How to Buy Crypto in Canada

Acquiring Crypto in Canada: Buy Bitcoin Online and In Person

Acquiring Crypto in Canada: Buy Bitcoin Online and In Person

Bitcoin and other crypto tokens are becoming far more commonplace in today’s highly digitized society. We use it for all sorts of things – purchasing goods, bartering for services, investing for the future, even gambling at crypto casinos. Before you can do any of these things, you need to know how to acquire it. This tutorial will teach you how to buy crypto in Canada, online or in person.

Please note that the following is a general guide, detailing the multifarious ways one can acquire a variety of crypto currency in Canada. For coin-specific guides, please click on one of the following links, where we offer precise information on buying, selling, trading and betting with distinct forms of digital currency. Otherwise, continue reading to learn more about how to buy a variety of crypto in Canada.

Specific How-To Crypto Buying Guides

Seven Easy Ways to Buy Bitcoin Online or In Person

There are seven basic ways to acquire crypto currency. Your method of choice will largely depend on what you intend to do with it, and also how much you trust the internet to facilitate the acquisition. Some people prefer an in-person transaction, while others don’t mind shuffling assets on their phone or computer.

We’ve listed the seven popular options below, with basic details and a quick pro/con list for each. Choose the one you want to learn more about to jump right to it, or keep scrolling to learn about them all.

#1 CEX – Buy Crypto on a Centralized Exchange

A centralized exchange (CEX) is one that is registered with a central authority (i.e. a securities regulator, like the SEC). Most of them trade standard commodities, as well as crypto currency. There are countless CEX platforms operating all over the world.

As a citizen of Canada, you may decide you’d prefer to purchase your digital tokens through a domestic exchange service. There are a number of these to choose from, including reputable brands like BitBuy Canada and Coinberry.

Whether you choose an international or Canadian CEX, bear in mind that your trades are by no means private. You will have to register an account and verify your identity, not to mention pay taxes on any dividends you may earn as an investor in crypto coins.

CEX tend to be full-featured and very user friendly; great for beginners
Being regulated, they are ultimately secure and reliable
Your crypto can be transferred to a personal digital or hardware wallet for safekeeping
There’s usually a very large variety of crypto to choose from
Expect to pay fees on deposit/withdrawal bank transfers, plus commission fees for all trades
The CEX has control of your account. You can be locked out, or lose everything if the exchange goes out of business
Not anonymous; ID verification is required
If left in the CEX custodial wallet, your crypto could be susceptible to hackers

#2 DEX  – P2P Trading on Decentralized Exchange Markets

A decentralized exchange (DEX) is one that is not controlled by any company or organization, and is therefore not registered to or regulated by any central government. A DEX, such as PancakeSwap, is a peer-to-peer (P2P) trading platform. It allows individuals to trade currency directly from their own wallet, to another individual’s wallet.

The DEX eliminates the middleman, which eliminates additional fees for facilitating transfers. Users connect their wallets directly to the DEX, utilizing smart contracts to ensure all parties make good on their trade. Smart contracts are similar to an escrow account, where both parties must fulfill their obligation before the trade executes.

Example: Party-A agrees to trade x-amount of DOGE to Party-B for x-amount of TRX. Both users initiate their transfer, which sends all the coins into the smart contract. Confirming both parties have met their obligation, the smart contract executes, and both parties receive their crypto. If either party fails to transfer the promised amount, the smart contract won’t execute.

The anonymity of each user is determined by the DEX, and the users who trade on it. For example, you may be able to toggle on/off the need for identity verification when trading. Some people want it, and some don’t. Thus 100% anonymity is possible through DEX trading. 

Widest range of crypto; no matter what token you’re looking to trade, someone is generally willing to trade it
Can be entirely anonymous
No commission fees
Use of smart contracts makes DEX platforms “trustless” (i.e. you don’t have to trust it, because it just works)
Non-custodial; take charge of your crypto in your own wallet
Not recommended for beginners
Familiarity with crypto wallets and passkeys is a must
Can only trade crypto for crypto
No option to trade, deposit or withdrawal in fiat currency 

#3 Trading Platform – Purchase Crypto with Fiat

Trading platforms make it very simple to purchase crypto coins like Bitcoin with fiat currency. They work in much the same way as a CEX, minus the full-scale exchange service. They don’t deal in other commodities, and may only provide a small variety of popular crypto. That’s because most of them are only offering the trading service as a side-feature of a bigger service. But of course, that doesn’t apply to all trading platforms.

Canada’s WealthSimple is a full-feature currency transaction firm, dealing in everything from eWallets and international transfers, to commodity and crypto exchange services. Uphold is another popular crypto trading platform in Canada that offers a wider selection of digital assets; more than 60 at time of writing.

We’re expecting more reputable names to join the industry in the near future. Paypal – an online payments company we’ve trusted for years – is field-testing its crypto trading platform in the United States, and promises to extend that service to Canadian customers in the near future.

Simplified service; great for beginners
Convenient for existing users
Can trade fiat for crypto, and vice versa
Custodial – no crypto wallet experience require
Coin variety is small compared to most exchanges
Assets cannot be moved to a private wallet
The platform actually owns your crypto, while all you get is an IOU confirming your right to its value
As a side-venture, trading platforms often charge above average commission fees 

#4 Canada Post – How to Buy Crypto In Person

We can do just about anything over the internet or on our phones these days, but that doesn’t always mean we should. If you’re the type that likes to pay for purchases in person, you can set up the trade online, then pay for it at your local Canada Post. All you will need is a digital wallet on your mobile phone, accessible via QR code.

Here’s how it works…

Start by visiting the website From the menu, choose to Buy Bitcoin with Cash or Debit. It will state that it’s available at Canada Post (Postes Canada). On the next page, enter your phone number and press Text. You will receive an SMS text message with a code in it. Enter that code on the website. Continue following the instructions to input how much Bitcoin you want to buy. Finally, head to the nearest Canada Post to pay for your purchase in person.

No payment information is shared online is an exclusively Canadian service
Straight-forward process, easy for all experience levels
Non-Custodial – you have control of your crypto, in your own wallet
Bitcoin only; no other cryptos
Digital wallet required; may not be best for beginners

#5 OTC – Over-the-Counter Crypto Trading

Over-the-Counter (OTC) trading is not for everyone. It is reserved for the wealthiest investors; the type who are looking to buy so much crypto, brokers would be willing to cut them a better price to get the commission on it. These buyers are known as “whales”.

The process is similar to buying any traditional commodity through a brokerage, except that you have to call them up and speak to the broker directly on the phone to discuss your options. If you qualify, they’ll work with you to negotiate a price point. The purchase will take place “off-exchange”, at a time and date collectively agreed upon.

You get VIP service
You can negotiate a better price
Your account manager takes care of everything for you
Custodial – crypto wallet experience is not necessary
You have to be a “whale” to get such treatment
Hefty investment required
Trade cannot be facilitated solely online 

#6 ATM – Buy with Credit/Debit at Bitcoin ATMs

Another easy way to purchase crypto in person is to buy it from a Bitcoin ATM. There are more than 2,000 of them in Canada alone. The process is very similar to any other business you would conduct via ATM.

You’ll need two things to buy Bitcoin form an ATM machine. First, you need a digital wallet with a QR code on your mobile phone. This is where your crypto will be transferred to when you buy it. Second, you need a debit card to pay for it with. You’ll use the ATM screen to set up your transaction. Then swipe your debit card to pay for it, and scan the QR code to receive it.

There are different types of Bitcoin ATMs in Canada. Some offer Bitcoin only. Others may offer a small selection of the most common crypto, while others still may provide a host of major cryptos to choose from. As convenient as these machines are, know that you’ll pay a high price for that convenience. Bitcoin AMTs tend to charge anywhere from 7-15% convenience fees, compared to the average 1-1.5% fee for CEX trading.

Please see Coin ATM Radar for information on where to find a BTC ATM and what crypto currencies they offer.

Very easy, even for beginners
More than 2,000 Bitcoin ATM locations in Canada
Crypto is sent directly to your private digital wallet
Can be very expensive (up to 15% fee)
Small range of crypto to choose from
Harder to find in small towns and other rural locations  

#7 Mining – Earn Digital Tokens by Mining Crypto

One last way you can acquire crypto is not to buy it or trade for it, but to mine your very own. I won’t go into too much detail, since we’ve already written an entire Guide to Mining Crypto in Canada. What I will say is there’s a lot to consider first.

Set up can be very expensive, often requiring a $3,500+ investment in computer hardware just to get started. You may also wish to join a mining pool, depending on which form of crypto you’re looking to mine. Once you get it running, the computer does all the work for you, with just a bit of maintenance on your part to make sure everything continues running smoothly. However, you’ll notice a big spike in your electricity. You need to be mining enough crypto to make up for the extra cost on your utility bill.

Long story short – mining is not for everyone. Make sure you do your research and know what you’re getting into before you choose this route.

Beyond set-up and energy costs, mining Bitcoin is free
The computer does all the work
Limitless potential to earn minable crypto
Risk can be mitigated by joining a mining pool
Uses a great deal of energy
Set-up can be very expensive
Mining is highly competitive among pools
High risk (energy cost may exceed mining volume)
Default image
George Thomson is a Bitcoin enthusiast and all around crypto currency nerd... When he's not busy researching crypto, he likes hiking the national parks of British Columbia . He lives in an eco-friendly home with his wife Jana and their two daughters, Sandra and Rose. His favorite word is "sustainability".
Articles: 63