Home News So, Is Crypto Illegal in Canada?

James Carter

21 Feb 2023

So, Is Crypto Illegal in Canada?

Cryptocurrency can be thought of as a form of digital or virtual currency that makes use of encryption for added safety. It operates independently of any central authority or financial institution, making it a decentralized currency. In recent years, cryptocurrency has gained an enormous amount of interest due to the fact that it has the ability to disrupt existing financial institutions. However, its regulatory status is still uncertain in many countries, including Canada. This article will discuss whether or not cryptocurrency is legal in Canada, as well as its uses, the illegal actions that are related to it, and its potential in the future.

Is Crypto Illegal in Canada?

  • The legality of Cryptocurrency in Canada:

Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) Guidelines on Cryptocurrency:
The CSA is responsible for regulating securities markets in Canada. They have released guidelines on how cryptocurrency businesses should operate in the country. According to these guidelines, cryptocurrency exchanges that operate as marketplaces for trading securities must comply with securities laws. They must register with the CSA and follow anti-money laundering regulations. Cryptocurrency businesses that operate as investment fund managers must also comply with securities laws.

  • The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) Approach to Cryptocurrency:

The FCAC is responsible for protecting consumers from financial abuse. They have released a statement regarding cryptocurrency, advising consumers to be cautious when investing in it. The agency warns that cryptocurrencies are not backed by any government, and their values can be highly volatile. They recommend that consumers educate themselves about the risks involved before investing in cryptocurrency.

  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Perspective on Cryptocurrency:

The CRA is responsible for administering tax laws in Canada. They have released guidelines on how cryptocurrencies should be taxed. According to the CRA, cryptocurrencies should be treated as commodities for tax purposes. This means that any profits made from buying and selling cryptocurrency are subject to capital gains tax. Cryptocurrency miners are also required to pay taxes on their earnings.

  • Canadian Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) Regulations:

The Canadian government has implemented AML and CTF regulations to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. Cryptocurrency businesses that operate in Canada must comply with these regulations. This means that they must register with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and follow KYC (know-your-customer) and AML procedures.

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Use of Cryptocurrency in Canada:

  • Popular Cryptocurrencies Used in Canada:

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are some of the most popular cryptocurrencies used in Canada. Bitcoin is the most widely used cryptocurrency in the country, and many businesses accept it as a form of payment.

  • Cryptocurrency Exchanges in Canada:

There are several cryptocurrency exchanges operating in Canada, including Bitbuy, Coinsquare, and Kraken. These exchanges allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies and provide wallet services for storing them.

  • Major Canadian Companies Accepting Cryptocurrency:

Several major Canadian companies, such as Shopify and KFC Canada, accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. This demonstrates the growing acceptance of cryptocurrency as a legitimate form of payment in the country.

  • Cryptocurrency Mining in Canada:

Canada has become a popular destination for cryptocurrency miners due to its cheap electricity rates and cool climate. Many mining companies have set up operations in the country, particularly in Quebec and British Columbia.

Criminal Activities and Cryptocurrency:

  • Risks of Using Cryptocurrency:

Cryptocurrency is often associated with high levels of risk due to its volatile nature. Prices can fluctuate rapidly, leading to significant gains or losses for investors. Cryptocurrency is also susceptible to hacking and cyberattacks, which can result in the loss of funds.

  • Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing:

Cryptocurrency has been linked to money laundering and terrorist financing due to its decentralized nature. Criminals can use cryptocurrency to transfer funds anonymously, making it difficult for law enforcement to trace the source of the funds.

  • Cybercrime and Fraud:

Cryptocurrency has also been associated with cybercrime and fraud. Scammers can use fake cryptocurrency websites or social media accounts to trick users into sending them funds. Additionally, cryptocurrency exchanges can be vulnerable to hacks or other cyberattacks, resulting in the loss of users’ funds.

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So, Is Crypto Illegal in Canada?
Future of Cryptocurrency in Canada:
  • Potential Regulatory Changes:

The Canadian government has indicated that it may introduce new regulations for cryptocurrency businesses. This could include licensing requirements or stricter AML and CTF regulations. However, the government has also expressed a desire to promote innovation and growth in the cryptocurrency sector.

  • Adoption of Cryptocurrencies by Mainstream Financial Institutions:

Some mainstream financial institutions in Canada have started to explore the use of cryptocurrency. For example, the Royal Bank of Canada has applied for a patent for a cryptocurrency platform, and the Bank of Montreal has started to offer cryptocurrency trading services to its clients. This could lead to greater acceptance and use of cryptocurrency in the country.

  • Cryptocurrency Investment Trends:

Cryptocurrency investment in Canada has been on the rise in recent years. According to a survey by the Bank of Canada, the number of Canadians who own cryptocurrency increased from 2.9% in 2016 to 5% in 2017. Additionally, some Canadian investors have started to allocate a portion of their portfolios to cryptocurrency as a hedge against traditional financial systems.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Crypto in Canada
  • Advantages:

Financial Inclusion: Cryptocurrency offers financial inclusion to individuals who may not have access to traditional financial services, such as banking services. This is particularly important in Canada, where approximately 1.7 million people are unbanked or underbanked. Cryptocurrency allows these individuals to store and transfer value, access loans, and participate in the global economy.

Decentralization: Cryptocurrency runs on a system that is not controlled by a single government or central authority. This offers Canadians the ability to conduct financial transactions outside of the traditional banking system, giving them more control over their money.

Lower Transaction Fees: Cryptocurrency transactions typically have lower fees compared to traditional financial institutions, particularly for international transactions. This can result in significant savings for Canadians who frequently conduct cross-border transactions.

Investment Opportunities: Cryptocurrency has become an increasingly popular investment asset class in Canada, offering Canadians the opportunity to invest in a new, decentralized asset class. Cryptocurrency investments are typically more volatile than traditional investments but can offer higher potential returns.

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Innovation and Job Creation: The growth of the cryptocurrency industry in Canada has led to the creation of new jobs in areas such as blockchain development, cybersecurity, and compliance. This has the potential to spur innovation and economic growth in the country, particularly in the technology sector.

  • Disadvantages:

Volatility: Cryptocurrency prices can be extremely volatile, making it a risky investment. The value of cryptocurrencies can fluctuate rapidly, resulting in significant gains or losses in a short period of time.

Security Risks: Cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets are often targeted by hackers, resulting in the loss of funds for investors. While there are measures that can be taken to increase security, the risk of theft is still a significant concern.

Lack of Regulation: The cryptocurrency sector is still unregulated, which might make it challenging for investors to make judgments based on accurate information. Without clear guidelines, it can be challenging to determine the legitimacy of new projects, and scams can be difficult to identify.

Environmental Concerns: The mining of cryptocurrencies requires a significant amount of energy, leading to concerns about the environmental impact of the industry. The high energy consumption required for mining has led to criticism of the industry’s sustainability.

Limited Acceptance: While cryptocurrency has gained popularity in recent years, it is still not widely accepted as a form of payment. This limits its usefulness for everyday transactions and can make it difficult to liquidate cryptocurrency holdings.


The legality of cryptocurrency in Canada is still uncertain, but it is generally allowed as long as businesses comply with existing regulations. Cryptocurrency use in Canada is growing, with several major companies accepting it as a form of payment. However, cryptocurrency is also associated with high levels of risk, including money laundering, cybercrime, and fraud. The future of cryptocurrency in Canada is uncertain, but it is likely that the government will introduce new regulations to promote innovation while also protecting consumers and preventing criminal activities.