Canada’s government has postponed plans for new regulations around cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, with final proposals not due to be published until late 2019, according to reports. The move coincides with the shift in the federal government to a pre-electoral footing ahead of the 2019 election, which could still extend the timescale further.
An additional 12-month implementation period is required before the regulations could come into force, which would see the current legal position maintained until 2020 at the earliest.
The proposals were originally expected to be published imminently, with the latest revelation welcomed by some companies who feared the new regulations could stifle competitiveness in the sector.
In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Blockchain Association of Canada executive director Kyle Kemper said the decision was a positive step for blockchain businesses in Canada, noting, “The decision to delay the proposed regulations bodes well for the Canadian blockchain and cryptocurrency space. The government is committed to an innovation agenda and sometimes … it may be best to observe and intervene as little as possible.”
However, others have expressed concern about competition from other, regulated jurisdictions such as Malta and Switzerland, which offer a greater degree of legal certainty for cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses.
In the race to sign interest from institutional investors, these regulated jurisdictions have proved increasingly attractive for startups and cryptocurrency businesses, leading to call for practical, defined regulation for the sector domestically.
Cole Diamond of the Blockchain Research Institute told the crypto news outlet that the sooner there was legal clarity for businesses, the better: “I don’t think that delaying regulatory clarity is a good thing. At the same time, I understand how complex this market is. The regulators are still learning, and I can assure everyone that they are trying.”
To some extent, it seems these differences of opinion helped convince the government to delay the proposals. According to insiders, the overwhelming volume of responses to the government consultation on its plans all but sealed the deal for the original timeframe.
With blockchain companies still digesting the news, it remains to be seen what effect this will have on the sector in Canada over the months to come.
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