Crypto in Canada
Sep 14, 2018, 2:47:05 PM Published By Wirex Team
Canada is a significant player in the global cryptocurrency market. Although the UK and US are marginally ahead in the rankings for traditional blockchain adoption, Canada leads the way in Ethereum blockchain technology. This can be attributed in-part to Vitalik Buterin, the prodigious Russian-Canadian programmer who founded Ethereum.
Buterin, energy and the crypto minersButerin released the white paper for Ethereum in 2013 at the age of 19. Its the second highest-value cryptocurrency after Bitcoin (at the time of writing), making it the worlds most valuable altcoin. Buterins other achievements include co-founding Bitcoin Magazine in 2013 with fellow crypto pioneer, Mihai Alisie. Although Buterin has since relocated to Singapore, his example and legacy continues to inspire and motivate crypto innovators in the Great White North. But its not all about Vitalik Buterin. Canadas energy supply is another important reason behind the countrys prominence in the crypto market. Over ten years, Canada has generated an energy surplus of 100 terawatt hours (100,000,000,000 kWh - the UK consumed approximately 305 TWh of electricity in 2017). Canada produces so much energy each year that it often sells the surplus to the USA for billions of dollars. With so much to spare, it was only a matter of time before crypto miners cottoned on to Canadas energy potential. Crypto mining sites consume approximately 29.05 TWh every year (0.13% of total global consumption). Due to its surplus and established infrastructure, Canada has become a popular destination for crypto miners - particularly amongst Chinese miners looking to avoid high energy prices at home. So why isnt the Canadian countryside thrumming with the sound of processors and cooling fans? Regional resistance to the industry has a lot to do with it. Philippe Couillard, the Premier of Quebec, has warned miners planning on migrating to the region that they will not get cheap electricity, and that there may not even be enough power to meet demand. The French-speaking provinces largest utility company Hydro-Quebec has further requested that only 500 MW be made available to crypto miners - a fraction of the 17,000 MW requested by the miners themselves. As it stands, Hydro-Quebec have been advised to await further instructions from the government before accepting any more crypto-mining applications.
Further factorsCanada is a forerunner in the crypto market for reasons beyond cheap energy and prodigious entrepreneurs; the first ever Bitcoin ATM was launched in Vancouver in 2013, and Canada now boasts over 600 Bitcoin ATMs throughout the (admittedly enormous) country. This puts it second after the USA in terms of the number of Bitcoin ATMs available not bad for a nation with one-ninth of the population. A recent report by the Ontario Securities Commission revealed that 5% of Ontarians own crypto assets roughly half a million people. Canadians appear to have embraced the principles of technological innovation, decentralisation and financial freedom that cryptocurrencies were built on; 46% of Ontarians surveyed lauded the proliferation of technology like blockchain, while 12% invested in crypto because they dont trust conventional financial and governmental institutions. These figures are reflected in a wider study conducted by the Bank of Canada, which found that 5% of all Canadians own Bitcoin, up from 2.9 percent in November 2016 - a 72% increase in little more than 12 months. Its not just private citizens that are driving crypto adoption in Canada, however:
- In 2013, the Canada Revenue Agency began taxing cryptocurrencies - but with tax incentives for research and development.
- Canadas first blockchain exchange-traded fund began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2018.
- The first registered cryptocurrency investment fund has been approved by the British Columbia Securities Commission.
- Ontario-based VersaBank plans to launch VersaVault, a virtual safety deposit box that promotes absolute privacy and blockchain security.
- Canadas National Research Council has started using blockchain technology to help government institutions become more transparent.