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CSA Investor Alert: Caution Urged for Canadians Investing with Crypto-asset Trading Platforms


The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is urging Canadians to be cautious when considering buying crypto assets through trading platforms. Even though a platform may call itself an “exchange,” that does not mean it is complying with the securities regulatory regime.

The CSA wants to make it clear: currently there are no crypto-asset trading platforms recognized as an exchange or otherwise authorized to operate as a marketplace or dealer in Canada.

“We want investors to understand that just because a platform may advertise itself as an exchange, that does not mean the platform is complying with applicable securities regulations,” said Louis Morisset, Chair of the CSA and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “If it is not, investors should not expect to receive the same protections that are built into the securities regulatory framework applicable to exchanges or dealers, and should therefore be cautious.”

Crypto-asset trading platforms are online trading facilities that allow investors to buy and sell crypto assets, including bitcoin or ether, and/or coins or tokens that may have been sold through initial coin offerings or initial token offerings.  In some instances, such platforms are advertising themselves as exchanges.

If a platform facilitates the trading of crypto assets or interests in crypto assets that are securities or derivatives, that platform is required to comply with securities legislation.

Investors should be cautious when dealing with any crypto-asset trading platform because key investor protections may not be in place.  These key investor protections include secure handling of client funds, appropriate safekeeping and protection of assets, confidentiality safeguards for personal information, reliable processes for pricing and trading in crypto assets, appropriate investor pre-trade disclosures, and measures against market manipulation and other harmful practices.

For more information on how to spot and avoid investment fraud on the Internet, please visit the CSA website here. For more information on cryptocurrency offerings, please refer to CSA Staff Notice 46-307 Cryptocurrency Offerings.

The BCSC takes a proactive approach to help protect B.C. investors by publishing an Investment Caution List, which identifies unregistered activity and unqualified securities promoted in British Columbia. The BCSC relies on information from the public and other agencies to identify new entries to the list.

Report a Concern

If you have any concerns about a person or company offering an investment opportunity, please contact BCSC Contact Centre at 604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 or through e-mail at [email protected]. You can also file a complaint or submit a tip anonymously using the BCSC’s online complaint form.

InvestRight.org is the BC Securities Commission’s investor education website. Subscribe to receive email updates from BCSC InvestRight.

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