Two years after peak crypto, Bitcoin has faded from the political conversation – CBC News

Matthew T. Burgoyne

Nov 3, 2023

A couple of years ago, when Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies reached all-time highs in value, both politicians and the general public were wondering how they could be regulated and integrated into the financial system. Now, cryptocurrency is conspicuously absent from the mainstream political conversation in Canada and several members of Parliament who had previously listed crypto in their public asset disclosure forms no longer do.

In June, a parliamentary committee studying crypto issued its report, saying crypto could generate “significant long-term economic and job creation opportunities in Canada.” However, the government did not commit to following the report’s recommendations.

Absent clear direction from governments on how to regulate the sector, Osler partner Matthew Burgoyne, Co-Chair of the firm’s Digital Assets and Blockchain group, tells CBC News that the responsibility for handling emerging regulatory issues in cryptocurrency has fallen to independent regulators. This includes the Canadian Securities Administrators, which has published several “staff notices” on cryptocurrency in recent years.

“They're not law. They don't have the force of law,” Matt explains. “But what's happened is most cryptocurrency companies in Canada, primarily trading platforms, have followed staff's suggestions.” As a result, those staff notices become “de facto” law.

Still, explicit guidance from the government would help clarify the legal and regulatory situation around cryptocurrency, and perhaps encourage the industry to continue to develop new technology and help unlock its full economic potential.

“I think in this environment it's just important for the federal government to take a stand and I think that would alleviate some confusion,” Matt says.

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