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 review, we will take a deep-dive on 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.
With that said, let’s jump in.
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.
After the investment, Gonzalez left BitBuy and was replaced by Chris Ragobeer. They are also joined by Jordan Anderson as the VP of Sales as Marketing as well as Dean Skurka who heads up compliance.
The BitBuy offices are located in Toronto at 341-110 Cumberland St. Toronto, ON, Canada. They are actually a subsidiary of the First Ledger Corporation which is a blockchain services company.
First ledger offers solutions for more bespoke OTC large volume trades as well as merchant services and Consulting.
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 simple flat scheme. They have two different rates for sell and buy orders. When you are buying coins, you will be charged a rate of 0.75% and when you sell you will be charged a rate of 0.5%.
These fees are slightly above average but they are made up for the lower fees that you will pay on withdrawals / deposits.
If you were to fund your account in Cryptocurrencies, then you would not pay any incoming fees. However, if you were to send CAD to BitBuy then you could incur the fees below:
|Express Interac e-Transfer||$500||$10,000||3.5%||2 Hours|
|Interac e-Transfer||$100||$3,000||1.75%||24 Hours|
|Wire Transfer||$5,000||$500,000||0.5%||1-2 Days|
So from the above it seems as if the most affordable method for you to fund your account is with a good old wire transfer. You are likely to get them on the exchange in about the same time as a standard interact funding will take.
While you can opt for the express interact transfer, we are of the view that it not really worth the fees that are charged. It merely requires you to carefully plan your deposits such that you are getting the most bang for your buck.
When it comes to withdrawal of cryptocurrencies, BitBuy says that these are free. This is true but only on the exchange side. They are still likely to apply a network or miner fee to your transaction so you should keep that in mind.
If you were going to be withdrawing your funds in CAD then the following fees would apply.
|Interac e-Transfer||$100||$3,000||1.75%||24 Hours|
|Electronic Bank Transfer||$3,001||$100,000||1.75%||3-5 Days|
|Expedited Bank Transfer||$5,000||$100,000||3.0%||1-2 Days|
|Wire Transfer||$50||$500,000||2.0%||5-7 Days|
These fees are actually quite reasonable and are below the rates that are charged by some of the other Canadian exchanges. For example, their Interact e-transfer withdrawal commands a fee that is almost half of the rate charged QuadrigaCX for example.
Therefore, if you are withdrawing Canadian Dollars that is less than $3,000 then the Interact e-Transfer is perhaps your best bet.
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, they do not go into too much detail about the steps that they take but we were able to glean the following information from their site.
Exchange Side Security
BitBuy says that they operate a policy of 95% cold storage of coins. This is the standard among cryptocurrency exchanges and protects the bulk of user’s assets from hackers.
For those who are not familiar with the concept of cold storage, it is the practice of taking a wallet off line and storing it in an air-gapped environment. It really just means that the exchange is making sure that the private keys of their wallets are inaccessible from digital threats.
BitBuy also says 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.
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. This is an SMS based two factor authentication and does not utilise google authenticator.
Therefore, BitBuy has not ventured into the territory of a number of other altcoins that are being offered by Canadian exchanges. One wonders if this is something that they plan to include as they grow their offering.
Of course, if you have accounts at other exchanges such as Binance or Kraken then you can always use BitBuy as your CAD fiat gateway into crypto and use the coins to purchase your choice of altcoins on their exchanges.
Many cryptocurrency exchanges have a reputation for having less than stellar customer support. Users often have to wait days before they get tickets answered or verifications completed. While this has improved recently, there is still much to be desired.
It is therefore refreshing to see an exchange that offers a direct phone line into customer support. If you wanted to reach someone at the BitBuy team about anything then you can always call them on 1 888 770 2646.
Alternatively, if you would prefer to speak with a support agent through a live chat then you can use their Zendesk chat function on the site. This appears to only be active during market hours. You can also contact them through their support email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your question is more routine in nature then you would be surprised by what information you can glean from their FAQ section. This is shown above and can be reached here. You can also submit a ticket from this support portal should you be that way inclined.
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.
Here you should insert your details. If you were referred by a friend and they did not give you a link then you can use their referral code. We will cover this in more detail below in the referral section.
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 force you to set up your phone for two factor authentication. Once this has been completed you can move onto the verification stage.
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.
When you are at the verification step 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 a proof of address.
There are a number of documents that can be used for this purpose and you can find more information here. 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.
If you would like to convert your account to a business account then there are some additional documents. They will need to see the business articles of incorporation as well as the corporate resolution.
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.
Of course, if you are a business that would like more bespoke solutions or larger volumes in the OTC market then you can always make use of the services provided by their holding company, First ledger Corp.
Now that you have your account up and fully verified on BitBuy, then you can make go about funding your account.
If you are sending your funds in Bitcoin then you can place a request on the BitBuy platform. Unlike other exchanges, they will not show you the address but will send you an email requesting details of sending the addresses. Once you have confirmed this they will send you the crypto address to fund to.
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.
The first thing to note about the BitBuy platform is that it is not an “exchange” per se and is more a “dealer”. It does not have order books and when you buy a coin, you are buying it directly from BitBuy.
Hence, you are not likely to get a great deal of the functionality that you are likely to get on other cryptocurrency exchanges. These include things such as live order books, buy / sell wall graphs and volume.
In fact, the BitBuy platform is really quite basic. Below is a screenshot of the main BitBuy platform.
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.
In terms of any charting or technical analysis tools on BitBuy, you will unfortunately be disappointed. They merely have a historical chart that allows you to get a picture of how the markets have performed.
Hence, if you are looking for an advanced trading platform with extensive functionality, then BitBuy may not be for you. To be fair to BitBuy though, there is not really a Canadian competitor that has a highly functional charting package.
Moreover, the Modus Operandi of BitBuy was to be an easy and user friendly method for those new to crypto space to get their hands on Bitcoin.
Unfortunately, BitBuy does not have a mobile application as of yet. This means that you will have to use your phone through their standard web-based interface.
However, their website appears to be well optimised for mobile. 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.
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 trading on PC or web-based interface.
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 $100 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.
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.
While we like to do thorough reviews, it 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 on 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. This was also during the peak bull run in Jan so it shows their consistency.
What we also found encouraging is the 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.
While we did like the user friendliness of the platform as well as the efficient customer service and support, there are a number of things that we think warrant improvement on the BitBuy exchange.
Firstly, it would be great to see them list more coins. Most exchanges these days have more than 4 coins. It would at least make sense for them to list Ripple XRP as it has more volumes than Litecoin for example. They are also competing against Canadian exchanges that are expanding their offering.
Secondly, although their platform is developed to be user friendly, we still think that it requires numerous UI improvements. Perhaps they could have including slightly more charting functionality or trading tools. These could be included without sacrificing the simple feel of the platform.
It would also be great to see a mobile application launched soon. Although this is not something that all traders use, there are a number of people who like to be able to place and monitor trades from their mobile in an app-based environment.
We are aware that BitBuy is making quite a few changes to their platform and technology as a result of their VC funding. Hence, we will eagerly await to see if any of these points have been addressed.
Our BitBuy review was relatively straight forward 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.
We like the fact that they have a responsive customer support desk and are able to answer requests via telephone. We also thought that their verification and KYC times were some of the lowest in Canada.
They appear to be a relatively safe exchange and their fees are broadly in line with the rest of the 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 are 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.
Featured Image via BitBuy