the OKX logo is displayed on a smartphone screen

OKX point to ‘new regulations’ as reason for Canada exit

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OKX, formerly known as OKEx, has announced that it’s exiting the Canadian market. The exchange blamed new regulations for the departure while reassuring users that their funds would be safe.

“We regret to inform you that, due to new regulations, OKX will no longer provide services or allow users to open new accounts in Canada starting on March 24,” read the announcement sent by the digital currency exchange to its Canadian users.

Like their counterparts globally, Canadian regulators have been tightening their digital asset regulations in light of last year’s ‘crypto contagion.’ The country was home to thousands of investors whose money was stuck in FTX, prompting the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) to renew its focus on Bitcoin regulations.

OKX had a brush with Canadian regulators, with the Ontario Securities Commission accusing the exchange of violating securities laws in the province.

OKX, which rebranded from OKEx to reflect its focus on decentralized blockchain-powered services, isn’t the first exchange to encounter regulatory challenges in Canada.

In 2022, Canadian regulators booted out Binance for offering its services without a license. Bitfinex was next, exiting barely two weeks after Binance for ‘undisclosed reasons.’ Ontario regulators then banned KuCoin from the province for offering an unregistered exchange while slapping Bybit with a $1.9 million fine for a similar offense.

OKX’s exit comes just weeks after the CSA released new rules for virtual asset service providers (VASPs). One of the stipulations is for VASPs to renew their commitments to the regulator before their registration.

CSA’s new rules prohibit Canadian VASPs from offering stablecoins unless they obtain written consent from the regulator. While this was the first nationwide stablecoin prohibition, Ontario has previously banned Tether from its exchanges.

OKX told its users that it intends to resume services at a future date.

“OKX’s withdrawal from Canada is temporary, and we are working with regulators to solve this issue. We hope to see you again in the future,” the exchange stated.

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