In this Coinsquare review we will take a look at the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in Canada.

While many a Canadian trader is happy to use Coinsquare, the market has become quite competitive and there are now a whole range of alternatives to consider.

So, why Coinsquare?

We will give you all the information that you require in order to make that call yourself. We will look into their trading fees, customer support, platform and security among other things. We have also created a test account in order to give you the most impartial information.

Let’s get right to it.

Coinsquare Canada

As mentioned, Coinsquare is a large exchange that is based in Toronto Canada. They started out as Coinsquare.io as a pure retail cryptocurrency exchange but have since moved to Coinsquare.com and have expanded the business.

They have opened up a mining venture arm as well as a capital markets division that will focus on high net worth individual investors and institutions.

The company was founded in 2014 and has grown substantially since then. They have raised over $47.3m in the past few years with the most recent funding round seeing them bringing in $30m. Today, there are over 90 employees in their office and they hope to employ over 200 by the end of the year.

Coinsquare Canada

This has helped Coinsquare to become the dominant cryptocurrency exchange in Canada and they have grown to have over 100,000 user accounts on the exchange.

Coinsquare also has big aspirations outside of Canada. In fact, the company is eyeing an IPO later this year which could see Coinsquare selling shares to the public for $120m. This is also interesting as it would be one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges that has listed on a stock exchange.

It is therefore safe to say that from a reputation standpoint, Coinsquare is not your average garden variety cryptocurrency exchange and has quite high standards.

Definitely not a “scam” cryptocurrency exchange.

Asset Coverage

Coinsquare started off as a Bitcoin exchange but has recently expanded their cryptocurrency asset coverage to include Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin and Dash. They are also considering offering Ripple XRP within the next few months which will greatly increase their crypto asset coverage.

Coinsquare is what is called a “Fiat Gateway” primarily for use by Canadian traders who want to use their CAD to buy cryptocurrencies. While many users would be comfortable with the coins that Coinsquare has on offer, there is always the option to move these coins onto another cryptocurrency exchange and pick up other altcoins.

Cryptocurrency Converter Coinsquare
Currency Converter at Coinsquare

Hence, Canadian cryptocurrency investors can buy their Bitcoin with their Canadian dollars on Coinsquare and then move them to another exchange such as Kraken or Cryptopia in order to buy the smaller altcoins. If you wanted to get an idea how much crypto you could buy on their platform with your dollars right now you can use their currency converter.

Coinsquare Fees

Trading fees at Coinsquare are relatively simple to understand and are really attractive. In fact, compared to other Fiat exchanges, the trading fees at Coinsquare are at least half of them.

They have two types of orders being market order “Bit markets” or a Quicktrade.

Bit Markets Fees

For the BitMarkets trades, they operate a maker / taker model where those who make a market have a slightly lower fee than those who take the market price. When you are trading on the Bit Markets exchange you will pay 0.1% as a “Maker” and 0.2% as a “taker”.

So, what do we mean by a “maker” and “taker”?

Quite simply, a taker is an individual who is taking liquidity away from the exchange by meeting another order that is already on the books. You are charged a slightly higher fee because you are “thinning” the Coinsquare order books.

On the other hand, if you are a maker then you are placing an order that is away from the current price and hence you are adding liquidity to the markets. This is why you will receive a slightly lower fee.

Quick Trade Fees

If, on the other hand, you would like to buy cryptocurrencies quickly without having to place your orders on the book then you can purchase using a Quicktrade. Here, your counterparty to the trade is Coinsquare and you will pay a flat fee for the trade.

If you are swapping Bitcoin for some other coin then you will be charged the single rate fee of 0.2%. Alternatively, if you trading one altcoin for another altcoin (no Bitcoin at all) then you will pay a double fee of 0.4%.

Just as a comparison, if you were to get charges the highest fee for the trade at 0.4% this is still quite small compared to the 1.49% fee that is applied at Coinbase for example.

Coinsquare Payment Methods

There are a number of ways for you to fund / withdraw from your account at Coinsquare. They have relationships with quite a few Canadian banks which means that CAD funding options are relatively straight forward. Below are the funding options together with fees and processing times.

It is important to note before you decide to fund your account that you should be verified and have completed their required KYC steps. We will cover all of this below.

Funding Account

Payment Method Min Max Fee Processing Time Withholding
Interac Online (r) $100 $2,000 2.5% Instant 3-7 Days
Interac e-Transfer (r) $100 $3,000 2.5% 1-5+ Days 3
Credit Card $100 $5,000 10% Instant 7 Days
Flexepin $20 $500 2.5% Instant Instant
Bank draft $1,000 $9,000 2.5% 1-3+ Days 14 Days
Money order $100 $999 2.5% 1-3+ Days 5 Days
Wire transfer $10,000 $300,000 0.5% 0-3+ Days Instant

In the above, the “withholding” is the time that Coinsquare will take to allocate your funds to your account. This can be waived for those traders are recurring customers. The “days” listed above are business days as well. The “max” is defined by the sum total of all the funds that have come into the account in a 24 hour period.

Something that many people seem to have an issue with is the cost for crypto credit card purchases. This is pretty exorbitant at 10% (compared to 3.9% at Coinbase). However, many banks in Canada are trying to outlaw crypto credit card purchases so it seems pretty reasonable.

Of course, you can also fund your account with cryptocurrency. In this case, the time that it takes for your transaction to propagate will determine how long it will take to be placed in your account. They will not charge a fee in order to credit your account with crypto.

Withdrawal Options

If you wanted to withdraw your funds in Canadian dollars then the following are your options to do so.

Payment Method Min Max Fee Processing Time
Direct Bank Deposit $100 $10,000 2% 1-9 Days
Wire transfer $10,000 $100,000 2% 1-9 Days
Wealth Wire $10,000 $100,000 1% 1-9 Days
Rushed Wire $50,000 Unlimited 2% 1 Day

The “wealth wire” is the payment option for those traders who run Coinsquare wealth accounts (more below). Rushed wire is the same as a simple wire expect you will pay a premium in order for Coinsquare to process your payment with haste.

Similarly, you can always withdraw just the coins off of the exchange. Coinsquare will not charge a fee for this but they will have to charge the going rate for the network (mining) fee.

Coinsquare Login and Registration

If you wanted to start buying coins on Coinsquare then you would need to register an account. You can click the “getting started” button on the homepage and this will take you to the main registration page. This is pretty straightforward and is presented below.

Registration at Coinsquare
Main Registration Page at Coinsquare

You will need to confirm your email address before you can move onto the next steps. Once complete, you have officially signed up and created an account at Coinsquare. However, this account is an unverified account which means that you have not completed the KYC required at Coinsquare.

This is an important step and can be quite cumbersome.

Coinsquare Verifications

Coinsquare is required by law to confirm the identity of those people who trade on their platform. This is why they require you to handover information about yourself including your proof of identity and address. These are given in the below image.

Verification Requirements at coinsquare
Verification Requirements at Coinsquare

You will need to confirm your telephone number with a valid mobile number. They will then ask you to upload your identity document as well as your proof of address on the platform.

An acceptable identity document can be a drivers licence, passport, National Identity card, Permanent residency card or Health Card (assuming Quebec province). The proof of address can be a bank statement or utility bill.

Once you have submitted your verification documents, Coinsquare will have to take the time to read through them and make sure that they are well presented. They claim that they try to get this done ASAP but you should budget about 1 full day for the verifications to be complete.

When we registered our account and sent through the documents it took slightly over 1 day which is still quite impressive. If you were to compare this to the weeks that it took on an exchange such as Bitstamp or Kraken in December / January then one can appreciate.

Trading Platform

Depending on what sort of cryptocurrency buyer you are, the trading platform can make / break your experience. Some people would like to merely buy and “hodl”. Others would like to trade the crypto markets more regularly as a day trader. The latter will therefore be really interested in the type of trading technology an exchange has.

For those who are interested in merely buying a cryptocurrency quickly with a simple buy order, they will use the “Quick Trade” option that is available right on the dashboard. Here, you can get a simple quote for the cryptocurrency that you want to buy and then place your order. It will be executed immediately and added to your wallet.

Coinsquare quicktrade
QuickTrade on Coinsquare

Your holdings to the left of the order form will then be updated to reflect the coins that you have just bought. You also have a basic overview of the price movements over the past 24 hours for the coins that have moved the most.

Below that you will also have a summary of the live markets with the updated prices of all the coins available for purchase on the Coinsquare platform.

Advanced Trade

For those day traders among you that would like to have a few more tools at your disposal, you can head on over to the Advanced Trade tab on the platform. This will give the trader greater functionality when it comes to order types and of course slightly lower fees (maker / taker).

It will also give you more information on the order books, current pricing as well as the most recent orders. Below is a screenshot of the advanced trading platform with the order form to the left of that.

Advanced Trading Platform at Coinsquare
Advanced Trade at Coinsquare

In terms of the order types you can place, you can elect to take a “Market” or a “Limit” order. The latter is merely an order level that is chosen by you and placed on the books (getting you the maker fee). The Market order means that your order will be executed at the market rate and you will be charged the taker fee.

So, is the trading platform advanced?

Well, for most day traders they would consider it extremely rudimentary. There are no charting options or technical analysis tools. The only option that one has to use the chart is merely to zoom in or out. They have not even used the charting package of Markets view that many other exchanges have implemented.

Hence, if you are a day trader that needs the latest tools to trade effectively then I would suggest you use another platform such as Bitmex or Poloniex. Or, if you would prefer to place your trades on Coinsquare with the low fees then you can do your analysis on another charting package such as trading view.

Despite the lack of trading functionality, the trading engine is quite effective. We tested out some orders prior to completing this review and they went through smoothly.

Coinsquare App

For those traders and cryptocurrency users who cannot be in front of their PCs the whole day, then the Coinsquare mobile application will no doubt come in handy. This was developed for both Android and iOS and has some of the same functionality of the online trading platform.

Coinsquare iOs App
Coinsquare Mobile App on iStore

We downloaded the app and started using it just to test the functionality. It is relatively well laid out and you can easily toggle between the different functions from trading to funding and withdrawals. It does, however, lack the advanced trade option so you cannot use the more advanced order types.

We also took a look into the reviews that people were leaving on the App store and Google play store. It seems as if the Android app had quite a few technical issues that some users mentioned. There were quite a few complaints about the latest release of the app that it was not properly tested before being rolled out.

There were alsoo a number of other users who took issue with the credit card fees that we mentioned above. What we did find encouraging though was that the Coinsquare development team answered most of the concerns and asked those users with issues to send them more information about it.

Coinsquare Support

Customer support is a very important consideration for a crypto trader. There is nothing more frustrating than having to wait days on a support ticket without getting any updates. Coinsquare appears to be pretty efficient in this respect.

For starters, if there is a general question that you had then you are probably best suited to try out the online FAQ section. In at least 90% of the cases, the question that you have can be resolved in the FAQ section.

If you have a more specific question that you need help with then you can make use of their chatbot / ticketing system. We are not massive fans of chatbots but they make up for it in terms of their response times to the tickets that you submit.

The support office hours at Coinsquare are form 9:00am to 5:00pm EST Monday to Friday. They say that the response time that you can expect is 1-3 days but when we reached out the support usually got back to us within 12 hours.

Unfortunately, there is no telephone support for those with standard accounts. Perhaps as the Coinsquare team grows and more support personal are brought on board they can begin offering this similar to what Coinbase has started offering now.

Security

Security is no doubt the most important concern when it comes to centralised cryptocurrency exchanges. The same can be said about this exchange and how safe Coinsquare really is.

Indeed, Coinsquare has been lucky in the sense that they have not suffered a loss of a single coin to a hack in their history. This has been in a time that exchanges such as Bitstamp, Bitfinex and Poloniex have all suffered hacks.

Exhange Security

Coinsquare employs well known security protocols when it comes to coin management and server testing. For example, they operate a system of 95% cold storage of coins in their control. Cold storage means that they store the private keys to the coins offline and air gapped away from the internet. These are some of the most secure ways of keeping hackers far away from the coins.

Another concern for an exchange is losing track of ledger management and account balances. This is something that happened at the Bitgrail exchange for example. Coinsquare manages their ledgers “about 2346” times a day so they are able to keep track of all that which is owed.

Lastly, they claim that they have stress tested their servers to make sure that they do not fall victim to DDoS (Dedicated Denial of Service Attacks). For anyone who has traded on exchanges such as Bitfinex they will know how stressful DDoS attacks can be as they bring down the exchange and restrict you from getting access to your coins.

User Security

Coinsquare also has measures in place on the user side to protect you from phishing attacks and hackers that attempt to get into your account. For example, they have two factor authentication that will help secure your account in the case that someone gets hold of your passwords.

This is not activated by default so we would recommend that you activate it the moment that you start using Coinsquare in order to protect yourself from the get-go.

SSL Secure Coinsquare
SSL, Go for Green

They have also implemented secure SSL communications in order to avoid the risk of any man-in-the-middle attacks that could try to intercept your internet traffic. Hence, you should always look for the secure green padlock when logging into Coinsquare to make sure that you are not on a phishing site.

Of course, it goes without saying that you should never leave a great deal of coins on any exchange. As the saying goes…

If you don’t hold the keys, you don’t own the coins

Coinsquare Referral Program

If you do decide to sign up and trade at the exchange and you have a pleasant experience then you should make use of the Coinsquare referral program. With this, you can refer your friends to the platform and you can earn $20 for each friend that you refer.

You can refer them through three different ways.

Firstly, you could simply send them your referral link and they can sign up on it. This will be tracked by Coinsquare and once they have funded their account with $100 you will earn $20. They will also earn $20 as a welcome fee for crypto purchases.

Coinsquare Referrals
Coinsquare Referral Options

Secondly, you could give them your referral code and they could insert this when they are signing up. The last option is to send them an email directly from your account dashboard. With this they will receive an email from Coinsquare with the referral number. Their signup will be registered.

Coinsquare Wealth

Something that we have not seen being actively being promoted at other exchanges was separate services for the larger whales on their exchanges. Other exchanges will have different fees based on trading volume but they will not segment the traders into separate account groups.

Coinsquare is breaking from the pack by offering their premium cryptocurrency trading services through Coinsquare wealth. This has been described by Coinsquare as:

An exclusive service with lower fees, priority account support, and unrivalled security for elite customers

So what exact benefits to these Coinsquare wealth traders get?

They have three separate tiers of account in classic membership style. They have a Gold, Platinum and Diamond account levels. They differ based on the fees that apply to funding, withdrawals and support / VIP access. Below is a breakdown:

Coinsquare Wealth
Coinsquare Wealth Account Levels

While these may seem attractive, its important to note that these minimum sizes are for orders. In order just to get gold standard you would have to place orders that are a minimum of $25,000. If you plan on such large volume then this will no doubt be beneficial.

Moreover, you will have access to the OTC desk which means that trades can be done at a lower rate than is available on the order books.

Coinsquare vs Coinbase

One of the biggest competitors that Coinsquare has is Coinbase which is based in California in the USA. While they are a USD Fiat gateway, they do offer credit card purchases which have a much lower fee than Coinsquare. Below are some of the factors you can consider when choosing between Coinbase and Coinsquare.

  Coinsquare Coinbase
Established 2014 2012
Jurisdiction Canada Global
Buy / Deposit Methods Interac, Credit Card, Bank Draft, Wire Transfer, Money Order Credit Card, Debit Card, Wire Transfer
Sell / Withdrawal Methods Bank Deposit, Wire Transfer, Rushed Wire, Cryptocurrencies PayPal, Wire Transfer, Cryptocurrency
Available Crypto Pairs BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, DOGE, DASH BTC, ETH, ETC, LTC, BCH
Fiat Currencies Accepted CAD USD, EUR, GBP
Trading Platform Basic Advanced (Coinbase Pro)
Languages English, French English
Customer Support Ticket Support System Email, Contact Form, Support Number
Trading Fee 0.1% / 0.2% (maker / taker) 0.2% / 0.4% (Single / Double) 1.49%
Security Standard Advanced

So, while Coinsquare offers Canadians an affordable way to buy cryptocurrencies with Canadian dollars, Coinbase has a much more advanced trading platform. Also, as mentioned Coinbase has a dedicated support telephone number so you have to determine how much this means to you.

What We Didn’t Like

While Coinsquare is no doubt impressive, there are a number of things that they can improve on that could take them to the next level.

Firstly, and most importantly, they have to improve on their trading platform. Numerous exchanges now offer advanced trading platforms that give them the chance to complete advance analysis for day trading of cryptocurrencies.

Given that Coinsquare has raised so much money recently they should have the means to fund this sort of expansion.

We also think that Coinsquare should integrate more cryptocurrencies. There are a number of large altcoin cryptocurrency exchanges that have begun accepting Fiat wire deposits. They will no doubt eat into Coinsquare’s market share unless they can offer a viable alternative with a range of other Altcoins.

Lastly, we also think that Coinsquare should find a more affordable credit card processor. Charging 10% for a credit card purchase is unpalatable to many people and reflects badly on the exchange.

Conclusion

Our Coinsquaure exchange review was relatively easy to complete.

Coinsquare is a large company with an established footprint in the Canadian community. They are also likely to grow beyond Canada and could also be one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to list on public stock exchange.

Moreover, they are trying to expand vertically in the cryptocurrency industry as they are also investing in crypto mining ventures as well as a larger capital markets business.

While there are a few things that could be improved, it is likely that Coinsquare will be implementing a number of improvements as they roll out their 2018 strategy and beyond.

So if you are looking for an effective and secure Canadian Fiat gateway then Coinsquare is probably one of your best bets.

Images via Coinsquare

Coinsquare Ratings

8.1 Coinsquare Ratings

Pros

  • Low Trading Fees
  • Strong Backing
  • Effective Security
  • Effective Customer Support

Cons

  • Basic Trading Platform
  • High Credit Card Fees
  • Limited Coin Coverage
Fees
Customer Support
Asset Coverage
Platform
Security

Posted by Editorial Team

Editors at large. Posting the latest news, reviews and analysis to hit the blockchain.