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How to Buy Cryptocurrency in Canada [2021] | Top 3 Platforms

How to Buy Cryptocurrency in Canada [2021] | Top 3 Platforms
Jordan
Major
Updated: 19 Nov, 2021
17 mins read

In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of cryptocurrency, as well as where you may acquire it in Canada. On top of that, we’ll discuss the top three respected and recognized platforms for buying cryptocurrencies to make the process as simple as possible. Afterward, we’ll explain buying and depositing options, as well as any fees or charges that may be connected with such activities.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrencies (also known as digital currencies, cryptos, virtual assets, or digital assets) are digital representations of traditional currencies. As with conventional currencies, they may be used to make purchases of products and services. 

Traders may exchange digital coins such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) against one another on specialized platforms known as cryptocurrency exchanges, similar to how fiat currencies such as dollars and euros can be traded against one another on the foreign exchange market.

The distinction is that, in contrast to traditional currencies such as the Canadian dollar, cryptocurrencies are often not managed by a single organization. Additionally, cryptos are protected via sophisticated encryption in conjunction with a new kind of online public ledger known as a blockchain, which is delivered to everybody and everyone who expresses an interest in receiving a copy.

Cryptocurrency history in Canada

To its credit, Canada has taken a proactive approach to managing cryptocurrencies since it was the first nation to implement anti-money laundering (AML) regulations for cryptocurrency service providers.

Crypto platforms were primarily regulated under provincial securities laws as money service businesses (MSBs) to safeguard the public. Furthermore, as of 2013, the Canadian Revenue Agency has been taxing cryptocurrencies, and cryptocurrency transactions are subject to Canadian tax rules.

In Canada, cryptocurrencies are classified as commodities, implying that they are legal to buy and use as a digital currency, even though they are still not recognized as legal tender. Although cryptos still may be used to purchase goods and services online or with merchants that accept them.

It’s also worth mentioning that Canada has an interesting connection with cryptocurrencies, having launched the world’s first publicly accessible Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver in 2013, followed by a second in Toronto in early 2014.

Indeed, North America leads the worldwide Bitcoin ATM market, owing to strong demand and technological advancements in the field. North America surpasses the rest of the globe in terms of ATM installation, with 26,489 machines accounting for 93.5% of all Bitcoin ATM installations as of October 2021, according to Finbold data.

In addition, Canada is one of the few nations where cryptocurrency mining is both legal and regulated. The Régie de l’énergie, the province of Quebec’s energy regulator, issued these specifications in 2019. Hydro-Quebec was obliged by the new laws to contribute 300 megawatts (MW) to the blockchain sector. 

Best platforms to buy crypto in Canada

Even though you may acquire cryptocurrencies by utilizing a Bitcoin ATM, the easiest and most practical method of acquiring digital currencies in Canada is to use cryptocurrency trading platforms

The importance of selecting the most appropriate trading platform for your cryptocurrency transactions cannot be overstated. For this reason, we’ll present to you three of the most reputable and well-recognized platforms that will safeguard your purchases while still charging affordable fees for all your cryptocurrency purchases.

#1 VirgoCX (recommended platform)

VirgoCX Buy & Sell crypto homepage. Source: VirgoCX.ca

Canada’s top regulated cryptocurrency trading platform, VirgoCX, was established in 2018. In the years afterward, the firm has remained devoted to offering its customers excellent liquidity, the newest technology, as well as one of the highest levels of security available on the market. 

First and foremost, VirgoCX places a high priority on building a safe digital currency trading platform that offers both retail and institutional investors a reliable trading experience for cryptocurrencies.

Customers may easily fund their accounts and have the ability to trade a variety of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Shiba Inu, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and others, within minutes of funding their accounts.

Buying cryptocurrency on VirgoCX is simple since the platform’s pricing structure is plain and transparent, it is one of the most cost-effective options in Canada to trade crypto assets with commission-free trading and tight spreads, which distinguishes it from the competition. 

With the help of VircoCX’s high-performance trading platform, both individuals and institutions may buy, sell, and trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other major digital currencies in a safe and secure environment. 

What’s more, VirgoCX also provides a competitive over-the-counter (OTC) solution for crypto-traders who wish to make large trades over $30,000 CAD. Since it’s designed with new and seasoned crypto traders in mind, VirgoCX makes it easy and cost-effective for residents of Canada to purchase or sell digital currencies. 

Lastly, in addition to competitive pricing, liquidity, and institutional-grade custodianship, retail and institutional customers may exchange fiat money and cryptocurrencies with an MSB FINTRAC registered platform.

Note: To learn more about VirgoCX and its primary products, please read our in-depth VirgoCX review

How to buy crypto on VirgoCX

For VirgoCX clients to acquire cryptocurrency using the platform, they merely need to follow a simple three-step:

Step 1: Register for an Account: Use the QR code below to get started right now, or sign up on the VirgoCX website or app by clicking here.

Download the VirgoCX mobile app. Source: VirgoCX.ca

Step 2: Complete Verification: After that, customers would go through a quick verification procedure that entails providing the platform with their basic personal information.

Step 3: Fund and Buy crypto: INTERAC e-Transfer and the Wire Transfer are both legitimate means of transferring money into your account in order to buy the digital currency of your choosing.

Note: Interac e-Transfer is the fastest and most convenient way to fund your account. VirgoCX provides instant deposits which makes the available instantaneously.

Register and obtain verification

Step 1: In order to be able to start buying and selling cryptocurrency instantly, you must first create an account with VirgoCX. For this, just register on the company’s website or download one of the company’s Android or iOS mobile apps.

VirgoCX mobile app. Source: VirgoCX.ca

Step 2: Before your account can be verified, you’ll be required to supply some personal information. VirgoCX, like all other financial companies, are required to authenticate the identity of every client to comply with AML (Anti-Money Laundering) & ATF (Anti-Terrorist Financing) policies. (For further details, please view our in-depth, step-by-step VirgoCX KYC guide.) 

Step 3: At this point, upon approval of your account, you may begin financing your account in order to acquire cryptocurrencies, which can be done either an INTERAC e-Transfer or a Wire Transfer.

Fund and Buy crypto

In order to make deposits into your account, you may use one of the three methods described below:

  • Crypto deposits: all cryptocurrency deposits are entirely free, and the transaction processing time is swift.
  • Interac e-Transfer: The processing time for Interac e-Transfer is immediate, and the minimum and maximum deposit amounts are $0 and $100,000, respectively. 
  • Wire transfers:  may take up to 24 hours to complete, although they normally clear in 45 minutes or less. The minimum deposit is $3,000, while the maximum is limitless. Deposits in US dollars by wire transfer are basically the same, with the exception of a $500 minimum deposit.

Once you have signed into your account, you may fund your account by clicking on the ‘Fund’ button in the left margin of the main dashboard, which will appear. From this page, you will be able to deposit into your account.

VirgoCX fund page. Source: VirgoCX.ca

Notably, there are currently just two fiat currencies accepted by VirgoCX: Canadian and U.S. dollars

Fund account with Canadian Dollars

To transfer funds into your VirgoCX account by Interac e-Transfer, please follow the instructions below:

Step 1: Logging onto the online banking site of your Canadian financial institution is the first step in the e-Transfer process;

Step 2: Activate your VirgoCX account, go to the “Fund” tab on the left dashboard, then “Interac e-Transfer,” copy the information provided, and finish your banking transaction;

Step 3: Save the information by copying it and pasting it into your banking system using the copy icon located on the right side of each item. It is possible to make errors while entering information from memory.

On the other hand, if you choose to fund your account through wire transfer, it is as simple as selecting [Wire Transfer] and following the on-screen instructions to finish the transaction without facing any complications.

Note: For further information concerning VirgoCX’s trading costs, please see our VirgoCX Fees Guide.

VirgoCX Trading platform

To begin, it is necessary to understand the difference between “Transactions” and “Trades” before digging into the charges associated with using the trading platform.

Transactions

A “transaction” is an asset deposit or withdrawal from a User Account. VirgoCX cannot reverse transactions after they have been initiated; for example, a deposit or withdrawal of cryptocurrency to an invalid wallet address or an address that the intended recipient does not hold is not reversible and would result in the indefinite loss of crypto assets.

Trades

VirgoCX operates on a broker-dealer basis, meaning users will trade with the Canadian business rather than with other users. “Trades” cannot be reversed.

VirgoCX charges no extra commission fees, and provides competitive spreads and pricing that is comparable with other leading platforms in terms of total purchasing prices. Since VirgoCX doesn’t charge commissions, mark up is built into the spread. Rates differ mainly because the market price fluctuates.

Once your account has been verified and funded, without being charged deposit fees for fiat and crypto, you will be able to trade fiat and cryptocurrencies on the VirgoCX platform.

A trading function may be classified into two categories:

Quick Trade

Inexperienced traders and investors who are just starting off may benefit from Quick Trade, which pairs small to medium-sized trades with market orders. It enables you to easily buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum at the current market price.

Select “Quick Trade” from the Dashboard, then enter the number of Canadian dollars you plan to spend on crypto. Kindly verify the number and then click “Proceed” to complete the transaction.

VirgoCX Quick trade screen. Source:VirgoCX.ca
Advanced Trade

Technical analysis, charting tools, recent transaction history, limit orders, and a variety of other tools available with the Advanced Trade option will be of particular interest to more seasoned investors and traders.

VirgoCX advanced trade screen. Source:VirgoCX.ca

#2 Wealthsimple Trade 

Wealthsimple how to buy crypto in Canada. Source: Wealthsimple.com

Wealthsimple Crypto, a cryptocurrency-related service provided by Canada’s leading online financial manager.

Wealthsimple Crypto owing to its easy-to-use interface and well-organized design is appropriate for both beginners to cryptocurrency and investing as well as more experienced traders. 

Customer accounts do not need a minimum balance, and there are no fees associated with depositing or withdrawing funds when purchasing or trading any of the 29 cryptocurrencies available. As a result, users will be able to buy and sell in real-time without having to pay excessive transaction fees. 

One thing worth mentioning is that the withdrawal of cryptocurrencies is not supported on Wealthsimple, which is not ideal for traders who want to store their assets in their own wallets.

The coins are also kept by Gemini Trust Company, a registered cryptocurrency custodian with cold storage insurance coverage worth up to $200 million. Additionally, Wealthsimple has also partnered with Coincover to keep your coins secure from theft. 

Wealthsimple keep your money safe. Source: Wealthsimple.com

To start using Wealthsimple Crypto, users must first download the Wealthsimple Trade app, available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store

Crypto trading fee

Fees for purchasing crypto on Wealthsimple Crypto; the only cost that customers incur is an operation charge. The 1.5%-2% operation fee is added to the bid and ask prices when buy and sell orders are performed, which is a lot higher than VirgoCX’s 0.5% average spread.

When you use Wealthsimple Crypto, the price is straightforward and upfront; as a result, you’ll see that there are transaction fees. This fee covers both the costs of the third-party custodian, Gemini, and the costs of the company’s own operating expenditures. 

A fee of 1.5% to 2% is applied to each transaction on Wealthsimple, depending on the amount of cryptocurrency being exchanged. A spread is applied to the difference between the bid and ask prices whenever a purchase or sell order is fulfilled. 

Example: If you wish to purchase $100 in Ethereum at a 200 basis point spread, you will have to spend $2 to complete the transaction if the spread is 200 basis points.

Add funds to Wealthsimple

Traders may utilize either their Canadian bank account or funds from an existing Wealthsimple account to make cryptocurrency purchases.

Step 1: First, log into your cryptocurrency portfolio through the app by choosing [Crypto] from the list of investment accounts that display beneath your account symbol in the upper left corner of your app’s screen. 

Step 2: Choose the crypto option. 

Step 3: Make a deposit into your cryptocurrency account.

Buy crypto on Wealthsimple

There is no limit on how much Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or Bitcoin Cash you may purchase. However, you may only invest up to $30,000 per year in all other cryptocurrencies combined.

To purchase a cryptocurrency, just follow the six steps outlined below:

Step 1: Sign in to the Trade app on your mobile

Step 2: Select the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of your screen.

Step 3: Enter the name of the cryptocurrency you’d want to purchase and then choose it from the drop-down menu.

Step 4: Select [Buy].

Step 5: Fill in the monetary amount of cryptocurrencies you’d want to purchase and then hit [Continue].

Step 6: Review the order and click [Confirm] order.

Wealthsimple Crypto allows you to place two sorts of orders.

A market order (default)

  • Using market orders, you may purchase or sell cryptocurrency right now at the best available price. 

A limit order

  • Limit orders allow you to purchase or sell a cryptocurrency at a set limit price.

Transfer to (and from) anywhere 

If you have cryptocurrency in other places, you will soon be able to safely transfer cryptocurrency to or from an external wallet with only a few clicks on Wealthsimple.

Set up crypto auto-deposits

Cryptocurrency auto-deposits are a straightforward way to start collecting, and you can set them to occur weekly, biweekly, or monthly depending on your preferences. 

Put your money on autopilot includes:

Auto-deposits –  automatic contributions to the cryptos of your choice that are made on a regular basis without the need for human intervention.

Easy access – Customers may also access and manage their accounts from any place at any time through the company’s website or mobile application.

Note: Note: For additional information on investing on autopilot with Wealthsimple and other platforms, see our How to Invest in Crypto on Autopilot guide.


#3 Coinbase

Coinbase Canada. Source: Coinbase.com

Coinbase, which was created in 2012, has evolved to become one of the world’s biggest digital currency exchanges. Although the site once exclusively accepted Bitcoin as a digital currency, it has subsequently expanded its support to include a variety of other well-known digital assets. 

There are more than 100 countries in which the platform operates, and it is completely licensed and regulated as a cryptocurrency exchange broker. The well-known U.S. company today serves more than 56 million consumers worldwide and employs more than 1,700 people. It is widely considered as one of the most accessible platforms for buying and trading Bitcoin.

Coinbase offers three major products: Coinbase cryptocurrency brokerage services, a professional trading platform dubbed Coinbase Pro and the newly introduced Coinbase Prime for institutions.

It is important to note that Coinbase is a centralized exchange platform that is subject to international financial regulations, including KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) laws; thus, users can rest assured their funds are safe.

Note: For further information regarding Coinbase, please see our in-depth Coinbase review.

How to buy crypto on Coinbase

Despite Coinbase’s fast deposit feature, debit cards are the sole way to buy crypto in Canada. After depositing funds into your account, the site allows you to acquire crypto with a single click. However, you must follow the usual Know Your Customer/Anti-Money Laundering processes.

Moreover, as Coinbase does not allow bank account payments, Unlike VirgoCX, Canadian customers cannot use their bank accounts to pay on Coinbase

Note: For additional information on setting up and validating your Coinbase account, please see our How long does Coinbase KYC guide.

Follow these six steps to link a debit card to your account to begin purchasing crypto on Coinbase:

Step 1: Go to [Settings] > [Payment Methods]. 

Step 2: Tap [Link a New Account]. 

Step 3: From the drop-down option, select [Debit Card]. 

Step 4:  Provide your debit card information (two small, temporary debits will be applied to your card).

Step 5: Locate the two temporary debits on your card’s online statement by visiting the website for your bank’s debit card. 

Step 6: To complete the process of adding and verifying your card on Coinbase, enter the correct amounts in the respective sections. 

Simply click [Buy/Sell] in the top right corner of your Coinbase dashboard once you’ve linked your credit card.

Coinbase Canada. Source: Coinbase.com

Buying crypto fees

The price for using a debit card is 3.99%; however, there is an extra 0.50% fee for any buy or sell transactions made via Coinbase, on top of the 3.99% debit card fee.  

On top of that, the payment options drop-down box on the Buy page now enables you to complete a purchase by choosing your card as the preferred payment method. However, you should be aware that it is not feasible to sell cryptocurrency and transfer the funds to a card.

Note: See our comprehensive Coinbase fees guide to learn about the expenses associated with Coinbase’s most popular products.


Conclusion

To summarize, all three cryptocurrency trading platforms and exchanges in Canada offer a solid, secure, and respectable service for anybody interested in acquiring cryptocurrencies. 

Having a wide range of choices involves a side-by-side assessment of each platform’s deposit and withdrawal options, fees, transaction speeds, and usability before determining which is ideal for your requirements. 

To help those of you who are still uncertain about which platform to use, we’ve written in-depth reviews on each of the three sites we’ve chosen for this tutorial on how to buy cryptocurrency in Canada so you can learn more before making your final decision.

FAQs about buying cryptocurrency in Canada

Is Crypto Legal in Canada?

Yes, it is legal to purchase cryptocurrency in Canada, and many people do so. The Canadian government has classified Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as commodities, which means that you can purchase, trade, mine, or otherwise interact with cryptocurrency.

How to Buy Crypto in Canada?

When it comes to acquiring cryptocurrencies, there are various options available, like using a Bitcoin ATM or gaining exposure through an exchange-traded fund (ETF). However, the most popular and often cheapest method is to utilize a cryptocurrency trading platform; these are online marketplaces that enable you to trade, buy, and sell cryptocurrency; and there are several excellent Canadian platforms available, like VirgoCX.

What are the best Crypto Wallets for Canadians?

It is possible to use an online software wallet or an offline device to store cryptocurrency in Canada. There are two types of cryptocurrency wallets: “hot” and “cold.” This distinction is based on how the private keys are stored in the wallets. Read our Best Bitcoin Wallet guide for additional information on how to choose the best wallet for your needs

How can I buy Bitcoins legally in Canada?

There are several methods to get Bitcoin in Canada. With cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms, like VirgoCX exchange-traded funds (ETFs), CFDs, or Bitcoin ATMs are all viable methods. For further information on how to purchase Bitcoin legally in Canada, read our in-depth How to Buy Bitcoin in Canada guide.

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Jordan Major
Author

Jordan is an investor and market analyst. He's passionate about stocks, ETFs, blockchain, and digital assets. At Finbold.com, he delves into the technicalities to obtain future trends for new market traders and gives insights into user-friendly platforms for beginners.

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