We compare the costs and rewards of two of the top spread-based apps for buying bitcoin in Canada.
Disclaimer: This article is not providing any investment advice or recommendations. We are simply comparing platforms for investing in bitcoin, not encouraging you to do so. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are inherently risky and volatile assets, so only invest in them if your risk tolerance allows it and you are using funds that you are prepared to potentially lose.
Update 2 (April 17, 2021): Updated to reflect Shakepay’s new daily reward schedule and signup bonus, as well as more recent bitcoin prices.
Update (February 3, 2021): Updated to reflect Shakepay’s new reward schedule & more recent bitcoin prices.
Note: I originally wrote this article on December 27, 2020. If you had followed the bitcoin purchase schedule below at that time, your $200 CAD invested into bitcoin would now be worth $581.16 on Shakepay and $562.33 on Newton (including signup bonuses and rewards, using today’s BTC price of $75,215.47 CAD). If you kept up with your daily Shakepay rewards as well, you would now have an additional $114.88 worth of bitcoin! Sign up now with both apps at the following links to get your referral bonuses and start investing in bitcoin:
Shakepay ($10 bonus after investing $100): https://shakepay.me/r/3RGW80L (Code: 3RGW80L)
Newton ($25 bonus after investing $100): web.newton.co/r/JF6UWQ (Code: JF6UWQ)
Now, enjoy the original comparative analysis:
With bitcoin breaking records multiple times this month, many Canadians are wondering which app to use to buy bitcoin? Today, I’ll provide a comparison of two of the most popular Canadian cryptocurrency apps: Shakepay and Newton. Both use a spread-based model for their fees, so I’ll include calculations on which platform gives more value for your hard-earned dollars.
Wait, what’s a bitcoin spread?
There are a lot of options out there for buying cryptocurrencies in Canada, so one way to narrow down your choices is to look at how the companies charge their fees. There isn’t an option that is truly free to buy bitcoin at the market price, as these are all companies that need to generate revenue. From a quick scan of Canadian options, there are two main models for fees: spread-based and fee-based.
Fee-based apps charge either a flat fee (sometimes called maker/taker fees) or a percentage fee for every transaction. A flat-fee model is more appealing for large transactions, as the price you pay doesn’t scale with your investment. But, today I’m going to use small amounts in my calculations (which will likely be similar to first-time bitcoin investors). Smaller amounts make spread-based fees more appealing.
The quoted spread on a cryptocurrency (like bitcoin) is the range above the market price that you would pay to buy and the range below the market price you would receive to sell. This way the company earns a bit off of each transaction to offset their internal costs for offering this service and generate some revenue, so their company can grow! Both Shakepay and Newton use a spread-based fee structure, so this is what I’ll be focusing on today.
Shakepay vs. Newton: Overview
Before I dive into how much bitcoin you will get for using Shakepay or Newton, I’ll overview what factors I’ll be comparing the platforms on.
- Referral Bonuses: Each platform offers a signup bonus if you were referred from an existing client. I’ll compare each referral offer and provide you with referral links and codes so you can earn the bonus for yourself! Note: Both platforms have a holiday offer on right now with a larger bonus. Scroll down to the referral section and take advantage of these offers before they go away!
- Spread Price: Which platform will give you more bitcoin for the same amount of money? And should you want to sell the bitcoin back for Canadian dollars, which will net you more afterwards.
- Other App Features & Benefits: Do the apps offer other cryptocurrencies beside bitcoin? Any interesting features? Are there other ways to earn beyond just investing?
- Scenario Analysis: We compare both apps in a short-term bitcoin investment scenario. See which app yields more bitcoin.
Don’t want to read through everything? Skip ahead to the verdict to find out which app is our choice for buying bitcoin in Canada.
Signup Process and Funding Options
Before I get into the comparison, I thought I should write a quick overview of the signup process and funding options for each platform. I will say that I encountered no issues signing up and funding either app. I found both processes to be quick and without error. Scanning online for other people’s experiences does lead me to believe that Shakepay has an easier signup process across the board. I saw a few negative comments about Newton’s process citing some issues that I didn’t encounter.
For funding options, both companies have Interac E-Transfers as an option. For Newton, this process is initiated from within the app, meaning that it requests a transfer from your bank that you have to approve. Shakepay, on the other hand, gives you an email address, security question, and answer to use for a transfer that you initiate with your bank. I’ve funded both platforms multiple times with e-transfers and haven’t run into any issues yet.
Both Shakepay and Newton offer a referral reward for new users. The terms of each are very similar. To earn the reward, you need to signup using a referral link (below) and/or use a referral code (also below) during your signup process. Then, after investing your first $100 CAD in one of their available cryptocurrencies, you get either $25 for Newton or $10 for Shakepay. The best part is, they give this bonus both to the new client and the one who referred you. So if you choose to sign up for either app using my code, you’d be supporting me for putting together this article at no cost to you! Then, afterwards you can start referring your friends using your code and get even more free money to invest in cryptocurrencies!
Here are the links you can use to get each bonus:
To get a free $25 use this link to signup for Newton and invest $100 CAD in any cryptocurrency.
Make sure during the signup process it shows this code JF6UWQ as who referred you. Keep that code handy in case there are any issues during your signup. You can message it to support afterwards if your bonus doesn’t come through.
To get a free $10 (and access another feature that I’ll outline below) use this link to signup for Shakepay and invest $100 CAD in bitcoin or ethereum.
Make sure during the signup process it shows this code: 3RGW80L as who referred you. Keep that code handy in case there are any issues during your signup. You can message it to support afterwards if your bonus doesn’t come through.
So, which company has the better referral program? Newton’s bonus is higher, so it wins here, but if you don’t mind using multiple platforms, have $200 available, and are interested in putting it into crypto, why not sign up with both? $35 is better than either $25 or $10 in my mind!
Bitcoin Spread Price
For both companies, there are two aspects to the spread, the buy and sell spread. To give a simple example to show this, I’m going to assume you are investing the $100 mentioned above in each platform and then instantly selling it before the price of Bitcoin changes. Obviously this isn’t realistic as the price of Bitcoin fluctuates constantly and there would be no reason to do that, other than an instant wave of regret! Here’s hoping you don’t feel that as you start your cryptocurrency journey!
At the time of writing (December 27, 2020), the market price for bitcoin in CAD was $33,718.14. On Shakepay, the buy and sell prices at the same time were $34,138.86 and $33,270.37, respectively. This means that Shakepay offers a 1.25% spread on buying Bitcoin and a 1.33% spread on selling. So, for your initial $100 CAD, you would get $98.75 CAD of Bitcoin. When you then instantly sell it, you would get $97.44 CAD back. This yields an overall total spread of 2.58%.
Once again, at the time of writing, the market price for bitcoin in CAD was $33,718.14. On Newton, the buy and sell prices at the same time were $33,904.50 and $33,496.40, respectively. This means that Newton offers a 0.55% spread on buying Bitcoin and a 0.66% spread on selling. So, for your initial $100 CAD, you would get $99.45 CAD of Bitcoin. When you then instantly sell it, you would get $98.79 CAD back. This yields an overall total spread of 1.21%.
Obviously in both cases it makes no sense to buy and sell this quickly. But, comparing the two total spreads gives Newton the edge. After I go over some quick notes on other features of each app, I’ll do some deeper calculations to show you how these spreads play out over a longer horizon.
Other Features & Benefits
Both Newton and Shakepay have other features that make them appealing apps to use. Shakepay is useful for sending and receiving both cryptocurrencies they offer (Bitcoin and Ethereum) as well as Canadian dollars. I’ve used Shakepay as a way to quickly pay back my friends who are also users. They also offer more options for buying than Newton. On Shakepay you can set a limit price for your order and even set up a regular recurring buy.
Newton, on the other hand, offers a wider array of cryptocurrencies (10 currently), including several USD and CAD stablecoins. This makes them more robust of an exchange and allows users to diversify their portfolio further than in Shakepay.
But, Shakepay takes the cake for the strangest (and most addictive) feature. Any user than has either been referred or referred another user, gets access to #ShakingSats. Having stupidly signed up for Shakepay without being referred by anyone, I only discovered this feature after seeing how many users are tweeting Shakepay about it. But once I got that first referral, I have to say I’m hooked. Don’t make the mistake I did and start using the app without it!
(Here’s my referral link/code as a reminder: https://shakepay.me/r/3RGW80L Code: 3RGW80L)
How #ShakingSats works is once per day, while in the Shakepay app, you literally shake your phone (I kid you not) and they give you a small amount of Bitcoin (Note: Sats refers to Satoshis, the unit that makes up a fractional amount of Bitcoin, they’re the cents to Bitcoin’s dollar, but at a much smaller scale). Every day that you keep this streak going, the amount they give you increases, up to a maximum amount for a 201-day streak. Keep the streak going beyond that and you get the max amount every day!
How much bitcoin do you get for #ShakingSats?
Shakepay published a #ShakingSats reward schedule here. The rewards are quoted and distributed in Satoshis (Bitcoin) so their value fluctuates with the price of Bitcoin. At the time of writing (February 3, 2021 bitcoin price: $75,215.47 CAD), the initial 1-day streak reward is worth $0.11 CAD, which isn’t much. But, get to the maximized 201-day streak and your reward is worth $1.13 CAD every day! Getting that daily adds up, so I’m definitely going to include it in the calculations below.
Scenario Analysis: Which app yields more bitcoin?
To determine whether Shakepay or Newton yields more value for investing in bitcoin in Canada, I’m going to set up a quick scenario. In it, I’m going to use a dollar-cost averaging strategy to invest beyond the initial deposit and rewards. This means investing the same dollar amount at regular intervals over time (i.e. $10 a day, $100 a month, etc). Again, not giving investment advice here, but dollar-cost averaging is a strategy that tends to shield investors from fluctuating asset prices. It’s essentially the opposite of “playing the market.”
Scenario: Ten Days of Investing in Bitcoin
I’m going to hop in my time machine and go back 11 days from today to start investing in bitcoin with both Shakepay and Newton. For both apps, I’ll assume I get approved right away, fund my account instantly and put that entire amount into Bitcoin (to get my referral bonus). I’ll also assume the referral bonus arrives the day after I sign up. For each day after the first, I’ll invest $10 in Bitcoin until we make ten daily purchases. This means total, I’ll have invested $200 for in each app.
Here is a table that outlines what this process yields at Newton:
So, for Newton, at the end of the experiment, I have $228.14, which I could sell at their 0.66% spread for $226.64. This means a profit of $26.64 over my $200 investment through the course of the experiment by using Newton to buy bitcoin.
Here is a table that outlines what this process yields at Shakepay (Note: The the table is slightly more complex, because of the addition of the daily #ShakingSats rewards):
So, for Shakepay, at the end of the experiment, I have $212.64, which I could sell at their 1.33% spread for $209.81. This means a profit of $9.81 over my $200 investment through the course of the experiment by using Shakepay to buy bitcoin.
Figure 3 below charts the result of investing in each app over the course of the experiment.
Here, Newton comes out on top, but it’s pretty close! Using Newton earns an extra $15.51 over ten days. But, what’s important to consider here is how valuable the #ShakingSats rewards get over time. Regardless of how much I invest daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly, I can add to my bitcoin account value by logging into Shakepay daily and earning their shaking reward.
If I was to keep up the streak for a whole year, I would have amassed a FREE 0.00454 in bitcoin! By today’s price, that’s worth $341.44 CAD. You’d have to have a pretty large savings account balance to rival that for yearly rewards in a traditional bank!
Verdict: Which Canadian Crypto App should you use to buy bitcoin?
Better Referral Bonus: Newton
Tighter Spreads: Newton
Other Features: Both have benefits, but Shakepay wins for #ShakingSats
Investment Scenario: Newton
Based on the factors above, the clear winner here is Newton. They have a higher referral reward and their buying and selling prices are better. Plus, if you’re looking to diversify beyond bitcoin and ethereum, they give you more options.
That being said, over time, Shakepay’s #ShakingSats rewards more than make up for their slightly wider spreads. If you’re ok adding a daily shake into your routine, then using Shakepay is a great way to accumulate bitcoin over time without a lot of personal investment.
There are clearly benefits to both apps, and as I said above, it maximizes your rewards to earn the referral bonus on both. I actively use both apps (and a few others that I’ll discuss in future articles) so you definitely can too! Once again to close things out, I’ll remind you of the referral offers:
Sign up with Newton using this link: web.newton.co/r/JF6UWQ, Referral Code: JF6UWQ to get $25 after buying $100 CAD of cryptocurrency.
Sign up with Shakepay using this link: https://shakepay.me/r/3RGW80L, Referral Code: 3RGW80L to get $10 and access to #ShakingSats after buying $100 CAD of cryptocurrency.
Thanks for taking the time to read my article! You can always reach out to me by emailing email@example.com.
Disclaimer: This article is not providing any investment advice or recommendations. We are only comparing platforms for investing in bitcoin, not encouraging you to do so. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are inherently risky and volatile assets, so only invest in them if your risk tolerance allows it and you are using funds that you are prepared to potentially lose.