How to Buy Bitcoins in Canada: Best Guide in 2024

Published: 23rd May, 2024 | Last Updated: 30th May, 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 guide, I am going to show you how to buy Bitcoins in Canada. I will show you which online platforms you can use to do this and how to go about it.

how to buy bitcoins in canada

Where to buy Bitcoin in Canada

To buy in Canada you need to use a regulated crypto exchange. Here is the list of crypto exchanges that are regulated by the Canadian Securities Administrators and Ontario Securities Commission.

They are all registered as a money service business.

Regulated Canadian exchanges

  1. Bitbuy. See Is Bitbuy Legal in Canada for more
  2. Bitvo
  3. Coinberry
  4. Coinsquare. See Is Coinsquare Legal in Canada.
  5. Fidelity
  6. Hibit
  7. Netcoins
  8. Newton
  9. Shakepay
  10. CoinSmart
  11. VirgoCX
  12. WealthSimple crypto
  13. ByTex
  14. Crypto.com
  15. DigiFinex
  16. Gemini
  17. Kraken
  18. NDAX
  19. Satstreet
  20. Uphold

Any of the above will do. In my opinion, the best crypto exchange is Kraken cause it has a reputation for security and has never been hacked. I don’t get paid to say this. It’s just what I believe based on my experience.

For a detailed review check out my ranking of the best Canadian crypto exchanges.

Tip: some people try to sign up for an exchange using the VPN of another country and then find that they are unable to withdraw fiat to their bank account. The reason for this is that some exchanges delay the verification process until you decide to withdraw. However many are not allowed to do business in Canada or have chosen to exit the market. Make sure you choose one of the exchanges listed above to make your life easy.

How to buy Bitcoin in Canada

1. Open an account with an exchange

Sign up for an exchange and go through the verification process. You will need to share personal information such as a name, home address, email address, and phone number. Make sure you set up two-factor authentication when prompted for better security. If you are not sure which platform to choose check out my review of the 10 Best Platforms to Buy Bitcoin in Canada.

2. Deposit cash on an exchange

pound, coins, currency

To buy bitcoin you need to deposit Canadian dollars onto exchanges. The simplest payment method is to use Interac e-Transfer.

This is usually free for both deposits and withdrawals and near-instant. However, most exchanges accept up to $10,000 via Interac.

If you wish to deposit a larger amount you will need to make a wire transfer or bank transfer. Both can take between 1-5 business days depending on the exchange.

Most exchanges don’t accept credit cards but some do accept debit cards. Keep in mind though that deposit fees are hefty at 3-5% so you should avoid this if you can.

2. 5 easy steps to Buy Bitcoin

Once your funds come through follow these steps

  1. Search for Bitcoin in the portfolio tab of the exchange
  2. Click on buy
  3. Enter the amount you wish to buy and select a market order. If you only want to buy when the price drops to a certain level you can use a limit order.
  4. Review the fees
  5. Confirm your purchase

And that’s it. You now hold Bitcoin which you can either keep on the exchange or move to a crypto wallet.

See Which Is the Best Crypto Wallet in Canada for more.

Many exchanges allow you to set up recurring buys.

Tip: Most exchanges offer both a pro and a standard version. The standard version is simpler to use but is more expensive to use. The pro versions will have more whistles and bells but have significantly lower trading fees.

See

Can I use a decentralized exchange?

Decentralized exchanges are not regulated at the time of writing. For regulated exchanges see Which Crypto Platform Is Legal in Canada.

It is not illegal to use them but there is also no clarity as to what their status will be in the future.

In any case, you will not be able to use fiat on a decentralized exchange.

To do that you will need to use a regulated entity and verify your ID.

Also, Decentralized exchanges tend to offer wrapped versions of bitcoin.

These are representations of bitcoin on a non-bitcoin blockchain but they are not actual bitcoin.

Some people don’t care but I thought I should point out the difference anyway.

Uniswap decentralized exchange

What to do with your Bitcoin after you buy it.

Most people advocate that you move your digital currencies off an exchange and into a digital wallet.

The reason for this is that crypto exchanges tend to go bust from time to time  (see the Quadriga scandal and Did anyone manage to get their money back from Quadriga) and the Canadian government has been known to freeze crypto assets in the past.

Wallets allow you to be in complete control of your funds.

There are two types of wallets

wallet

  • Hardware wallets: these are physical devices that store the private keys to your crypto. They are considered the most secure as they are not connected to the internet
  • Online wallets: these are software wallets that you can download as a mobile app or browser extension. They are useful for plugging into decentralized finance apps.

See my review of Canadian crypto wallets and Where Is the Best Place to Hold Crypto in Canada for more.

The drawback of using a wallet is that you need to manage your private keys. If you lose them there is no recourse.

If you want something idiot proof then choose a crypto exchange that takes appropriate security measures.

Coinbase and Kraken are my preferred choice.

They store the majority of their funds in cold storage and allow you to set time delays for withdrawals in case someone tries to make a run with your digital assets.

Also, See

Some people find the dilemma of whether to hold Bitcoin on an exchange or a wallet two confusing.

Which is why they prefer to buy bitcoin ETFs.

Buying bitcoin  ETFs

Canada was the first market to launch Bitcoin ETFs. These are index funds that track the value of Bitcoin.

You can buy them on any brokerage such as Fidelity just like you do with normal ETFs and stocks.

This way you do not need to worry about custody.

The biggest risk is the government cracking down on crypto but in my view this is unlikely.

historical stock, securities, certificates

A couple of popular ETFs are :

  • Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF
  • CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF
  • Purpose Bitcoin ETF

Which exchange offers the lowest fees for buying Bitcoin?

I ran a comparison of the trading fees that different cryptocurrency exchanges charge.

The cheapest one is crypto.com.

I have never used it.

While it is based in Singapore they are licensed to operate in Canada. Their main product is a debit card which gives you 1% cashback.

Apart from trading fees make sure you select an exchange that has 0 deposit and withdrawals fees. Some charge 1.5% in fees for withdrawals so make sure you check their fee structure page.

Finally, keep in mind that no matter which exchange you use you will need to pay transaction fees to the blockchain.

This is how the people who validate transactions on a blockchain get paid. The fees are negligible especially for larger trades.

Bitcoin ATMs

If you want to convert cash directly to bitcoin you can do so at a bitcoin ATM.

You still need to verify your ID at an ATM so the main reason to do this is if you want to buy bitcoin with cash or sell bitcoin for cash.

Bitcoin ATMs are widely prevalent across Canada.

atm, banking, bank

Before buying Bitcoin be aware of the following

  • If you buy Bitcoin and its value increases and you sell it for fiat currency you will need to pay capital gains tax at the end of the tax year. If you are not a professional trader you will only pay capital gains on 50% of the profits. The exchange likely reports your transactions to the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency). Also, see Canada’s crypto regulation and Crypto Tax Canada for more.
  • International exchanges such as crypto.com, Kraken, and Coinbase tend to charge lower trading fees.
  • You may hear of some restrictions on the net trading amount you can trade in Canada. These restrictions do not apply to large coins such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum
  • Bitcoin Cash is not the same as Bitcoin. Understand What is a Bitcoin and how it works here
  • Margin trading is not allowed in Canada. This is a good thing as most people who trade crypto on leverage tend to lose their money.

How much bitcoin should I buy?

The amount of bitcoin you buy depends on your strategy.

bitcoin, cryptocurrency, currency

If you are hoping to become rich within the year then think again. You are not going to get 10x multiples within such a short time frame with Bitcoin anymore.

In this case, you are better off diversifying across cryptocurrencies and coins.

You should also make sure you are in a bull run and exit it once the bull run is over.

However, if you plan on investing in Bitcoin for the long term because you believe it’s a good store of value then you can invest everything in Bitcoin and see how it plays out over a 20-year time horizon.

This is my perspective but it’s not financial advice. Please make sure you do your own research.

FAQs

Can I buy Bitcoin from banks in Canada?

Banks in Canada don’t offer bitcoin per se.

However, some of them do offer bitcoin ETFs which is an indirect way to gain exposure without needing to learn something new.

Also, see Is TD Bank crypto-friendly

Is it legal to buy Bitcoin in Canada?

Yes, Canadians are allowed to buy and invest in bitcoin. There are 20 regulated crypto exchanges to choose from and even if you buy bitcoin on a decentralized exchange it is not illegal.

You will need to verify your identity to convert Canadian dollars into Bitcoin.

Is Bitcoin taxed in Canada?

Yes, Canadians need to pay capital gains taxes on any profits they make from trading crypto at the end of the tax year. Professional traders need to pay taxes on the whole profit while regular investors only pay on 50% of the profit.

How do beginners buy bitcoins?

The easiest way to get started is to deposit fiat currency on a regulated crypto trading platform and buy bitcoin. Other alternatives are to you use a broker such as Fidelity or a bitcoin ATM. Some people also use peer to peer platforms.

How much Bitcoin can I buy in Canada?

There is no limit on the amount of bitcoin you can buy in Canada and bitcoin transactions are legal. Some provinces in Canada apply a ceiling of $30,000 on the net trading amount over 12 rolling months but this does not apply to Bitcoin.

Is Canada crypto-friendly?

Canada was one of the first countries to regulate cryptocurrencies and launched a Bitcoin ETF before the United States. However, it has one of the stricter crypto regulatory environments. Many stablecoins such as USDT and DAI are not allowed. Margin trading is not allowed and there are limits on the amount of altcoins you can trade in most provinces (See Where to Buy Altcoins Canada). Also, note that crypto is not legal tender in Canada. You can’t pay debt or taxes in crypto.

Does Canada use a Bitcoin ATM machine?

Yes, bitcoin ATMs are widely prevalent across Canada. You need to verify your identity before you can use one though.

Is Binance allowed in Canada?

Binance was not banned from Canada but decided to exit the market on its own as the regulatory oversight was too strict. Canadian customers will be rejected from Binance when the time comes to prove their ID. For a list of banned exchanges see Canada Crypto Ban.

Up next

10 Best Platforms to Buy Bitcoin in Canada 2024

Best Platform to Buy Bitcoin in Canada

In this guide, I am going to show you which is the best platform to buy Bitcoin in Canada. I will show you which online platforms you can use to do this and how to go about it.

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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