Ontario Regulator 'Gathering Information' on Crypto Trading Platforms

The province's securities regulator is gathering information after receiving numerous complaints.

AccessTimeIconApr 9, 2018 at 2:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:47 a.m. UTC

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is looking into the activities of cryptocurrency trading platforms that are operating in the province.

Kristen Rose, an OSC spokeswoman, said Friday that the agency has received "a number of complaints" about platforms selling cryptocurrencies that may qualify as securities.

"These platforms,  and any businesses that allow coins/tokens that are securities to trade on them, may be offside securities laws," she added.

Under Ontario law, exchanges must apply for recognition by the commision. These applications require firms to describe aspects of their business, including corporate governance, operations, access requirements, fees and financial viability.

None of the platforms the OSC is looking into have been legally recognized as exchanges in the province, nor have any of them been granted an exemption from the regulation.

The commission indicated that its effort isn't a full-bore investigation, as Rose made it clear that at this stage, the OSC is only "gathering information about [the platforms'] activities."

The OSC recently published a document laying out its priorities for the current fiscal year, with a noticeable focus on cryptocurrencies. The regulator described its goal as providing consumer protection while allowing innovation and capital formation to proceed without disruption.

Still, the OSC said that initial coin offerings (ICOs) in particular "present significant investor protection issues." Ontario's stance towards ICOs is not necessarily hostile, however: the OSC approved TokenFunder's sale in October.

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