Coinbase Says Canadian License Makes It Country's Biggest Registered Crypto Exchange

The U.S. exchange announced it had achieved "restricted dealer" status, furthering its expansion into Canada that began last year.

AccessTimeIconApr 4, 2024 at 5:55 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 4, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now
  • Canadian regulators have granted Coinbase a "restricted dealer" registration, that clears a path for the exchange to operate there.
  • Coinbase has been seeking to expand in Canada since last year, even as it fights U.S. regulators for similar considerations.

Coinbase's expansion into Canada has cleared the hurdle of a "restricted dealer" registration, the company said on Thursday, making it the biggest registered crypto exchange in that jurisdiction.

The U.S. exchange had been seeking this status from the Canadian Securities Administrators since the country set up new crypto policies last year, and the new registration signed by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) sets Coinbase on a path of government-approved operation that has so far eluded it in the U.S.

“This is a significant milestone in Coinbase’s journey in Canada,” said Lucas Matheson, the CEO of Coinbase Canada, in a statement. He said the exchange will keep working with Canadian partners "to accelerate the adoption of digital assets, foster economic empowerment, and reshape the financial system.”

Coinbase had previously hired 200 people to work on a tailored platform for Canada – its second-largest hub globally after the U.S. – and established a payment rails system with Peoples Trust.

"While registered as a restricted dealer, the Filer intends to apply for registration as an investment dealer, and to seek membership with the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO, formerly IIROC) and registration as an alternative trading system (ATS)," according to the approval dated April 3, making Coinbase the tenth firm to receive the designation.

In the U.S., Coinbase has been battling with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over claims that it's operating illegally and offering unregistered securities to investors. Coinbase has contended in federal court that the SEC is asking for the impossible because U.S. securities laws as-written don't allow for crypto firms to do business.

Edited by Aoyon Ashraf.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.