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Cryptocurrency in Canada

Canada allows the use of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.


According to the Financial Consumer Agency, goods purchased using digital currency must be included in the seller’s income for tax purposes. GST/HST also applies on the fair market value of any goods or services you buy using digital currency.. . .When you file your taxes you must report any gains or losses from selling or buying digital currencies.[29]


On the issue of taxation, the Canada Revenue Agency adds that,

where digital currency is used to pay for goods or services, the rules for barter transactions apply. A barter transaction occurs when any two persons agree to exchange goods or services and carry out that exchange without using legal currency. For example, paying for movies with digital currency is a barter transaction. The value of the movies purchased using digital currency must be included in the seller’s income for tax purposes. The amount to be included would be the value of the movies in Canadian dollars.[30]


On June 19, 2014, the Governor General of Canada gave his assent to Bill C-31 (An Act to Implement Certain Provisions of the Budget Tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014, and Other Measures),[31] which includes amendments to Canada’s Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. The new law treats virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, as “money service businesses” for the purposes of the anti-money laundering law.[32] The Act is regarded as the “world’s first national law on digital currencies, and certainly the world’s first treatment in law of digital currency financial transactions under national anti-money laundering law.”[33]


On August 24, 2017, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) published CSA Staff Notice 46-307 on Cryptocurrency Offerings,[34] “which outlines how securities law requirements may apply to initial coin offerings (ICOs), initial token offerings (ITOs), cryptocurrency investment funds and the cryptocurrency exchanges trading these products.”[35] On February 1, 2018, The Globe and Mail reported that the Ontario Securities Commission had approved the country’s first blockchain fund—Blockchain Technologies ETF.[36]


The Bank of Canada, Payments Canada, and R3, a distributed database technology company, are involved in a research initiative called Project Jasper “to understand how distributed ledger technology (DLT) could transform the wholesale payments system.”[37] Phases 1 and 2 of the project are “focused on exploring the clearing and settlement of high-value interbank payments using DLT.” Phase 3 explores “the potential benefits from integrating this “cash on ledger” with other assets such as foreign exchange and securities.”[38]


[23] Digital Currency, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/payment/digital-currency.html (last modified Jan. 19, 2018), archived at https://perma.cc/G3PY-H8NR.


[24] Id.


[25] Currency Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-52, § 8, http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-52/page-1.html, archived at https://perma.cc/4A4E-3XBH.


[26] Digital Currency, supra note 23.


[27] Mariam Al-Shikarchy et al., Gowling WLG, Canadian Taxation of  Cryptocurrency ... So Far, Lexology.com (Nov. 14, 2017), https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=6283077e-9d32-4531-81a5-56355fa54f47, archived at https://perma.cc/H9ZW-47KB.


[28] Id.


[29] Id.


[30] What You Should Know About Digital Currency, Canada Revenue Agency, https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/news/newsroom/fact-sheets/fact-sheets-2015/what-you-should-know-about-digital-currency.html (last updated Mar. 17, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/CYV2-236S.


[31] Bill C-31, An Act to Implement Certain Provisions of the Budget Tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and Other Measures, Second Session, Forty-first Parliament, 62-63 Elizabeth II, 2013-2014, Statutes of Canada 2014 Ch. 20, http://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/41-2/bill/C-31/royal-assent, archived at https://perma.cc/2N7Q-E68C.


[32] Tariq Ahmad, Canada: Canada Passes Law Regulating Virtual Currencies as “Money Service Businesses” Global Legal Monitor (July 9, 2014), http://www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/canada-canada-passes-law-regulating-virtual-currencies-as-money-service-businesses/, archived at https://perma.cc/BQA6-K7MV.


[33] Christine Duhaime, Canada Implements World’s First National Bitcoin Law, Duhaime Law (June 22, 2014), https://www.duhaimelaw.com/2014/06/22/canada-implements-worlds-first-national-bitcoin-law/, archived at https://perma.cc/Z3AQ-SKME.


[34] CSA Staff Notice 46-307 Cryptocurrency Offerings, Ontario Securities Commission (Aug. 24, 2017), http://www.osc.gov.on.ca/en/SecuritiesLaw_csa_20170824_cryptocurrency-offerings.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/7XF6-3T3E.


[35] Press Release, Canadian Securities Administrators, Canadian Securities Regulators Outline Securities Law Requirements That May Apply to Cryptocurrency Offerings (Aug. 24, 2017), https://www.securities-administrators.ca/aboutcsa.aspx?id=1606, archived at https://perma.cc/4KL4-YSEV.


[36] Clare O’Hara, OSC Approves Canada’s First Blockchain ETF, The Globe and Mail (Feb. 1, 2018), https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/funds-and-etfs/etfs/osc-approves-canadas-first-blockchain-etf/article37828183/, archived at https://perma.cc/V6TD-KZ5C.


[37] Fintech Experiments and Projects, Bank of Canada, https://www.bankofcanada.ca/research/digital-currencies-and-fintech/fintech-experiments-and-projects/ (last visited Apr. 6, 2018), archived at https://perma.cc/9F77-QHFN.


[38] Id.

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