Regulation is a big reason many crypto exchanges have voluntarily left the Canadian market or been banned. While crypto exchanges are not illegal, the rules in Canada are much stricter than other jurisdictions around the world.
These actions aim to protect Canadian investors however, it has also left Canadians with fewer options to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies. Many platforms think it is simply not worth the trouble to operate in Canada, so they leave.
Why Are Crypto Exchanges Leaving Canada?
In February 2022, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a notice mandating that all crypto exchanges operating in Canada must register with regulators and follow the new "enhanced" regulations. In response, many crypto exchanges have exited Canada.
The latest regulatory developments have become too burdensome or not worth the effort for many platforms, causing lots of crypto exchanges to exit the Canadian market. Unregistered platforms that continue serving Canadians will likely get fined millions of dollars.
List of Banned Platforms
Here is a list of platforms that are banned in Canada since they are unregistered with regulators.
*Banned but still servicing Canadians
If you want to see all the platforms that are available in Canada, check out our crypto exchange rankings.
Binance is the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. In 2021, Binance pulled their services out of Ontario and in May 2023, they announced they will be pulling out of Canada entirely. Users cannot use Binance with a VPN because KYC is required, so your identity must be verified to trade on the platform.
Starting July 15, 2023, KuCoin will require mandatory KYC to use the platform. After this date, deposits and trades will stop working. Canada will be an unspported county. In addition, KuCoin is on the CSA's and OSC's banned list.
Bybit announced its decision to "pause" servicing the Canadian market effective May 31, 2023. Existing users can make trades until July 31, 2023 and have until Sep 30, 2023 to liquidate or withdraw their positions. This comes a few weeks after Bybit introduced mandatory KYC on their platform.
Gate.io left Canada in April 2022, citing Canada as a restricted country on their terms of service. Their user agreement says, “Use of the service by users from the United States of America, Mainland China, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Malta, Cuba, Iran, NorthKorea, Sudan, Syria, Crimea region, Bolivia is prohibited."
On March 20, 2023, OKX emailed clients that they are ceasing operations in Canada. In their statement, they assured users the it will be temporary and they are working with regulators to resolve the issue. The OKX staff wrote, "We hope to see you again in the future. Stay tuned."
Bittrex Global exited Canada on July 28, 2022, citing new regulatory developments as the reason. They said that "We have partnered with Catalyx to simplify this process for our users, enabling them to opt in and have their accounts automatically transferred to Catalyx, the leading Canadian digital asset trading platform."
Huobi Global left Canada on July 01, 2021 to comply with local regulations. They requested their Canadian users to close out all active positions and withdraw all digital assets before December 31, 2021, citing Canada as a restricted jurisdiction.
Paxos made an announcement on April 11, 2023 that it would no longer be serving its Canadian users. As part of the exit process, Paxos will block and close all accounts of Canadian users with no funds by May 9. Users will have until June 2 to withdraw the remaining funds.
Banned But Still Functional
Other platforms have been banned, fined, and warned by Canadian regulators but have not stopped servicing Canadian clients. The platforms below do not require KYC, so they don’t check the identity of who is signing up. If a platform doesn’t require KYC, you can technically still trade and withdraw funds at your own risk.
If the websites are blocking your IP-address, you might need to find a different platform or use a VPN like Atlas VPN.
MEXC is a Binance and KuCoin alternative with 2,000+ cryptocurrencies, zero spot trading fees, and up to 200x leverage. On its terms of service, it says Canada is a prohibited region however, they do not ask for KYC when signing up. As of this writing, MEXC users can withdraw 30 BTC per day with unverified accounts.
Poloniex is an unregistered crypto exchange that was put on the OSC's and CSA's banned list. The OSC said that Poloniex has "failed to comply with the registration and prospectus requirements under Ontario securities law." Despite the OSC's warning, Canada isn't found on Poloniex's list of prohibited Countries. They still do not ask for KYC and offer a $10,000 daily withdrawal limit.
DYDX is a decentralized exchange that stopped servicing Canadians on April 7, 2023. In their statement they wrote, "We hope that the regulatory climate in Canada will change over time to allow us to resume our services in the country." While dYdX is unavailable in the USA and Canada, it's a decentralized exchange, so it still works with a VPN at your own risk.
With new crypto regulations in Canada, many platforms find it too burdensome to operate in the Canadian market. As a result, many crypto exchanges are leaving. If they have not registered with Canadian regulators, they are effectively banned and will be charged millions of dollars in fines if they continue to service Canadian clients.
With as many as 13% of Canadians owning cryptocurrency, it remains to be seen how these recent regulatory developments will shape the future of crypto trading in Canada.
Best Crypto Exchanges Canada
Can You Still Use Banned Platforms?
Technically, yes. Some platforms do not require KYC, which means they let anyone sign up without providing their identity. However, users should be aware of the potential risks of using such platforms, including the potential for fraudulent activity, lack of transparency and accountability, and less investor protections.
You can find our list of non KYC exchanges here.
Can You Use A VPN?
For exchanges that block IP addresses, you can use a VPN to get around it. However, it won't work if the platform requires KYC. In addition, VPNs can still be spotted, and you could be banned without prior warnings.
What Are The Alternatives for Canadians?
Canadians can use crypto exchanges like NDAX, Kraken, VirgoCX, and more. You can find every crypto exchange available in Canada on our free comparison tool. In addition, if you want to trade any altcoin you want, it's helpful to learn how to use DEXs (decentralized exchanges).