OSC Aims for Blockchain Regulation that Won’t ‘Overburden’ Innovators

The Ontario Securities Commission is aiming to develop regulations that won't stifle the blockchain industry.

The Ontario Securities Commission has announced that cryptocurrency and blockchain related developments will be one of its key areas of focus for 2018-2019.

In the 2018-2019 Draft Statement of Priorities, the OSC wrote that it will “continue to foster new ways to raise capital and invest, while focusing on potential investor protection issues arising from cryptocurrency and blockchain-related developments.”

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Indeed, protections for investors are a keystone of the OSC’s future relationship with cryptocurrency and blockchain. “The OSC also intends to advance key investor protection measures, including publishing reforms that address the best interests of the client, and defining actions on embedded commissions,” read the document.

However, the Commission has made it clear that it does not intend to stifle innovation and industry growth with over-regulation: “the OSC will pursue initiatives to address regulatory burden for public companies and investment funds.”

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are only a part of the “ambitious regulatory agenda” that OSC CEO and Chair Maureen Jensen is leading the organization to pursue over the next year. “We will continue to support fintech innovation, advance measures to better protect investors, and initiate projects to lighten the regulatory load for businesses,” she said.

The OSC’s sentiments will be published in its final Statement of Priorities this June.

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Canada and Crypto

A number of blockchain firms have sprouted roots in Canada over the last several years and the Canadian blockchain industry is continuing to steadily grow. However, in a statement on its website, the Blockchain Association of Canada says that there is still a need for a more solid regulatory framework.

“There is still much work to do around merchant adoption, friendlier user experience, regulatory clarification, the opening of bank accounts for cryptocurrency startups and trading accounts around the world, closing the gap between innovation and regulatory roadblocks,” the association’s website reads.

Interestingly, certain regions of Canada have become something of worldwide destinations for crypto mining operations. Quebec’s newfound status as a mining hotspot has much to do with the cheap hydroelectric energy that the province produces.

Jonathan Côté, spokesperson of hydroelectric energy producer Hydro Quebec said of the flood of crypto miners that “there’s definitely a gold rush feeling with some of them and they aren’t all well organized. We’re interested, but we are being cautious.”

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