For long-time fans of crypto, the success of bitcoin and its competitors has left something to be desired. Though bitcoin is now worth tens of thousands of dollars and is popular, it is still far from mainstream. Even when it comes to trading, cryptocurrency has been limited to niche platforms. That is, until now.
Canadian broker Wealthsimple has recently added the option to buy crypto to its functions.
As one of the best-known Canadian brokerages, this is a step towards crypto becoming mainstream. Other brokerages have teased crypto capabilities with Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). But with ETFs, you never actually own the cryptocurrency. You’re merely trading it through the brokerage.
What exactly does this mean for the future of cryptocurrency? And should you switch to Wealthsimple?
Here’s what you need to know…
Apps like Robinhood are popular in the U.S for the ability to trade cryptocurrencies. They have made a huge impact on the trading world by making trading more accessible to the average person.
But their value proposition is that they represent outsiders, as is inherent in a name like Robinhood. Wealthsimple, on the other hand, is an investment firm that has, until now, focused on traditional trading. They have mainly targeted millennials, marketing themselves as a fintech, but exist in the mainstream.
The fact that Canadians can buy crypto next to traditional assets may be a sign of things ahead. Cryptocurrency is still nowhere near becoming the norm, but it is staking its place in the financial sphere.
Should I Use Wealthsimple?
For Canadians who want to trade crypto without resorting to ETFs, Wealthsimple is a good option.
Yet, there is a caveat. If crypto is all you trade, there are other options that have been around for longer. CoinSmart and Bitbuy, for example, are excellent apps for this purpose alone.
But if you are interested in trading beyond cryptocurrency, Wealthsimple has no strong competitors. Hence, with Wealthsimple, you can easily add crypto to your portfolio, with 34 coins to select from.
This is not to say that Wealthsimple is a flawless platform. While they are a well-known brand in Canada, their platform is lacking (and often buggy). The account options are limited and you will struggle to get customer support. When using a robo-trader like Wealthsimple, customer support can be very important.
Therefore, Wealthsimple isn’t the best option for those who have no intention to trade cryptocurrency. They best serve those who want a mixed portfolio, not excelling singly at traditional or crypto trading.
Will Other Brokers Follow Suit?
Many Canadians hope that popular brokerages like Qtrade and Questrade follow suit with crypto trading. Right now, they offer ETFs but have not disclosed intentions to introduce crypto any time soon.
With Wealthsimple pioneering in this area, we may see others following suit, but this is far from assured. Wealthsimple markets itself as a fintech firm and technology like crypto is what excites its target market. Qtrade and Questrade are more traditional, with traders who are happy with the options they offer.
If you are hoping for cryptocurrency to become more mainstream, there is still a long long way to go. However, it is clear that companies willing to disrupt are intent on making it more accessible to traders. Hopefully, this translates to more practical uses for cryptocurrencies in the near future.