Coinbase working with regulators to be ‘super active’ in Canada

Exchange executives look to work with regulators to position Canada as “a global leader in the crypto economy”

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Coinbase has launched its initial services in Canada and aims to be “super active” in the country. The exchange anticipates a near-term doubling of crypto adoption in the region.

Canada trails only the US in terms of crypto awareness, Coinbase executives told Blockworks Monday.

An investor survey by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) in October 2022 found 13% of Canadians currently own crypto assets or crypto funds. More than 30% said they plan to buy crypto within the next 12 months. 

“You’re going to see us become super active across retail, institutional and developers,” said Nana Murugesan, Coinbase’s vice president of international and business development. “Just looking at our addressable market, we are expecting a doubling in the near-term.”

Via a partnership with Peoples Trust Company, Coinbase is offering its Canadian users access to Interac e-Transfers — a funds transfer service across accounts in various banks and financial institutions in the country.

Interac has been the most requested feature among Canadian users, according to Lucas Matheson, Coinbase’s country director in Canada. Half of deposits coming to the crypto exchange over the last few weeks have gone through Interac, he added.  

“It basically allows anyone with an online bank account to seamlessly deposit and withdraw funds directly from their bank,” Matheson told Blockworks.

Canadian Coinbase users also now have 30 days of free access to Coinbase One, which offers no trading fees and enhanced staking rewards. 

Future offerings, regulatory engagement

Coinbase has also linked up with Swedish fintech company Trustly to offer electronic funds transfers, Murugesan said — set to become available later this year.

“It’s all about making sure that we are providing the most common payment methods to our payment rails and just giving the ability to withdraw and deposit funds through as many ways as possible,” he said. “That’s usually the most requested feature.”  

Murugesan said the company also plans to soon share how it intends to support Coinbase’s new layer-2 network, called Base, in Canada.

While Coinbase battles the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US over alleged securities violations, Canadian regulators are more willing to engage with the company, the executives said. 

In 2021, the OSC approved the world’s first ETF to directly invest in physically settled bitcoin. Meanwhile, the SEC has prevented similar products from entering the market for the past decade.

Matheson said he has been surprised to find that Canadian regulators want the same thing Coinbase does — noting that he seeks to help position Canada as “a global leader in the crypto economy.”

“We want a strong regulatory framework that people can trust,” he added. “[We] will continue working with regulators to build that framework through consultations, through working groups and through the two industry associations that we have in Canada.”


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