Welcome to the maple leaf country. And if you are a Bitcoin enthusiast, some positive developments are welcome news. The Canadian government announced early in 2018 that it would earmark resources through the Bank of Canada to study blockchain. This news has had a positive impact. The TMX group, a company that operates in the cash and derivatives, market announced in March 2018 that it will launch a cryptocurrency exchange. A number of corporates joined the crypto bandwagon. GoldMoney Inc, a Toronto-based company that specialises in special metals investment services, added Bitcoin to its holdings. This change in scenario should be viewed against the backdrop of a lukewarm regulatory perception towards cryptocurrency not so long ago.
The regulatory scenario in Canada
Canada allows use of digital currencies for buying goods and services on the internet and in stores. Investors can even buy and sell digital currencies on open exchanges. Canada’s tax laws apply to digital currency transactions. The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has characterised cryptocurrency as a commodity and not a government-issued currency. The CRA further states that Goods and Services Tax and Harmonised Sales Tax apply to digital currency transactions.
However, although the regulators permitted investment in cryptocurrencies, various banks have not offered any encouragement. Early in 2018, in a move against the growing digital currency trend, the Bank of Montreal announced that it would not allow its credit card and debit card customers to purchase cryptocurrencies with their cards. Prior to that, Toronto Dominion Bank had asked its customers to refrain from buying digital currencies, while the Royal Bank of Canada stated that it would allow digital currency transactions only “in limited circumstances”. Such announcements dampened the spirits of Bitcoin enthusiasts in Canada. Nevertheless, a perceptible change in attitude is a new driving force and people are able to buy Bitcoin in Canada simply and safely through regulated exchanges. The regulators took notice of the growing popularity of Bitcoin and the keen interest of Canadians in investing in the original cryptocurrency.
Instead of continuing with the stance of cautioning investors against investing in Bitcoin, Bank of Canada took the positive approach, instead studying the trends in Bitcoin trading to create investor awareness. It published the Omnibus Bitcoin Survey (BTCOS) that made efforts to identify trends that led to the steep rise and fall in the price of Bitcoin over the last one year. According to the Study, ownership of Bitcoin in Canada grew from 2.9% to 5% as of 2017, but awareness about Bitcoin increased 85%. Yet another major discovery that came from the study was that half of the Bitcoin holders bought it as an investment rather than as a transaction.
Bitcoin investment in Canada has withstood the rigour of bans by banks, which has not dampened the spirit of Bitcoin enthusiasts. Yet another data point from BTCOS shows that Canadians own approximately 1.9 million Bitcoins in total, indicating the rising interest in Bitcoin. In 2018, Bitcoin grabbed the headlines and eventually even made its way into the debate about becoming a part of the Canada Pension Plan.
The Bitcoin community in Canada is growing. Vancouver alone boasts of 86 merchants accepting Bitcoin and 48 Bitcoin ATMs. Further, even as the Canadian government is warming up to cryptocurrency, the Chinese authorities are cracking down on miners. This, along with a 5% Bitcoin population, makes Canada a prime destination for Bitcoin.
If you’re interested in trading popular cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, you should take a look at Total Crypto’s guide to trading on Binance, one of the more popular exchange platforms.