- Editor Rating
- Rated 2.5 stars
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- TradesEditor: 50%
- FundingEditor: 32%
- ComplianceEditor: 50%
- PlatformEditor: 52%
- Help & SupportEditor: 43%
Canadian Virtual Exchange or simply CAVIRTEX is the oldest Bitcoin exchange of Canada, founded in July 2011. The company was acquired by Coinsetter, which believes Canada still offered huge opportunities to a high quality platform. It was later merged with Kraken when the latter acquired Coinsetter.
Being a Canadian exchange CAVIRTEX offers trading in several currency pairs involving the Canadian Dollar, but limited to BTC/CAD, LTC/CAD and BTC/LTC. CAVIRTEX’ parent company Coinsetter is mainly focused on liquidity, and CAVIRTEX fits in well with a best bid-ask spread of around 10 basis points on CAD/BTC trades (likely due to integrating Coinsetter’s trading technology). The prices are backed by significant amounts of coins, providing some resistance against slippage. A transaction for $1,000 worth of BTC is not likely to incur any additional impact costs. The liquidity is actually remarkable given that the normal fee equals 80 basis points per trade, although it must be added that CAD/BTC is the only pair with great liquidity. The LTC/CAD and BTC/LTC currency pairs cannot be taken seriously with bid-ask spreads of around 10 and 25 percent respectively.
The exchange strangely does not support normal market orders besides limit orders, while the more advanced stop-limit (or simply called trigger-limit) orders are supported. Besides being a little odd this is not much of a problem, as the latter order type is typically the more useful one. The exchange does not support short selling/margin trading.
International customers should probably try parent company Coinsetter rather than CAVIRTEX, which is “100% Canadian” and therefore lacks funding options for a broader audience. Besides the required conversion to CAD, CAVIRTEX will charge $100 in fees for a wire transfer on top of the additional bank charges. It is more surprising that the fees for local deposits and withdrawals also appear to be on the high side. The lowest fee is $7.5 per transaction. The estimated processing times are not great either. Both deposits and withdrawals take between two and five business days to be processed. There is an option to do an instant deposit, but this is limited to a small amount and will cost well over 10 percent in fees from start to finish.
The exchange is Canada-based with its headquarter in Calgary in the province of Alberta. The company is registered as a money service business (MSB) with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRACT) under its operating name VIRTEX with registration number M14928781. The exchange has been founded in July 2011, and announced its closure in February 2015 citing ongoing security risks. At the time, vice president Kyle Kemper stated: “We never lost any client funds but it’s getting to the point where it could happen”. The platform was bought by Coinsetter and subsequently reopened in April 2015. The new CEO also added that the security concerns had been addressed. Furthermore there is still a lot of regulatory uncertainty for Bitcoin in Canada, and CAVIRTEX has not taken the initiative to improve financial transparency by participating in a public Proof of Reserves audit.
CAVIRTEX is a Canadian exchange and obviously quite proud of it. The country’s red maple leaf is prominently featured on the front page and in the exchange’s logo, which nicely emphasizes the platform’s origin. The rest of the platform is not too fancy. The design is easy to navigate and quite minimalistic, with even the order book separated from the trade screen. The latter is, however, not very convenient, even though the prices are automatically set to the best bid and ask prices. Depending on price volatility and the order size one would typically set an adjusted limit price based on the order book. Having to switch between screens is far from optimal in this case. The exchange also does not include a price chart, but only refers to an external resource.
Despite the minimalistic design, the website performance is also far from optimal. Several page tests revealed mediocre performance at best. Besides the front page the website design is not responsive either, so mobile platforms are guaranteed to have the worst experience.
Help & Support
CAVIRTEX offers a relatively extensive set of documentation compared to the functionalities offered. Besides describing the most common actions, the exchange also offers more information on itself and some intended future expansions. On the other hand, the FAQ fails to mention anything on several basic terms such as order books and bid-ask quotes. There is also no information on Bitcoin or the risks involved when trading the digital currency (such as price volatility). Additional support from the exchange may be requested through its ticket system, but live support via phone or chat is not available.
• Very strong liquidity on BTC/CAD
• No margin trading/short selling
• Illiquid order books and extremely wide bid-ask spreads on pairs other than BTC/CAD
• Relatively high trade fees