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New to Bitcoin in Canada? Start Here With The Basics

CoinGuyCoinGuy Administrator
edited February 2 in Bitcoin 101
We have so many people now coming to Bitcoin I thought it was time to update, or rather write a basic starter for Canadians wanting to get into bitcoin. This is based on my 7 years of experience in the Bitcoin space. Some will still have a different POV, but I hope this will give the basics to get started.

I will assume you have some basic understanding of Bitcoin, though, too. So if you are looking for a complete 101 this is a good intro video.

If you are looking to read more, there are some other great content listed here. I have been inspired by the content there, but it's not Canadian specific. I will focus on what you need to know about as a Canadian and the Bitcoin marketplace. Here are the topics covered:

Where can I buy bitcoins?
Where is Bitcoin going or how much should you invest?
Bitcoin Wallets
Where can I spend Bitcoins?
Can I pay my bills with Bitcoins?
Can I mine Bitcoin?
Earning Bitcoin
Canadian Banks and Paying Taxes
Forks such as Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold
What about Altcoins & ICOs?
Where Can I Get Local Help In Person?
Other Resources

Where can I buy bitcoins?
We have a list of exchanges in Canada available here. CoinSquare is the largest Canadian exchanges (as of this writing). Make sure to review all relevant FAQ pages too before funding, to avoid issues with fees or errors.

You may be tempted to use Coinbase, but they do not have any Canadian funding options, which can become a hassle. Learn here how to get your Bitcoin out of Coinbase and into CAD.

There are other services to get Bitcoins quick like MyBTC

There are also a network of Bitcoin ATMs from or

You can follow the Canadian market here.

Note about support, issues: You may come to Bitcoin with certain expectations of service. Just as Bitcoin can fluctuate in price, the support teams of Canadian services can also be slammed. There may be delays in responses from some services, but rest assured, we are a close knit community and almost every time issues are resolved.

One skill you will also want to practice with Bitcoin is taking your time. As transactions of Bitcoin are irreversible, make sure you enter your info properly, or you send coins to the right crypto-currency wallets. Many times delays or issues come from typos or not following the requirements.

If you have concerns of fees, you can also use localbitcoins.

Please make sure you are SUPER careful with the exchanges you chose or how your trade. If something seems to good to be true, it probably is. So for example buying/selling bitcoin with Paypal or with a credit card. These are HIGH RISK transactions.

Also one final warning and it's very important. Do not leave large balances of money or crypto on a exchange. If the site goes down, your money is gone. You are not covered by the CDIC, and you will have little recourse.

Where is Bitcoin going or how much should you invest?
Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. No one knows what the value you will be or what events will cause the price to move. DO NOT INVEST WHAT YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE. I have seen bitcoin crash more than once to know that it's best to get your initial investment out and play with your profits.

Bitcoin Wallets
You may have heard that with bitcoin you can "Be your own bank". This comes with the responsibility of keeping your Bitcoins safe. There are many options, but you should also be in control of your private keys. What does that mean?

There are public keys, which is your Bitcoin address, where you can send or receive money. Every public address has a private address, which is paired (and cannot be changed).

The private key is something you should never share with anyone. It's like leaving a pile of diamonds on your kitchen table with the door open. At the same time having control of your private keys, means that if the wallet provider you use stops working, you won't lose your bitcoin. Also ensure you use a service where you can control and access your private keys. This is more than your 12 word phrase.

Here are some of your options:

These are the most risky types of wallets, but of course the online is the easiest to use. You may have heard these called "Hot Wallets". As much as a company can be trusted, bad things can happen. these are fine to get started, but as you get more into Bitcoin you will want to look to enhance your security. A made in Canada solution for you is They have a chrome app, mobile app and desktop application. For getting started it's a great wallet, also because you can access your private keys as needed.

If you are using a mobile device for your wallets there are a couple of great solutions. Below are my recommendations:
-Android users check out Mycelium
-iOs user should grab the BreadWallet

There are really only two awesome choices for the desktop: Electrum or Armory

For those with a large amount of Bitcoin, or who are concerned about being hacked, you can consider a hardware wallet such as the Trezor or Ledger.

In Canada, a trusted place to buy hardware wallets is

Paper Wallets:
The most secure way to secure your bitcoins is securing them yourself using paper wallets which are generated offline. This is called cold storage. Check out here for the steps:

Also for increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it's offered, including any email you used connected to your accounts. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes in case your lose your device.

Where Can I Spend Bitcoins?
We have this thread of companies allowing you to spend Bitcoins. It is far from a comprehensive list, but it gives you some ideas. There are two Canadian companies offering Bitcoin to GiftCard services: and YestoBitcoins.

Can I Mine Bitcoin?
Sure, but mining bitcoins is not as easy as it was, and you will most likely operate at a loss. You can learn about more about mining here, and join the discussion here.

If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide here. Bitseed is an easy option for getting set up. You can view the global node distribution here.

Can I pay my bills with Bitcoins?
There is a Montreal based service: They have been around since 2013. Bylls allows users that have bitcoins to send a payment in Canadian dollars to any third-party biller or personal payee. Bylls will buy the bitcoins from the user and pay the user by sending Canadian dollars to the recipient of the user's choosing, including to the user's own bank account. Learn more about the service here:

Earning Bitcoin
If mining is not your thing, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid for contributing your time to Bitcoin projects.

Canadian Banks and Paying Taxes
Canadian banks may be involved with adopting the blockchain technology, but they still have a very antagonistic view of Bitcoin. Banks in general will shut down or freeze your account if they see many transactions related to buying Bitcoin. We recommend you don't use your primary bank for Bitcoin trading. The reason for their concern is KYC/AML regulations which the banks in Canada take very seriously, especially if they think you are money-laundering. Even if you are honest with your intentions, then banks can still choose to freeze your accounts. We’ve seen this happen to some members in the past.

What about taxes? You will need to pay captial gains on Bitcoin trades to fiat. Make sure you keep detailed records.

You can read the stance of Canadian government here:

Forks Such as Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold
You have heard about forks, but what does it mean? Essentially what happens is a certain block is chosen and then the bitcoin blockchain (the public ledger) goes onto another path. Miners then choose which they will back. Right now there are 3 main "bitcoin". The wallets are not interchangeable. Think of forks of bitcoin as essentially a new crypto currency that shares the Bitcoin name. Because bitcoin is open source, and non-centralized, nothing prevents the name from being used by these new crypto currencies.

- Regular Bitcoin (BTC) is what most people mean when they are referring to, when they speak about bitcoin.
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH) came out of concerns of the speed of Bitcoin (BTC): "Bitcoin Cash has implemented an increased block size of 8mb, to accelerate the verification process, with an adjustable level of difficulty to ensure the chain’s survival and transaction verification speed, regardless of the number of miners supporting it." You can read more here: Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash: What's the Difference? | Investopedia"
- Bitcoin Gold (BTG). This is the latest fork using the Bitcoin name, but has not gotten the same traction as Bitcoin Cash. This may change as more exchanges accept trading in BTG. The main differentiators of Bitcoin Gold is to allow people to mine with CPUs instead of ASIC's made which are special chips to mine bitcoin).

What About Altcoins & ICOs?
There are so many Altcoins and ICOs, and we are happy to talk about them here. We recommend you do your due diligence with all of them, and keep in mind the old adage if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

You can track the various Altcoins here:

If you are looking to buy Altcoins from a Canadian exchange you are limited. As of this moment (our last update), here are the Altcoins you can buy in Canada:

CoinSquare offers: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash.
Bitvo offers: Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Litecoin, Dash and more!

If one of the Altcoins you want in not in the list, you can use a service called or Binance

Also for wallets, be very careful. You need the appropriate for each Altcoin. The wallet for Bitcoin is not compatible with a wallet for Ethereum. Think of each Altcoin like a foreign bank account. Never the twain shall meet. Companies like make this easier.

Where Can I Get Local Help In Person?
There are many Bitcoins Meet-ups in Canada you can check them out here.

There is also a couple of local organizations/business that can help you further:


Other Resources

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