Best Canadian Crypto Exchange: 19 Top Trading Platforms

Published: April 30, 2024 | Last Updated: April 16, 2024

Markos Koemtzopoulos

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

In this post, I will walk you through the top trading platforms to help you find the best Canadian crypto exchange. ​

Best Canadian Crypto Exchange

Bottom Line: I would recommend you use either Kraken or Coinbase for the additional peace of mind they offer you: they are international brands with a strong reputation for security and have more than 250 coins to choose from. You will find that you will end up with more than one crypto exchange especially if you want to invest in riskier smallcap tokens with higher upside. To do this I would also recommend you set up a wallet and hook it up to a decentralized exchange such as Uniswap or Chainge Finance

Best Canadian Crypto Exchanges at a Glance

  1. Kraken Canada for security and coin range
  2. Coinbase Canada for it vaults and number of coins
  3. Newton for a homegrown exchange
  4. Shakepay to earn 1% in BTC via their prepaid card
  5. Wealthsimple for robo-investing
  6. NDAX for fast onboarding
  7. Bitcoin Well for ATM integration
  8. Bull Bitcoin for self-custody of bitcoin
  9. Bitbuy for security and insurance
  10. Netcoins for 1% cash back through their card
  11. Coinsmart for seasoned traders
  12. Beaver Bitcoin for self-custodial recurring buys
  13. VirgoCX for OTC trades
  14. MyBTC.ca for buying BTC and ETH with Flexepin vouchers
  15. Crypto.com for a visa card
  16. Gemini Canada for a sleek user interface
  17. Kucoin for a wider selection of small-cap coins
  18. Changelly for an exchange aggregator
  19. Coinsquare for French speakers

In the video I explain my top 2 choices:

If I only had to choose two

Best Crypto Exchanges in Canada

1. Kraken Canada

Why Kraken: I use Kraken because of its security settings. You can set up three separate two-factor authentication codes. One for signing in, one for confirming transactions, and one for your master key. You can also set a delay on sending crypto. For example, you can set a delay of 48 hours. This way if anyone gets access to your account and tries to move your crypto assets you will be notified in the meantime and can take action to prevent it. 

Features

Cryptocurrency pairs: 247

Fees: Kraken Pro charges 0.25% for makers (i.e. if you set a limit order) and 0.40%for takers ( you set a market order) for an amount less than $10,000. Fees drop for larger trade amounts. You can find Kraken’s fee schedule here.

Deposits: You can make a wire transfer, use SWIFT, Interac e-transfer, or use In-Person payments. For immediate deposits, you can use a credit card or debit card but there is a limit of 6,500 Canadian dollars per week and fees are steep. 

Customer support via live chat and email

Licenses: Registered as a Money Services Business with FINTRAC in Canada 

Pros

  • Kraken has a good reputation and is a trusted brand. 
  • Multiple security settings
  • Easy to use 
  • Competitive fees
  • Offer margin trading
  • It’s got all the major cryptocurrencies with the largest market cap
  • It has been around since 2011 and has never been hacked

Cons

  • Kraken avoids listing coins with low market caps. So if you want to take a high-risk bet on an altcoin that you think has high growth potential you are going to need to use another exchange such as Uniswap.
  • You need to verify your identity. Some people don’t like this but it’s going to be harder over time to use an exchange without verifying your identity. 
  • Kraken takes custody of your funds on your behalf. If the exchange were to go bankrupt and lose your funds there would be no way for you to get these funds back. This is true of all crypto exchanges regardless of which one you choose before they are not shielded by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) like your funds at a bank are. 
  • Sometimes the app takes a few seconds to open on my Android phone

Tips: 

  1. Make sure you use the Kraken Pro app when trading because it has way lower fees
  2. If you install Kraken and Kraken Pro on your phone they are both connected and will both show you the same balance.

Sign up for Kraken here

2. Coinbase Canada

Why Coinbase: Coinbase is a publicly listed company and one of the largest exchanges worldwide. The reason I recommend Coinbase is because it has a cold storage setting called vaults. Coinbase vaults allow you to store your crypto offline with a 48-hour delay period which cannot be tampered with. This means that should anyone gain access to your account and try to send your crypto to their wallet they will need to wait 48 hours during which time you will have been notified. You can find out more about Coinbase vaults here and for a comparison against the wallet: Coinbase Wallet Vs Vault.

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 260

Fees: 0.6% for takers and 0.40%for makers when you trade less than $10,000. You can find Coinbase‘s fee schedule here.

Deposits: You can deposit via Interac e-transfer, a debit card, or PayPal.

Licenses: registered as a Restricted Dealer by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) which makes it extra legit.

Pros

  • Solid reputation and international brand
  • Vaults ensure security
  • The user experience is fantastic
  • You will find all of the large cryptocurrencies
  • Users report good customer service

Cons

  • You won’t find many altcoins with 100x potential. 
  • Like all centralized exchanges, Coinbase takes custody of your private keys

Tips: 

  1. Coinbase also operates a separate app called Coinbase Wallet. Make sure you understand the difference between the Coinbase wallet and the exchange.

Buy crypto on Coinbase

3. Newton

Why Newton: Launched in 2017 Newton is a homegrown trading app in Canada. It offers a sleek app and integrates well with all Canadian deposit options. Newton received investment funding from the founder of Shopify. 

Also, keep in mind that Newton is not an exchange. It is a brokerage. But that does not detract fro the user experience. It just means that fees are higher.

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 70

Fees:1-1.6% depending on the asset. Scroll to the bottom of this page for details

Deposits: Supports Interac e-transfer and wire transfers from your bank account

Licenses:  registered dealer with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and the securities regulatory authorities in all Canadian provinces, Yukon, and Northwest Territories.`

Pros

  • Stores 80% of assets in cold storage
  • User-friendly interface that is custom-built for Canadian crypto investors. 
  • You’ll find the major currencies

Cons

  • Fewer digital assets compared to other exchanges
  • Custodial wallet.
  • Higher fees compared to Coinbase and Kraken

Trade on Newton

4. Shakepay

Why Shakepay: If you only care about Bitcoin and Ethereum then Shakepay could be an option for you. Shakepay’s nifty app is easy to use and if you use their prepaid visa card you can earn 1% in BTC on whatever you earn. Based out of Montreal the exchange has been around since 2015 and has more than 1Mn customers. 

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: only BTC and ETH

Fees: They are not transparent about their trading fees. They say they do not charge a commission but they do charge a spread without revealing what that is. Others are reporting anywhere between 1-3% which is on the higher side.

Deposits: Supports Interac e-transfer and wire transfers

Licenses:  registered with the AMF and the securities regulatory authorities in all Canadian provinces and territories. 

Pros

  • Stores majority of assets in cold storage and has taken out insurance against their theft
  • Easy-to-use app and virtual card

Cons

  • You can only buy Bitcoin and Ethereum
  • Custodial wallet.
  • You need to upload an ID
  • No transparent on fees

Download and use Shakepay here

5. Wealthsimple

Why Wealthsimple Crypto? Wealthsimple is a robo-advisor platform. It was founded in 2014 and originally allowed Canadian investors to invest in stocks and other tradfi assets. It later added digital currencies.

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 60+ coins and tokens with more than $30 billion in assets under management.

Fees: 2% trading fee for amounts less than $100K 

Deposits: Supports Interac e-transfer and wire transfers

Licenses:  Registered with FINTRAC-registered as a money services business

Pros

  • You can manage both crypto and non-crypto assets from one place
  • It automates trading for you
  • You can transfer crypto from and to your crypto wallet

Cons

  • Limited range of cryptocurrencies
  • Crypto is held offline in Custodial partner’s wallets.
  • You need to KYC

Visit wealthsimple.com

6. NDAX

Why NDAX? NDAX is considered one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada. It is known for it fast deposit and withdrawal processing and for its low fees and spreads. 

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 30+ coins

Fees: 0.2% for buying and selling cryptocurrency which is the lowest you will find in Canada.

Deposits are free whether you use Interac e-transfer (30 minutes) or wire transfer ( 1 business day). 

Licenses: registered as a Money Service Business with FINTRAC though it is still pending registration in some jurisdictions.

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Option to stake your assets and earn passive income
  • Low fees
  • Cold storage of assets and two-factor authentication

Cons

  • Limited range of cryptocurrencies
  • It is a centralized exchange which means they KYC and take custody of your funds

Get started with NDAX

7. Bitcoin Well

Why Bitcoin Well: Originally a Bitcoin ATM operator Bitcoin Well offers its users self-custody of of their Bitcoin. The company is publicly traded and takes a 1% fee when you buy or sell bitcoin on their platform or ATMs. Their main pitch to Canadian investors is that by buying their stock they can get exposure to Bitcoin without being exposed to price fluctuations because Bitcoin Well makes money on transactions. 

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: Bitcoin only

Fees: 1% for buying and selling BTC

Deposits: you can use e-Transfer or a  Bank transfer online or you can use cash at one of their 250 Bitcoin ATMs across Canada and the United States

Licenses: registered with FINTRAC

Pros

  • You can use both the Bitcoin Well online and at their ATMs.
  • You own the private keys to your funds. In this sense, Bitcoin Well is like a digital wallet
  • You can sell up to $9500 weekly without verification
  • ATM doesn’t require ID verification
  • Option to buy gift cards and pay bills

Cons

  • You need to KYC for amounts larger than $9,500
  • Only Bitcoin. No other crypto coins.
  • You need to set up your own wallet to interact with Bitcoin Well. 

Buy crypto on Bitcoinwell.com

8. Bull Bitcoin

Why Bull Bitcoin: If you want a non-custodial solution where you have control of the private keys for your Bitcoin then Bull Bitcoin is a good option. Bull Bitcoin also makes payments in Bitcoin easy. So you can pay anyone in dollars when sending Bitcoin and Bull Bitcoin takes care of the conversion in the background. Founded in 2013, the company is self-funded by Bitcoin maximalists who believe in Bitcoin. 

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: Bitcoin only

Fees: They charge a spread but do not disclose how much. They also charge 0-1.25% on payments.

Deposits: Cash or debit card at Canada Post, email money transfer, Wire transfer, Desjardins transfer. Details here.

Licenses: registered with FINTRAC

Pros

  • Instant withdrawals
  • No withdrawal fees
  • Non-custodial
  • No transaction limits
  • Make Payments to people in Canadian dollars. Bull Bitcoin takes care of the conversion in the background
  • Includes VIP tier for corporate treasury and business payments

Cons

  • The platform does not support other cryptocurrencies
  • You bring your own wallet so you need to know how to set one up.

Visit Bull Bitcoin now

9. Bitbuy

Why Bitbuy: with over 900,000 Canadian crypto users Bitbuy is one of the best Canadian crypto exchanges. The company was established in 2016 and has built a reputation for its robust security measures and easy-to-use interface. The main disadvantage is that fees are steep and coin selection is limited. The platform used to be called InstaBT but later changed its branding.

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 46 coins

Fees: 2% for trades less than $250K which is on the higher side

Deposits: Interac e-Transfer, Bank wire, debit or credit card (which incur higher fees)

Licenses: Registered with FINTRAC as a Money Service Business and with the Ontario Securities Commission and Canadian Securities Administrators as a Crypto Asset Trading Platform.

Pros

  • Option to stake your crypto holdings and earn a yield
  • Easy-to-use mobile application
  • 95% of funds are in cold storage
  • Funds are insured with BitGo in case of a hack

Cons

  • Limited range of cryptocurrencies
  • Custodial platform
  • High staking fees (they take about a quarter of your returns)
  • 1.5% withdrawal fee
  • Steep trading fees
  • They froze accounts following a government mandate during the trucker protests.

Visit Bitbuy now

10. Netcoins

Why Netcoins: You can trade a variety of coins and it includes a prepaid card

Netcoins is owned by BIGG Digital Assets which is a  publicly traded company on the Canadian stock exchange.

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 40 coins

Fees: 0.5% fee plus an undisclosed spread.

Deposits: Interac e-Transfer (free) and wire transfers (free above $3,000)

Licenses: registered with the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) and the securities regulatory authorities in all Canadian provinces, Yukon, and Northwest Territories. Also registered as an MSB with FINTRAC and as a Crypto Asset Trading Platform with the Canadian Securities Administrators.

Pros

  • Option to stake cryptocurrencies and earn interest.
  • Order a prepaid card and get 1% back in Bitcoin on purchases

Cons

  • Was hacked in 2022 when a customer withdrew $1.5Mn
  • Custodial account which required verification
  • Does not disclose its spread

Visit Netcoins now

11. Coinsmart

Why Coinsmart? Coinsmart is a popular Canadian crypto exchange with an easy-to-use app and all the buttons and knobs that a seasoned trader could need. Its major limitation is that it only offers 16 tokens.  

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 16 coins

Fees: 0.2% for a single trade i.e. when you trade against fiat or bitcoin and 0.3% for a double trade i.e. when you trade between crypto pairs.

Deposits: Interac e-Transfer (1.5% up to $1999 and 0 after that), SEPA, and wire transfers (0% fees). Withdrawal fees are 1%.

Licenses: Registered as MSB with FINTRAC

Pros

  • same day account verification
  • Trade any pair
  • Use cold storage and two-factor authentication
  • Limit orders, stop loss orders, and real-time charting for advanced traders
  • Live support 
  • SmartInvoicing feature for businesses that want to get paid in crypto

Cons

  • They take 30% of staking rewards
  • A custodial account that requires KYC
  • Limited range of cryptocurrencies

Visit Coinsmart today

12. Beaver Bitcoin

Why Beaver Bitcoin? Beaver Bitcoin is a non-custodial solution for those who want to be able to invest in Bitcoin. Using Beaver you can set up automated buys on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: Bitcoin only

Fees: 1.5% for one-time purchases and weekly recurring buys

Deposits: Interac e-Transfer for one-time buys or via your bank for recurring buys

Licenses: Registered as MSB with FINTRAC

Pros

  • Automate dollar cost averaging tool
  • You have self-custody of your funds

Cons

  • Steep fees
  • Bitcoin only

Visit Beaver Bitcoin today

13. VirgoCX

Why VirgoCX: Virgo is a popular crypto exchange in Canada with 78 coins and advanced trading features. The app is easy to use and 95% of funds are in cold storage.

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 78 coins

Fees: 0.5-2.5% depending on the asset you are trading. See their fee structures here

Deposits: Interac E-transfers and wire transfers are free while credit card deposits cost 3.99% and debit card deposits cost 2.99%

Licenses: Registered as MSB with FINTRAC

Pros

  • Cold storage
  • Over-the-counter trade service for amounts above $30,000. 

Cons

  • While it offers more choice than other crypto asset trading platforms in Canada it still has fewer coins than the likes of Kraken and Coinbase.
  • More appropriate for experienced traders
  • Trading fees and spreads are on the higher side.

Visit VirgoCX today

14. MyBTC.ca

Why MyBTC.ca? If you are looking for a non-custodial crypto exchange then this is a popular option amongst Canadian crypto enthusiasts. The exchange supports both Bitcoin and Ethereum. What’s unique about the exchange is that you can buy BTC and ETH with Flexepin. Flexebin is a prepaid voucher that you can buy with cash or a card at thousands of outlets across Canada.

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: Only Bitcoin and Ether

Fees: Orders above $500 are free 

Deposits: Bank Wire, Interac e-Transfer, Visa or Mastercard Credit or Debit Card, and Flexepin vouchers. Deposit fees are hefty between 5-10%

Licenses: Registered as MSB with FINTRAC

Pros

  • You can buy crypto with Flexepin vouchers
  • Good customer service
  • Non-custodial
  • Has never been hacked

Cons

  • You can only buy BTC and ETH
  • Requires ID verification
  • Users can download the app on their mobile devices
  • They do not disclose how they make money since orders are free. 

Visit MyBCT.ca

15. Crypto.com

Why Crypto.com: Crypto.com is a global exchange based out of Singapore that is allowed to operate in Canada. With over 250 coins to choose from, a Visa Debit Card that gives you up to 5% back on what you spend

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 250 coins and tokens

Fees: 0.04% to 0.2%

Deposits: Via SEPA and Apple/Google Pay. Using a credit/debit card incurs a 2.99% in fees. 

Licenses: Operates legally in Canada but I was unable to identify what license they have. 

Pros

  • Supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies
  • Respected international brand
  • Debit card that rewards you with up to 5% cashback
  • Low fees
  • Option to stake

Cons

  • A custodial account that requires KYC
  • Some customers complain of poor customer service. 

Visit Crypto.com

16. Gemini Canada

Why Gemini? Gemini was one of the first and largest crypto exchanges. With a focus on the US Gemini also covers Canada. It offers some of the lowest fees and is one of the easiest apps to use. 

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 70+ coins and tokens

Fees: 0.4% for takers to 0.2% for makers

Deposits: Wire and bank transfers, ACH, Apple and Google Pay, Debit Card, and crypto deposits

Licenses: Operates legally in Canada

Pros

  • Issues its own USD stable coin: Gemini Dollar
  • Staking services
  • You can order and use a credit card
  • NFT marketplace

Cons

  • Smaller compared to other international crypto exchanges
  • It is a custodial account that needs KYC

Visit Gemini.com

17. Kucoin

Why Kucoin? Kucoin tends to have altcoins that you can’t find on the larger exchanges. Investing in lesser-known coins could result in more upside but is riskier which is one of the reasons other large exchanges don’t list them. However, if you want to gain exposure to these types of coins while trading crypto then I would recommend you use either Kucoin or a Decentralized exchange. 

Update: Kucoin is now banned in Canada so you would be trading on their exchange at your own risk.

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 896+ coins and tokens

Fees: 0.1% for both takers/makers when you trade less than $300K. Fees are even lower if you trade using their native KCS token.

Deposits: Bank Transfer, Wise, Paypal, Zelle, Skrill,

Licenses: According to the securities administrators in Canada KuCoin in banned.

Pros

  • Has a large range of cryptocurrencies, especially small-caps
  • Staking services
  • prepaid card with cashback
  • margin trading
  • bot trading
  • Futures trading
  • NFT platform

Cons

  • Requires verification
  • Custodial
  • Has a learning curve as it includes multiple features
  • Busy user interface

Visit KuCoin

18. Changelly

Why Changelly: Changelly seems to operate in a grey zone in Canada claiming they don’t need to KYC everyone. I am finding this hard to believe however users who prefer to remain anonymous are using Changelly as an option. In fact Changelly is not an exchange but rather partners with 20 crypto trading platforms to find the best rate.

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 500+ coins

Fees: No additional fees

Deposits: credit/debit card, bank transfer, or Apple Pay

Licenses: none

Pros

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Non-custodial
  • A wide range of cryptocurrencies

Cons

  • You need to know how to work a wallet
  • Does not do KYC which means regulators may come after it. 

19. Coinsquare

Why Coinsquare: Coinsquare is has a CIRO license which means that your cash is insured by the  Canadian Investment Protection Fund (CIPF). Overall its a decent app and user experience. They offer 4 products. What they call trading which is the standard app, Pro for traders, Wealth for OTC orders and Staking where you can stake various assets and they take a hefty cut.

Features

Cryptocurrency coins: 50+ coins

Fees: 25% on staking, a spread on trading products, a 0.5% for maker/taker on Pro

Deposits: direct bank deposits, Interac e-transfer and Wire transfers

Licenses: Registered with FINTRAC as an MSB

Pros

  • Easy to use app
  • Fiat is Insured
  • 95% of crypto stored in cold storage and some proportion of that is insured
  • Decent range of cryptocurrencies
  • Available in English and French

Cons

  • Limited range of crypto
  • Redditors complain and issues with withdrawing.

FAQs

Is Binance available in Canada?

No, even though Binance is one of the largest crypto exchanges globally Binance Canada is not allowed to accept Canadian users. 

What decentralized exchanges can I use in Canada?

At the time of writing decentralized exchanges do not require ID verification. This means you can use any DEX provided you have a crypto wallet. 

The largest ones are 

  • Uniswap on Ethereum
  • PancakeSwap on Binance Smart Chain
  • Trader Joe on Avalanche
  • Raydium on Solana
  • Bisq for Bitcoin

An interesting one that allows for cross-chain transactions is Chainge. Check out my research on What is Chainge Finance here

Yes, buying crypto is legal. This implies that you need to pay capital gains taxes on any profits you make when you trade cryptocurrencies. However, note that crypto is not legal tender i.e. you cannot pay your taxes in crypto.  

Which exchange should one avoid in Canada? 

  • The most infamous case is QaudrigaCX which collapsed in 2019 after its CEO died in India under mysterious circumstances. If you come across anyone claiming to be Quadriga be aware that it is a scam
  • Catalyx.io was a popular crypto exchange but in December 2023 one of the employees absconded with a lot of the funds. Currently, you cannot trade on Catalyx.

Up next

20 Crucial Factors to Look for in a Cryptocurrency Exchange

what important factors should you consider when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange

Choosing the right cryptocurrency exchange can be mind-bogglingly confusing. There are so many exchanges out there. First of all, there are multiple types from order book exchanges to decentralized ones. Secondly, how do you know which one to trust? Even the large ones seem to implode from time to time. Thirdly, most sites aren’t exactly impartial in their recommendations. You won’t be shocked if I tell you that these websites rank exchanges according to whichever rewards them the most. Not to fret though. In this post I will walk you through 20 objective criteria you can use to choose a crypto exchange.

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

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