The Canadian bitcoin and ethereum exchange market has become a battleground, with three exchanges competing to emerge as the top dog in the market. QuadrigaCX has pretty definitively emerged as the market leader in terms of volume.
The Best Canadian Bitcoin Exchanges
The Canadian bitcoin market is served by three major exchanges. The undisputed heavyweight of the market is QuadrigaCX, followed by Kraken who elbowed it's way into the market with the purchase of Cavirtex, and then Coinsquare, a stubborn upstart who hopes to leapfrog the competition.
Comparison of Canada's Top 3 Cryptocurrency Exchanges
First things first, QuadrigaCX has distinguished itself as the number one cryptocurrency exchange by way of volume in the Canadian market, and it is not particularly close.
There was a moment that Kraken seemed to be challenging for the spot. Quadriga has a distinct advantage over Kraken in that it lives and breathes the Canadian cryptocurrency market. It is likely safe to say that in terms of Kraken's priorities, macro issues, like platform stability, which has been a concern as of late, as well as specific issues relating to its leading euro market platform, would simply be prioritised above local Canadian issues. This is why, for instance, the local deposit options that were once available to Cavirtex customers have been disabled and only bank wire is available.
|Fee||Daily Limit||Fee||Daily Limit (tier 3)||Fee||Daily Limit|
|Fee||Daily Limit||Fee||Daily Limit||Fee||Daily Limit|
|QuadrigaCX||From 0.5% to 0.2% depending on pair|
|Kraken||Volume based: Maker from 0.16 - 0%; Taker from 0.26 - 0.1%|
|Coinsquare||From 0.4% on non-btc to 0.1% when maker on bitcoin pairs|
|Exchange||CAD Markets Offered|
|QuadrigaCX||BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, BTG|
|Kraken||BTC, ETH, XRP|
|Coinsquare||BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, Doge, Dash|
Trading Fee Comparison
|Exchange||Base Fee||Top Tier/Volume Requirement|
|CoinSquare||0.1%/0.2%||Maker/Taker trading market - regardless of personal volume|
|Kraken||0.35%||0.1% ($1M in last 30 days)|
QuadrigaCX - The Best Cryptocurrency Exchange in Canada
Quadriga has by far the most liquidity in the Canadian market, with the caveat that this liquidity is very much limited to Canadian trading hours; when Canada sleeps the spread widens considerably.
However, provided you are not waking up at 3 am to trade, Quadriga has the narrowest spreads and the biggest book, which far compensates for the slightly higher trading fees. This is the case for all of the represented cryptocurrencies against the Canadian dollar.
Note also the myriad of deposit options available, as well as the extremely high deposit and withdrawal limits. For larger portfolios, Quadriga is definitely your best Canadian on and off ramp. Consider also that Quadriga charges no transfer fee for bitcoin, which means customers may use Quadriga to convert CAD into bitcoin, and then freely transfer the bitcoin to, say, Bitmex to get a bit of leverage, or Bitfinex to buy additional altcoins.
When it comes to cryptocurrency exchanges offering Canadian dollar markets, QuadrigaCX is clearly the best in the market. Read our full QuadrigaCX Review.
There are two reasons you might choose Kraken over QuadrigaCX. First, the trading fees are lower. Though Quadriga's volume and spreads during Canadian trading hours more than compensates for the 0.2% trading fee difference, Kraken offers greater liquidity during non-Canadian trading hours. If you trade at those times, maybe Kraken makes sense.
Additionally, Kraken offers a XRPCAD market, so anybody who wants to try their luck on the Ripple train, Kraken is your only Canadian Dollar market. We do not find the additional cryptocurrencies offered in USD or cross markets to be much of an advantage. Once you have exchanges your Canadian dollars into bitcoin, there is nothing to stop you from engaging with the largest international exchanges for the buying or trading of any number of additional coins. I would not recommend Kraken to solely to, for instance, buy Monero. You would be better off converting your USD to bitcoin at Quadriga and freely transferring the bitcoin to a different exchange offering Monero markets.
Read our full Kraken Review
Coinsquare mercifully updated their user interface at the end of 2017, but we still have a problem with how the trading platform works. It just is not as intuitive as the competition, they use strange trading nomenclature, the whole thing fits together a bit clunkily. We would of course give this a pass if there was substantial volume, but coinsquare is a distant third in the Canadian market. They also have limited withdrawal options and maximums, thought they do have more deposit options than QuadrigaCX.
The one area in which they are superior to both Quadriga and Kraken is their verification, probably due to limit verification requests. You can get set up quicker with Coinsquare.
Read our full Coinsquare Review.
Exchange Articles of Interest
Bitcoin Price (USD): 853.48