Coinberry Review: Complete Exchange Overview
In this Coinberry review we will take a look at a growing cryptocurrency exchange based in Canada.
Coinberry simplifies the process of buying and selling cryptocurrencies for Canadian users. It is also positioning itself as a highly secure and regulatory compliant alternative to many exchanges that exist in the market, opening the doors for large institutional investors to potentially want to join.
However, the question remains whether Coinberry can really compete in today’s crowded marketplace of crypto exchanges?
In this comprehensive review, we deeply analyze the Coinberry exchange, going over their fee structure security features, deposits and withdrawal methods and customer support. We also offer our thoughts on the best aspects of the exchange and ways we think it can improve.
With that said, let’s jump in.
Coinberry is a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange that was developed in 2017 to make it easy for Canadians to purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. They are based at 320 Davenport Rd Toronto.
Co-founder Evan Kuhn developed the exchange to reduce the learning curve for new people getting involved in cryptocurrency investing.
On Coinberry, cryptocurrencies can be purchased with a credit card or Interac-Transfer, which is a service that allows you to transfer funds between personal and business accounts at participating Canadian banks and other financial institutions.
This alternative payment method was rolled out in the middle of last year as a way to bypass restrictions placed on certain credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies.
In addition, Coinberry has partnered with Ghost Technologies Inc. to install Bitcoin ATM’s in different locations around Canada, like Ontario and Newfoundland. Other partnerships include fellow Canadian company Interac, which is a payment system that enables you to pay for purchases seamlessly, directly from your bank account.
Over 250 total financial institutions use Interact, including all major banks in Canada. The partnership allows Coinberry to join 2,000 national merchants, like Indigo, Sony, Adidas, and Dell to make payments easier.
Coinberry also recently joined the list of exchanges on Ledger, a prominent hardware wallet company.
Is Coinberry Safe?
Safety is a particularly important point for Canadian cryptocurrency users. This is especially true given the recent events around the QuadrigaCX exchange. Until December of 2018, this was the largest exchange in Canada that recently collapsed.
With that being said, how does Coinberry stack up?
Banking and Regulation
Firstly, Coinberry is registered with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) as a Money Service Business (MSB). This means that the exchange will have had to have undergone a range of compliance checks before they were allowed to accept client money.
Moreover, a MSB licence means that Coinberry will have to conduct regular KYC and make sure that all of the client accounts are above board. It also means that Coinberry will find it easier to get stable banking and payment processing solutions.
Coinberry MSB Licence. Image via FINTRAC
Speaking of stable banking, Coinberry has CDIC insured segregated banking. This means that Coinberry works with Canadian banks that help them achieve compliance with Canada’s laws. One of the ways they do this is by keeping company funds and customer funds in completely different accounts.
This ensures that if the company’s bank accounts were to ever be frozen, it would not affect the customers’ money. The use of separate bank accounts also helps reduce the time it takes to process withdrawals to just 1 day.
You would also be surprised to know that Coinberry is one of only 2 crypto exchanges in Canada to successfully complete a financial statements audit from an independent third party.
Hacks and data breaches are one of the biggest threats that face nearly all exchanges. Hence, when we are analysing the safety as an exchange, one of the most important requirements that we look at is a robust cyber security protocol.
For one, Cryptocurrency deposits made to Coinberry are routed to hierarchical wallets. Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets (or HD wallets) are digital wallets that automatically generates a hierarchical tree-like structure of private/public addresses (or keys), removing the need for addressing the user to generate them on their own.
HD wallets generate addresses from a single master seed using a variant of the standard 12-word master seed key, which makes it possible to automatically create an unlimited number of new addresses.
Extract from Coinberry “Trust” Decleration”. Image Source
Coinberry also operates multi-signature wallets in cold storage. This allows for 2 members of the Coinberry executive team to access users funds, so if one goes missing then the user’s money is still safe (so essentially like a Co-pilot with access to the same flight controls).
They also claim to conduct regular penetration tests with the help of the top Cyber security firms in Canada. And, in the unlikely event of any breach, they operate a redundant database which can be restored to normalcy if ever penetrated
In most cases though, the front line of security will start with the user. In order to help prevent any hacks or breaches to individual accounts on the client side, Coinberry also has a range of security tools.
The first and most important of these has to be mobile two-factor authentication. With this enabled, you will need to confirm the account login through your mobile device. Coinberry servers will sync up with Google authenticator which will generate the unique login codes.
Linking up the Google Authenticator with Coinberry
There are also protections for client data and information. As one would expect, there is standard SSL encryption to prevent any online snoops from intercepting your communication. This is especially important when it comes to your passwords etc.
Lastly, when it comes to your personal information, this is OpenPGP protocol encrypted. PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is an encryption program that provides cryptographic privacy and authentication for data communication.
The first thing that stands out on Coinberry’s website is its advertising of 0% deposit fees, 0% withdrawal fees and 0.5% trading fees – very transparent.
Taking a closer look at these trading fees, they are towards the upper range of those fees compared to the other Canadian exchanges. For example, they are slightly more than the 0.4% quick buy fees at Coinsquare and about equal to the trading fees at BitBuy.
Coinberry Pitch with 0 funding fees
Something else that you may have to consider with Coinberry is that they are the “Market Maker” for the coins. This means that they are the counter party to your trade and will hence make the price for you. This means that the buy / sell price may be higher / lower as it is on other exchange.
Despite this though, Coinberry makes up for it in their funding / withdrawal fees.
This is perhaps one of the only Canadian exchanges that offers free withdrawals and deposits on CAD funding. This is quite an important point when you consider that most deposits / withdrawals at other exchanges are on average 3% one way.
In other words, you are paying almost 6% in fees merely by getting your dollars onto the exchange and then again off of it.
Of course, it is important to point out that there may be fees that your own financial institution will charge on the transaction. This is especially true if you choose to use your credit card to fund your account.
Something that is worth pointing out as well is that the “0% withdrawal” fees applies to the fiat withdrawals only. You will still have to pay an arbitrary miners fee on the withdrawal of crypto. These are, however, minuscule.
Currently, there are only three cryptocurrencies on offer at Coinberry and these include Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
Coins offered on the Exchange
This is slightly underwhelming as most of the competition has at least 5 coins for their traders to choose from. Perhaps this is something that the Coinberry team is planning on introducing at a later stage and we will keep our eyes on their news wires.
This should not dissuade you from still using Coinberry though. They can always be used as an affordable CAD “Fiat Gateway” to get your hands on Bitcoin. You can then transfer this to other international exchanges such as Binance to purchase the rest of your coins.
No doubt one of the most important considerations for any cryptocurrency trader is customer support. This is especially true when you have more urgent queries that need to be addressed in a timely manner.
Something that we found quite welcome on Coinberry is their hotline phone number which is 1 (888) 997-6544. This is available Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 4pm EST. It is always nice to know that you can call and speak to someone should you have issues with your account.
If you don’t want to call, you can simply send them a message directly on the website or email email@example.com. Or, you can make use of their contact page and send them a query (try to be as specific as possible).
Of course, if your question is more routine in nature and does not unique to your account then Coinberry also has a FAQ page for answering basic questions, like ‘How to Fund with e-Transfer?’ ‘How to Buy Crypto with Canadian Dollars?’ ‘How to Withdraw Crypto?’ etc.
If you have decided that you would like to give Coinberry a try then you will need to create an account. Hit the “sign-up” button on the top right of the screen and you will be prompted for an email address as well as a password.
Details required for Coinberry registration
You can also add a referral code if you were referred to the site by a friend. The exchange does offer a referral rewards program where you can earn $20 for inviting friends to sign up, but only once they trade $50.
Once you have hit “submit” on the sign up you will have to confirm your email. Once confirmed, you must add a secure phone number to enable 2-factor authentication and protect your account.
Unfortunately for those traders who prefer to operate anonymous accounts, Coinberry is not for you. This is because of their regulatory licences they have to complete a number of KYC checks on their trading accounts.
Verifications and KYC
Coinberry is fully compliant with Anti-Money Laundering and Know-Your Customer requirements set by FINTRAC. This means that account verification is required in order for users to begin depositing funds.
There are 2 ways in which new customers can be verified:
- Instant Verification: Users enter their account details and the Coinberry’s KYC/AML partners will verify their identity. These are usually credit reporting agencies that have information on your financial history
- Manual Verification: If you don’t pass the instant verification. Coinberry will require more verification documents to complete the process, such as Government-Issued Photo ID and a Proof of Address document.
Personal Questions required for instant verification
If manual verification is the only route that is available to you then you will have to upload a government issued form of ID. Coinberry is able to accept the following types of identity documents:
- Canadian Passport
- Canadian Driver’s License
- Permanent Residence Card
- Provincial or Territory Identity Card
- Status Indian Card
In terms of proof of address, you will need to provide one of the following:
- Utility Bill (electricity, water, phone, internet)
- Investment account statements (RRSP, GIC)
- T4 statement
- Canada Pension Plan (CPP) statement
- Property tax assessment issued by a municipality
- Provincially-issued vehicle registration
- CRA documents or Government Benefits statement
Once you have submitted these documents, Coinberry will have to manually verify it which could take anywhere from one to three business days.
Based on the strict requirements made by Coinberry, we can see the exchange is very much trying to position itself as a Coinbase or Gemini; a fully compliant service that retail and institutional investors can use without fear of being on the wrong side of government regulations.
Funding / Withdrawals
When your account is all set up and fully verified, you will need to fund your account. There are a number of funding options which will vary based on individual deposit limits as well as processing time.
Perhaps the cheapest and fastest way to fund your account will be through the use of cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin & Ethereum
If you already have BTC or ETH on hand and would like to fund your account then you can initiate a cryptocurrency transfer. Unfortunately for those users who have LTC on hand, Coinberry has not built this into their funding functionality.
In order to get the address to which to send the funds you will need generate an address. You can do this in your account section under the “Fund Account” section. Here you will have to select “crypto” and then either BTC or ETH.
Something that we were quite surprised by is the fact that Coinberry uses unique one time addresses for those users who fund with crypto. While this may protect the transaction history, it could lead to crypto losses for those who accidentally fund to the same address.
Either way, if you are going to be funding at Coinberry in Crypto, be sure to never send to the same address twice. Once you have confirmed that you understand the above, they will give you the one-time address.
Generation of one time BTC address at Coinberry
You can then either copy the address that you have generated or you can use the QR code in a mobile wallet of some sort. The transaction will have to first be propagated through the network before it will show up in your balance. You can monitor this on the blockchain.
Withdrawals will work in a similar fashion where you will select “withdrawals” in your account. Here, they will ask you for your offline BTC or ETH address where to send the transaction. You will also have to insert your password in order to properly authenticate the transaction.
This will be followed by a final step that will ask you to confirm the withdrawal. Withdrawal times can vary depending on whether Coinberry has the required funds stored in their “hot wallet”. This should usually not be more than a couple of hours.
Canadian Dollars (CAD)
If you would prefer to fund your account with your fiat then you have quite a few options. These include through Interac e-Transfer, Credit Card and Wire Transfer. Below are the limits as well as processing times for these respective methods.
|Interac e-Transfer||$50||$10,000||Up to 3 hours|
|Wire Transfer||$10,000||$500,000||Up to 1 business day|
From the above, credit card funding appears to be the quickest option as these are instantaneous. So, if you are itching to trade and need to get funds onto your account as quickly as possible then this may be for you.
However, this may not be the optimal solution as there are pretty low limits on card funding. You also have to consider that card payments are much more expensive than other forms as third-party processors as well as your bank may charge you unreasonable fees.
Perhaps your best bet would be through an Interac E-transfer. This comes down to the speed with which they arrive at the recipient bank as well as the fees involved.
E-Transfer (online or mobile banking) is one of the simplest ways to fund your Coinberry account. All you need is a Canadian Bank account that supports E-Transfer. Here are some of the financial institutions you can use:
- RBC Royal Bank
- Scotia bank
- TD Canada Trust
- Tangerine (Email Money Transfer is not supported)
- For the full list of supported institutions, check out the Interac page
You can fund your account using E-transfer in 2 steps:
- Add Coinberry as a Payee
- Recipient Name & Last Name: Coinberry Limited
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Follow the instructions in your Coinberry account for the security Question and Answer fields.
- Fund Account: Enter the amount you would like to fund your Coinberry account with. The minimum funding amount is $50 and the maximum funding amount is dependent on your financial institution (usually between $3000 and $5000).
Interac form for funding account with CAD
Once the payment has been confirmed it should be credited to your trading account within 1 business day.
If you are going to be funding with a wire transfer then you will need to take down the wiring instructions for the Coinberry bank account. You must also use your Coinberry account number as your reference.
Please take note that the wire must be denominated in CAD and can only come from an account that is in the same name as you have been verified with. Hence, you cannot make third party transfers into or out of your account.
When it comes to fiat withdrawals, Coinberry have the following information on withdrawal times and limits:
|Interac e-Transfer||$50||$10,000||Up to 1 business day|
|Wire Transfer||$10,000||$500,000||Up to 1 business day|
To withdraw using E-transfer, simply select the ‘E-transfer’ button then enter the desired amount of funds you want to withdraw. The minimum Canadian Dollar withdrawal amount is $100
Once you click continue, you will get a confirmation message letting you know that the withdrawal will be process within three hours to two business days.
Coinberry Trading Platform
Coinberry’s trading platform is more geared towards investors and beginning traders rather than more advanced day traders. This means that the interface is a lot simpler (so there is no margin trading or ability to view trading charts).
After your account has been verified and you’re ready to begin trading, the first thing you see is the buttons to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin. This is the instantaneous purchase of crypto directly from Coinberry.
User interface of the exchange
To purchase Bitcoin, simply click on the Bitcoin icon, and then enter in the amount of CAD you want to spend to buy BTC.
Once you click ‘next’, you are directed to a page where you have to select what you will use to purchase your BTC with; CAD, Credit card or Debit Card.
If you select CAD and you do not have funds in your account already you must fund your account with E-transfer, Wire transfer or credit card.
If you select Credit Card or Debit Card (in the previous menu) you have to first connect your bank account to your Coinberry account for fraud prevention.
Once you’ve paid for your Bitcoin, your balance will show on the dashboard of the site:
Coinberry Mobile App
For those of you who would like to buy / sell crypto on the go, you will be happy to know that Coinberry has their very own mobile app that is available in both Android and iOS.
The user interface is attractive, simple and intuitive. Unlike the website version, you can see a chart display for the price of BTC, ETH and LTC. One additional feature the mobile app has that the website doesn’t have is the ability to send coins or CAD to other accounts.
Mobile application screenshots
The mobile app looks to be designed well for users who want to not only invest on the go, but also spend their cryptocurrencies at merchant stores or anywhere else that accepts them. The ability to send crypto and scan the barcode as a uniquely mobile feature should help push Coinberry users to see their cryptocurrency funds as not just a store of value but also a medium of exchange.
Currently, there are no reviews in the iOS store but there are quite a few in the Google Play store. These appear to be generally quite positive and users have similar comments about the simplistic interface.
There are quite a few suggestions that users have given about how to improve the apps functionality which are all well received. It is highly encouraging to see that the Coinberry developers are “on the ball” and are quickly responding to these queries. They are also taking their suggestions into considerations as they push further updates to the app.
Transparency of founders and team members is something that is often in short supply when it comes to cryptocurrency exchanges. It is therefore quite refreshing to see the how prominently Coinberry displays their team members.
Some of the Team Members
Indeed, there is quite an impressive mix of individuals behind the exchange and they include the following:
- Evan Kuhn – Co-founder. Kuhn describes himself as a “lifelong entrepreneur.” He started out in the Toronto commercial real estate market with a focus on repositioning mixed-use buildings and a built a multi-million dollar business before he turned 30.
- Andrei Poliakov – CEO & Co-founder . Prior to starting Coinberry Poliakov was in charge of Strategic Sourcing at Volvo and head of operations at L’Oreal.
- David Tran – Co-founder & CTO . Tran earned a Master’s Degree in Computer Science at Stanford before interning with Yahoo and Mozilla. Before helping to start Coinberry in 2017, he previously Co-founded a PR firm called Upbeat.
- Albert Luk – Chief Compliance Officer. Albert is a lawyer by training. In addition to his role as Compliance officer for Coinberry, he is also the CEO of 2 blockchain startups: Haxa Blockchain and Cold Storage Financial.
- Dimitri Giller – Operations Lead. Giller has previous experience as a manager at JP Morgan & Chase and Rogers Bank
- Diogo Biazus – Lead Developer. Biazus previous experience includes helping develop code for several Brazilian and Canadian startups, including Nulogy, Mitre Media and Catarse.
All of the information above was gleaned from their public linked-in profiles which you can easily verify for yourself on Coinberry’s about us page.
Areas for Improvement
While there were many things that we liked about the exchange, there were also a few areas for improvement.
For example, Coinberry has very limited options for coin coverage. Now that major players like Coinbase have added several Altcoins to their roster, Coinberry should at least be trading all of the top 10 coins from coin market cap. Listing more cryptocurrencies are the easiest way for the exchange to increase trading volume and generate more revenue.
Adding more coins will also help introduce the Canadian market to the various Altcoins that exist, allowing them to capitalize on small cap coins that make much bigger price movements than Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin.
We also think that although the trading platform was designed for beginner traders, it lacks any other advanced features and functionality. They should consider adding a slightly more “advanced” secondary platform for those users who would like to trade in a more professional manner.
Lastly, Coinberry has to think globally (or at least cross-continentally) if it hopes to become a dominant force in the market. Its value proposition as a low fee exchange for new cryptocurrency traders can still be very appealing for segments of the US market where Coinbase and other major US crypto exchanges haven’t cornered (like the Northern States bordering Canada).
Coinberry is a great exchange to use for first time cryptocurrency investors who reside in Canada. It offers all the basic features you need, including the ability to buy and sell 3 of the most popular cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin), deposit or withdraw funds from multiple sources (E-Transfer, Credit card/debit card, Wire transfer) and trade with limited to no fees.
The cryptocurrency market is quickly expanding, and so Coinberry may have to figure out ways to differentiate itself from the many exchanges that are dominating the market today. Coinberry’s edge seems to be its emphasis on high security and regulatory compliance.
While there were a few things that we thought warranted improvement, most are relatively easy to address. The team at Coinberry seems to be really open to suggestions and if enough traders telegraph interest, they may consider incorporating it.
For example, now that the market is relatively quiet, it would make sense for Coinberry to focus on expanding its list of tradable assets and working with strategic partners who can help it reach adoption among institutional investors.
So, is Coinberry the exchange for you?
Well, if you are looking for an entry-level exchange with low fees, strong security and a reputable management team then it could be for you.
Featured Image via Coinberry