Canada Unveils New Bank Capital Rules for Crypto Holdings

New rules for banks and insurers are based on international norms, regulators said.

AccessTimeIconJul 26, 2023 at 2:58 p.m. UTC

Canadian regulators on Wednesday unveiled capital plans for banks and insurers who hold crypto assets, in a consultation open until Sept. 20.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions said it was basing its proposals on those put forward by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in December, which could determine the extent to which the traditional financial system gets on board with blockchain innovations.

“Deposit-taking institutions and insurers need clarity on how to treat crypto-asset exposures when it comes to capital and liquidity,” said Peter Routledge, Superintendent of Financial Institutions, in a statement. “We look forward to giving them this clarity through these new guidelines that reflect industry input and international standards.”

The plans give banks the choice between a more comprehensive formula which differentiates among crypto based on perceived risk, or a simpler but less discriminating option.

In December, international standard-setters proposed to treat unbacked crypto as the riskiest kind of asset for banks to hold, with lenders limited in how much bitcoin (BTC) or ether (ETH) they can hold. Jurisdictions such as the European Union have already taken measures to legislate those changes.


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Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.