With Canadian securities regulators tightening their grip on the digital assets market, crypto companies are leaving the country in droves. Cryptocurrency trading platform Bitstamp is the latest in the string of crypto firms—to announce its departure from Canada.
Bitstamp to wind down operations in Canada next year
According to some media reports, Bitstamp plans to terminate its operations in Canada on January 8, 2024. Once the crypto exchange discontinues its services, all Canada Bitstamp accounts will be deactivated. In other words, customers will lose access to their Bitstamp accounts.
Therefore, Bitstamp has urged all customers in Canada to withdraw their funds by January 2024. Similarly, it has also called on its clients to close their Bitstamp accounts.
“We want to emphasise that your crypto assets always remain yours, and we are committed to reaching out to any customers who were unable to close their accounts themselves to ensure the return of their funds.Bitstamp
Is the decision driven by “timing issue” or regulatory challenges?
Bitstamp’s decision to pull out of the Canadian market is “primarily a timing issue,” related to the firm’s expansion plans, according to Bobby Zagotta, Bitstamp US CEO and global chief commercial officer. Zagotta says Bitstamp is leaving the country to better align with the country’s tightened crypto regulations. But he remains optimistic about his company’s return to the country in the future.
“We hope to serve this market in the future; however, at this time, we are unable to prioritize the work and allocate the necessary resources to meet new regulations.”Bobby Zagotta, Bitstamp US CEO and global chief commercial officer
A long list of similar departures
It’s pertinent to note that Bitstamp is not the first crypto exchange to head for the exit this year. In June, the world’s largest crypto trading platform, Binance, announced it was suspending its operations in Canada—citing “new guidance related to stablecoins and investor limits.” Crypto exchanges Bybit and OKX have also shut shop in the country due to “new regulations.”
Canadian regulatory body issues guidance on stablecoin trading
With crypto companies getting the heebie-jeebies over having to comply with Canada’s tightened crypto regulations, Canada’s securities regulator has issued a clarification–saying it may allow trading of fiat-backed cryptocurrencies, including stablecoins.
Even as several crypto firms are exiting the Canadian market due to regulatory hurdles, Canada is largely viewed as a crypto-friendly nation. The country’s central bank is also preparing to launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC).