Canada: How Should Canada Regulate Digital Asset Exchanges?

Although the Bitcoin craze has recently fallen by the wayside, parties interested in digital and crypto-assets continue to press forward despite unclear regulations. This remains true in Canada, where the regulatory framework is still under development. Toronto Finance International and Norton Rose Fulbright recently hosted two panel discussions exploring the trends and emerging issues in the regulation of this sphere.

Members of the first panel consisted of three partners from Norton Rose Fulbright: Hannah Meakin, John Kim, and Anthony de Fazekas, Head of Technology and Innovation for Norton Rose Fulbright Canada. The discussion focused on the regulatory trends in digital and crypto-assets in Canada and worldwide.

The panel identified some of the difficulties associated with creating a regulatory framework for digital and crypto-asset exchanges. One of the problems that Canada and other jurisdictions must solve is how to address the fact that these newer exchanges incorporate many roles, such as custodians and transfer agents, which are outside the scope of traditional exchanges. Such issues may prompt Canadian regulators to forgo modifying existing securities regulation in favour of creating a bespoke framework for digital and crypto-assets.

While Canada does not have a regulatory framework for digital and crypto-asset exchanges, development is underway, as evidenced by the recent CSA/IIROC consultation paper 21-402. This paper summarizes key issues regulators are focused on, of which the panel noted that regulators are particularly concerned with custody, mandatory safeguards, mandatory disclosures, insurance, price determination, and market integrity requirements. One of the main goals of regulation is to enable the creation, transfer, and exchange of these digital assets, given their new importance and the growing interest in tokenization and innovative digital assets, all of which is being driven by the expanding deployment of blockchain across enterprises.

Digital fiat currencies backed by a central bank, also known as Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), are also a topic that Canada and other jurisdictions are looking into. Recently, Norton Rose Fulbright advised NZIA Limited on the development and implementation of a CBDC for the Central Bank of the Bahamas. About 60 central banks are considering implementing CBDCs. If CBDCs increase in popularity, there is a possibility that regulators may begin to view cryptocurrencies less like currency, and more like securities.

The panel stressed the importance of expanding the discussion beyond Canada, since businesses are looking to scale globally. While digital and crypto-asset exchanges are mostly unregulated in Europe, there are regulations which capture crypto-assets that resemble securities. However, cryptocurrecies that function as pure currencies enjoy a lack of regulation. In light of the difficulties associated with creating a regulatory framework for this area, the European Securities and Markets Authority has focused its efforts on addressing the AML risk and educating buyers about the risks of crypto-assets. However, some member states, such as Malta, have taken unilateral action in an attempt to position itself as a crypto-friendly nation. Countries in Asia have taken a less uniform stance. China has banned crypto-asset exchanges, while Japan will regulate those exchanges under its current payment services legislation. Hong Kong has adopted an approach similar to Europe, while Singapore is continuing to create bespoke legislation.

The second panel comprised of David Wismer, Managing Director of BMO Capital Markets, Cole Diamond, CEO & Co-Founder of Coinsquare, and Blair Wiley, General Counsel & Head of Regulatory Affairs for WealthSimple. These panellists shared their practical experience in dealing with the current regulatory scheme on digital and crypto-assets and offered insight into next steps in this area.

The panellists underscored the importance of education for all parties involved. While the public is becoming more familiar with the volatility that is often associated with crypto-assets, there is still a lot of fear and misinformation in this space. Businesses dealing with crypto-assets are investing in educating consumers and regulators alike, but the task may be too onerous for the private sector to handle alone. Instead, a concerted effort with government and business is required.

The private sector has outpaced regulators, putting some businesses in a position where they are unable to comply with the current securities regulations. Regulators are aware of this legislative gap and are taking steps to ensure that such business can be properly regulated. However, in light of the controversy surrounding QuadrigaCX 's loss of over $200 million in assets, the panel agreed there is a strong need to establish some sort of oversight. Whether that means implementing imperfect regulations to prevent another incident or waiting to establish better regulations remains up for debate.

Looking ahead, Blair Wiley was optimistic about seeing more institutional support, especially once the space is regulated. Cole Diamond hopes that Canada can become a regulatory leader, noting that Toronto is a major blockchain hub where Ethereum was founded. David Wismer highlighted that many applications of blockchain are solutions in search of a problem, though there is potential for this technology to substantially revamp financial systems as we know them.


About Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Norton Rose Fulbright is a global law firm. We provide the world's preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have 3800 lawyers and other legal staff based in more than 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Recognized for our industry focus, we are strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare.

Wherever we are, we operate in accordance with our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity. We aim to provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of our offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of contact.

For more information about Norton Rose Fulbright, see nortonrosefulbright.com/legal-notices.

Law around the world
nortonrosefulbright.com

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions