Coinbase's head of policy on latest in Canadian crypto regulation
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong is bullish on the Canadian cryptocurrency landscape and its regulatory framework as the company begins its expansion into Canada.
In speaking at a fireside chat in Toronto on Tuesday to celebrate his company’s launch in Canada, Armstrong had high praise for Canadian regulators for making the guidelines simple.
“You're in a very lucky position that you have one federal regulator of both commodities and securities, in the U.S. that's turned into a bit of a jump ball,” he told those in attendance. “It's very political.”
“I think we just need sensible regulation and Canada has shown great leadership so far.”
In Canada, regulators treat cryptocurrency as a security, and companies entering the market must sign undertakings to comply with investor protections. The Ontario Securities Commission has issued a hardline on unregistered crypto exchanges, which ultimately resulted in FTX and Binance leaving the market.
“Canada can rightfully lord that over the U.S. that they are doing a better job creating regulatory clarity around crypto,” Armstrong said.
“I'll take some pointers home from this trip for our U.S. counterparts.”
Coinbase signed the undertakings in March and officially launched in Canada back in August. It has rolled out a partnership with Interac for e-transfer capability and the ability to withdraw Canadian dollars from their wallets.
There’s serious Canadian interest in crypto. A 2022 survey from the Ontario Securities Commission found that 31 per cent of Canadians intend to own crypto assets in the next year, while Coinbase ranks it as the third-most crypto-aware nation in the world.
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR CRYPTO?
Coinbase started as a payments company, but shifted to a crypto trading in its early days. Armstrong believes the future still lies in payments, but processing delays need to come down before it will be adapted more widely.
“If you're going to a merchant, or you're going to some shop where you want to buy something, you don't want to be sitting there for five minutes waiting for the transaction to confirm,” he said.
“The aggressive milestone I've given the team is ‘How do we get these to under one second?’”
Armstrong also sees a reimagining of NFTs away from collectible art and more into a way for fans to support an artist or musician.
“Creative people, whether they're hosting a blog post, or they're a musician, or they're a video content creator, I think they're going to want to have a direct way to monetize with their fans,” he said.
Armstrong also sees a world in which crypto wallets such as Coinbase have built-in internet browsers, which would make crypto payments on the web much smoother.
“Self-custodial wallets in crypto may actually evolve to really be the next version of browsers, because it'll be the internet with an internet-native payment method built right in,” he said. “It's really incredible to think about that a lot of the commerce today does happen with people typing in this number from a credit card.”