Cryptocurrency Exchanges

A free beginner guide on cryptocurrency exchanges.

Updated: April 2021

What is a cryptocurrency exchange?

A cryptocurrency 'exchange' is a service that matches buyers and sellers of crypto currencies. Similar to a stock exchange. There are two kinds of cryptocurrency exchanges, I would generally classify them as local and global. A local exchange will convert legal currencies, like the Canadian dollar, to one of the main crypto currencies, like Bitcoin. A global exchange will let you trade most (hundreds) crypto currencies and coins.

Why use both a local and global exchange?

A local exchange will often only have a small number of crypto currencies listed and the features and fluidity of the platform are often lacking. For example, Shakepay has only Bitcoin and Ethereum, whereas Binance has hundreds, limit orders and is ranked number 1 for global volume.

Local Exchanges

Pros

  • — No fee Interac e-transfer, Wire Transfer and funding and withdrawals.

  • — OK web app, good mobile app

  • — Fast access to funds, typical access is within minutes to e-transferred funds

  • — You can directly buy 10 cryptocurrencies, including Ripple (XRP) and Stellar (XLM).

  • — Newton will cover the first $5 of network fees and withdrawing to an external wallet.

  • — Best Sign up bonus of $25 CAD for signing up and buying $100 CAD worth of crypto, when you use a referral code (please consider using ours).

Cons

  • — No limit orders (yet).

  • — Newton makes money from selling at a slightly higher price than market. This is similar to Shakepay's business model as well.

  • — Automatic verification failed when we tested it, and the manual process took a couple attempts when testing out the verification workflow.

  • — Not the best spread, compared to Binance . This is due to both the business model and the fact the exchange has lower volume compared to some exchanges.

Why use Newton?

Low fees, great apps, instant funding and withdrawals and they also offer 10 crypto currencies you can buy directly. Which is great if you did not want to setup a binance account you could access more offerings with just 1 account. I would suggest using Newton to convert Canadian funds to cryptocurrencies or from cryptocurrencies to Canadian funds, but would use Binance for actual trading.

The only real potential deal breaker is the lack of limit orders. However, they should have that built soon, as it is already hinted at in their web app.

On top of all of this they have one of the best sign up bonuses for joining. Get $25 when you verify and trade $100 worth of crypto.

Create Newton Account

Pros

  • — No fee Interac e-transfer, Wire Transfer and funding and withdrawals.

  • — Fast access to funds, typical access is within minutes to e-transferred funds.

  • — Good web and mobile app.

  • — Limit orders (the ability to set a price for a sale to execute at).

  • — Easy verification process, pretty standard.

  • — Established in 2015, with about 15-20 employees, so a bit of a track record and people operating it.

  • — Shakepay will cover network fees for external wallet withdrwals. This is important as network fees can be excessive lately.

  • — Sign up bonus of $10 CAD for signing up and buying $100 CAD worth of crypto, when you use a referral code (please consider using ours).

Cons

  • — Only Bitcoin and Ethereum are currently supported.

  • — Shakepay makes money from selling currencies at a slightly higher price than market.

  • — Not the best spread, compared to Binance . This is due to both the business model and the fact the exchange has lower volume compared to some exchanges.

Why use Shakepay?

Low fees, good apps, limit orders, and they have been around since 2015. I would suggest using Shakepay to convert Canadian funds to cryptocurrencies or from cryptocurrencies to Canadian funds, but would use Binance for actual trading.

Create Shakepay Account

Pros

  • — Most recognizable cryptocurrency exchange in Canada.

  • — Exclusive relationship with one of Canada’s Big 5 banks

  • — Founded in 2014, Toronto based, with 80-150 employees, so fairly established.

Cons

  • — Fees.

  • — There was a small data breach in June 2020, so some worry about how well they have their internal security processes in place..

Why use Coinsquare?

If you want some peace of mind being with the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Canada that has relationships with the big banks then use Coinsquare. However, you will pay the fees for this.

Create Coinsquare Account

Pros

  • — No Wait Period - Buy without a verification delay

  • — Pay with credit card (note some credit card companies do not allow crypto currency transactions.

  • — Nice mobile application for both iOS and Android

  • — Fastest way to buy a small amount of cryptocurrency

Cons

  • — Limited to $375 a week until you become more verified and trusted

  • — No ability to use Interac e-Transfers for funding or withdrawals.

  • — Only able to sell at market price and be paid out via Paypal.

  • — High Fees - Funding fee is 3.84% - 3.99%

Why use Coinbase?

Use Coinbase if you have the need for speed and want to buy a small amount right now. Waiting several days in the world of cryptocurrencies can mean losing out on an opportunity. Valuations can change significantly in a day or two, so if you feel strongly about buying something now, use Coinbase. It could be worth the extra fees if you want something today. You can transfer your purchases to another exchange to sell the asset and get Canadian funds later.

Create Coinbase Account

Pros

  • — A recognizable name in free financial services. WealthSimple as an company has been around since 2015 and has 1.5 million clients.

  • — No fee funding and withdrawals.

  • — Quick account approvals if you already have a WealthSimple account.

Cons

  • You cannot send crypto purchased to another digital wallet. Basically you have to sell it on your app and withdraw the value in Canadian dollars.

  • — Worst spread compared to Newton or Shakepay.

  • — No Limit Orders

  • — Only BTC and ETH, and since you cannot send it to another wallet, you cannot use it to fund a Binance or another exchange account.

  • — 5 day wait period for funding the account.

Why use WeathSimple Trade?

Honestly, don't, there are better options out there like Newton or Shakepay. However, one reason someone might want to is because you are already a WealthSimple user and want a simple way to buy Bitcon or Ethereum. I trust WealthSimple to make this offering better in the future.

Create WeathSimple Trade Account

Global Exchanges

Pros

  • — The largest global exchange by volume

  • — Over 900 trading pairs so you have access to the most popular alt coins and currencies.

  • — Advanced trading features compared other exchanges.

  • — No verification required for withdrawals of 2BTC or less

  • — Easy to use

  • — Low fees

Cons

  • — No easy way to trade back to fiat (CAD), you have to withdraw to Newton or another local exchange to get back to CAD

Why use Binance?

Binance is the best exchange in our opinion. It has the best trading features, the most liquidity, and the most number of listings. Use Binance to get access to cryptocurrencies not offered by local exchanges or if you want better trading features compared to the basic ones offered by local exchanges.

Create Binance Account