Since Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency, it's one of the easiest and most accessible to buy.
Canadians have 4 main options for acquiring Ethereum:
A low cost crypto exchange is typically the cheapest option. However, all four methods have different fees, payment methods, and pros and cons associated with them so let's unpack each one.
What Is Ethereum?
Ethereum is a global blockchain that allows developers to build smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). It can be used to create innovative applications that are secure, transparent, and programmable, and don't rely on third parties. Ethereum's digital currency, Ether, powers the transactions needed to run those smart contracts.
Ethereum was conceived in 2013 by a Russian-Canadian developer named Vitalik Buterin. As of July 2023, there are 4,000+ projects built on top of Ethereum, 96M wallets with an ETH balance, and over 1 million transactions per day.
What’s The Cheapest Way to Buy ETH In Canada?
The cheapest way to buy Ethereum in Canada is on a crypto exchange, but not all exchanges are equal. Find a crypto exchange with zero deposit fees, low trading fees, and high liquidity. After signing up, you can deposit Canadian dollars and buy Ethereum quickly and cheaply.
On RankFi, I’ve tested over 30 crypto exchanges and NDAX was the cheapest overall when you factor everything in. You can read my NDAX review to learn more or sign up to get $10 free when you trade $100
Where To Buy Ethereum?
Just like buying Bitcoin, Ethereum is one of the most accessible cryptocurrencies. Whether you want to get some ETH to pay for gas fees or have it as an investment, here are the different options for Canadians.
1. Centralized Crypto Exchanges
A crypto exchange is similar to a stock exchange, but instead of stocks, customers can buy and sell digital currencies like Ethereum. The benefits include speed, ease of use, convenience, and support for Canadian dollars. Downsides include a lack of privacy and hidden fees.
There are dozens of crypto exchanges in Canada and this method is by far the most popular and simple way to buy Ethereum. On Canadian exchanges, you can typically deposit money instantly using Interac e-Transfer (or opt for other methods like Bank transfer or debit) and then trade your Canadian dollars for ETH.
There are many things to consider when choosing a crypto exchange, but the main things are fees, security, deposit and withdrawal methods, features, and ease of use. I've reviewed over 30 Canadian crypto exchanges and you can see my best crypto exchanges here. My top pick is NDAX which is beginner friendly, inexpensive, and checks lots of the other boxes as well.
2. Peer-To-Peer Exchanges
Peer-to-peer (P2P) exchanges allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrency directly with one another. Buyers and sellers can negotiate with one another while the platform ensures a safe experience for both sides.
P2P exchanges can offer more privacy than centralized exchanges and offer a range of payment methods, but it's important to find a reliable seller with good reviews. Transactions are also slower on P2P exchanges because they require the use of escrow to ensure the security of funds.
3. Ethereum ATMs
You can buy Ethereum in the real world using Ethereum ATMs (usually through Bitcoin ATMs). There are over 2,700 Bitcoin ATMs scattered across Canada which can be found on sites like Coin ATM Radar. ATMs typically don't require identification, so they're good for anonymous purchases. However, they are known for big fees, which can be as high as 10%-20%.
To use an ATM you will need an Ethereum wallet and cash. You'll scan the QR code in your wallet using the ATM's camera. Then you'll have to confirm the quantity of ETH you want to buy and insert your money. The ETH will then be transferred to your wallet which could take a few minutes or hours.
4. Ethereum ETFs
Ethereum Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are traded on stock exchanges and allow you to get exposure to the price of Ethereum. Canada has approved multiple spot Ethereum ETFs like the Evolve Ether ETF (ETHR) and the CI Galaxy Ethereum ETF (ETHX). These funds are backed by physical Ethereum so if the price of ETH rises, the ETF should too.
The main advantage with ETFs is they are easy to buy if you're already familiar with stocks. In addition, Ethereum ETFs can be purchased inside tax-advantaged accounts like a TFSA or RRSP. If you want to avoid taxes on your crypto, that's one way to do it.
The downsides are management fees and lack of self-custody. The Ethereum is managed by external third-parties which means you can't transfer it to a wallet. You can only buy and sell the ETF on the stock exchange.
Factors To Consider Before Buying ETH
Before jumping into ETH and the world of cryptocurrencies, here are some things you should consider.
How Do I Buy Ethereum With Interac e-Transfer?
How Do You Buy ETH For The First Time?
The best and easiest way to get your feet wet is by using a centralized crypto exchange. It is the most popular way to buy digital assets and there are dozens in Canada.
What Is The Cheapest Way To Buy ETH and Transfer To MetaMask?
Another option is to find an exchange with mult-chain withdrawals that lets you transfer Ethereum on different networks. So rather than transfer ETH on ERC-20, which has high fees, you can transfer it using Arbitrum, Optimism, or Binance chain where the fees will only be around $1.
How Do You Buy ETH Without Gas Fees?
You can buy Ethereum without gas fees on centralized crypto exchanges. I recommend NDAX in Canada.