Coinbase is one of the well-established crypto exchanges that has survived the test of time. It is available in more than 100+ countries and is reputed as a safe and secure platform to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, and 240+ other cryptocurrencies.
Following Canadian authorities’ continued scrutiny of crypto exchanges, many crypto investors have been left wondering whether Coinbase is still legal in Canada.
In this post, I cover why Coinbase is good in Canada and give a list of Coinbase alternatives you can use if Coinbase doesn’t work for you.
Yes, Coinbase is available in Canada and continues to operate while still undergoing the registration process. Though it’s not yet a fully registered crypto trading platform in Canada, it is one of the exchanges in compliance discussions with the OSC Staff to chart a path to compliance and registration.
Currently, it is classified among the exchanges that have satisfied CSA eligibility criteria and “entered into pre-registration undertakings with their principal regulator.”
Due to its cooperation with regulators, Coinbase has received exemptive relief to continue operating as its application for registration is reviewed.
Just like other registered crypto trading platforms in Canada, Coinbase must comply with investor protection provisions to provide a safe digital asset platform to investors as it awaits full registration.
Though Coinbase is legal in Canada, it’s still dealing with pre-registration undertakings, and its long-term fate remains unknown.
Plus, its fees can be quite confusing and expensive —up to $2.99 for orders below $200, 1.49% for orders of $205 and above, and up to 0.6% when using the Advanced Trade platform.
Below is a rundown of Coinbase alternatives in Canada that you can use to avoid getting caught in its regulatory cross-hairs.
CoinSmart Crypto Exchange
Top crypto exchange in Canada
Great for new & advanced traders
0.20% trading fee
Get a $50 bonus when you deposit $200
CoinSmart offers simple and advanced interfaces allowing beginners and intermediate traders to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, and 15+ other cryptocurrencies. It also offers crypto staking, crypto payments, and an OTC desk to fill block trades.
CoinSmart top features
- Buy and sell multiple cryptocurrencies
- Supports three fiat currencies: CAD, USD, EUR
- Four funding methods: Interac e-Transfer, bank wire, credit/debit card, bank draft
- An OTC desk to fill large orders of $25,000 and above
- CoinSmart fees: 0.2% for single trades and 0.3% for double trades
- Security: Cold storage, Bitgo & Fireblocks Custody, and 2FA
Promotion: Get a $50 bonus when you deposit $250 or more in your new account.
Downside: CoinSmart offers a limited number of coins and is not a great place to buy unpopular, small-cap cryptocurrencies.
Netcoins is a great crypto platform for beginners. It offers 30+ cryptocurrencies, which you can trade at flat fees of 0.5%.
Fiat deposits are free for transfer amounts over $2,500, and you can fund your Netcoins account with CAD or USD using Bank wire or Interact e-Transfer.
Netcoins top features
- Buy and sell 30+ cryptocurrencies
- Supports CAD and USD as fiat
- Three funding methods: Bank wire, Interact e-Transfer, and crypto deposits
- Netcoins fees: 0.5% flat fee
- Free deposits and withdrawals
- Start investing with as little as $10
- Netcoins crypto card to spend your crypto and earn 1% back on purchases
- Security: $250M insurance, cold storage
Promotion: Get a $25 bonus when you trade $100 worth of coins in your new account.
Downside: Netcoins doesn’t offer advanced charting and technical analysis tools, and its flat fee of 0.5% is on the high side.
Here’s a definitive guide to trading with Netcoins.
If you want to access and trade crypto and forex on the same platform, VirgoCX is a great platform to check. It offers 30+ cryptocurrencies and more than 35 global fiat currencies that you can trade and save up to 5X compared to traditional FX providers.
The platform offers both simple and advanced trading interfaces, hence an excellent exchange for both beginners and experts.
VirgoCX fiat deposits and withdrawals are free, but you’ll incur bid-ask spread fees of 0.5%-2.5% on trades.
VirgoCX top features
- Offers 60+ coins
- Support 2 fiat currencies: CAD and USD
- Four fiat transfer methods: Interac e-Transfer, Wire transfer, debit card, and Bill Payment
- VirgoCX trading fees: 0.5%-2.5% bid-ask spread fees
- An OTC desk to fill block trades of $30,000 and above
- Free fiat deposits and withdrawals
- Simple and advanced trading interface to accommodate both beginners and experienced users.
- Access crypto and FX on the same platform
- Security: SSL protocols, 2FA, Coinbase Custody, reliable banking & payment partners
Promotion: Get a $20 bonus when you complete KYC and deposit at least $100.
Downside: Although there are no extra VirgoCX fees, its bid-ask spreads of up to 2.5% can get quite expensive.
Related: VirgoCX review.
Wealthsimple Crypto is great for traditional investors looking to diversify their portfolios with crypto. It offers an easy-to-use interface to enable beginners and buy-and-hold investors to quickly and easily buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, and 55+ other cryptocurrencies.
Fiat deposits and withdrawals are free, but a bid-ask spread of 1.5%-2% is applied on buy/sell orders.
Wealthsimple Crypto’s top features
- An easy-to-use interface.
- Supports 55+ cryptocurrencies
- Great for beginners and buy-and-hold investors
- Invest in crypto, stocks, and ETFs on the same platform
- Supports crypto staking: Stake Ethereum and Solana and Earn up to 4.5% APY.
- Free fiat deposits and withdrawals
- Wealthsimple Crypto fees: 1.5%-2% bid-ask spread
- Security: Gemini Custody, 2FA, Coincover crypto-insurance, data encryption.
Promotion: Get a $25 bonus after depositing $150 or more.
Downside: Wealthsimple Crypto doesn’t offer advanced charting and technical analysis tools. Its bid-ask spreads of up to 2% can also get costly.
Learn more about Wealthsimple Crypto in this review.
Yes, Coinbase is legal in Ontario and other Canadian provinces and continues to operate as it works with authorities to have its application for registration reviewed and get registered.
Coinbase is banned in any jurisdictions that are under the US government sanction programs. When you try to log in from a restricted region, you’ll receive a pop-up message and be denied access to your account.
No, Coinbase is not banned in Ontario. It has received an exemptive relief to continue operations while undergoing the registration process.
Yes, Coinbase is a regulated crypto exchange and one of the safe and secure places to buy crypto in the US, Canada, and 100+ other countries. Currently, Coinbase is working with Canadian authorities to get registered.
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Disclaimer: Cryptocurrency is a volatile and speculative investment. If you decide to invest, we recommend you do your own research and only commit funds you can afford to lose. The author may own one or more of the crypto assets mentioned in this article.