It has an easy-to-navigate interface for active crypto traders, where investors can see live bid and ask prices for various coins. Like other major exchanges, NDAX doesn’t charge customers a deposit fee, although it does charge a nominal withdrawal fee of $4.99 for direct bank transfers and wire transfers. Additionally, for savvy investors who want to earn passive income from some of their coins, NDAX offers staking services for cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA) and Polkadot (DOT). For this service, NDAX charges customers 20% of the staking rewards.

Pros

  • Clean platform and easy to use
  • Low crypto trading fees (0.2%)
  • Ability to transfer all coins in and out of the exchange
  • Automated dollar cost averaging (through recurring buys)
  • Offers staking services (for five cryptocurrencies)
  • Relatively long operational record - since 2017
  • Large selection of cryptocurrencies
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • Withdrawal fees of $4.99

Wealthsimple Crypto

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A popular stock and ETF trading app familiar to young Canadians, Wealthsimple ventured into crypto in 2020. Although they started with limited options and services compared to their peers, Wealthsimple is now a prominent player in the Canadian crypto space. It offers its customers over 50 cryptocurrencies[WU1]  to choose from, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and other well-known coins, and charges a flat fee of 1.5% to 2% [WU2]  for the purchase and sale of crypto, with no additional or hidden costs. Existing Wealthsimple Trade customers can easily invest in crypto and move dollars between their Trade and crypto accounts. Those who don’t already use the app could download the Wealthsimple Trade app, register and complete the KYC process. Then, they can get going instantly with as little as $1.

Pros

  • Excellent user experience and interface
  • One place for your crypto, stocks and ETFs
  • Simple fee structure
  • Compliant with emerging crypto regulation
  • Large, well-known FinTech brand
  • No separate fee for deposits and withdrawals
  • Offers staking for two coins (Ethereum ETH and Solana SOL)

Cons

  • High operating fees (1.5% to 2%)
  • High staking fee (30%)
  • Not all coins that can be transferred to an external wallet

Crypto.com

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Crypto.com has emerged as a top global crypto brand over the past few years, with 50 million users in 90 countries. For Canadian investors, the crypto.com exchange offers a variety of funding options, including Interac e-transfer, and credit and debit cards. And, it doesn’t charge a fee to withdraw dollars to your bank account. With a selection of over 250 cryptocurrencies, crypto.com lists all the coins that most investors may want to purchase. They follow a tiered trading fee structure based on your trading volume: the more your trade, the lower fees you pay. However, most investors would pay about 0.4% per trade. Apart from spot trading, the exchange offers derivatives trading, staking, crypto yield services (customers can earn between 3% and 14.5%), and crypto-backed lending.

Pros 

  • Global presence in over 90 counties
  • Staking and yield earning services
  • Low crypto trading fees to high volume traders
  • Charting and other advanced tools for active traders
  • Good learning resources
  • Credit and debit card deposits are available
  • Large selection of over 250 cryptocurrencies
  • It offers a DeFi wallet which gives you access to your private keys

Cons

  • Customer support is not the best amongst its peers
  • High fee (2.99% to 3.99%) for credit or debit card deposits
  • The range and complexity of offerings can be daunting for new investors

Bitbuy

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Bitbuy is a Toronto-based exchange that’s been operational since 2016, which makes it the longest running of the five exchanges in this article. It offers two free deposit options: Interac e-transfer and Wire transfer. If you deposit using a credit card, the fee is very high, at 6.25%. Compared to other exchanges in this article, Bitbuy has a high withdrawal fee of 1.5%.  The trading fee you pay on Bitbuy depends on your trading volume and ranges from 0% (5m+ volume over 90 days) to 1.5% (less than $250k trading volume). Although it lists only 25 cryptocurrencies, Bitbuy is easy to use, has a clean interface and a user-friendly app—making it attractive for new investors who want a simple, de-cluttered experience. For more experienced traders, there’s Bitbuy Pro—an advanced platform with low fees (0.1% to 0.2%) and integration with Tradingview charts.

Pros 

  • Instant account verification
  • Clean and easy-to-use website and app
  • Relatively long operational record - since 2016
  • Low crypto trading fees to high volume traders
  • Charting and other advanced tools with Bitbuy Pro
  • Good learning resources and articles
  • Credit card deposits are available
  • Responsive customer support

Cons

  • No live chat support
  • It does not offer staking
  • Lists only 25 cryptocurrencies to trade
  • A high fee of 6.25% for credit card deposits
  • High trading fees for low volume traders (up to 1.5%)
  • A high withdrawal fee of 1.5%

The bottom line

For experienced investors or those just starting to explore the burgeoning world of cryptocurrency, using crypto exchanges is often a quick and easy way to buy, sell, and trade. Just remember to do your research and be aware of factors such as fees, security, and selection (just to name a few) before deciding to invest. Do you have thoughts on cryptocurrency exchanges? Have a favourite? Let us know in the comment section below.

Also read:

Crypto and Bitcoin ETFS explained

How is cryptocurrency taxed in Canada?

Can you buy cryptocurrency with a credit card?

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