20 min read

Bitbuy Review: Complete Exchange Overview

By Steve Walters

In this Bitbuy review, we will take a look at a mid-sized cryptocurrency exchange based in Canada.

They offer a simple and effective way for Canadian users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies with their CAD. In the parlance of the cryptocurrency community, Bitbuy is a “fiat gateway” for access to a few of the most popular coins. 

However, can Bitbuy stand out in an increasingly competitive market? Should you consider them as your exchange of choice?

In this comprehensive Bitbuy review, we will take a deep-dive into Bitbuy. We will go over their security, platform support, fees, and technology. We will also gather the opinions of the Canadian crypto community on their experience with Bitbuy.

Key Takeaway: While Bitbuy has enjoyed a level of success among some beginner Canadian users, the crypto exchange lacks the asset support and advanced functionality of many of the more prominent exchanges out there. Sophisticated traders and those looking for a more feature-rich exchange are unlikely to find the level of functionality they require and would likely be better suited to an exchange such as Binance for trading or SwissBorg for digital asset investing.

With that said, let’s jump in.

Bitbuy Overview

Bitbuy has been around since 2013 but was originally called “InstaBT”. It was founded by Adam Goldman and Ademar Gonzalez.

InstaBT was created as a way for Canadians to quickly and easily get their hands on Bitcoin. For those who can remember, 2013 was still a relatively new time in the crypto markets and exchanges to easily buy Bitcoin were few and far between.

As the exchange progressed, they decided to re-brand to Bitbuy and included a number of other cryptocurrencies on the platform. However, Bitbuy wanted to expand their offering dramatically and accepted an investment from a private equity firm in 2018.

The Bitbuy offices are located in Toronto, Canada. They are actually a subsidiary of the First Ledger Corporation which is a blockchain services company.

The primary operation of First Ledger Corporation is the Bitbuy exchange, although they do offer other solutions. These include the likes of digital currency merchant solutions as well as blockchain consultation, along with institutional services.

Swissborg Inline

Bitbuy Fees

One of the most important requirements for regular cryptocurrency users is the fees that are charged by the exchange. These include fees that are charged when sending/withdrawing currency, as well as the fees that one could be charged for merely buying and selling.

When it comes to exchange transaction fees, Bitbuy operates a tiered approach to trading fees if you are using the “pro” or “Express Trade” features. Tiered fee structures based on trading volume has become common in the crypto exchange industry, with the fees you pay depending on your level of trading volume. You can find the fee schedule below:

Bitbuy fees

Bitbuy Fees. Image via Bitbuy

These fees are quite a bit higher than the likes you will on the top crypto exchanges, but Bitbuy makes up for them in the low fees they provide on withdrawals/deposits.

Simple Explanation 👨‍🏫: Makers are those who provide liquidity on the books by placing limit orders. Takers remove that liquidity by placing market orders

Deposit Fees

With Bitbuy, there are 0 fees when depositing either crypto or CAD, which is nice to see. There is nothing worse than the platform taking a cut of your money before even using the platform. Tip of the hat for Bitbuy for having 0 deposit fees. 

Deposits can be made via crypto, wire transfer, or Interac e-Transfer.

Withdrawal Fees

When it comes to the withdrawal of cryptocurrencies, Bitbuy says that these are free. This is true, but as is standard in the cryptocurrency industry, there will still be network fees, which go to the network miners and validators who secure the blockchain network.

If you were going to be withdrawing your funds in CAD then the following fees would apply:

Bitbuy Review

Deposits and Withdrawal Fees. Image via Bitbuy

These fees are actually quite reasonable and are below the rates that are charged by some of the other Canadian exchanges. 

One thing we really appreciated about Bitbuy is how simple and fully transparent they are with their approach to fees. You can always navigate to the Bitbuy Fees Page to verify the current fees.

Is Bitbuy Safe?

One of the biggest threats to exchanges and their users are hackers. We know all too well about the damages that can be caused when a hacker is able to penetrate an exchange’s system. Hence, exchange security is a key consideration for us.

When it comes to security at Bitbuy we were able to glean the following information from their site:

Exchange Side Security

As with their fees, Bitbuy is also refreshingly transparent with their approach to safety and security. On their “Trust Page,” we can see that they operate a responsible cold storage policy, keeping over 95% of their digital assets in cold storage, which is in line with industry best practices as it keeps funds out of the reach of hackers.

Bitbuy has also publicly released their Proof of Reserves audit, showing that all customer assets are backed 1:1. The exchange is also regulated by the Ontario Securities Commission and FINTRAC, so the thousands of customers who use Bitbuy rest easy knowing this is one of the safest and most regulated Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges.

From a cybersecurity perspective, Bitbuy states that they complete daily encrypted and distributed backups of the data on their servers. This will help them should they ever come under any sort of Dedicated Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

User Side Security

While exchange security is a priority, the user is often the weakest link when it comes to crypto theft. Therefore, Bitbuy has instituted the best practices in user protection on their systems.

sSL Secure Connection BitBuy.ca

Bitbuy SSL Secure Padlock

The first and most important thing that we will check for is secure SSL encryption on an exchange. Bitbuy has this as you can see from their SSL padlock in the browser. It is also critically important that you make sure that this is visible when you visit the exchange.

If you ever visit Bitbuy and you do not see the padlock then it is likely that you are on a phishing site and should leave it immediately. However, even if a hacker is able to get access to your password, two-factor authentication is likely to protect you.

Bitbuy requires all of their users to enable two-factor authentication by default. Whenever you log into your account or try to initialise any sort of withdrawal then you will be asked to complete this. You can either use it as an SMS-based 2FA or you can sync it with Google Authenticator.

Proof of Reserve Audit

Bitbuy has recently also completed a proof of reserves and security audit. This is particularly relevant in the fallout from the FTX and QuadrigaCX collapse.

Bitbuy employed the services of CipherBlade which is a US-based blockchain forensics firm. The key findings from the report are as follow:

  • Fiat Holdings: All fiat holdings at Bitbuy were verified by bank statements and are well reflected in their back-end systems.
  • Digital Holdings: The sum of the digital assets held in their hot and cold wallets matched user account balances 1:1.
  • Background Checks: Bitbuy and its operators also passed a number of background checks. They also audited their cold storage management process to make sure it was above board

It is also important to note that this is not a once-off report. Bitbuy has agreed with CipherBlade to conduct these security checks and audits on an ongoing basis.

It is great to see an exchange engage in such transparency and the ecosystem would do well if more exchanges followed suit.

First 1:1 Insured Bitcoin Platform

In May 2020, Bitbuy partnered with Knox to offer fully-insured cold storage of Bitcoin holdings for all Bitbuy users. Bitbuy was the very first Canadian exchange to offer such cold storage and insurance to their clients, marking a significant positive development for the Canadian cryptocurrency industry.

The move was made by Bitbuy as part of their commitment to best practices in the cryptocurrency exchange industry while awaiting greater regulatory clarity in Canada.

The insurance policy from Knox covers both theft and loss of customers’ Bitcoin holdings up to the full value of the holdings in cold storage, subject to the full policy terms, conditions, and exclusions.

Supported Coins

Currently, Bitbuy supports 24 crypto assets. You can buy the majors such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum, along with some smaller-cap altcoins like Polkadot, Cardano and Apecoin. 

Only offering 24 cryptocurrencies is quite underwhelming by many accounts, leaving much to be desired. Especially in contrast to an exchange like Binance, which offers over 400 tradeable assets. It would be nice to see Bitbuy significantly improve in this area.

Bitbuy available assets

Some of the Assets Supported on Bitbuy. Image via Bitbuy

To make up for the lack of asset support, some users keep their Bitbuy account as their fiat gateway, then will keep another account on a platform like Binance or Kraken to access a wider variety of tradable assets and products.

Customer Support

Many cryptocurrency exchanges have a reputation for having less than stellar customer support. Users often have to wait days, if not weeks, before they get tickets answered or verifications completed. While this has improved recently, there is still much to be desired.

That’s why we found it disappointing that Bitbuy has removed the ability to contact their customer support team via telephone or online chat. Online chat support has become the “go-to” preferred method offered by most cryptocurrency exchanges, so seeing Bitbuy no longer offer this isn’t a great experience for users.

Bitbuy Support

Support Section with FAQs

Currently, users can use the “contact page” to submit a request or email support@bitbuy.ca. Fortunately, the FAQ and self-help section is rich with articles and guides, equipping users with the ability to resolve many of the issues they may face.

Bitbuy Registration

If you have decided that you would like to try Bitbuy, then you will need to create an account and complete their registration process. You can follow the sign-up link here. You will then be asked how you would like to sign up. We chose to sign up via email.

Bitbuy Registration

Easy streamlined registration process.

Once you have given them your email, then they will send you a confirmation email. You will just need to confirm the email address, after which, Bitbuy will require you to set up your phone for two-factor authentication for security reasons. Once this has been completed, you can move onto the verification stage.

Bitbuy Verifications

Bitbuy has to make sure that they are in compliance with all of Canada’s Anti Money Laundering and KYC regulations. Hence, they require all of their users to complete their mandatory verifications and KYC checks before they are allowed to buy coins.

So, unless you send Bitbuy some form of identity and proof of address, you cannot use them. However, 90% of cryptocurrency exchanges these days have this requirement, so it is not so much of a surprise.

Individual Verification

There are two methods to verify your account at Bitbuy. The quickest of these is probably through the use of their instant verification option.

The instant verification uses a third-party data collection provider (Trulioo). This third party usually has a financial profile on you. If you can corroborate financial information about yourself with this third party, then you will be verified.

Note: ✍️: Bitbuy does not have access to this financial information as it is all handled independently by the third party.

If the instant verification does not work, then you will have to use a more traditional method that requires documentation and manual checks.

For this manual verification check, you are required to provide a government-issued identity document as well as a picture of yourself holding this document. You are also required to provide proof of address.

Required Information BitBuy.ca Verification
Verification Details Required by Bitbuy

There are a number of documents that can be used for this purpose. You can find more on the Acceptable Documentation Page. However, the most important information that is required on this document is that your full name and address are visible.

Once you have submitted these documents, then you will have to wait for human verification at Bitbuy. They have stated that this could take between 1-3 business days to process. This is about the standard waiting time for non-automated verifications.

Business Verification

If you would like to convert your personal account into a business account, you will be requested additional information. Amongst them, Bitbuy might request the business articles of incorporation along with other corporate documentation.

It is likely that Bitbuy may inquire about the nature of the business and the need for a corporate cryptocurrency account. This is why it could be the ideal solution for those businesses that either generate cryptocurrency earnings or those entities that are involved in crypto trading on an institutional scale.

If your business has the need to execute larger block trades with lower spreads/commissions, then you can always use Bitbuy’s OTC solution. Over-the-Counter block trades allow for a more direct sale/transfer between the two parties.

How to Make Deposits/Withdrawals at Bitbuy

Now that you have your account up and fully verified on Bitbuy, then you can make go about funding your account.

Sending funds to Bitbuy is pretty simple. All you have to do is head on over to your “Wallet” section. You will select the coin in question and you will hit “Deposit”. This will populate the wallet box with the deposit address where you should send the crypto.

Bitbuy Wallet

Your Bitbuy wallet is simple to understand and use.

Withdrawing your Bitcoin is much easier. All you need to do is request a withdrawal on the platform, paste your receiving address and then confirm via 2-factor authentication. Bitbuy will send you the funds as a public transaction, which will take time to propagate through the network.

If you are sending/receiving funds in CAD, then you can use one of the payment methods that we listed in the fees section. It is, however, important to point out that those processing times are mere indications and will vary greatly depending on your banking provider.

Bitbuy Platform

Bitbuy has two trading platforms on offer at their exchange. These are the Express Trade and the Pro Trade.

The Express Trade platform is a quick and simple way for you to buy your crypto. This is perhaps best suited to beginner traders who are looking for the most efficient way to get their hands on some crypto. Note that these platforms have been updated with a more modern, user-friendly interface as of the new updates to Bitbuy.

Below is the main interface of the Express Trade platform:

Express Trade Account

Use Express Trade for quick and easy exchanges.

As you can see, you can access all of the functionality from this main admin panel. This includes the option to buy/sell and deposit/withdraw. When you buy or sell a coin, you are buying at the rate Bitbuy is willing to give you at that particular moment.

We checked the spreads on the rate that we were getting from Bitbuy and the live market rate. There was not really any discrepancy, which means that Bitbuy was indeed being honest in their pricing of the coins.

Pro Trade Platform

For the more advanced traders out there, you will probably want to trade on Bitbuy’s more advanced trading platform. This is more like your typical exchange with customer order books matched with an exchange “matching engine.”

There are also a host of other features that they have packed into this advanced trading platform. For example, you have a great deal more charting functionality than you have on the Express Trade.

Bitbuy Pro

The Pro Trade interface delivers advanced features.

This is because Bitbuy uses Tradingview charting technology. This is a well-known charting platform in the trading community, often revered for being one of the best charting packages on the market. You can do extensive crypto technical analysis with their tools and technical overlays.

The Pro Trade platform also has your standard market depth charts. These are helpful, as they give you an overview of the bullish/bearish sentiment in the market. This order flow can also complement the technical analysis that you are doing on the charts.

Something else that we really liked about this platform is the fact that it has “break-out” screens. This means that you can pop out any of the screens from the main interface. Essentially, you can set your own trading layout across your screen.

Bitbuy Pro Trade Breakout
The Pro Trade “Break-out” feature
Top Trader Tip: 💯: Have more than one screen? Breakout the charts onto different screens for the “pro trader” feel

Of course, in order to supplement your technical analysis, you are going to need more order functionality. Thankfully, this platform has the option to place limit as well as market orders.

Market orders are those that get executed at the Ask / Bid for Buys / Sells the moment that you place them. Limit orders are set at a predetermined price and can therefore be set around important technical / retracement levels.

In addition, the standard CAD pairs that you have on the Express Platform, the Pro Trade allows you to trade the Bitcoin pairs as well.

So, all in all, a nifty piece of technology, able to accommodate traders who do not need to access more advanced trading instruments and features.

Mobile Functionality

Bitbuy has mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices, and both are highly rated. The only real complaint we found is that the mobile app will frequently log users out, requiring them to re-enter their log-in information. While this is certainly inconvenient, it is also in place for security purposes. In this case, we think a little inconvenience is worth it for the added safety.

Bitbuy Mobile

Bitbuy Mobile App UI in the Play Store

Of course, we realize that mobile trading isn’t for everyone, and if you aren’t interested in the mobile app, you’ll be glad to know their website appears to be well-optimised for mobile devices. So, should you really feel the need to access the platform on your phone, you can still log in and perform the basic buys/sells even if you don’t have the mobile app installed.

Moreover, mobile cryptocurrency trading is not for everyone. Many of the applications that have been put out by other exchanges have paled in comparison to the efficiency of trading on PC or web-based interfaces.

Referral Program

If you have been using Bitbuy and you found the experience great, then you can easily refer your friends and acquaintances and earn a referral commission. This could also be a great solution for those users who command a strong following online.

For the Bitbuy deal, if you refer a friend and they sign up and buy $250 of cryptocurrency, then both you and your referral will get $20 for the introduction. This is a great way for them to get a 20% boost on a relatively modest portfolio.

Referral Program Bitbuy

Get $20 for each depositing referral.

If you wanted to refer people, then there were two options that you could consider. One is to give them your referral code for them to use when you are signing up and the other is to give them a referral link. The latter is perhaps your best bet as it makes sure that the user has indeed signed up with you as the referral.

And for those who are able to refer large numbers of new users, there’s also an affiliate program that pays up to 40% commissions on all fees from referred users. Bitbuy prefers the following qualifications for their affiliates:

  • Greater than 50 referrals from sharing your Bitbuy user referral link
  • Experience working with affiliate programs in the past
  • Cryptocurrency or finance-related website

If you can meet those requirements, you could get a nice stream of income since the commissions are paid on all fees for the life of the user’s account.

Online Reputation

While we like to do thorough reviews, it’s sometimes hard to get a full picture of an exchange or service without having used it for an extended period of time. Hence, we sometimes like to get the perspective from other users on the platform.

We decided to take a look at what is being said about Bitbuy online.

Probably the most popular Canadian cryptocurrency community that one can find is the Canadian Bitcoin subreddit at /r/BitcoinCA. Community members will share information not only on the best exchanges but also on other hints and tips for buying Bitcoin in Canada.

Overall, we found that the community was quite positive on Bitbuy. For example, in this thread you can see that most of the users who commented had no issues withdrawing coins from their accounts.

Comments BitBuy BitconCA
Questions about Bitbuy on Reddit. Source: /r/BitcoinCA

Generally, the reviews and comments about Bitbuy are overall quite positive, which is nice to see. Bad reviews and negative criticism spreads like wildfire in this age of information, so exchange companies can’t get away with terrible service or support for long.

What we also found encouraging is that Bitbuy regularly responds to any queries on this subreddit and has at times also asked users for their input on any potential changes they may want to see.

Areas for Improvement

While we did like the user-friendliness, security, regulation and positive reputation of the platform, there are a number of things that we think warrant improvement on the Bitbuy exchange.

Firstly, while Bitbuy supports many of the top cryptocurrencies, there are still a number of coins that we would have liked to see on their platform. Only offering 34 digital assets makes Bitbuy unsuitable for those who like to diversify and find altcoin gems.

The lack of advanced trading features and sophisticated trading instruments offered on most of the major exchanges is also disappointing.

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Bitbuy Review: Conclusion

Our Bitbuy review was relatively straightforward, and it seems as if this exchange “does what it says on the tin.” It is a simple and effective way for you to convert your CAD into crypto and make swaps between supported digital assets.

They appear to be a relatively safe exchange and their fees are broadly in line with the rest of the Canadian market. While trading fees are slightly higher, their deposit and withdrawal fees make up for it.

There were, of course, a few things that we thought warranted improvement. However, given that Bitbuy is constantly looking for feedback, it is likely that these improvements could be in the pipeline.

In summary, Bitbuy is a great exchange for Canadian users who are looking for the easiest way to get their hands on some cryptocurrency, though we would encourage serious traders and those looking for more crypto-centric products like derivatives trading, staking and saving, along with launchpads to check out Binance. For users looking to invest in digital assets for the long run, SwissBorg has some innovative crypto investment products on offer.

Featured Image via Bitbuy

Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.
Steve has been writing for the financial markets for the past 7 years and during that time has developed a growing passion for cryptocurrencies.
View all posts by Steve Walters -> Best Crypto Deals ->

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