Cavirtex Review
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Cavirtex Review

Written on: July 20th, 2015 | Author: David Marc
Important info
  • US Customers Accepted? :  Yes
  • Institutional Accounts? :  Yes
Pros and cons

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Cavirtex was acquired by kraken.  For an alternative local solution, check out market leader quadrigaCX.

Summary

Cavirtex, short for Canada's Virtual Exchange, is Canada's oldest and largest bitcoin exchange offering traders the opportunity to trade bitcoin and canadian dollars directly. Cavirtex was on the verge of closing shop due to their inability to cope with repeated security breaches, when they were acquired by respected New York-based trading platform Coinsetter.

It will be interesting to see if Coinsetter will be able to revive Cavirtex. To put it bluntly, Cavirtex is not a very good trading product, and has been slow to improve. Cavirtex's image has also taken a well-deserved shellacking, and that was before the security breach that almost put them out of business. IPO investors have been furious over what they term broken promises over dividend payments.  And the fees - man, do they know how to pile them on. As late as February 2015, just prior to their cease of business announcement, the Cavirtex team had been attempting a sort of charm offensive meant to repair their image, lowering fees substantially (though still above competition elsewhere), and modifying an inactive account fee policy that was viewed as predatory.

Into this mini-mess stepped Coinsetter. Assumedly, they saw great opportunity in taking on at massive discount the largest active Canadian bitcoin database out there, with local banking partnerships already established. And indeed, there are a number of synergies that can be exploited, foremost among them in security and upgrading the trading technology. According to Coinsetter CEO Jaron Lukasiewicz: "I don't want to speak too much about their security, but it's not like an outside hacker came in and breached their system, it was a little weirder and more complex. We've been able to contain it completely. So the security concerns that existed, I feel comfortable with". He also signalled confidence that Canadian traders would return to Cavirtex, due to the dearth of alternative options in the market. "Every single exchange that currently exists in Canada is very poor quality, it's almost unbelievable," he said. "So our goal is really to come into the market with our great trading technology, and I am confident that almost every Canadian customer will come back to us."

Coinsetter has upgraded Cavirtex's security infrastructure utilizing its Securicoin system, and plans to integrate its own trading platform. They have definitely improved the liquidity situation, and spreads today are much tighter than they were six months ago.  And not a moment too soon.  New competition in Canada is emerging that would eventually replace Cavirtex in its previous iteration. Already, QuadrigaCX has begun to make moves and, perhaps smelling blood in the water, Kraken recently announced that it would begin to service the Canadian market.

Security

Like all exchanges, 2-factor authentication is offered to secure login. Additionally, there is a browser authentication function, requiring email verification anytime a different browser is used.

95% of funds are held in cold storage, with 50% held in insured Xapo vaults. When coins are traded between users, they are not actually moved from cold storage - rather, an internal ledger documents changing account balances. While this obviously leads to much greater coin security, withdrawal times do suffer a bit as a result. We believe this is a preferable trade off, and should go a long ways towards reassuring users who were perhaps quite nervous in the aftermath of the pre-Coinsetter security breaches.

Gravitas

Cavirtex has been at the forefront of Canadian lobbying efforts for liberal digital currency regulation. Coinsetter, the new parent company, is a serious and reputable operation. Their executive team are well known, and Coinsetter has secured some significant VC backing, including Bitcoin Investment Trust founder Barry Silbert.

Opening an Account

Cavirtex is meant for Canadian citizens only. Non-Canadians will be unable to deposit or withdraw fiat.

  Level 0  Level 1  Level 2 
Available deposit options   bitcoin and litecoin deposits/withdrawals, quickBT, Bitcoin ATMs  In person bill payment, INTERAC online, Wire Transfer  Direct debit
Verification requirements  Standard registration, email verification  Scanned provincial license, front and back.  Proof of Address - tax document, utility bill, bank statement or telephone bill.   Level 1 and a PAD document (pre-authorized debt), bank account info and linkage. 

Cavirtex Software Review

Before getting into the trading platform, a word about the overall website. Cavirtex is in need of a designer and UI expert. The site flow is poor. Coinsetter has done a very nice job in redesigning the home page, which offers a lot of information in scroll down fashion - but venture forth from there and information seems to be thrown helter skelter without a thought for navigational integrity. The design is amateurish, it seems as if it was rushed to market on some cheap template back in 2011, and what was meant to be a temporary shortcut has remained the actual website.

trade-screen

The trading interface provides the minimum one would expect from an exchange. There are limit, market, trigger, and trigger-limit orders, which are basically orders placed when the last trade is either equal to or greater, or equal to or less than, your desired order. These trade types are available on the BTC/CAD, BTC/LTC, and BTC/LTC pairs, which are accessible through different tabs.  The order book is also shown on a different tab. There has been a marked narrowing of spreads since the Coinsetter takeover, which is a very positive development.

Mobile

Not responsive, but you should be able to pinch and squint your way to a trade. No IOS or Android app.

Cavirtex Fees

Cavirtex charges fees. A lot of them. If, for instance, you were to utilize the cavirtex wallet and leave your coins there without trading, you'll start paying $50 a month for the privilege after 12 months. Want a debit card? That's $10 delivery fee, $2 a month, 3% loading (at best), and $2.00 domestic ATM withdrawals. And trading - 0.8% starting fee.

Payment Option  Verification deposit fee Minimum/monthly max  Withdrawal Fee  Monthly Max
Money Mart $20 $20/$90,000 (with verification letter)  N/A  $0
INTERAC online $25  $100/$5,000   N/A $0
Wire Transfer $100 $9,000/$500,000   $10 $0
Electronic Fund Transfer 1 $5 $90,000 (with bank letter) N/A $3,000/$20,000 (verified)
Quick BT  Canadian Telephone Up to $5 $2/$1,500 N/A $0
Prepaid Debit Card 1 N/A N/A $1.50 for every $500 $3000 card limit

Please note that the first withdrawal of either BTC or CAD will be delayed for 14 days after the deposit date.  

Debit Card Fees

Action  Fee 
Card Delivery $10.00
Monthly Fee  $2.00
 Canadian/US/International Fund Transfer  $1.50/$2.25/$7.65
 Canadian/US/International ATM  $2.00/$3.15/$7.65
 Canadian/US/International Transaction $0.50/$1.80/$4.05
 International Transaction 2.5%
 Telephone Support $2.50 

 Trading Fees

120 day bitcoin volume  Fee 
Less than 150  0.8% 
Less than 300  0.7% 
Less than 500  0.6% 
Less than 700 0.5%
Less than 900 0.4%
Greater than 900 0.3%

Support

Cavirtex support is professional and responds promptly during business hours, EST.  Expect to wait a bit longer for response at night and over the weekend.

Bottom Line

Cavirtex has it's share of problems. However, they have benefited from a lack of competition in Canada, and thus have amassed a large customer database which has provided very good btc/cad liquidity. They take their position seriously in Canada, work hard for regulation, and abide by the same KYC/AML standards required of banks.

We are fans of Coinsetter, and do hope to see the Cavirtex product improve in the coming months. For Canadian traders, Cavirtex is among your best options, and brighter days are ahead.

Visit Cavirtex

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Cavirtex Market Data (CAD)

  • 24 Hour BTC Volume: Unavailable
  • Current Ask: 550
  • Current Bid: 548
  • Latest Trade: 550
  • Thanks to bitcoincharts.com for market data.  Prices shown delayed 15 minutes.
  • Trade Now

Bitcoin Price (USD): 853.48