I’d wanted to have some bitcoin for a while to experiment with, and recently made my first bitcoin purchase at the decentral bitcoin ATM. However, at 5% exchange rate difference compared to an exchange (they use cavirtex as the exchange rate reference), the effective transaction fees are rather steep. While it was an easy way to do things, especially for somebody with no concrete experience with bitcoin, it definitely looked like it was worth setting up an exchange account.

I recall looking into cavirtex, and didn’t like the look of the fees they had, so kept looking. I found another Canadian exchange, www.quadrigacx.com (note: this is a referral link, which would give me a credit if you try out their service and make any purchases), and tried it out. Like cavirtex, you have to provide anti-money-laundering information to fund the account (drivers license, utility bill with address, photo of you with your drivers license, and phone number). They were very fast with the verification (within a couple of hours). However, once my account was verified for funding, I had trouble actually funding it. It turns out that their system currently doesn’t support the chrome browser (or didn’t for me). I tried with firefox and was able to fund it using an online interac transaction.

I wanted to see what sort of fees I’d be hit with for a fund, purchase, transfer out cycle. This was:

  • Initial funding with $51 CAD. Neither Scotiabank, nor quadriga appeared to charge me any fees for this.
  • A bitcoin purchase of 0.07500000 XBT for $48.80. Quadriga did have a transaction fee for this (in bitcoin, 0.000375 XBT).
  • A transfer out of my remaining bitcoin (0.07462500 XBT) to a blockchain.info wallet. That transaction had a bitcoin transaction fee of 0.0001. I’m not sure if quadriga or blockchain added that fee.

So, the total fees for this end to end transaction (fund, buy, bitcoin transfer) were 0.000475 XBT (BTC), a total of about 31 cents CAD at 598 CAD/XBT. Not too bad, and definitely better than the ATM fees.

Quadriga’s website can use some UI improvements. The transaction logs hides under account details and you can see that when you click your name, but I didn’t find that at all intuitive (after suggesting it to them as a future improvement they told me where to find it in the UI). Their buy widget also doesn’t have an intuitive way to specify the funds amount in fiat currency. Instead you have to specify the amount in XBT, and once you do that it shows you what that converts to in the fiat currency. Slightly clumsy, but functional.