The wealth management app Wealthsimple now supports cryptocurrency trading. Wealthsimple has a partnership with the cryptocurrency brokerage Gemini, according to Betakit. That means Gemini, and other cryptocurrency brokerages, can add crypto trading as a feature for other Canadian fintechs as well. Canadian neobanks, wealth management apps, and stock trading apps can use integrations to make cryptocurrency trading available on their own platforms without a lot of extra work. They just need to connect their fintech apps to the brokerages’ APIs.
This is important for the future of Canadian superapps, fintech apps that provide access to several financial services for their users. Canadian investors can already open an account with Gemini directly, and the brokerage has a page for Canadian investors. But the point of a superapp is that you don’t have to use multiple brokerage apps to monitor your investments. If you have a Wealthsimple account, for example, you can trade cryptocurrency through that app because it sets up a Gemini account for you and is integrated with the Gemini platform. Wealthsimple also has its own prepaid VISA debit card, so I consider Wealthsimple a neobank as well.
The trade-off is that you can trade more cryptocurrencies if you open an account with Gemini directly. Wealthsimple supports at least 16 currencies (bitcoin, ethereum, and 14 new ones) but Gemini lists more than 40 cryptocurrencies as available in Canada. But it’s likely that Wealthsimple will add support for more cryptocurrencies in the future. Another factor to consider is support for cryptocurrency trading from other Canadian fintechs. So I decided to look around to see if any other well-known Canadian fintech apps supported cryptocurrency trading. It turns out that some of them do.
Mogo Offers Bitcoin Trading
Mogo has offered Bitcoin trading since 2018, and the main selling point for this service is low fees. This neobank charges a 1 percent commission on trades. As Mogo explains, the fee is lower than the annual fees that Canadian bitcoin ETFs charge, which are in the 1.95 percent range. And that fee will likely be less than the fees charged by other Canadian neobanks as well. For example, Wealthsimple charges a fee of 1.5 percent to 2 percent on crypto trades.
Right now, Mogo’s just offering Bitcoin trading. But it owns a 39 percent stake in Coinsquare, its partner cryptocurrency brokerage. And Coinsquare currently lists 10 cryptocurrencies it supports on its web page. So it would be possible for Mogo to offer trading for other coins through Coinsquare, and Mogo says that it plans to support additional cryptocurrencies in the near future. Coinsquare, like Gemini, also offers an API and is set up to support cryptocurrency trading at other Canadian fintechs.
Koho Is Working on An Unique Feature
Koho has a few articles on its website explaining the risks of cryptocurrency trading but doesn’t appear to offer it as a product feature right now. But Koho does discuss feature requests from its customers on Trello. And in February 2021, Aaron Cheng, VP of Product at Koho, said that Koho is working on a cryptocurrency feature.
But Koho doesn’t want to offer the same cryptocurrency trading service that other Canadian fintechs offer. And that makes sense. If Koho offered an integration with Gemini or Coinsquare, for example, that feature wouldn’t be unique. It’ll be interesting to see what feature Koho introduces later, though.
Stack and Neo Financial Do Not Mention Crypto Trading
It doesn’t appear that the neobanks Stack or Neo Financial offer cryptocurrency trading right now, and I didn’t see any articles or press releases mentioning plans to offer this feature. While neobanks are more comfortable with cryptocurrency trading than traditional banks, that doesn’t mean that all of them will support cryptocurrency trading.
The Choice Is Cost Versus Selection
Wealthsimple offers the broadest selection of cryptocurrencies and would likely be the best choice right now for Canadian investors who plan to actively trade them. Right now, Mogo offers bitcoin trading with low fees and can offer exposure to bitcoin as an asset, but it doesn’t offer trading for other cryptocurrencies at the moment. So I’d say that Wealthsimple wins this comparison right now but that could change depending on what Mogo does with Coinsquare.