Creating Your Online Accounts

The first step to buying bitcoin as a Canadian resident is to open the online accounts at the platforms and exchanges you will be using. The following is a list of the accounts we recommend setting up:

  1. Bull Bitcoin
  2. Shakepay
  3. Coinsquare
  4. Coinbase
  5. Tangerine (Optional)



Sign-up Link (Referral: Approx. $13 free Bitcoin)

NOTE: Read our new updated guide, How to Buy Your First $130 of Bitcoin.

Coinbase is a user-friendly way to get started buying bitcoin as a Canadian resident. Account setup is very quick, and once you have linked your debit card, you can purchase up to CAD$100 of digital currency immediately. However, bear in mind that fees are often higher on Coinbase, as they charge 3.99% for all purchases.

Coinbase is a quick and easy way for Canadian residents to buy digital currency, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.
Coinbase is a quick and easy way for Canadian residents to buy bitcoin.

The website and app are beautifully designed, and allow you to purchase bitcoin as well as check your portfolio balance, and send or receive bitcoin with your online wallet.

Coinbase referral sign-up screen
Coinbase referral sign-up screen.

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. Credit Cards are blocked from purchasing digital currency—or if not blocked, will charge cash advance fees immediately. For Canadian residents, you should add a 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.

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:

  1. Enter your phone number to receive an SMS message with a unique code,
  2. Enter this unique code into the box provided on the Coinbase website,
  3. Download the Google Authenticator app for your device—iOS or Android (Google help article),
  4. Open Authenticator on your device and scan the barcode shown on the Coinbase website,
  5. 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.

Setting up Second Factor Authentication is crucial in securing your Coinbase account
Setting up Second Factor Authentication is crucial in securing your Coinbase account.

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.

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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 either Bull Bitcoin or Shakepay. These platforms allow you to cash out to Canadian bank accounts, or to pay bills such as credit card balances, hydro bills and cell phone invoices.



NOTE: QuadrigaCX has been shut down and is no longer operating as of February 8, 2019. We have removed any recommendations or instructions for this platform.

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Sign-up Link (Referral):

canadian crypto coinsquare bitcoin exchange digital currency canada

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 an alternative to 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.

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Sign-up Link:
Use Orange Key: 49808580S1 and you and I will both receive $50 for free!

Tangerine offers 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!

That’s it!

Once you have setup your accounts, check out Step 2 of our Beginner’s Guide and learn how to purchase bitcoin as a Canadian resident.