Canada has an interesting and somewhat controversial history with cryptocurrency. The world’s first publicly available Bitcoin ATM opened in Vancouver in 2013, and a second one was opened in Toronto early in 2014. You may think of the Quadriga Exchange news story when talking about cryptocurrency in Canada as the controversy reached headlines worldwide.
Regardless of what you think of when talking about Canada and cryptocurrency, it has never been difficult to access as a Canadian. Apart from the Bitcoin ATMs, Canada has classified cryptocurrencies as commodities, and therefore they are very legal for purchase and use as a digital currency. This designation is important as it denotes that while you can use cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin to purchase goods and services online or in certain stores, it is not legal tender. The only legal tender in Canada is the Canadian dollar.
By: Arthur Crowson | Dec 16, 2019 | Modified May 16, 2020
The best way to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Canada is through an exchange such as Coinbase, Kraken, Shakepay and Coinberry. There are a plethora of options available, so it is best to look at each of the exchanges’ processes for deposits and withdrawals, fees, and transaction speeds to determine which is best for you. Our editorial team has ranked and reviewed the top exchanges for Canadians.
It is relatively easy to buy cryptocurrency in Canada. The first step is choosing a hardware or software wallet, and the second is to pick an exchange to buy from. The most difficult step is getting your identity verified through a Know Your Customer (KYC) process. This involves providing your full name, date of birth, and residential address to the exchange. Your identity must then be verified by providing them with a copy of a passport or government issued ID. Some exchanges provide a video call option. Once the exchange has verified your identity it is easy to buy and sell cryptocurrency.
You can use a Canadian Debit Card to buy cryptocurrency, in fact most Canadian credit card companies have blocked purchases of cryptocurrency, leaving Interac e-Transfer, Electronic Funds Transfer, bank wire, or direct purchase through debit as the only options for Canadians to buy cryptocurrency. Coinbase is one example of an exchange that you can use your debit card to purchase cryptocurrency directly.
Yes! It is legal to buy cryptocurrency in Canada. The Canadian government has classified cryptocurrencies as commodities, meaning that while you can purchase, trade, mine, or interact with cryptocurrency, it is not eligible to be a registered investment and transactions fall under the category of barter transactions. It is best to think of cryptocurrency in the same vein as gold or silver, classic examples of commodities.
Most Canadian banks have banned purchases of cryptocurrency with their credit cards but allow debit card purchases. This includes CIBC, TD, National Bank, Scotiabank, and RBC. BMO, on the other hand, has banned both credit and debit card purchases of cryptocurrency.
Many exchanges accept Canadian customers, including but not limited to:
There are many Canadian based exchanges, two of the most famous/popular being Bitbuy and Coinberry. The most infamous Canadian crypto exchange is Quadriga. One of the biggest crypto news stories of 2019 was the mysterious death of Quadriga’s CEO, and the subsequent discovery that most of the exchange’s wallets were in fact empty, leading many to wonder whether not only if Quadriga was a scam, but if the CEO actually died.
There are many great options for both hardware and software cryptocurrency wallets in Canada.
Some of the best hardware wallets for Canadians include:
Some of the best software wallets available in Canada include:
You can find more information about what makes these cryptocurrency wallets a great option and view some alternative options on our Best Crypto Wallets listings page.
You can buy Ethereum in Canada through the same process which you buy Bitcoin, exchanges such as Bitbuy allow the purchase of Ethereum directly using your debit card. Simply fund your account and then exchange your funds for Ethereum.
No, there are no provinces where cryptocurrency is unavailable. This is because they are legal commodities at a federal level. While securities such as cryptos are legally enacted on a provincial basis, the regulations on cryptos have been harmonized across provinces.
The cheapest way to buy Bitcoin in Canada is through an online exchange. The exchange that is cheapest depends on their fees, whether for depositing, withdrawing, or trading. Your preferred funding method is a large factor in which exchange is best for you. It should also be noted that you do not have to use a Canadian exchange (as in Canadian-based), as exchanges such as Gemini accept Canadian customers and have lower fees than some Canadian exchanges.
You can sell your Bitcoin (or any other crypto) in Canada through an exchange. Simply deposit your Bitcoin (assuming its stored on your wallet, and not already on the exchange) onto the exchange. Once it is on the exchange you can sell it for market value, and then once it is sold you can withdraw the funds to the bank account you connected to the exchange. Keep in mind that you will be taxed on any gains made selling cryptocurrency in Canada.
Yes! In fact Vancouver had the world’s first Bitcoin ATM and Canada has the most per capita in the world. Bitcoin ATMs are the most anonymous way to purchase Bitcoin, however they often have much higher fees (6-8% above market) than online exchanges so they are not considered to be the most cost-effective method.