Is Coinbase Legit in Canada? Best Review (2024)

Published: April 22, 2024 | Last Updated: April 26, 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.

Yes, Coinbase is legit in Canada, and Canadians can open a Coinbase account. The international crypto exchange obtained a Canadian license in August 2023 which allows it to operate in Canada. 

What kind of license does Coinbase hold in Canada?

Coinbase is registered as a restricted dealer with the Canadian Securities Administration (CSA) making it the 10th firm to receive such a license. This license allows Coinbase to operate legally in Canada. It also means that COinvase has to notify Canadian users if their assets drop below a certain level in value. Also, note that in provinces outside Manitoba and Quebec, you cannot spend more than 30,000 per year by buying crypto on Coinbase.

Coinbase intends to now apply for registration as an investment dealer and to become a member of the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization.

Coinbase in Canada

The publicly traded company has built a tech hub based in Canada with 200 employees. Moreover, Coinbase Ventures, the investment arm of Coinbase has invested in Canadian crypto projects such as Dapper Labs, Minerva AI, Axelar, Horizon Blockchain Games, and Zapper. Coinbase’s Canadian Country Director is Lucas Matheson who was the CEO of PinShape and prior a Director at Shopify. 

Coinbase is said to be collaborating with the Ontario Securities Commission to launch perpetual futures and other derivatives. The company is also a member of Canada Web3 council which is a non-profit entity lobbying for legislative changes that will make the regulatory environment in Canada more crypto-friendly. 

Canada’s current regulation requires that exchanges separate custody of funds from trading. This is a good thing. However, they also restrict leverage trading and stablecoins such as DAI

Why is Coinbase so focused on Canada?

With only 40 million population Canada isn’t the lowest-hanging fish so why is Coinbase dedicating resources to this market? Matheson says it’s because Canada is the most crypto-aware country. For example, Canada launched a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) well before the United States. 

How do I deposit Canadian dollars into Coinbase?

Coinbase offers Canadian users the following payment methods. Each deposit method has a different fee structure

  • Interac e-transfers from your bank account occur within 5 minutes
  • 3D-secured Debit card transfers are instant. Coinbase no longer supports credit cards. Debit cards are best avoided since they incur 3.99% in fees.
  • PayPal takes a business day

Trading fees

If you open a standard coinbase account you will get charged relatively hefty spread fees on top of commission fees. This is a standard practice with cryptocurrency exchanges whereby new less experienced customers who tend to trade small amounts get charged a larger fee. The problem is that Coinbase does not charge a standard spread so you don’t know what you are paying unless you preview an order. Spread fees on average are around 0.5%. 

Insert photo of toggle

coinbase advanced toggle

Tip: Use Coinbase Advanced for lower fees

If you go to settings and toggle the advanced button on you will be able to place market and limit orders. Because you interact directly with the order book no spread is charged.

Market order fees

A market order means you just accept the going rate on the market. For example, say you want to buy bitcoin and the price of bitcoin is $60,000. With a market order, you will buy bitcoin at $60,000. Market orders incur a taker fee of 0.6%. It’s called a taker fee because you accept or take the existing market price. 

Limit order fees

The other option is to set up a limit order. With a limit order, you say I want to buy Bitcoin only if it drops to $55,000. Your order does not execute unless it hits that price. Having multiple orders like this on either side of the price helps create an order book for Coinbase. This is good for Coinbase because there are lots of people willing to buy and sell at different price points which means that the asset is very liquid. Because a limit order creates liquidity you are charged way less at 0.4%. 

See How to Set a Limit Order on Coinbase App for more details.

What is Coinbase One

Coinbase One is a subscription-based service that allows you to trade cryptocurrencies without incurring a fee. Canadian crypto users who use Coinvase’s simple trade feature will benefit the most from this feature. There is a 30-day trial for new users in Canada. 

Is Coinbase legit? 

Yes, Coinbase is an international brand and is considered the best crypto exchange by many. Coinbase is the world’s largest crypto exchange after Binance which is not allowed to operate in Canada. Its robust security features, ease of use, low fees, and range of cryptocurrencies make it one of the best crypto trading platforms for Canadian customers

Coinbase Review

Coinbase stands out for the following features: 

Security features

  • The majority of users’ digital assets are stored in cold storage making it impossible for hackers to breach
  • Users can set up two-factor authentication
  • For added security, you can set up a Vault. This is a free cold storage solution that puts a time delay for transactions to go through. If someone hacks your account and tries to move your funds, you will be notified and have enough time to react depending on your time delay setting. You can read up on Coinbase Vaults here
  • Keep in mind that, unlike the funds in your bank account, any digital assets you store on Coinvase are not insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) or the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). Having said that Coinbase has taken out insurance against getting hacked to protect user funds. In 2021 more than 6000 customers had their wallets drained in a security breach. 

User-friendly interface and great user experience

  • Coinbase is available as a website and mobile app. Both are extremely easy to use and as I mentioned above you are better off learning to use the Coinbase advanced due to its low fees.

Fees

Coins

  • With more than 250 coins to choose from Coinbase offers the largest selection of coins alongside Kraken. The only exchange that surpasses them is KuCoin which offers more than 800 crypto assets. Crypto investors who are looking to invest in blue chip crypto assets will find that Coinbase covers all their needs. Crypto traders who are looking for smaller-cap tokens may need to look elsewhere to use a decentralized exchange. 

Customer Support

  • Overall, Coinbase receives good reviews for its customer service
  • You can get in touch with coinbase via live chat and on the phone. When I tried their live chat I was taken around in circles and was unable to speak to a human. This could be possible because I reached out after working hours. 

Educational resources

  • Coinbase Learn is a central hub for learning all things crypto-related. Coinbase also operates a learn-to-earn program that rewards you for viewing content and completing tasks to get you familiar with the crypto space

Staking

Coinbase custody

The Coinbase exchange takes custody of your private keys when you store crypto with them. This means that they have control of those assets on your behalf. If they were to go bankrupt there would be no way for you to retrieve those funds. However, Coinbase offers a non-custodial wallet in the form of Coinbase Wallet. This is a digital crypto wallet app where you are responsible for your private seed phrase. You can find out more about the difference between Coinbase vs Coinbase Wallet here. 

The other implication is that when you sign up with Coinbase Canada you will need to share some personal information such as your name, address, and email address and you will need to verify your identity. 

What do you need to open a Coinbase account in Canada?

To sign up with Coinvase you need to be 18 years old or older. Once you register with an email address you will need to verify your identity which usually happens on the spot. You will also need to share your phone number. I highly recommend that you download an authenticator app to set up two-factor authentication which makes it much harder for hackers to gain access to your account. 

You will also need to answer a series of questions relating to the source of funds and amount for Coinbase to assess your risk tolerance. Next, you can deposit fiat currency and start trading. 

What users are saying

I scanned the crypto forums to get a sense of what users are saying. Overall the sentiment is positive. Where most user complaints center is withdrawals with people complaining that they were unable to withdraw or that it took a long time. I am not sure if this represents a broader issue with Coinbase or if it’s just a few disgruntled users. Keep in mind that as a regulated entity, Coinbase needs to comply with Anti-money laundering regulation which means that for large transactions there may be some due diligence they need to do before they can release the funds. But that is just speculation from my side. 

FAQs

Is Coinbase earn available in Canada?

Yes Canadian users can use Coinbase Earn to learn about crypto and receive rewards

Is crypto legal in Canada?

Yes, buying and selling cryptocurrencies via a regulated exchange is legal in Canada. However crypto itself is not legal tender i.e. you can’t pay your taxes with them.

Is Coinbase or Binance better in Canada?

Binance has been banned from Canada due to allegations of embezzling funds. Coinbase is legally registered and allowed to operate within the country

Which crypto platform is legal in Canada?

The following crypto platforms are registered as money business services in Canada: 

  • Coinbase
  • Kraken
  • Crypto.com
  • Kucoin
  • Newton
  • Shakepay
  • Wealthsimple
  • NDAX
  • Bitcoin Well
  • Bull Bitcoin
  • Bitbuy
  • Netcoins
  • Coinsmart
  • Beaver Bitcoin
  • VirgoCX
  • MyBTC.ca
  • Gemini

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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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