Guide to Buying Ethereum in Canada

An overview of exchanges, wallets, and which are best for Canadians 🇨🇦👌

This guide assumes that…

  • you are with a Canadian bank
  • you have a basic understanding of cryptocurrency and Ethereum
  • and you are almost ready to buy!

This guide will best suit those who are excited about the prospect of owning Ethereum (ETH) and want to become involved in the cryptocurrency community by buying a relatively low amount and holding it for the long term.

My goal was to buy approximately 1 ETH for around $400 CAD and hold it until 2020 after it has increased 5000%.

Okay, that is a very generous prediction but you can read more about it here:

I’m not looking to day trade Ethereum or even make purchases with it at this time; I simply want to hold it, continue learning, and feel actively involved as I watch the cryptocurrency market.

I will review a few of the popular coin exchanges available to Canadians, looking at their fees, limits, and advantages. I will also go through a handful of Ethereum Wallet options and of course share which exchange & wallet combination I ended up choosing.

Exchanges

1. Coinbase

Verification: Fast. You first verify two pending credits they put on your credit card and then confirm your identity with uploads of an ID and utility bill.

Fees: 3.99% for funding your account using a credit or debit card. This is the only funding option for Canadians.

Limits: $250 per week. The limit increases after buying $500 of digital currency.

Coinbase is the largest of the exchanges I looked into to with over 7 million users. The look and feel of both its web and mobile platform is modern, easy to navigate, and informational. They are also really great about publishing educational blogs on cryptocurrency (check out their beginner’s guide to Ethereum).

The following is my referral link for Coinbase:
https://www.coinbase.com/join/59e07fcacc4bf000e40fac19

2. Coinsquare

Verfication: Not slow, but not fast either. You upload signed documents, copies of your ID, address verification, and a selfie with your ID.

Fees: Coinsquare is based in Canada, so there are many more funding options for Canadians. The two that are most convenient and cost effective are Interac Online (3.5%) and e-transfer (5%). If your debit has a Visa or Mastercard logo on it, then your bank will not allow you to use Interac Online. Trading fee is 0.2%.

Limits: Incremental deposits. First deposit has a limit of $30, after that you can deposit $300, then $1200.

Coinsquare, if the name didn’t give it away, is Canada’s answer to Coinbase. There are many funding options with the additional advantage of being able to withdraw to your Canadian bank. However, I read that you can’t make direct CAD to ETH trades. You might have to do CAD to BTC to ETH, which means getting dinged the 0.2% trading fee one extra time. I submitted a support ticket about this with no response yet (a week ago at the time of writing).

The following is a referral link for Coinsquare:
https://coinsquare.io/register?r=4CD3DB21D

3. QuadrigaCX

Verfication: Fast. Scan of ID, utility bill, and a couple of selfies.

Fees: Like Coinsquare, QuadrigaCX is based in Canada and has numerous options for funding. With them, Interac Online is a fee of 1.5% and the other option I like is electronic bank transfer for 2.5%. They have a higher trading fee of 0.5%.

Limits: None.

QuadrigaCX does not win in the user interface category. It is basic, yet very simple, and feels much more like a traditional banking website. You can withdraw funds to a Canadian bank with them as well. I was verified quickly and they also provided very fast support when I submitted a help ticket. Although their trading fee is slightly higher than the others, the funding fees are much lower.

Conclusion: due to the fact that I do not plan to withdraw my Ethereum for CAD any time soon, I disregarded who can and cannot transfer ETH to CAD and into my bank account. Even in the unlikely event that you need it in your bank account ASAP, you can always transfer your ETH from your wallet to an exchange that DOES transfer to Canadian banks.

A huge deterrent for me was the weekly limit imposed by Coinbase and Coinsquare. Since I planned to simply buy 1 ETH, which at the time was trading for ~$400, it didn’t make sense to buy twice over the course of 2 weeks.

QuadrigaCX has the lowest funding fees. I’m not able to use Interac Online (and most of you won’t be able to either because Canadian banks are phasing this out) so electronic bank transfer looked the most promising with a small fee of 2.5%. Given the low fee, excellent customer service, and lack of deposit limits, I ultimately chose QuadrigaCX.

The following is my referral link for QuadrigaCX: https://www.quadrigacx.com/?ref=el5k5czgoyvgzex95kolqvm5

I deposited $450 and the fee was $11, not bad. The biggest downfall is that this method of payment takes ~5 days the first time you deposit.

Wallets

Ethereum wallets allow you to securely hold your crypto-assets without entrusting that responsibility to the centralized exchange you’ve purchased from. There has been, and will be, scenarios where digital currency is stolen or lost when held with a centralized organization. The responsible and safe procedure is get an Ethereum wallet.

I researched the following wallets: Mist, Parity, MetaMask, MyEtherWallet, and various hardware wallets. I will keep this section short though since there was an obvious solution for first-time, low activity buyers.

Hardware wallets are perfect, and recommended, if you plan on doing frequent transactions and/or have greater than two weeks of salary invested. They are an extremely secure solution that rarely, if ever, expose your assets to the scary world wide web. However, since we’re only investing a small amount and have no reason to make frequent transactions, paying for a hardware wallet is overkill.

Mist, Parity, and MetaMask, although great wallet solutions, are a little feature heavy for our needs. We aren’t going to be doing any mining and have no need to communicate with complicated decentralized apps like EtherDelta.

MyEtherWallet (MEW) is exactly what we need. It is simple and light weight, but still takes the recommended security precautions. With Mist and Parity, you actually have to sync the blockchain on your computer in order to interact with it. With MEW, you can send and receive coins on the Ethereum network without having to download the blockchain. You in fact don’t even make an account and your crypto-assets are not stored on their servers. They simply allow you to create a wallet, which is yours to store and keep safe.

The walkthrough on MEW is very straightforward but incase you want to read about the process of generating a wallet beforehand, check out this guide:

I hope I was able to reduce some of the leg work for other future ETH Traders out there. If you have any questions or feedback, comment below or contact me on Twitter :


Great resources to check out:

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