Canadian regulator explains stance on crypto staking, lending for investment funds


The chief financial authority of Canada, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), has confirmed its trust in the regulated futures market for crypto, which “promotes greater price discovery”. Apart from the United States, the Canadian market hosts a number of crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs). 

On July 6, the CSA issued guidance to help fund managers comply with law requirements for investment funds holding crypto assets. A 15-page document defends the very existence of crypto ETFs in Canada, emphasizing that ETFs possess the necessary tools to hedge against the price fluctuations of particular crypto assets. 

The CSA named the markets for Bitcoin and Ether as providing the best support to the public crypto asset funds without compromising investor protection. It also lays restrictions on the proportion of “illiquid assets”, i.e. the assets that couldn’t be swiftly disposed of directly through the open market, in the funds.

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The regulator expects investment funds to determine themselves (after proper due diligence) whether or not the crypto assets they propose to invest in are securities or derivatives. It also reminds investment managers that they’re prohibited from lending assets that are not securities.

The document also lays out “the minimum expectations” for the crypto assets custody. Among them are primary storage in cold wallets, segregation of assets, visible on the blockchain, insurance for corporate crime, and providing the reports to funds’ auditors.

Another issue mentioned is crypto staking. CSA confirms that it doesn’t prohibit staking per se, but expects funds managers to stay alert about the possible turning of liquid crypto assets into “illiquid” during the staking — they still should comply with the “illiquidity” restrictions.

In the spring of 2023, some major crypto exchanges froze their operations in Canada due to the “regulatory climate”. In April, decentralized exchange dYdX announced a “winding down” of its services for Canadian users. In May, Binance “proactively withdrew” from the country along with another platform, Bybit.

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