Canada-based QuadrigaCX was launched in December 2013, and it’s led by founder and CEO Gerald Cotton. In addition to supporting several top coins, mainly bitcoin, ether and Litecoin (similar to Coinbase), QuadrigaCX also distributed bitcoin ATMs throughout Vancouver.
QuadrigaCX claims to be Canada’s biggest bitcoin exchange, with average volume over a 24-hour period in March 2018 at $10.6 million and self-proclaimed 80% of bitcoin transaction volume as of 2016. At that time, Canada only represented 1% of total bitcoin trading around the world.
As for security, it’s a top priority here, especially considering they existed at the time of the Mt. Gox demise, so they have seen the hefty price that one of their industry peers had to pay.
Not that they never suffered loss. There was an incident in 2017 involving 67,000 ETH that was lost, which amounted to somewhere between $13 million and $15 million. The exchange shouldered the costs of the incident and while they clearly took a hit, the account balances of users were unaffected.
The exchange’s other top features are convenience, as evidenced by its multiple funding options, which surpass many other exchanges, as well as its withdrawal features.
The most recent interview with QuadrigaCX CEO Cotton was from 2016.
Quadriga gives users numerous ways to fund their account across traditional sources such as bank wires, money orders, online banking, etc. Canadian banks have presented some challenges, however, like several top US banks. For instance, Bank of Montreal has blocked cryptocurrency transactions using its credit or card as well as with Interac, the latter of which is in partnership with QuadrigaCX. TD Bank has made similar moves.
· Supports bitcoin, Bitcoin Gold, ether and Litecoin
· Starting in Q1 2018, they added the following trading pairs - BTG/XBT, BCH/XBT and LTC/XBT.
· They also announced trading fees for 100% of cryptocurrency pairs was reduced to 0.2%
· High transaction amount limits compared to US exchange Coinbase
· Encrypted cold (offline) storage for security
· Partners with online security company Cloudfare
· Possesses an Money Services Business (MSB) license with regulator Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (Fintrac).
· Another key partnership is with InteracOnline, which lets users fund their accounts instantaneously
· They boast “collective intelligent threat detection”
· Multiple funding options, ranging from a bank account, bank wires, money orders, online banking. They accept deposits in Canadian and seemingly US dollars, which is convenient for locals.
· Instantaneous transfers, which gives traders the ability to make purchases faster.
· User accounts are also linked to the company’s ATMs, and as a result they can perform transactions from the ATMs that are also recorded on the exchange.
· Users can purchase retailer gift cards straight from their QuadrigaCX account. This option is only available to Canadian residents and includes a select number of retail stores.
· The exchange’s CEO has said he’s proactive about regulation.
· There’s an API that lets users integrate the trading platform with third-party apps.
· High trading fees
· Quadriga ATM fees are reportedly high, at 8% to 9% according to this reddit user.
· Lack of altcoins supported on the platform
· The platform is not open to US residents and other “high-risk countries are limited to crypto only,” as per quadriga on Facebook.
· Users complain of multi-month account verification delays. The exchange was experienced a backlog, but they didn’t communicate this to the community in a timely manner. They lost the trust of some followers and some people who were awaiting verification threatened to take their business to another exchange.
· Users also complain of electronic funds transfer deposits in which the funds are deducted from a user’s bank account but don’t show up at the exchange in a reasonable amount of time. This understandably causes anxiety among users, and some of them are left without a reply from the exchange on social media. Frustrated users accuse the exchange of being a scam.
· Canadian banks have been blocking cryptocurrency exchanges
· The exchange lost millions in ETH in 2017 after an erroneous wallet addressed was used.
· They are a frequent target of phishing scams.
· There’s no QuadrigaCX mobile app. But users could access the trading platform on a mobile browser, which boasts all the same tools as the desktop version.
· 0.2%-0.5% trading fee. The fees are competitive for Canadian investors but high for frequent traders.
· 0.5% fee on the following pairs: BTC/CAD, BTC/USD, ETH/CAD, LTC/CAD, BCH/CAD & BTG/CAD
· 0.2% fee on the following trading pairs - ETH/BTC, LTC/BTC, BCH/BTC & BTG/BTC
Also, this –
QuadrigaCX urges its users to enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on mobile, email and exchange accounts for an added layer of security. They store a percentage of bitcoin in cold storage, or offline, using encryption. This lowers the changes of a security breach. Meanwhile, the Quadriga website is backed by SSL.
While QuadrigaCX has taken a proactive approach to security, they remain a target among scamsters. Security, however, is a shared responsibility between both the exchange and its users. They also comply with know-your-customer and anti-money laundering protocols, which could extend the identity verification process for users.
In response to email phishing attempts on QuadrigaCX traders, the exchange acknowledged that there were “bad actors [attempting] to impersonate us.” They urged users to scrutinize emails that appeared to come from the exchange and to confirm that the sender’s domain correctly ends in @quadrigacx.com.
Recipients should look out for misspellings and make sure that the domain is a .com and not a .org or anything else. Besides, the exchange wouldn’t send its users to an online form to update account information to avoid losing access to an account.
The exchange warned: “If you receive one of these phishing emails, it means your email address was found online or it was part of a list bought from another site's data breach where you used the same email.”
Meanwhile, in a more high-profile instance and as alluded to previously, QuadrigaCX suffered an incident in which 67,000 ETH were lost. Instead of a hack, it was human error on the engineering team at the exchange that led to the loss, which occurred on the heels of a security upgrade for GETH. It was a case of a mistaken wallet address that erroneously left out a key part of the address, causing the ether to seemingly be stuck. It was a blemish to the security score card of the exchange and it took a bite out of their bottom line. The exchange said: “Client balances were not affected.”
To sign up for a QuadrigaCX account, you need to provide some usual information, such as whether you want a personal or business account (you can have one of each but must provide a separate email address for each one), your email address, country of residence, password, PIN, etc. From there, you should receive a welcome email.
The exchange says: “Verification is not required if you plan to fund with Bitcoin, Ether, or Litecoin and then trade on the exchange for any other fiat or cryptocurrency.
It’s also not required for withdrawals across fiat money and bitcoin and altcoins. But verification is needed to fund an account with Canadian or US dollars.
Quadriga’s verification involves the following –
· ID and proof of address (for instance, you can scan your driver’s license or passport)
· Utility bill (scan)
· Selfie holding the proof of ID and write on a piece of paper that it’s for Quadriga with the date.
· The exchange has a partnership with Equifax that allows users to receive instant ID verification by providing information from their credit report (though considering the security breach at Equifax, you may want to rethink that one.)
Verifying your account gives you more funding options, higher Interact online limits and greater access to Electronic Funds Transfers.
There’s a mix of positive and negative reviews for QuadrigaCX. It seems to depend where you look. On Reddit, for instance, users are quicker to defend the exchange when there’s an issue, while on other social media platform such as Facebook, it can be open season on the exchange.
The key issues that tend to plague the trading platform are delayed withdrawals or lengthy account verification processes of up to several months. Users have complained about both issues.
Meanwhile, one Reddit poster had a problem with an EFT bank transfer in Canadian dollars, which still had not been completed after nearly two weeks. But another user was quick to point out that such wait times are typical on the platform, and that may be why the user had not received a response to their help ticket. Incidentally, the fellow poster suggested sending multiple tickets to the exchange about the same issue had been known to antagonize support staff and cause further delays, though this individual offered no proof.
On Twitter, a follower complained of having to wait nearly two months for account verification. Facebook followers had similar delays both for account verification and funding. They complained about unanswered support tickets and accused the exchange of stealing their money.
This poster encapsulates some of the frustration that users were feeling and is probably the most extreme of cases –
“This is the worst online business I have ever dealt with ever!!! QuadrigaCX has no idea what it’s doing because no one is home and responding to anyone. You are hereby notified to close acct … and refund original deposit to my bank! All copies of emails and tickets raised have been sent including original deposit receipt sent by QuadrigaCX to me are now on record with police and my bank. Close account and refund immediately.”
The delays seem to have been at their worst in the early months of 2018. When other exchanges experience similar problems, it’s generally a result of a flood of new users that the platform is unequipped to handle. It’s unclear what the source of the problem was at the Quadriga exchange, but it may have something to do with bank challenges. One user noted that the exchange no longer participated with this individual’s local bank, which could explain some of the other delays as well.
Eventually, QuadrigaCX acknowledged that it was experiencing a “backlog,” saying that their support team was on it and the issues should be resolved within a matter of days. They also posted the following apology on Facebook:
Quadriga urged users not to submit a help ticket as it only slows down the process.
There are also many positive reviews. The following tweet is a good example of a happy customer –
Quadriga says they offer 24/7 account verification, which can’t be beat even though they have experienced backlog at times. They post a customer service phone number of (604) 757-9660. If you have any trouble getting through, try reaching Mr. Cotton direct at [email protected] or by calling (604) 757-9660 (these were his contact details as of 2014.)
If you live in Canada, QuadrigaCX seems to be the top choice for a local exchange. It’s a good choice and convenient for funding an account for a local bank account with Canadian dollars, which isn’t always available at other exchanges. But users should wait until Quadriga works through its backlog. Otherwise, based on other users, they may be left hanging by support if there’s a problem.
There have been a few glitches, but the exchange has stepped up to the plate with these incidents. They have formed third-party partnerships including with Canadian regulators, and that’s more than many other exchanges have done. The exchange probably isn’t stealing anyone’s funds, but they should do a better job of communicating with anxious traders whose accounts appear to be in disarray.
But to be extra safe, you could always direct funds to an outside wallet, especially if you’re concerned that another security incident wouldn’t work out the same and could cripple the exchange’s funding capabilities.
While there’s always a risk with investing, and even more so in an environment that remains largely unregulated, QuadrigaCX scores high marks for trader security but could do better on customer service. Now if they could just increase the number of coins.