A report released by Toronto Metropolitan University revealed shocking statistics regarding cryptocurrency scams and online harassment among Canadian crypto owners. The study, based on a national survey conducted in October 2022, paints a concerning picture of the current state of the Canadian crypto sector.
According to the report, a staggering 35% of Canadian cryptocurrency owners admitted to falling victim to fraudulent schemes or scams. This dispels the misconception that crypto investors are too sophisticated to be deceived. The rates of crypto-related fraud were particularly pronounced among lower-income and less-educated populations, revealing the vulnerability of these individuals in the face of scams.
However, the distressing findings don’t stop there. The study also reveals a disturbing correlation between cryptocurrency ownership and online harassment. Approximately 19% of crypto owners reported experiencing online abuse, compared to only 6% of individuals who have not owned crypto. In some cases, the severity of the harassment was so extreme that victims expressed genuine concerns for their personal safety.
The report’s implications on Canada’s crypto landscape cannot be ignored. It highlights the urgent need for action from the Canadian government to address these issues while maintaining a balance between tough enforcement and fostering innovation. Recommendations put forth by the report include aligning financial crypto-asset regulations with existing policies and collaborating with international bodies to establish effective policymaking frameworks.
The study’s timing, conducted prior to the collapse of FTX and the subsequent arrest of its CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, adds another layer of concern. Even before these events, Canadians harbored serious doubts about cryptocurrency, further eroding trust in the sector. This lack of trust is reflected in Canada’s relatively low ranking of 22nd in the world for crypto adoption, as per the Chainalysis 2022 Crypto Adoption Index.
While the report highlights the challenges faced by Canadian regulators in curbing scams and fraud, it also emphasizes the importance of smarter regulation over outright hostility towards crypto. The departure of exchanges from the Canadian market, such as Bybit’s recent decision, underscores the need for effective regulation that can combat fraudulent activities without driving away legitimate crypto businesses.
Trust levels among Canadians toward crypto-asset exchanges are alarmingly low, with scandals like the fall of FTX only exacerbating the skepticism. It is imperative for the government and regulatory authorities to restore confidence in the sector through comprehensive measures that protect investors and foster a safe and transparent crypto ecosystem.
This eye-opening report should serve as a wake-up call for Canada’s crypto industry and its regulators. The prevalence of scams and online harassment demands immediate action to safeguard investors and cultivate a trustworthy environment for crypto enthusiasts. With smarter regulation and collaborative efforts, Canada can navigate these challenges and potentially improve its ranking on the global stage of crypto adoption.