How to Buy, Sell and Use Bitcoin in Canada
Updated: Jun 1, 2020
Hello fellow Canadians & Bitcoiners!
If you're finding this article via google and are unfamiliar with me, then welcome! My name is Ben and I've been hosting an educational Bitcoin YouTube channel called BTC Sessions since 2016. My goal here is to get new Bitcoiners off to a good start by presenting learning material in an easy to digest way. This blog post will cover just about everything you need to get started with Bitcoin. You may only need a portion of the information here, but I encourage you to parse through it as you see fit, and return whenever you've completed a step and would like to continue on.
I very much view Bitcoin as being the real innovation here, and I am less than enthusiastic on altcoins and blockchain technology as a whole. This stuff can get quite nuanced, so if you want to get a summary of my thoughts on that topic, you can READ HERE. For more reading on the topic, I would also check out The Bitcoin Standard, Inventing Bitcoin and The Little Bitcoin Book if you want to dive more into the "why" of Bitcoin.
Let's get started!
Where Can I Buy Bitcoin in Canada?
Coinberry is an easy to use Canadian platform that allows you to fund your account via e-transfer in minutes and buy/sell Bitcoin quickly. They have an incredibly easy-to-use mobile app on Android/iOS, and boast convenient features like "autopilot" that allows you to make buys of specific amounts at regular intervals. At the time of writing this blog and recording this tutorial, you can collect an additional $20 after your first $50 purchase on their platform using the link provided.
Shakepay is an ultra simple way to buy and sell Bitcoin in Canada. They have a beautifully simple mobile app, accept e-transfers lightning fast, and have some of the cheapest fees I've seen in the country. On top of this, using the link here you can get $10 free after your first $100 purchase. Check out my tutorial video here.
Bull Bitcoin have great/transparent rates, offer funding via e-transfer, wire, flexepin voucher & more, PLUS they don't try to lure you into gambling with scammy alternative currencies. On top of this, Bull Bitcoin is a non-custodial service, meaning that they never hold your coins, and thus are not at risk of losing them. In order to use the service you will need your own Bitcoin wallet (covered in the next section). Check out the tutorial video below:
If you'd like to sign up for Bull Bitcoin, you can click here:
How Do I Get A Bitcoin Wallet?
There are many different Bitcoin wallets you can get on your phone and desktop. While many wallets can offer differing features, the main function is the same. A wallet gives you a way to access the Bitcoin network to send and receive funds, much like a web browser gives you a way to access to the internet. For simplicity's sake, I'll be recommending just a couple wallets on this page, but I encourage you to check out other wallet tutorials I've done on my channel.
Blue Wallet is a mobile wallet for both Android and iPhone. It is Bitcoin-only but also allows you to use something called the lightning network - which allows for instant and nearly free transactions. I've found it's relatively easy to use and you can be set up in a couple minutes.
Download links can be found on their website https://bluewallet.io/
Blockstream Green is another mobile wallet available for both Android and iPhone. It is Bitcoin-only, has a simple setup, but also allows for some advanced features if any of you become power users. Special Canadian bonus: their headquarters is in Victoria! My full tutorial can be watched below. Download links for both iPhone & Android can be found here:
How Do I Secure My Bitcoin?
Alright, so you've gotten a wallet and purchased some Bitcoin that is now sitting on your phone. Is that secure? Not particularly. Now don't panic - if you're dealing with smaller amounts of money it's not a big deal to have it sitting on your mobile device, but once you start to have more money than you'd be comfortable carrying around in cash, it's time to start looking into security via something called a hardware wallet.
Hardware wallets are a way to securely store your funds in a device that doesn't directly connect to the internet, thus mitigating your risk of having your Bitcoin wallet compromised remotely. There are many options for hardware out there, but for this blog I'll shine a spotlight on just two prominent ones.
The Ledger Nano X/S
Launched in 2014, Ledger has now created and sold over 1.5 million hardware wallets in 165 countries. The Nano X adds additional security to your mobile funds while on the go using encrypted bluetooth transaction signing, while the Nano S can serve as a separate backup to keep in a safe or safety deposit box. Below I have created tutorials for the Nano X and paired mobile app, as well as the Nano S with their native desktop software "Ledger Live".
The Coldcard Wallet
This calculator-looking device is created by Canadian company Coinkite, and is a Bitcoin-only security solution. The Coldcard wallet is unparalleled in the space when it comes to security, boasting features like fully open-sourced software, secure element, air-gapped transactions, and much more. If you're wanting to get the most control over your Bitcoin and really level up your game, this is the way to go. Check out the full tutorial below.
To grab a Coldcard wallet for 5% off, click the image below.
How Do I Sell Or Spend My Bitcoin?
While not everyone wants to spend their Bitcoin, it is comforting to know that you can indeed use it for a wide variety of things. As a Canadian you've actually got exclusive access to one of the better platforms on the planet with which to do so.
Bull Bitcoin isn't just a great place to buy Bitcoin, it also offers an incredibly simple platform called Bylls which you can use to pay nearly any Canadian biller or send dollars to any bank account using Bitcoin. They also offer a variety of gift cards for purchase with BTC as well. Take a look at the simple walkthrough below - I think you'll be impressed with how quick it is!
Once again, to sign up for Bull Bitcoin you can click the image below:
Coincards is an excellent platform that allows you to purchase from an seemingly endless catalogue of gift cards, as well as top up your mobile device. I've been using them since 2014 when I first experimented with living on Bitcoin. Check out how easy they are to use in the video below, or jump to their website and give them a try by clicking here.
Click below to visit the Coincards website:
So How Do I Maintain My Privacy?
It is a common misconception that Bitcoin is 100% anonymous. Quite to the contrary, Bitcoin resides on an open online ledger that anyone can view. While addresses aren't associated with your name in plain text, if an individual were to access your data via an online purchase registered to your name, they can start to piece together how much Bitcoin you may be holding.
Wasabi Wallet is a desktop wallet that allows you co-mingle your coins with others in a process called coinjoining, so as to break the links between you and what you own. While this technology is relatively new, it has already been implemented in the back end of Bull Bitcoin, to help protect their users from blockchain snoops that may be trying to sniff your data. As an added bonus, this desktop wallet was also used as the interface for the Coldcard wallet I featured earlier. Check out the full tutorial below. You can download Wasabi wallet here: https://wasabiwallet.io/
Samourai Wallet is a Bitcoin wallet only available on Android phones that features another coinjoin implementation called Whirlpool - allowing to mix your coins directly on your phone. I've got through the full wallet setup + using Whirlpool in the video below. Find download links by scrolling to the bottom of their website here: https://samouraiwallet.com/
Another way to leak data is via your IP address, both when visiting websites (like anything bitcoin related, looking up transactions, etc) or when sending a Bitcoin transaction. Your IP address can leak your exact geographic location, linking many actions directly to you.
Nord VPN is a service that allows you to hide your IP address and encrypt your browsing data on multiple devices. It also has some other added benefits like unlocking geo-blocked content that may not be available in your part of the world, simply by using the app to change your listed location. I use this service every day on both my phone and computer, in combination with wallets like Wasabi and Samourai.
Diving Deeper - Nodes & Lightning Network
So you've gone through the information above and would still like to learn more. What's next? Well to be a contributing member of the Bitcoin ecosystem while furthering your ability to confirm transactions trustlessly - you may want to run a Bitcoin node. You may also want to start experimenting with the lightning network - a new protocol built on top of Bitcoin to enable nearly instant and incredibly cheap transactions.
Lightning network is still in its infancy, but has come a long way in a couple short years. One of the easiest/most intuitive experiences I've had using Lighting without having to rely on a 3rd party custodian is a wallet called Phoenix. It allows you to send/receive lighting quite seamlessly while doing a lot of the more technical stuff in the background. It also allows you to receive regular bitcoin transactions into your lighting wallet, or send to regular bitcoin addresses out of lightning. Here's a walkthrough video to get you started. This can be downloaded for both iOS and Android in the respective app stores. https://phoenix.acinq.co/
Setting up a node allows you to fully capture your own self-sovereignty by not trusting anyone else to verify transactions, as well as better preserving your privacy when sending/receiving transactions. It is important to note that any time you use Bitcoin, if you are not running your own node, you are trusting someone else to do it for you. While not everyone needs to run a node, if you truly want to level up and use Bitcoin in a way that elevates you to the level of being your own bank - this is how to do it.
My favourite project in this space currently is myNode. I've put together a video on how to build your own node with a simple list of items off Amazon, then install the necessary software. Take a look - I think you'll actually find it surprisingly easy. https://mynodebtc.com/
Once you have myNode set up, you'll want to actually take advantage of it by connecting your wallet. I've made a separate tutorial for this, which includes a variety of wallets that can be easily connected. Check it out:
Using Financial Services
Some Bitcoiners are content with simply holding their coins for the long term. Other Bitcoiners prefer to opt out of the banking system by both holding and spending/replacing their BTC. Finally, there are other Bitcoiners that may be interested in financial instruments available for their Bitcoin.
Canadian company Ledn offers three services for those holding Bitcoin. A savings account where you can earn interest on your Bitcoin, a loan service where you can use your BTC as collateral, and B2X where you can use a loan to double your Bitcoin.
That's all I have for now - if I think of anything else relevant to add to this blog, it will be updated over time. Be sure to give this a share if you find it useful. Thanks everyone, and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel!