With the introduction of cryptocurrency to the mainstream, it’s important that investors understand the importance of choosing the correct crypto exchange to either trade or store their cryptocurrency on.
There are two types of cryptocurrency exchanges.
- Centralized exchanges (CEX) - These have a centralized authority and will require a Know Your Customer check (KYC) which validates your identity.
- Decentralized exchanges - These are completely anonymous and have no central governing body. Anonymous wallets, such as a metamask wallet are connected instead of storing your crypto on the exchange.
With that information sorted, let’s look at the top 10 crypto exchanges to use:
Based in Canada, BitBuy is one of the most trusted Canadian exchanges with over 350,000 members. Its appeal for Canadian investors stems from being completely within Canadian regulations and providing a seamless process without worrying about Canadian crypto laws.
BitBuy offers trading for all the popular cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, Doge, Dot etc. It also boasts an impressive 99% cold storage rate, demonstrating its dedication to security.
You can start trading on BitBuy here.
USP: Originally Canadian and potentially following CRA regulations to operate as a cryptocurrency exchange.
The biggest exchange in the world, Binance is trusted worldwide with the largest market cap of all exchanges. Binance was allowed to operate in Canada after recently complying with all regulations.
Binance boasts over 500 pairs and cryptocurrencies available to trade, an NFT platform and extremely low trading fees - some of the lowest in the industry.
Binance also offers a large range of ways for Canadian investors to acquire cryptocurrency, such as ‘instant buy’ using fiat, straight into your favorite cryptocurrency.
Start trading on Binance here.
USP: Reliability as the biggest crypto exchange in the world.
Another Canadian exchange, NDAX launched in 2018 and prides itself on having the lowest trading fees out of all the centralized exchanges and specifically catering itself towards Canadian investors.
For the benefit of Canadian investors, all crypto trading pairs are in CAD, making it easy to view the value of each crypto.
Although NDAX does not have the biggest selection of crypto to choose from, they make up for it with fast and free CAD deposits when coming from a Canadian bank account.
Start trading on NDAX here.
USP: Specifically Canadian.
- Coinbase, Coinbase PRO
Although less popular than Binance in Canada, Coinbase is a great exchange for beginner crypto investors due to the extremely clean interface, reducing cryptos barrier to entry and making trading easy.
Its fees are quite high compared to similar exchanges which may be off-putting to some investors - you pay for your simplicity!
Coinbase Pro is targeted towards more experienced traders allowing them to ‘graduate’ to the PRO version when they seem fit.
Features for all Coinbase users, include a unique crypto wallet owned solely by the trader which allows you to store all your digital assets including NFTs in one place.
You can start trading on Coinbase here.
USP: The largest exchange in North America and a Clean User Interface.
Crypto.com, with over 150 cryptocurrencies to trade and counting is a unique type of centralized exchange almost becoming an ecosystem in its own right. Crypto.com has branched out into all the crypto avenues such as DeFi staking, crypto debit cards and a comprehensive exchange.
Crypto.com offers great promotions for all users such as a free 30-day deposit window when you sign up and competitive trading fees. Canadian users can deposit CAD for free using e-Transfer.
Due to crypto.coms large ecosystem, users can send cryptocurrency to other users inside the ecosystem for free and even across their own separate apps - of which they have three.
Crypto.com really makes it easy to use them as your singular exchange.
You can start trading on crypto.com here.
USP: Great crypto visa card.
Launched in 2017, KuCoin is known for its advanced and unique features such as trading bots. On top of this, KuCoin is often the first of the ‘big’ global exchanges to list low market cap coins, which means the liquidity is always high.
KuCoin recently became compliant with CRA rules and regulations making it easy for Canadian investors to deposit, trade and withdraw crypto from the exchange using CAD.
KuCoins USP is often its advanced trading features allowing users to place several different order types to fit their risk tolerance.
An exchange that focuses on all aspects that make an exchange work may not be the best at anything specific but will attract enough investors that there is always trading happening and hence keeping your crypto assets more liquid than other exchanges.
You can start trading on KuCoin here.
USP: Trading Features and Altcoins
Trusted by over 200,000 Canadians, CoinSmart is another Canadian-focused crypto exchange registered with FINTRAC and compliant with all regulations. All funds are kept in Canada being backed by Luminus Financial.
Although CoinSmart offers limited cryptocurrencies to trade, they have competitive deposit and withdrawal fees and excellent customer support which is available 24/7.
Another perk of CoinSmart is its instant verification, allowing new users to start trading straight away via desktop, Android, or iOS.
You can start trading on CoinSmart here.
USP: Customer Support and Low Fees
By definition, a decentralized exchange cannot be specific to a country, so they are normally based solely on features and how easy they can be used. Decentralized Exchanges require more than a basic understanding of cryptocurrency, so please do your own research.
- 1inch Network
The 1inch network claims to be the ‘leading DEX Aggregator’, gathering the best prices from other DEX across the world, compiling them and making them available to 1inch users.
The 1inch network has become the one-stop shop for DEX usage and thus removing the need to visit several DEX to scour for the best prices.
It is run on the Ethereum blockchain but has minimal swapping and transaction fees all while giving access to popular yield farming.
1inch is not specifically a decentralized exchange but acts like one and has a massive liquidity pool due to its connection to so many centralized and decentralized liquidity pools.
You can start trading on 1inch here.
USP: One-stop shop for DEXs
- Pancake Swap
The biggest decentralized exchange based on the Binance Smart Chain, Pancake swap was launched in late 2020 and allows users to stake, yield farm and exchange tokens all in one place.
Recently, even more diversity has been added with an NFT platform and IFO implementation.
Pancake swap boasts consistently low transaction fees through the use of a CeDefi model, which some users may not enjoy if they are wanting a completely decentralized experience.
You can start trading on Pancake Swap here.
USP: Versatility of application
One of the original members of the DeFi community, Uniswap may be the largest active decentralized exchange. It is based on the Ethereum blockchain with its native governance token ‘UNI’, which uses liquidity pools to give users access to peer-to-peer trading.
The governance token of Uniswap, ‘UNI’ is used to fund everything from liquidity pools to grants and allows users to vote on the improvement and implementation of new developments.
You can start trading on Uniswap here.
USP: Most used Crypto DEX
There is no one size fits all for cryptocurrency exchanges, whether it be a DEX or CEX as each investor will value different features. Keeping your values in mind, whether that be security or the number of cryptocurrency pairs, choose the exchange which falls in line with those values the best.
Disclaimer: CRAs relationship with Cryptocurrency
Although CRA continues to slowly create guidelines for Canadians investing in cryptocurrency, they are still way behind several other developed countries when it comes to the rules surrounding taxation. Many DeFi protocols, such as yield farming and staking are yet to receive proper guidance from CRA. We should expect to see the number of guidelines rapidly increase as Canadian investors call for them but until then, crypto investors have to take positions that may or may not be accepted by CRA.
*Opinions are for discussion purposes only. This does not represent the views of MetaCounts Cashflow Inc. or its affiliates. Furthermore, this does not constitute legal, accounting, or tax advice of any kind and should not be relied upon as such.