Creating Your Online Accounts
The first step to buying Bitcoin as a Canadian resident is to open the online accounts at the digital currency exchanges you will be using. The following is a list of the accounts we recommend setting up:
Sign-up Link (Referral: Approx. $13 free Bitcoin)
NOTE: Read our new updated guide, How to Buy Your First $130 of Bitcoin.
Coinbase is by far the easiest and quickest way to get started buying Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin as a Canadian resident. Account setup is very quick, and once you have linked your credit card (fastest) or debit card, you can purchase up to CAD$100 of digital currency immediately.
The website and app are beautifully designed, and allow you to purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, as well as check your portfolio balance, and send or receive cryptocurrencies with your online wallets.
Adding a Payment Method
Once you have created your account, you will need to add a payment method. This is done under Settings > Payment Methods. For Canadian residents, you have the choice of adding a credit card or Visa debit card. The process involves Coinbase depositing two or three small amounts into your account. You then need to verify these amounts in your Coinbase account to finalize the setup.
We have personally found that adding a credit card was the quickest and easiest method for this, as most online banking tools allow you to view pending transactions as they happen, so you can complete this step instantly—as opposed to waiting 24-48 hours for your chequing account to show the transactions. However, the choice is yours, and both methods incur the same 3.99% charge so there is no monetary saving. Some credit cards offer rewards, so this may be an added bonus if you decide to use this method.
Second Factor Authentication
When dealing with cryptocurrencies, security is the most important aspect to consider at all times. Coinbase offers a number of ways to secure your account, including Second Factor Authentication—which involves verifying your phone number and using your mobile device to receive security codes in order to complete transactions.
To setup Second Factor Authentication on Coinbase, click Settings > Security and then click ‘Verify A Phone.’ The following steps will enable the security feature:
- Enter your phone number to receive an SMS message with a unique code,
- Enter this unique code into the box provided on the Coinbase website,
- Download the Google Authenticator app for your device—iOS or Android (Google help article),
- Open Authenticator on your device and scan the barcode shown on the Coinbase website,
- Enter the Authenticator code (shown on your phone) into the box provided on the Coinbase website.
Finally, under Require verification code to send:, make sure you click ‘Any amount of digital currency’, as this is the most secure setting.
You will now be asked for an Authenticator code each time you login to Coinbase or perform a transaction. These codes update every 30 seconds on your phone, providing a very secure method to control your account access. More information about managing Google Authenticator can be found on the Coinbase website.
Selling on Coinbase is restricted
Coinbase has currently removed the ability for Canadian customers to sell digital currencies. This is due in part to issues they are having with Canadian banks and financial providers restricting their ability to deposit CAD into customer’s bank accounts. However, this is why we recommend signing up for an account at QuadrigaCX. You can very easily send your digital currencies from Coinbase to Quadriga in order to convert them back into CAD.
Sign-up Link (Referral: we receive a small commission)
QuadrigaCX is a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange. They are a Vancouver-based company and they have a lot of options when it comes to depositing and withdrawing CAD to or from Canadian banks. As of December 2017 they offer trading between CAD, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold–and also between USD and Bitcoin.
Due to a smaller Canadian market, Quadriga exchange prices have been consistently higher than Coinbase, or indeed most other exchanges – sometimes by as much as 10% – so it makes sense to have an account that you can use to sell your coins and withdraw CAD when needed.
Registration at QuadrigaCX
Registering for an account is very easy. There’s a quick sign-up form, seen below, after which you will be sent a confirmation email to verify that you have signed up.
Quadriga Account Verification
Your identification will need to be verified by QuadrigaCX if you want to deposit Canadian dollars into your exchange account for the purpose of purchasing cryptocurrency.
NOTE: Verification is currently not required if you simply want to deposit digital currency into your Quadriga account, sell it for CAD, and then withdraw the CAD to your bank account.
It is worth noting that due to the increasing popularity of Bitcoin, Ethereum and cryptocurrencies in general, ID verification at Quadriga (as with most exchanges) can fluctuate from days to weeks during periods of increased demand. So it is best to register your account as soon as you can in order to speed up the process.
To get verified, login to your account, click your name in the top right corner then select ‘Verify’ in the dropdown menu.
You will now be presented with two options…
- ID & Address Verification
- Equifax Verification
Which option you choose will depend on how you plan to use your Quadriga account. However, you may verify with both methods and this will provide you with access to the most funding and withdrawal options.
Equifax Verification is very straightforward and takes just a few minutes to complete. You will be asked a series of questions about your credit profile, and if you answer correctly your Quadriga account will be verified. Make sure you are able to answer all questions correctly, as you will not get a second chance to use this verification method.
ID & Address Verification takes a little longer to complete and may take anything from a couple of days to a week or more to get approved. You should gather the following documents in digital format, ready to upload, which will speed up the online application process:
- Passport or Driver’s License
- Bank statement or utility bill
- Photo of yourself holding your Passport or Driver’s License
Once you start the verification process by clicking the ‘Continue’ button, you will be guided through the necessary steps of uploading each document.
After you have completed the necessary steps you will be sent a confirmation email. You will then need to wait until your account is manually verified by QuadrigaCX support staff—which should take no more than 5-7 business days. However, during busy periods this may be extended.
Remember, you can continue to trade cryptocurrencies while you wait for your ID & Address verification to be completed.
Once verified, you will receive another confirmation email. Logging in after you have received this confirmation email will allow you to access all the funding and withdrawal options offered.
Sign-up Link (Referral):
Coinsquare is another Canadian digital currency exchange offering trading pairs in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and DASH, among others. It has a recently redesigned user-interface and offers competitive fees ranging from 0.1% to 0.4%.
Although recently redesigned, there are some areas that need improvement—for example, there is no way to view the current CAD price of coins in the trading view—but it is definitely a viable option for Canadians looking for alternatives to Quadriga and Coinbase.
Coinsquare also offer some good funding options for getting your Canadian dollars into the exchange, including Interac® Online, Interac® e-Transfer and wire transfer.
Use Orange Key: 49808580S1 and you and I will both receive $50 for free!
UPDATE: As of June 28, 2017, Quadriga has removed the Email Transfer function for Tangerine account holders. Other standard Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) and Interac options are available for most Canadian banks.
While Quadriga offers the most funding options for any exchange we’ve seen or used, some of those options are not available to customers of certain Canadian banks or financial institutions. For example, if you have a new Visa Debit card, you will not be able to use the Interac Online service to transfer funds.
That’s where Tangerine comes in. As well as offering convenient email transfers to Quadriga, they also offer great no-fee daily banking with their Tangerine Chequing Account. So go check them out, and if you decide to sign-up, use our Orange Key (49808580S1) to get yourself CAD$50 for free!
Once you have setup your accounts, check out Step 2 of our Beginner’s Guide and learn how to purchase and trade digital currencies as a Canadian resident on Coinbase and Quadriga.