The Canadian Senate’s Banking, Trade and Commerce (BTC) committee released its final report Friday asking the federal government to use a “light touch” in dealing with digital currencies.
“We’ve heard, and we agree, that blockchain technology is at a delicate stage in its development and use,” the report reads. “This is why we urge the Government to explore the vast potential of this technology, while treading carefully when contemplating regulations that may restrict and stifle its use and development.”
This is cause for relief among the country’s Bitcoin community and makes Canada one of the world’s most forward-looking countries in encouraging innovation in new financial technologies.
The Bitcoin Community Reacts
Senators praised the many witnesses from the Bitcoin community who came forward to testify calling them “passionate and optimistic.”
Witness Victoria van Eyk, now head of community outreach for ChangeTip, was not surprised at the report’s recommendations.
“The senators we talked to were very wary of more regulations and expressed concern about the effect of regulations on stifling innovation,” said van Eyk.
“The committee made it clear to us that they wanted nothing to stand in the way of Canada becoming a world leader in developing new financial technologies.”
Victoria van Eyk demonstrates a Bitcoin ATM for members of the Canadian Senate (Photo courtesy of the Senate of Canada)
“The conclusions of the Senate Banking Report on digital currencies are extremely positive for all Canadians,” Bitcoin community leader Anthony Di Iorio, President of Decentral Consulting and co-founder of the Ethereum Project told Bitcoin Magazine. “Recommendations from the committee that the government explore the vast potential bitcoin and blockchain technology while cautioning against regulations that might hinder its growth and potential have the great opportunity to solidify Canada as a leader in the digital currency and cryptocurrency space.”
“This will go down as a defining moment in the history of Bitcoin in Canada,” said Kyle Kemper, executive director of the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada. “This report represents the most thorough and well-balanced study of a technology that stands to be as impactful as the Internet.”
Canada’s Cautious Approach to Regulating Digital Currencies
As mentioned in an earlier Bitcoin Magazine article, Canada’s federal government has taken a cautious approach to regulating digital currencies, and was waiting to see what the Senate would recommend.
Because it’s an election year, the government’s attention is elsewhere and the senators did not expect the government to respond until after the fall vote.
“This is in line with Bill C-31… which would see ‘dealers in digital currency’ regulated as money services businesses,” Amber Scott founder and CEO of Outlier Solutions noted. “This type of approach is intended to foster innovation while protecting both Canada and consumers from threats posed by money laundering, terrorist financing and other illegal activities. I’m in full agreement that regulation must be balanced. The possibilities that are opened up by technology innovation are much more exciting than the risk.”
Expert witnesses who appeared throughout the 18-month study included:
Digital Finance Institute
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The Bitcoin Foundation of Canada
The Bitcoin Embassy
And many more.
The full report, called Digital Currency: You Can’t Flip This Coin!, is available online.