How To Buy Bitcoin in Canada (Jul 2022)

June 13, 2022
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Buy Bitcoin Canada

The easiest way for Canadians to buy Bitcoin is through a cryptocurrency exchange. Canada has a wide selection of well-regulated, highly secure exchanges to choose from, several of which I mention below.

Bitbuy is our #1-rated crypto trading platform due to its high level of security, ease of use, and low trading fees. If you’re serious about buying and selling crypto in Canada, I can’t recommend Bitbuy highly enough.

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Trusted by 400,000+ Canadians.

It’s easier to buy Bitcoin in Canada today than ever before. On top of the crypto exchanges mentioned below—CoinSmartBitbuy, and Crypto.com—you can also use a Bitcoin ATM, a peer-to-peer (P2P) network like LocalBitcoins, or an Over-the-Counter (OTC) broker like Satstreet.

You can also mine Bitcoins by yourself if you have a powerful computer, though this is nowhere near as straightforward as using cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms.

Before we talk about how to buy Bitcoin, though, let’s look at what it actually is.

What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital currency that allows users to send and receive money quickly without the need for any central authority or bank. The concept for Bitcoin was originally conceived in a 2008 whitepaper written by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonymous person or group of people whose real-world identity has still not been revealed.

Bitcoin has a fixed supply of 21 million total coins, which means there will never be more than 21 million in circulation. This makes Bitcoin a finite resource, like gold, which causes it to be deflationary (the opposite of inflationary) in nature.

Bitcoin Whitepaper
One of the illustrations found in the original 2008 Bitcoin whitepaper.

New Bitcoins are created by Bitcoin miners who solve complex problems using extremely powerful computers. This method of creating cryptocurrency is known as proof of work, since miners are rewarded for the work they do in solving those problems.

The smallest unit of a Bitcoin is known as a Satoshi, which is worth one hundred millionth of one Bitcoin. Given that Bitcoin can be broken down into such small pieces, Bitcoin transactions can be even more precise than fiat (cash) transactions, making Bitcoin a great solution for the growing number of micro-transactions underpinning the web.

Pros & Cons of Trading Bitcoin

There are several benefits and drawbacks of investing in Bitcoin in Canada or anywhere else. Here are just a few of the more prominent ones:

Pros Of Trading Bitcoin

  1. Bitcoin has a high potential for outsized investment returns. As shown in the table below, Bitcoin’s compounded annual growth rate has been 144% per year from 2012-2022, far outpacing any other mainstream asset class.
  2. Bitcoin can be sent across international borders with zero friction, making global commerce and the overall flow of wealth simpler and less costly.
  3. Bitcoin is not controlled by any government or central bank, which makes it difficult for authorities to freeze your holdings. With that said, institutions are gaining more control over the movement of cryptocurrencies through other means, so this benefit may become less apparent in the coming years.

Cons Of Trading Bitcoin

  1. Bitcoin’s price can be extremely volatile, making it a highly unpredictable investment vehicle. 
  2. Bitcoin is still largely unregulated, which means the entire industry is still a bit of a wild west. If you make a mistake or get scammed, there’s not much in the way of governmental or regulatory oversight to fall back upon.
  3. Bitcoin transactions are irreversible, including those that are made fraudulently or by mistake. Irreversibility can certainly be a benefit in some situations, but there are also many cases when being able to reverse certain types of transactions, as you can in the traditional banking system, is also beneficial.

There are other benefits of Bitcoin that have somewhat fallen apart over time. For example, transactions made via Bitcoin were originally designed to be anonymous and largely untraceable, and for the most part, in the early days, they were. Today, though, most cryptocurrency platforms require their customers to provide government-issued identification through a know-your-customer (KYC) process upon registration, which means that if a government agency needed to know the person behind the Bitcoin address, they could get that information relatively easily.

Bitcoin’s Financial Performance Over Time

The financial performance of Bitcoin cannot be ignored. Since 2012, Bitcoin has delivered a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 144% per year, far greater than just about any other asset class. If we were to include Bitcoin’s first few years (2008-2012), when it was priced extremely low, the CAGR rises even higher to about 200% per year.

To give you an idea of how truly impressive Bitcoin’s financial performance has been, here’s how it compares to the performance of other assets over that same timeframe:

AssetCAGR (2012-2022)
Gold2.3%
S&P 50012.6%
NASDAQ Composite19.6%
AAPL (Apple Stock)29.8%
Bitcoin144%

The 3 Best Crypto Exchanges In Canada

Here are my top three picks for the best Canadian crypto exchanges for buying Bitcoin:

1. Bitbuy

Best Overall

Trading fees: 0.1%
Security: 99% cold storage
Signup bonus: $50

Serving over 400,000 Canadians

★★★★★

Rated 4.9/5

Bitbuy is, without a doubt, the best crypto platform in Canada in 2022.

For starters, Bitbuy has incredibly low trading fees: just 0.1% for trades made using their advanced trading platform. It supports 25+ cryptocurrencies, verifies accounts instantly, prides itself on its helpful customer service reps, and has a beautiful, well-rated app.

Bitbuy has processed more than $4 billion in trades across its 400,000+ Canadian users. It’s a Registered Marketplace and Investment Dealer as recognized by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), which means it’s a highly safe and secure exchange that offers deep liquidity for all order sizes.

For a limited time, Bitbuy is offering a $50 bonus to Yore Oyster readers who fund their account with $250 or more. If you’re looking for a highly-respected Canadian crypto exchange that offers altcoin trading, excellent customer service, and a slick mobile app, open a Bitbuy account today.

Features

  • Extremely low trading fees (0.1%)
  • Easy to use for both beginners and more advanced traders
  • Supports 25+ cryptocurrencies
  • Excellent customer support
  • Powerful mobile app (rated 4.6/5 on the App Store)
  • 99% cold storage policy keeps your crypto extra secure

Cost

  • Account Opening: Free
  • Trading Fees: 0.1%
  • INTERAC Deposits/Withdrawals: 1.5%
  • Bank Wire Deposit: 0.5%
  • Bank Wire Withdrawal: 1%

Signup Bonus

$50 when you deposit $250 using this link.

Best For

Investors looking for extremely low fees and the best overall trading experience.

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Trusted by 400,000+ Canadians.

2. CoinSmart

$50 Signup Bonus

Trading fees: 0.2%
Security: 95% cold storage
Signup bonus: $50

$50 offer ending soon.

★★★★★

Rated 4.8/5

CoinSmart is a great second option for Canadians seeking a reliable, trustworthy crypto exchange.

Like Bitbuy, CoinSmart’s trading fees are also low, just 0.2%. They offer excellent customer support available 24/7 via phone, live chat and email, and user accounts are verified instantly.

CoinSmart has been designated a Registered Marketplace by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), is registered as a Money Services Business with FINTRAC, and is a member of the anti-money laundering group TRUST, all of which means they’re a highly secure exchange. They maintain a 95% cold storage policy, and as a publicly-traded company, their financials are audited by a third-party firm at least once per year.

As a new CoinSmart user, you’ll receive a $50 bonus upon funding your account, which you can use to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any of the 16 assets CoinSmart supports. If you’re looking for a highly secure, reputable crypto platform, CoinSmart is an excellent choice.

Features

  • Extremely low trading fees (0.2%)
  • 24/7 customer support available via phone, live chat or email
  • Instant account verification
  • Supports 16 cryptocurrencies
  • Registered Marketplace by the OSC
  • Immediate deposits and withdrawals
  • User-friendly for both beginners and advanced traders
  • 95% cold storage policy keeps your crypto extra secure

Cost

  • Account Opening: Free
  • Trading Fees: 0.2%
  • INTERAC Deposit: 0%
  • Bank Wire Deposit: 0%
  • Bank Wire Withdrawal: 1%
  • EFT Withdrawal: 1%

Signup Bonus

$50 bonus when you sign up using this link and our promo code YOREOYSTER.

Best For

Investors looking to trade with low trading fees.

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Offer ends soon.

3. VirgoCX

Best For Fringe Coins

Spreads: ~0.5%
Security: 95% cold storage
Signup bonus: $30

Low spreads, great platform.

★★★★

Rated 4.5/5

Based in Toronto, VirgoCX is another one of the best Canadian crypto exchanges. Its users appreciate that it offers 50+ cryptocurrencies, one of the widest selections of any exchange on this list. 

VirgoCX’s trading platform and mobile app are intuitive and easy to use, even for beginners. It offers 24/7 customer support via live chat and email, plus an extensive FAQ section on its site.

VirgoCX charges no deposit or withdrawal fees on fiat and covers the first $6 in mining fees on ERC20 withdrawals. It requires 2-factor authentication on all accounts, and maintains a 95% cold storage policy to keep your assets safe at all times.

Features

  • Supports 50+ cryptocurrencies
  • Free fiat deposits and withdrawals
  • Free deposits and withdrawals on most cryptocurrencies
  • 24/7 support available via live chat and email
  • User-friendly for both beginners and more advanced traders
  • 95% cold storage policy keeps your crypto extra secure

Cost

  • Account Opening: Free
  • Cash Deposits: Free
  • Cash Withdrawals: Free
  • Crypto Deposits: Free
  • Crypto Withdrawals: Free for all major coins
  • Spreads on trades: Around 1%

Signup Bonus

$30 when you fund your account with $100 or more using this link.

Best For

Investors looking to buy altcoins before everyone else.

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Free account, instant verification

How To Buy Bitcoin In Canada From An ATM

Bitcoin ATMs are ATM machines specifically designed for buying and selling cryptocurrency. The primary benefit of Bitcoin ATMs is convenience: if you aren’t already signed up with a Bitcoin trading platform like those mentioned above, you can still buy or sell Bitcoin from a Bitcoin ATM.

Before using a Bitcoin ATM, you’ll need to open a crypto wallet, so you have somewhere to send your coins. There are currently over 2,200 Bitcoin ATMs across Canada, and you can find the ATM closest to you using this map.

Bitcoin ATMs Canada
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of Bitcoin ATMs in Canada are concentrated in British Columbia, Alberta, and southwestern Ontario.

The downside to Bitcoin ATMs is that they generally charge higher fees than exchanges, and sometimes significantly higher. And as exchanges like Bitbuy and CoinSmart roll out instant account verification and continue to compete for lower fees, cryptocurrency ATMs are losing much of their allure.

How To Store Bitcoin Safely

There are two main places you can store cryptocurrency: on an exchange or in a wallet. And when it comes to security, wallets trump exchanges, mainly because exchanges have a bad history of going bankrupt, getting hacked, or having their founders run off with millions of Canadian dollars.

Crypto wallets protect your Bitcoin through a combination of public keys (which allow others to send you funds) and private keys (which allow you to send others funds). These are the three major types of crypto wallets:

  1. Paper wallets are free and relatively secure, but prone to loss of funds.
  2. Software wallets are free, but may lack key security features, depending on the software wallet you choose.
  3. Hardware wallets are highly secure, but generally cost $50-$200 to buy.

As someone who’s tried out more than a dozen different wallets over the years, here are my top 3 picks for the best Bitcoin wallet for Canadians:

Most Popular

Supports: 5,500+ crypto assets
Type: Hardware wallet
Cost: $$

Canada’s most popular wallet.

★★★★

Rated 4.3/5

Budget Pick

Supports: 1,000+ crypto assets
Type: Hardware wallet
Cost: $$

The cheapest hardware wallet.

★★★★

Rated 4.1/5

Best For Altcoins

Supports: 5,500+ crypto assets
Type: Hardware wallet
Cost: $$$

An upgraded Nano S.

★★★★

Rated 3.8/5

Bitcoin Taxation in Canada

There are a few key things to point out about how Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are taxed in Canada:

  • If you hold cryptocurrency and its value increases, you will be taxed on your profit in the form of capital gains. Capital gains are taxed at 50% in Canada.
  • Similarly, if you hold cryptocurrency and its value decreases, you are eligible to claim a capital loss.
  • If you’re a business accepting payment in Bitcoin or a cryptocurrency miner generating Bitcoin, your profits will be taxed as income.

As with all things tax-related, it’s important to keep consistent records of your transactions so you can prove them if the Canada Revenue Agency requests it. It’s also worth pointing out that most cryptocurrency exchanges are not required to report transactions to the CRA unless they’re over $10,000 in size, though you’re still liable to pay your taxes on transactions lower than that amount.

In Summary

The easiest way for Canadians to purchase Bitcoin is through a cryptocurrency exchange, though you can also make your purchase using a Bitcoin ATM. Canada has a great selection of well-regulated, highly secure exchanges to choose from, several of which I mentioned above.

Bitbuy is our #1-rated crypto trading platform due to its high level of security, ease of use, and low trading fees. If you’re serious about buying and selling crypto in Canada, I can’t recommend Bitbuy highly enough.

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Trusted by 400,000+ Canadians.

How To Buy Bitcoin In Canada FAQs

Is Bitcoin Legal In Canada?

Yes, it’s legal to buy, sell and hold Bitcoin in Canada. It can also be used in transactions where the other party (the buyer or seller) is willing to accept it, though because Bitcoin is not a legal tender, no person or organization is required to accept it in transactions. This is also the reason Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies cannot be used to pay taxes or other government fees.

As of early 2022, nine countries have a full ban on cryptocurrencies: Algeria, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Qatar, and Tunisia.

Overall, Canada has taken a relatively liberal approach to developing legislation around cryptocurrencies. Other methods of interacting and transacting with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (including staking and mining) are also legal in Canada, though the laws around these newer use cases are still developing.

How Can I Buy Bitcoins Legally In Canada?

To legally acquire Bitcoin in Canada, you’ll need to open an account with an exchange that operates legally in Canada. The two I recommend most strongly are Bitbuy and CoinSmart, both of which are licensed Money Services Business that follow all Canadian regulations.

Are Canadians Allowed To Buy Bitcoin?

Yes, Canadians are allowed to purchase Bitcoin, and they always have been. Bitcoin has never been outlawed in Canada, and while it has faced increasing regulation in recent years, the Canadian government has never shown serious signs of banning crypto.

Canada has also been leading the charge globally when it comes to Bitcoin ETFs—well ahead of our southern US neighbours—which suggests further than crypto is built on a solid foundation here in Canada.

How Can I Buy & Send Bitcoin In Canada?

To buy and send Bitcoin from Canada, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Open an account with a crypto platform: I outline the best exchanges in Canada here, with my personal favourites being Bitbuy and CoinSmart.
  2. Transfer money to your account and make your purchase: If possible, I recommend sending it via INTERAC e-transfer, which is normally the fastest and cheapest option.
  3. Send Bitcoin to another wallet address: Double-check to ensure the address you’re sending to is the correct one, because once you make the transaction, it cannot be reversed.

Is Bitcoin Safe In Canada?

Trading Bitcoin is definitely a speculative endeavour, and not one to be taken lightly. Putting the inherent risks of trading aside, though, there are also outside risks you need to be aware of, too.

The most notable Canadian case of large cryptocurrency losses came with the collapse of QuadrigaCX upon the supposed death of its CEO, Gerald Cotten. As the story goes, Cotten was in sole possession of the private keys required to access customer funds, making those funds—worth more than $200 million at the time—completely inaccessible. Whether Cotten is indeed dead is still up for debate (his body was never recovered), but none of those customer funds have been recovered to date.

QuadrigaCX Headline In The New York Times
This headline about QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotten ran in The New York Times in early 2019.

That’s the risk of bad actors within an exchange, but outside hackers pose a risk, too. Every year, hackers steal billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies from exchanges and wallets, which is why security is such a big point of discussion within the world of crypto.

With this in mind, you should only get involved with trading cryptocurrency if you’re comfortable with the risks. If you purchase Bitcoin using a reputable cryptocurrency exchange and store them in a highly secure wallet, you’ll eliminate the large majority of the risks associated with buying and selling Bitcoin.

Can I Buy Bitcoin Through My Bank In Canada?

Yes, you can buy BTC using your bank in Canada, as well as through cryptocurrency exchanges like CoinSmart, Bitbuy, and Crypto.com. If you’re planning to fund your account using INTERAC e-transfer or a bank transfer, I suggest trading with CoinSmart, since INTERAC e-transfers above $2,000 are free, and bank transfers are relatively inexpensive, too. 

Where Can I Buy Bitcoins Instantly In Canada?

To buy and sell Bitcoin in Canada instantly, you’ll need to work with an exchange like CoinSmart or Bitbuy that offers instant account verification. Keep in mind that you’ll need to submit your identity for KYC verification to trade crypto with any Canadian exchange, but you can still open your account and start trading within a matter of minutes.

How Do I Cash Out Bitcoin In Canada?

Cashing out your crypto in Canada is very similar to buying it: you’ll just need an account with a reputable exchange and somewhere to transfer your proceeds, most likely a bank account. I wrote an entire post on how to sell Bitcoin in Canada, and if minimizing your tax burden is important to you, read my other post on how to cash out crypto without paying taxes in Canada.

What is the best Bitcoin wallet in Canada?

In my opinion, the best Bitcoin wallet in Canada is Bitbuy, thanks to its bank-level security, ease of use, and 24/7 customer support. It supports dozens of coins, and is the perfect place for Canadians to both buy and store their Bitcoin.

Can I Use A Debit Card To Buy Bitcoin In Canada?

Yes, you can make your Bitcoin purchase using a Canadian debit card, though only with some exchanges. The best way to transfer money to the exchange you’re using is generally through an INTERAC e-transfer (for smaller, quick transactions) or a bank transfer (for larger transactions), but many accept debit and credit card payments as well.

However, do keep in mind that funding your crypto account with a debit or credit card will normally incur additional charges, sometimes as much as 3% – 5%.

Can I Buy Bitcoin In Canada With My Credit Card?

Yes, you can invest in Bitcoin using a credit card in Canada, though you can expect to face fees of around 3% – 5% when buying with your credit card. If at all possible, I recommend transferring money to your exchange via INTERAC e-transfer, which is normally free and available for transactions up to $3,000 per day.

Can I Buy Bitcoin On PayPal In Canada?

Currently, there’s no way to buy or sell Bitcoin using PayPal in Canada; this is only available in the United States, and all transactions must be executed in US dollars, not Canadian dollars. To learn more, read our in-depth post on the topic here.

The Best Crypto Exchanges In Canada

Best Overall

Trading fees: 0.1%
Security: 99% cold storage
Signup bonus: $50

Serving over 400,000 Canadians

★★★★★

Rated 4.9/5

$50 Signup Bonus

Trading fees: 0.2%
Security: 95% cold storage
Signup bonus: $50

Trusted by 200,000+ Canadians.

★★★★★

Rated 4.8/5

Best For Altcoins

Spreads: ~0.5%
Security: 95% cold storage
Signup bonus: $30

Low spreads, great platform.

★★★★

Rated 4.5/5