How to Buy Cryptocurrency in Canada in 2021: Bitbuy Review

“As easy as 1, 2, 3.” That’s the hook Canada-based Bitbuy uses to attract new users to its cryptocurrency investment and trading platform. It’s a mid-sized exchange that promises users easy access to Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies. 

In fact, Bitbuy promises that registered users can buy crypto in as little as a few seconds. On that count, it appears to be a charming option for crypto newbies with little to no prior exposure to the asset class. There’s also a more advanced feature  of the platform with sophisticated tools to better serve experienced traders.

That said, no exchange — however big and popular — is perfect. And that’s precisely the point of this unbiased Bitbuy review we’re going to cover today. 

We hope that by the time you are done reading it, you will have developed a good understanding of the platform’s strong points, its demerits, and above all, whether  it makes the right choice for you or not.

Bitbuy Overview

Bitbuy is a cryptocurrency exchange  registered with Canada’s national financial intelligence agency FINTRAC.

Technically, Bitbuy is among the oldest crypto exchanges still around today in 2021. It started operations in 2013, although back then the exchange was called InstaBT. It primarily focused on bringing Canadian users a safe and easy way to buy Bitcoin.

In 2016, InstaBT founder Adam Goldman introduced the rebranded and revamped crypto platform with the launch of Bitbuy

Cryptocurrencies Supported

In the following years, the exchange expanded its services by integrating various additional elements to make cryptocurrencies accessible to Canadian users. This included the listing of some of the major altcoins including Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple (XRP), EOS, and Stellar Lumens.

Bitbuy plans on listing two more altcoins — Aave and Chainlink — sometime in Q2 2021, and more later this year

BTC insurance 

In 2020, the platform added an extra layer to its trust factor by teaming up with Montreal-based Bitcoin security firm Knox. This partnership enabled Bitbuy to offer 1:1 insurance on all of their users’ Bitcoin in what has been since described as a first-of-its-kind initiative in the world. What’s more? This is offered at no extra cost to the users!

Account Types and Registration Process

Account Types

You can register on Bitbuy either as an individual (Personal Account) or as a business (Business Account). You can choose to upgrade your Personal Account to a Business Account anytime you want, but keep in mind that it’s a one-way street as you won’t be able to switch back to a Personal Account.

Note that both these account types offer access to Bitbuy Express and Bitbuy Pro trading platforms as well as to their renowned OTC desk.

The Business Account is suitable for:

  • Businesses and corporates focusing on generating an additional revenue stream from the crypto market.
  • Large-scale investors and traders operation on an institutional scale.

Bitbuy also offers OTC trading for those looking to directly buy (or sell) huge crypto stashes from a counterparty.

In addition to these account types, the exchange recently introduced a new Gold account status. Gold account holders will enjoy perks such as higher deposit and withdrawal threshold and access to exclusive offers. Anyone can apply to upgrade to the Gold Account status so long as they’re willing to fill out a questionnaire providing further details about themselves and their usage of Bitbuy.

Registration

The registration process is pretty simple, although it could be somewhat time-consuming given the detailed KYC verification process.

You start by providing your email, username, password, phone number, and referral code (optional). Note that Bitbuy makes it mandatory for you to set up your phone for 2FA. You will, later on, have the option to switch to an authenticator app such as Google Authenticator or Authy instead of SMS.

Up next, you will receive a confirmation mail from the exchange. Once you confirm your email, Bitbuy will ask a few questions to verify your identity such as first name, last name, date of birth, address, etc. . If you haven’t automatically been verified, which can happen if you’ve recently relocated to Canada or changed addresses, you will be requested to manually verify your identity by uploading additional ID documents. 

Once your KYC documents are approved, you can add funds to your account. And that brings us to the next segment, which is:

How to Deposit Funds into Your Bitbuy Account?

Bitbuy supports both fiat and crypto deposits. To this day, Bitbuy is only available to Canadian, and therefore only supports one fiat — Canadian Dollar (CAD).  You can make CAD deposits using Interac e-Transfer and Wire Transfer, although there is no option for deposits using a debit or credit card. As you can imagine, the lack of support for debit/credit card payments can be a bummer for many otherwise would-be users.

You can withdraw fiat using the same payment methods as the ones available for deposits.

CAD deposits and withdrawals can take anywhere between 1-6 hours for Interac e-Transfers and up to 2-3 business days for bank wires.

CAD Deposit Type Minimum Maximum
Interac e-Transfer $100 $10,000/ 24 Hrs.
Bank Wire $20,000 $500,000

As for crypto deposits, you can choose any of the supported assets including BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, XRP, EOS, and XLM. Confirmation required for crypto deposits:

Crypto Confirmation required
BTC 3
ETH 12
BCH 6
LTC 6
XRP Near-instant
EOS Near-instant
XLM Near-instant

Bitbuy Fees

Deposit and Withdrawal Fees

For fiat deposits, Bitbuy charges 1.50% on Interac e-Transfers and 0.50% on wire transfers. There is no fee on crypto deposits. The fiat withdrawal fees for Interac e-Transfer and bank wires are 1.50% and 1.00% respectively.

The fiat withdrawal fees for Interac e-Transfer and bank wires are 1.50% and 1.00% respectively. You can find the fully transparent and updated fee model  here.

Exchange Transaction Fees

The exchange transaction fee on Express trades is 0.20%. This applies to all buy and sell orders on fiat, as well as for cryptocurrencies. Bitbuy follows the market maker/taker model on its Pro Trade platform. The fee here is 0.10 for Makers and 0.20% Takers.

Overall, you can say that while competitive, Bitbuy’s fees tend to be slightly on the higher side. However, the fee-structure itself is pretty transparent and you do not have to worry about any hidden fees etc. That’s undoubtedly a big advantage! 

Bitbuy Security

As of today, security is one key aspect where Bitbuy seems to have an edge over most of its competitors, if not all. 

The exchange claims to have stored 95% of user funds on cold storage to minimize the impact should it ever fall prey to cyber-attacks. 

For those out of the loop, “cold storage” simply refers to the practice of taking a crypto wallet offline and storing it in an air-gapped environment. The whole point of the cold storage approach is to deny perpetrators the access to private keys to user funds.

On the user side, the platform offers SSL encryption and two-factor authentication (2FA), the latter comes handy as a robust security feature even if your password falls into the wrong hands. Bitbuy plans on adding more 2FA options soon.

Proof of Reserve Audit

To add an extra layer of safety, and by extension, peace of mind to users, Bitbuy recently completed a comprehensive proof of reserves and security audit.

American blockchain forensics firm CipherBlade conducted the audit and it later detailed the key findings which we have highlighted below.

  • Digital holdings: The sum of all digital assets held in Bitbuy’s cold and hot storage are equal to the total account balance of all users combined (1:1 match).
  • Fiat Balance: CipherBlade found that the total fiat holding of Bitbuy accurately matches their bank systems. No discrepancies were found in the backend systems as well.
  • Background screening: Bitbuy comfortably passed several detailed background tests and the auditors found no issues with the exchange’s cold storage management processes.

In addition to all these, as we have already mentioned earlier, Bitbuy guarantees 1:1 insurance on all Bitcoin from users. We believe that’s another big advantage when it comes to the security of user funds.

Final Thoughts

There are three main criteria you should primarily focus on while choosing a new crypto exchange. These are ease of use, security (both technological and financial), quality of customer support, and fee structure. 

In terms of ease of use, Bitbuy is definitely far ahead of most of the competition. This is true regardless of whether you’re a newbie or someone who has been in the crypto trading game since the dawn of the decentralized digital economy. 

It can also rightfully claim to be a relatively secure platform with a decent track record so far. 

The customer support experience is decent —  not the best-in-class, but above average for sure.

As for the free structure, the trading fee is slightly on the higher side, although it is unlikely to become a deal-breaker for the majority of traders. 

All factors considered, Bitbuy does seem to offer a well-balanced platform for trading and investing in cryptocurrencies. It’s worth mulling over if you are from Canada and on the hunt for a reliable crypto exchange.

If you want to give it a shot, try out Bitbuy today by signing up here.