Risk Management and Crisis Response Blog

Extension and clarifications on the regulation of value-referenced cryptoassets

Apr 22, 2024 3 MIN READ
Laure Fouin

Partner, Corporate, Montréal

Matthew T. Burgoyne

Partner, Corporate, Calgary

Coins and banknotes

In a notable development, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) recently announced an extension to the compliance deadline for crypto trading platforms (CTPs) dealing with value-referenced cryptoassets (VRCAs), originally detailed in CSA Staff Notice 21-333, dated October 5, 2023 (October 2023 Staff Notice). This latest guidance, released on April 17, 2024, acknowledges many CTPs’ concerns regarding technical difficulties that they face in implementing the VRCA restrictions and reiterates the CSA’s ongoing call for industry feedback on how to regulate VRCA trading in Canada.


VRCAs are designed to maintain a stable value relative to a specified fiat currency or other stable asset. The primary focus within this category has been on fiat-backed cryptoassets (FBCAs), which aim to mirror the value of a single fiat currency through reserves maintained by the issuer. The October 2023 Staff Notice outlined conditions for CTPs to continue trading VRCAs, including a mandate to delist any VRCAs from their offerings by April 30, 2024, where the corresponding VRCA issuers did not meet specified requirements.

Key updates in the April 2024 guidance

The recent CSA guidance provides an extension of the original April 30, 2024, deadline to October 31, 2024. Since it is unknown whether any VRCA issuers intend to comply with the October 2023 Staff Notice, it is possible that CTPs may be compelled to delist all VRCAs from their platform. This could result in significant technical and user challenges, including reduced trading options, increased volatility and an impact on the liquidity of certain digital assets. The CSA cited technical challenges facing CTPs as the primary reason for extending the deadline to October 31, 2024.

Moreover, the CSA reiterates its invitation to CTPs and VRCA issuers to provide input on the eventual long-term regulatory framework for VRCAs. This ongoing dialogue is crucial as it opens the door for potential adjustments based on practical insights from the very entities most affected by these regulations.

Legal considerations and the broader regulatory landscape

It is critical to note that the positions expressed in both the October 2023 and the April 2024 CSA Staff Notices are indicative of Staff views and do not carry the force of law. The legal status of stablecoins as securities in Canada remains undetermined at this juncture. These Staff Notices serve as interim measures, awaiting a more definitive regulatory framework which may involve other regulators, such as the Bank of Canada.

Investors and market participants should be aware that compliance with the CSA’s interim terms does not equate to an endorsement or approval of a particular VRCA. Nor does it imply that a VRCA is safe or fully compliant with Canadian securities laws. Each VRCA, even if meeting the interim conditions, carries its own set of risks, distinct from traditional fiat currencies.


The extension of the compliance deadline is a significant development for CTPs and VRCA issuers, providing them with additional time to address technical issues and align with regulatory expectations. However, it also serves as a reminder of the fluid nature of CSA Staff guidance on cryptocurrency regulation. The CSA’s ongoing request for feedback in its Staff Notices suggest the CSA’s desire to show that it is open to a collaborative approach to future regulations, potentially paving the way for more comprehensive governance of digital currencies in Canada. The results of this approach, at least as they relate to VRCA regulation, have yet to be determined.

CTPs and other stakeholders are encouraged to participate actively in the discussions around these regulations, contributing to a regulatory framework that supports innovation while protecting investors. The evolution of VRCA regulations will likely serve as a bellwether for broader digital asset regulations globally.