If you’re a Canadian looking for a simple, user-friendly way to invest in crypto, then Shakepay might be a great option for you. Shakepay is a Montreal-based cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2015 with one key difference from most typical exchange platforms. Instead of operating as a currency exchange, they act as a retailer or broker of digital currencies. When you purchase crypto from Shakepay, you are buying directly from them. And when you sell, you are selling it back to Shakepay.
Shakepay is a Canadian platform enabling users to buy and sell Bitcoin and Ether instantly via desktop or mobile app. Although you can make basic transactions on your desktop, you will need to download the app if you want to use the full range of Shakepays features. Many of their features are actually unavailable when logging in from your desktop.
One of the first things that I noticed when trading on Shakepay was that there were no fees. Shakepay sets the buy and sell prices themselves, similar to the retailer of any product. When you look at the buy and sell price of their digital currencies at any given time, you will notice the difference between them. That is how Shakepay makes a profit. This is pretty standard practice for many exchanges, but you may notice a more significant gap between Shakepays’ buy and sell prices than others.
But don’t let that put you off because there is a workaround here. I will touch on that later in the review. First, let’s look at how to get started with Shakepay.
How to open an account
To open an account, you’ll first create a “@shaketag,” which will act as your username. And choose if your account is personal or for business. Once you verify your email, you will need to enter a Canadian phone number, which Shakepay will use for authentication purposes. They do not accept Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone numbers. Shakepay will then send you an authentication code, and once you enter it, you can continue creating your account.
You will need to enter your name, birthday and occupation, plus confirm that you are only using the account for yourself. Then enter your Canadian address. You can then choose how you plan to use your account, such as buying or selling digital currencies, sending money to friends, paying rent, receiving payments, purchasing goods, and more. With the exception of Bull Bitcoin for bill payments, Shakepay is unique as an exchange, since, typically, most platforms are solely for buying and selling digital currencies.
Before you can use Shakepay, you need to verify your account. To do so, you need to submit identification, which can be your:
- Driver’s licence
- Residency card
- Identity card
You will then need to record a video of yourself following the prompts given to you by Shakepay. I was asked to say three numbers aloud, then turn my head to the side and back again. Make sure that the image and sound are clear before submitting.
Once you’ve submitted your identification and your video, you will need to wait up to 7 days for Shakepay to verify your account before you can start trading. That said, I received my complete verification within 24 hours. It seems that many other users have experienced a similar turnaround time.
Another thing to note is that if you signup via a referral link from a friend, you will get $30 for free once you buy $100 worth of crypto. That means $30 for you and $30 for the person who referred you. That is a quick and profitable perk.
How to transfer money to your account
After account verification is completed, you can add funds to your account and begin trading. There are four different ways to fund your account: Interac e-Transfer, wire transfer, or deposit crypto. You can choose between Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Interac e-Transfer has a minimum transfer amount of $5 and a maximum of $10,000 CAD. Your funds are available within minutes of transferring. If you choose Interac e-Transfer, Shakepay will provide you with an email address, security question and security answer to use when funding your account. Then you just send your e-Transfer as normal.
Wire transfer has a minimum of $5,000 CAD and no maximum. It can take 1 to 2 business days for the funds to appear in your account. Wire transfers must be sent from your personal Canadian bank account, which may charge you a fee. Shakepay will provide you with their account details for the transfer, and they recommend sending a copy of your confirmation to them to speed up the process.
Bitcoin has no minimum deposit and no maximum. Tokens are available after two confirmations, at which point it is considered final. A special reminder is that Shakepay only supports Bitcoin and Ethereum, and if you try to send any other digital currency, it will result in a permanent loss.
Ethereum has no minimum or maximum deposit. Your tokens are available after 60 confirmations. Once again, Shakepay only supports Bitcoin and Ethereum, and if you try to send any other digital currency, it will result in a permanent loss.
How to make a trade
Once you’ve added funds to your wallet, you can begin trading. It is straightforward to make a trade on Shakepay, and the interface is very user-friendly. Since the features are more basic, you don’t need to worry about messing up a transaction or struggling to find your way around. To make a trade, click on “Buy and sell”. Then you choose what currency you’d like to use to make your purchase. You’re only options will be CAD, Bitcoin or Ethereum.
Choose which currency you would like to purchase, enter the amount you’d like to buy, and click confirm. The transaction will be instant. You will notice right away that the amount of CAD used to purchase the crypto will not be equal to the CAD equivalent shown on the main page after purchase.
For example, if you buy $100 CAD worth of Bitcoin, it may only show up as $95 CAD worth after the transaction. That is because the price you purchased at is higher than the price you can sell at. Shakepay will show you approximately how much your crypto is worth in CAD based on an average of the current buy and sell prices. Many crypto exchanges operate in this way since it’s how they make a profit.
You can also use Shakepay’s recurring buys feature to purchase digital currencies. Recurring buys will automatically buy currency at a frequency pre-selected by you. One thing to note is that you can only access this feature on the mobile app.
Shakepay also has limit orders, which are also only available on the mobile app. You can set limit orders to both buy or sell Bitcoin or Ethereum. You can set it up to buy on dips and sell when it reaches your chosen limit. You will also choose how much Canadian dollars worth you’d like to buy or sell. Then, Shakepay will automatically perform these transactions for you. This is a handy feature as you don’t have to constantly keep an eye on the price fluctuations.
What crypto assets are supported
Currently, Shakepay only supports Bitcoin and Ethereum, and they have no plans on adding any additional currencies. If you want to have access to Altcoins, then unfortunately you won’t have that option with Shakepay. That said, you can easily send your digital currencies to wallets on other exchanges like Coinbase or Binance and use it to purchase the altcoins of your choice.
What are the fees?
Shakepay has no fees for depositing or withdrawing funds. Nor does it charge fees for trading. This makes Shakepay unique to many other exchanges in Canada because most will charge you a withdrawal fee.
Some banks might charge a fee for sending or receiving a wire transfer, but that has nothing to do with Shakepay themselves. For outgoing Bitcoin, Shakepay fully covers the miner fees. And for Ethereum, Shakepay also covers gas fees.
Shakepay is able to waive the fees on all transactions because they make their profit from their buy and sell prices. That’s important to keep in mind since although you aren’t being charged fees on transactions, you may be purchasing at a slightly higher price than other exchanges or selling at a slightly lower price.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, one workaround here is to purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum via Shakepay and transfer to another exchange. Since you don’t have to pay fees on any transactions, you can quickly transfer your currency to another wallet for free and sell for a better price.
Is it safe?
The safety of your money and digital currencies is one of the most important considerations when choosing an exchange. Shakepay is registered as a Money Service Business (MSB) in Canada and is regulated by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF). It’s an extremely safe cryptocurrency exchange, and they are very transparent about their safety measures.
They hired a security firm to independently review their internal procedures for storing funds and processing transactions. You can read the entire review done by the security firm. This review covers how they use hot wallets and what’s allocated for cold wallets. Shakepay keeps the majority of funds offline, in cold storage, so you know it’s always safe. And the provider of their cold storage is regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). They also segregate accounts, keeping your CAD in specific bank accounts and digital currencies in designated cold storage.
Shakepay is also backed by an insurance policy, which covers all the digital currencies in cold storage. Their policy includes coverage of loss of private keys, theft and damages.
The platform also uses SSL- encryption and 2-Factor Authentication to protect your account on both desktop and the mobile app. On the app, you can customize how you lock access, such as with Face ID, biometric unlock or PIN. Plus, Shakepay allows the transfer of your digital currencies into your personal cold storage wallet so that they are even more well-protected.
Because of the way Shakepay operates and the fact that it’s not a traditional crypto exchange, I was concerned about the possibility of fractional reserves. Fractional reserves are when you’re purchasing assets that the company doesn’t actually hold. Luckily, Shakepay does not have a fractional reserve, so when you buy a digital currency from them, you can rest assured that it actually exists. If you want to learn more about their security features, you can check it out on their site.
Pros of Shakepay
- Having access to your Shakepay account on mobile is simply more convenient. Plus, you won’t always have access to a desktop when that price dips!
- Zero fees to deposit or withdraw funds
- Every day if you open the app and physically shake your phone, you will receive free Satoshis. I haven’t seen any other crypto exchange with a feature like this, and it’s a creative play on the name Shakepay. If you are unfamiliar with Satoshis, they are the smallest unit of Bitcoin, with 100 million Satoshis making up a single Bitcoin. But still, it’s free money! Something to keep in mind is that you can only use this feature if you join Shakepay using a referral link or you refer someone else.
- Recurring buys on mobile only
- Limit orders on mobile only
- Fast verification, sometimes in less than 24 hours
- Supports crypto transfers to your personal wallet
- Referral program with signup and referral bonuses
Cons of Shakepay
- Only supports Bitcoin and Ethereum
- Larger price spread than most other exchanges
- Shakepay is only available to Canadian residents
- Many features are unavailable on desktop, meaning you can only complete them via the mobile app
Should you use Shakepay?
All in all, I think that Shakepay is a reputable, safe and user-friendly exchange. Although they only support Bitcoin and Ethereum, the fact that they have no fees is a huge bonus. Plus, who can beat the free Bitcoin you can get every day just from shaking your phone? I would definitely recommend Shakepay to beginner traders looking for a simple and safe place to start investing in crypto. Some of the larger platforms can be very confusing, especially for new users, so having an option like Shakepay means that anyone can start trading crypto, regardless of how experienced you are.
Compare dozens of Canadian crypto exchange platforms and find the one that best suits your needs.
About The Author: Arthur Dubois
Passionate about personal finance and financial technology, Arthur Dubois is a writer and SEO specialist at Hardbacon. Since his arrival in Canada, he’s built his credit score from nothing.
Arthur invests in the stock market but doesn’t pay any fees because he uses National Bank Direct Brokerage online broker and Wealthsimple’s robo-advisor. He pays for his subscriptions online with his KOHO prepaid card, and uses his Tangerine credit card for most of his in-store purchases. When he buys bitcoins, it’s with the BitBuy online platform. Of course it goes without saying that he uses the Hardbacon app so that he can manage all of his finances from one convenient place.
More posts by Arthur Dubois