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The Canadian bitcoin and ethereum exchange market has become a battleground, with numerous exchange competing to emerge as the top dog in the market.  QuadrigaCX has pretty definitively emerged as the market leader in terms of volume.

Written on: August 6th, 2015 | Author: David M

 Bitcoin and Ethereum Trading in Canada

It is counterintuitive that Canadian bitcoin exchanges, in a territory characterized with a relatively liberal stance vis-a-vis bitcoinin particular and cryptocurrency in general, have had such difficulty establishing banking partnerships. Alas, the absence of governmental regulatory guidance led to a conservative banking approach to bitcoin exchange services. Ostensibly, the banks were concerned that they might be liable for the perceived absence of strong KYC and AML regulation by the exchanges; some have argued that the banks artificially raised the fences against a potentially disruptive threat to their existing business models.

Enter Calgary-based Vogogo, a turnkey payment processing solution specializing in financial regulatory compliance, fraud detection and risk management. While Vogogo automates payment processing for a number of different online businesses, they made the strategic decision to move into the digital currency space in 2013, following a string of bank-related bitcoin exchange closures in Canada. Vogogo not only allows bitcoin exchanges to outsource their entire fraud and compliance programs and integrate important local deposit options such as EFT and INTERAC, stable Canadian banking partnerships are also part of the package.

Read on for a market comparison.  Spoiler alert - QuadrigaCX is the best option for Canadian Bitcoin and Ethereum trading due to superior liquidity, thin spreads and reasonable fees.

Best Canadian Bitcoin Exchanges

  • BITREVIEW

    Great Canadian exchange, local deposit options

    Top CAD/BTC, CAD/ETH, BTC/ETH liquidity + low fees

    Decent trading platform and merchant services

  • BITREVIEW

    Europe's best exchange, top BTC/EUR liquidity

    Low fees, SEPA rates, excellent trading platform

    Now available for US and Canadian traders!

  • BITREVIEW

    Trade Ethereum in Canada

    Local Deposit Options

    Not beautiful, but it's what's on the inside that counts

Now, a market that was traditionally underserved by bitcoin exchanges is spoilt for choice. QuadrigaCX and Kraken are the clear leaders in terms of liquidity, but CoinSquare has made inroads as well, somewhat stymied by a product in need of upgrade. Add to the mix The Toronto-based Quebex, a localbitcoins-inspired p2p platform, and you have got an exchange battleground that should delight Canadian bitcoin and ethereum traders. 

Comparison of Fees

Please find below a comparison of the transaction and trading fees at each of the Canadian Exchanges.  We include only CAD deposit options.  On the transaction fee side QuadrigaCX takes best in show, and Kraken takes the honor for trading fees (though they have no liquidity yet to trade with).

Deposit/Withdrawal Fees    
  QuadrigaCX  Coinbase Cavirtex  CoinTrader  Kraken
INTERAC   1.5% (min $5)/Free $1 $25/NA  1%/1%  1.5% (min $5)
 EFT  Free $1 $7.50/$10  1.25%/1.25%  1.5%($5 min) / 1% ($10 min)
Money Mart/Western Union Free/2.5% (min $15) NA $20/NA NA NA
In Person (deposit only) Free NA $20 Free NA

Trading Fee Comparison

Exchange Base Fee  Top Tier/Volume Requirement 
QuadrigaCX  0.5%  0.5%
CoinSquare 0.1%/0.2% Maker/Taker trading market - regardless of personal volume
Kraken 0.35% 0.1% ($1M in last 30 days)

Product comparison

Please see our individual reviews for more detailed analysis of the products offered. Kraken offers the most advanced trading platform, but Quadriga wins handily on liquidity and spreads for both Ethereum and Bitcoin. Coinsquare offers the greatest variety of altcoins, but the clumsy interface and trade slip will deter many users.  On the mobile side, Quadriga's product works excellently on handheld devices, but Kraken is the only product offering iOS and Android apps, both of which are excellent. In a trading emergency Coinsquare may be used on your mobile device, but the process of pinching, squeezing and squinting is not for the faint of heart.

Conclusion

It is nice to see a bit of competition in the Canadian market after years of a two horse race between Cavirtex and the now-defunct Vault of Satoshi, and  it is the Canadian bitcoin trader who will most benefit. The entrance Kraken and the ascendance of QuadrigaCX puts the pressure on the other operators to improve their products, which could lead to fee decreases as the exchanges compete for greater market share.

We beat up a bit on Coinsquare, but it is out of love - if they would invest in developing a more user-friendly product, their already ample liquidity could greatly increase.  Quebex is a great alternative for those preferring p2p trading - in cash, via paypal, or through other means.  For those deciding where to trade, we vote alongside the market, who has already voted with their coin - QuadrigaCX is the definite leader in the market for both bitcoin and ethereum trading.

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Bitcoin Price (USD): 853.48