Grant Vingoe, CEO of the Ontario Securities Commission, reiterated the regulator’s technology-neutral stance on crypto while saying many Canadians planned to become hodlers in the near future.
In a keynote address before the Economic Club of Canada on Oct. 6, Vingoe said the regulatory fundamentals of stocks and bonds were equally applicable to crypto contracts, with the “vast majority of crypto-based entities” falling within the OSC’s jurisdiction. According to the OSC head, the regulator largely considered Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) to be commodities, while “arrangements that trading platforms have with investors” constituted securities.
“As securities regulators, none of the characteristics of crypto assets or their underlying technology, either positive or negative, drives our regulatory approach,” said Vingoe. “We are not here to pick winners and losers among investments. We take a careful and technology-neutral approach to all new products that come into our market, and we apply the same reasoning in assessing them.”
He added that the growing crypto market becoming interconnected to the financial system potentially posed a concern, citing the collapse of digital asset exchange QuadrigaCX:
“We know from our own research (being published later this month) that more than 30 per cent of Canadians plan to buy crypto assets in the next year [...] It is a challenge to bar non-compliant firms from offering services in Canada. With a limited budget and finite Enforcement staff to cover our entire capital markets, there is only so much we can do. But we are making progress.”
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The Canada-based regulator has taken enforcement actions against crypto firms Bybit and KuCoin, largely claiming violation of securities laws and operating unregistered crypto asset trading platforms. As of Aug. 15, nine companies are listed as registered crypto businesses under the OSC, including Fidelity Digital Assets, Newton Crypto and Bitbuy.