In this review, we will look at Bitbuy, a popular Canada-based cryptocurrency exchange. Specifically, we will consider what the platform offers its users, how much it costs to use it, its approach to security, and customer support. In addition, a detailed step-by-step tutorial on how to sign up for the service is provided.
About Bitbuy Exchange
Bitbuy is one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada, founded in June 2016 by Adam Goldman. Its company headquarters are based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and currently serves more than 400,000 Canadians with support for 15 cryptocurrencies.
The exchange is run and operated by Bitbuy Technologies Inc., a division of crypto investment company First Ledger Corp. In January 2022, WonderFi, a Vancouver-based technology company that is publicly listed on the NEO Exchange, bought out First Ledger Corp to gain exclusive rights over the operations of Bitbuy.
Despite its storied ownership history, Bitbuy is among the best options for Canadians looking to invest in the nascent digital asset market, offering two main services: cryptocurrency brokerage and exchange.
Bitbuy offers the following key features that are often sought after by cryptocurrency investors and traders:
- Express trading – the exchange enables its users to buy and sell cryptocurrency directly to and from the platform’s brokerage desk;
- Pro trading – this feature enables expert traders to access advanced tools such as charts, order books, and sophisticated order types necessary to satisfy their needs;
- Bitbuy Private Wealth – previously called Bitbuy OTC, the Private Wealth desk facilitates direct trades between high-volume investors;
- Trading API (application programming interface) – this feature enables bot traders to connect to their Bitbuy account and execute remote automated trades;
- Corporate accounts – Bitbuy enables institutional investors to tap into its relative deep liquidity to buy, sell and hold digital assets.
- Mobile app – Bitbuy users are able to access their accounts on the move using the exchange’s intuitive mobile app available on the Apple Appstore and Android’s PlayStore.
Why do traders use Bitbuy exchange?
Cryptocurrency traders have multi-diverse needs, which include secure platforms, intuitive user interfaces, educational materials, availability of tools, deep liquidity, access to innovative features and products, plus low fees.
Bitbuy offers a slew of products and features that are desirable to all kinds of crypto traders, from beginners to advanced users.
Here are some of the reasons why Canadian traders choose to invest in crypto through Bitbuy:
- Regulations and compliance – Bitbuy is a registered Money Service Business (MSB) by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC). It is also a registered cryptocurrency marketplace in Canada regulated by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC);
- Intuitive interface – Bitbuy has invested in a beginner-friendly user interface on its web platform and its two mobile applications, making it easy to use for both new and experienced investors;
- Cost-effective – the exchange charges relatively lower trading fees compared to most of its competitors, making it more attractive to traders;
- Platform safety – Bitbuy offers its users peace of mind by investing heavily in the security of its systems. Additionally, the platform has partnered with Palo Alto, California-based digital asset trust company BitGo to offer crypto custody;
- Quick sign-up and verification – it is easy to create an account with Bitbuy and start trading quickly due to its smooth sign-up process. The platform has partnered with a global identity verification startup called Trulioo to streamline the onboarding process.
Bitbuy exchange’s key features
Bitbuy may be an established platform in Canada, but it only offers three types of services:
- Cryptocurrency brokerage:
- Professional trading;
- Asset custody.
The three services are offered through the following features:
1. Express trade
Bitbuy enables its users to buy and sell any of the supported cryptocurrencies directly to and from the platform without having to interact with the sophisticated pro trading interface.
The Express trade feature supports local Canadian dollars through which the transactions are settled. The service is advantageous as it involves fewer steps to buy or sell digital assets compared to using the pro service.
So far, the platform supports buy, selling and trading of 17 cryptocurrencies which are:
- Bitcoin (BTC);
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH);
- Ethereum (ETH);
- Litecoin (LTC);
- Stellar (XLM);
- EOS (EOS);
- AAVE (AAVE);
- Chainlink (LINK);
- Dogecoin (DOGE);
- Polkadot (DOT);
- Cardano (ADA);
- Uniswap (UNI);
- SushiSwap (SUSHI);
- Polygon (MATIC);
- Solana (SOL);
- Decentraland (MANA); and
- USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin.
The biggest drawback to using the Express Trade service, however, is the cost as it is significantly more expensive to buy or sell cryptocurrency this way than it is to use the Pro interface. The fee is upto 5X higher.
2. Pro trade
Advanced cryptocurrency traders will gravitate towards the Pro trade service, which has most of the bells and whistles needed to carry out effective trading activities. Some of these features include:
- Trading charts powered by Tradingview;
- OHLC graphs;
- Order books;
- Depth charts;
- Multiple order types such as limit and market order;
- Market trade histories; etc.
The biggest advantage to using the Pro trade feature is that traders have more control over the price at which they enter or exit their positions and how much they pay for the trades. Additionally, traders can save on trading fees as the Pro trade feature is much cheaper than the Express trade.
3. Private Wealth
Bitbuy’s Private Wealth feature facilitates high-volume trades for retail and institutional investors. The platform is used to broker direct trades between the buyers and sellers without listing them on its order book. Previously referred to as the OTC desk, this feature helps prevent price slippage since large orders can affect the market price of an asset if listed on the open marketplace.
There is also a minimum trade value of CAD 25,000 on the Private Wealth desk, meaning that the service is specifically designed to facilitate large orders.
Finally, the biggest advantage of using this service is that it gives the buyers and sellers more control over their buying or selling price, and it saves time since the platform matches the counterparties according to their needs.
4. Bitbuy API
A trading API (application programming interface) is a channel through which a user can access their trading accounts remotely through a bot or third-party software.
Depending on the settings, an API can give authority to open and close trades and initiate asset transfers. Sophisticated bots can even perform more advanced functions such as portfolio rebalancing and derivative orders even when the platform does not support them.
The Bitbuy API feature is, however, not readily available. Users looking to take advantage of its benefits need to contact Bitbuy’s customer support to request access.
5. Corporate accounts
Bitbuy enables its corporate customers to keep Bitcoin within their balance sheets by buying and holding the asset within their hosted wallet. To entice its prospective institutional clients, the exchange has invested heavily in its infrastructure and partnerships, including using BitGo as its custody provider for corporate accounts.
The platform also makes it easy for these institutional clients to sign up for the service and verify their identities. The process is customized to each corporate client, and therefore businesses do not share a common signup process with retail investors.
6. Mobile apps
Bitbuy has launched an intuitive mobile app that enables the platform’s users to access all the features available on the web interface through the easy-to-use mobile interface. The mobile app is available on both iOS and Android app stores.
One of the main considerations for an astute crypto investor when choosing a trading platform is the fees they will incur when opening and closing positions, as well as making withdrawals because it directly affects their profitability and Bitbuy’s trading fees are very competitive.
The exchange uses a maker-taker pricing model within its Pro trading platform, with fees charged at a flat rate of 0.10% and 0.20%, respectively.
Makers are parties that introduce liquidity to the marketplace while takers perform opposite actions. If you place a limit order to either buy or sell an asset, you are considered a maker, but if you execute a market order, then you are a taker.
Note: Express trades will be charged a flat rate of 0.5% across all markets, regardless of trade direction (buying or selling).
Fiat deposits and withdrawals also attract processing fees which vary depending on the amount transacted and the payment method used.
There are two payment channels:
- Interac e-Transfer;
- Bank wire transfers.
The former is ideal for transacting relatively small amounts (less than CAD 20,000), while the latter is appropriate for higher amounts. The platform charges a 1.5% commission fee on e-transfers for withdrawing and depositing money into and out of an account.
With the bank wire transfer, it is cheaper to deposit funds into Bitbuy than it is to withdraw at 0.5% and 1%, respectively.
Note: There is a CAD 50 minimum when depositing through the e-Transfer method and a maximum of CAD 10,000. For the wire transfers, you will need to withdraw or deposit at least CAD 20,000 to a maximum of CAD 500,000 to use this specific method.
Cryptocurrency deposits will attract no charge, but withdrawals will vary depending on the asset being transacted and the amount. Here’s a brief sample of how the fee schedule varies for the various supported assets:
Is Bitbuy Safe?
Bitbuy maintains a solid security record since its launch in 2016. So far, the platform has not reported any major security incident, which has become a testament to its focus on providing secure crypto brokerage, trading, and wallet services.
Below are some of the measures it has taken on the security front:
- Full regulation – the Ontario-based Bitbuy exchange fully complies with Canadian law, including KYC (know your customer) and AML (anti-money laundering) regulations. The platform is also fully registered to operate as a crypto asset marketplace and is registered with the FINTRAC as a money services business (MSB);
- Custody – Bitbuy allows its customers to store their assets on the platform and the exchange stores 95% of all customer funds in cold storage with multi-factor authentication. Additionally, institutional funds are held with a third party called BitGo for added security;
- Network security – online web servers are held with reputable service providers compliant with ISO, SOC, and FIPS 140-2 standards;
- Regular audits – Bitbuy has commissioned independent partners to conduct frequent security and financial audits to ensure that all systems are up to date and all suspicious transactions are reviewed objectively;
- Reputation – Bitbuy not only maintains a stellar security record owing to its relatively long stay in the marketplace but also inherits its reputation from its parent companies. First Ledger Corp. is a federally regulated entity, while WonderFi is a publicly-listed tech company on the NEO exchange. Notably on the Bitbuy strategic partners list are legendary Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary and FTX co-founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
- Multi-factor authentication (2FA) – the users also have a role to play in securing their accounts and the best way to do that on Bitbuy is to set up a secure password and enable second-factor authentication using either SMS and/or authenticator apps.
Bitbuy maintains an exhaustive section offering support services, including guides, tutorial articles, FAQs, and informative articles on cryptocurrencies. Additionally, the platform shares trading tips on its YouTube channel and other regular tidbits to its followers on social media.
Here are some of the places where you can get help with Bitbuy:
You can also correspond with the Bitbuy customer support staff through the contact form or write an email to [email protected] or submit a support ticket through the support section. To do the latter, visit the Bitbuy Support Section and click on the [Submit a request] button as shown here:
In the submission form, provide a detailed explanation of your issue and provide an attachment if necessary. Then submit the form and wait for a response.
Unfortunately, at the moment, Bitbuy does not offer real-time customer support through either phone or online chat.
How to create a Bitbuy account (step-by-step)
Before you proceed with this tutorial, it’s worth noting that only Canadian residents are allowed on the Bitbuy platform. If you do not live in Canada, there are other options that you may want to consider.
Note: Check out our comprehensive guide to cryptocurrency trading for beginners, where we outline a variety of crypto exchanges and what to consider when choosing amongst them.
Step 1 – Visit Bitbuy.ca
The first step to creating a Bitbuy account is to visit the exchange’s website and begin the sign-up process.
Click on the [Sign up for free] button on the homepage.
Step 2 – Provide your account details.
Next, select between opening a ‘Personal Account’ and a ‘Business Account.’ This tutorial will focus on the former. Tap on the first radio button to display the personal account creation form.
Below that provide your phone number and create a unique username and password. Only a North American number starting with the country code +1 can be used to sign up for the service. A verification code will be sent to this number so ensure that it is accessible to you when creating the account.
Once done, check the reCAPTCHA box and solve the human-test challenge then click the [Submit] button. You will be redirected to the phone verification screen where you will enter the code you received on your phone.
Step 3 – Verify your identity.
At this point, you can successfully log in to your Bitbuy account and start browsing it, but to perform any transactions, you will need to verify it.
Therefore, in the thank-you popup screen that loads after you confirm the phone number, click on the [Verify account] button to start the ID verification process.
Alternatively, you can access the [Verify your account] button within your account after logging in.
Remember also to verify your email address by visiting your email inbox and clicking on the verification link sent to you.
Next, provide your identity details, including your real name, date of birth, and occupation, then click on the [Next] button.
Provide your address details, including your street name, city, province, and postal code, then click on the [Next] button to proceed to the final screen.
In the final verification screen, declare your exposure to political activities by marking either of the provided radio buttons.
Scroll further down to accept the terms of using Bitbuy’s partner ID verification provider Trulioo.
Click on the [Submit] button to finish the ID verification process.
Trulioo will automatically verify the information you have provided, however, in the event that the automatic process is unsuccessful, you will be requested to provide further documents to aid your verification process. These will include:
- Government-issued ID card;
- Passport; or
- Driving license.
Also, you will need to take a selfie photo of yourself holding the ID document and a piece of paper on which you will write today’s date and the phrase “Bitbuy Use Only.’
The second part of this manual verification process will require you to provide address verification documents which include:
- A financial statement such as a bank statement or loan account statement; or
- A utility bill which could be a phone, water, power, or electricity bill.
Note: Accepted file types are .jpeg/.jpg, .png or .pdf. Once you have provided the requested documents, click on the [Request Verification] button to submit the documents for verification. Expect a response from the Bitbuy team within 1-2 business days.
Bitbuy pros and cons
- Bitbuy has an intuitive user interface ideal for both beginners and experts;
- The platform is highly regulated and compliant with local Canadian laws;
- There is a quick and easy KYC verification process;
- Bitbuy is available as a desktop and mobile app;
- The exchange is very secure with a 95% cold storage policy, institutional asset custody handled by BitGo;
- The platform is relatively cheap compared to some other competing exchanges.
- Bitbuy is only available within Canada;
- A limited selection of cryptocurrency assets to buy, sell and hold;
- Transaction fees could be high compared with other more mainstream platforms;
- The platform has limited features, only trading and storage are supported so far;
- There is no phone or live chat support on the website.
Canadian crypto investors will find a great option in Bitbuy for their trading needs as the platform is locally regulated, highly secure, has a relatively long-established reputation, and offers an intuitive user interface. Its mobile app will enable users to trade on the go keeping up with their trading activities.
As we have demonstrated above, the signup process is also simple and straightforward, making it easy to onboard new users. All of these points combined make Bitbuy a solid option for Canadian-based crypto investors looking for a reputable platform to fulfill their investment needs.
Frequently Asked Questions on Bitbuy Exchange
What is Bitbuy?
Bitbuy is a Canadian cryptocurrency trading platform launched in 2016 by Adam Goldman. The platform is based in Toronto, Ontario, serves more than 400,000 Canadians, and supports over 15 cryptocurrencies.
Is Bitbuy safe?
The platform is highly regulated by FINTRAC and the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC). It employs a 95% cold storage policy to secure its customer assets, fully insures BTC holdings, and outsources large custody of its corporate clients’ holdings to a reputable service provider BitGo. Users can also enable multi-factor 2FA authentication to help secure their accounts.
What are the trading fees on Bitbuy?
Express trades on the Bitbuy platform are charged at a 0.20% rate while pro platform trades attract 0.10% and 0.20% maker-taker fees, respectively.
How Do I contact Bitbuy?
Bitbuy maintains multiple channels through which its users can get help and support. The company maintains social media pages, an informational YouTube channel, and a dedicated support page that also allows customers to submit support tickets for more customized help.