The securities regulator for the Canadian province of Ontario has said it will be looking to address investor protection issues associated with blockchain and cryptocurrency in the upcoming fiscal year.
In a statement of priorities released by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) on Thursday, the Commission stated that “blockchain-based cryptocurrencies” were a new technology that created further complexity in the financial markets and put investors with limited knowledge of the new technology at a greater risk.
Under its mandate to provide investor protection, stability and reduce systemic risk, the OSC said it would identify issues and “regulatory gaps” arising from cryptocurrency, as well as blockchain and ICOs and will monitor and review Ottawa’s reporting issuers: companies whose cryptocurrencies are publicly traded.
The Commission also said that ICOs “raise fundamental issues about the scope of securities regulation, at the same time that they present significant protection issues” and will further consider how future coin offerings match existing securities regulation. The OSC regulates the largest capitals market in Canada, including Ottawa: the country’s capital.
In June 2014, the Federal Government of Canada passed the first national law on digital currencies, following an amendment to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Funding Act (PCMLTF).
According to the amendment, reportedly still not in force, businesses dealing in cryptocurrency will be required to register with the Federal Financial Intelligence Unit (FINTRAC). Banks would be prohibited from dealing with unregistered companies.
On Monday, Canada’s Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) met to review Canada’s existing legislation on cryptocurrency. In a discussion paper published in February, the Committee noted that much has changed in the virtual currency space since the amendment was passed.
On the 22nd of March, Carolyn Wilkins, the Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, called on global authorities to collaborate in creating a set of international policies on cryptocurrency. Speaking at a conference hosted by the University of Toronto, Wilkins said: “The crypto world is moving fast, and is largely unchecked.”
This post has been updated to correct the name of the province referenced: it is Ontario, and not Ottawa, as previously published.