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The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), the country’s top securities regulatory, is launching a new fintech “sandbox” program aimed at blockchain startups and other firms working with financial technology.

Launched today, the initiative joins a growing body of similar efforts undertaken by regulators worldwide, including those in Singapore, Taiwan and the UK, among other places. The idea, backers say, is to curate an environment in which companies can test new kinds of financial products – like a distributed ledger or digital currency – without materially impacting the broader marketplace.

Among the types of firms being solicited for the initiative are "cryptocurrency or distributed ledger technology based ventures", according to statements from the CSA.

Louis Morisset, chair of the CSA, said of the launch:

"The objective of this initiative is to facilitate the ability of those businesses to use innovative products, services and applications all across Canada, while ensuring appropriate investor protection."

While it remains to be seen which kind of companies ultimately enter the sandbox, the timing of its launch comes amid a broader push toward blockchain within Canada, including among its banking sector. Perhaps most notably to date, the Canadian central bank has been testing a distributed ledger-based digital currency.

Dubbed "Project Jasper", the initiative has seen the Bank of Canada trial the tech alongside a group of domestic banks and startup R3. The Bank of Canada has also indicated that it would consider further blockchain tests in the future.

Image via Shutterstock

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