Crypto Educational Initiatives Launched By Ontario Securities Commission

Education, News | November 5, 2018 By:

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), a regulatory agency which enforces securities legislation in the Canadian province, has launched two cryptocurrency educational initiatives.

The initiatives, launched as part of OSC’ activities for Financial Literacy Month, stems from the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies among Canadian retail investors. The initiatives include GetSmarterAboutCrypto.ca, which will provide investors with an overview of cryptoasset products and services, the OSC’s role in regulating them, and tips for exercising due diligence before considering this type of investment.

The second educational initiative, TBACoin.ca, will mimic what a typical fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) website may look like to help those interested in this type of capital raising tool identify potential red flags. In addition, the OSC also published articles, calculators and other tools for investors on its consumer website GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca

“At the OSC we’re committed to fostering innovation in the financial sector while at the same time helping protect investors from potential fraud and ensuring they consider both the opportunities and risks when buying cryptoassets,” said Tyler Fleming, Director of the Investor Office at the OSC.

In a research study published in June of this year, the OSC revealed that an increasing number of Ontarians are being approached about participating in ICOs, exposing them to potential risks given the lack of familiarity with these types of investments. The study found that five percent of Ontario adults, translating to about 500,000 Ontarians, own cryptoassets, with half of this group spending $1,000 or more on purchasing these products.

Many of those who purchased cryptocurrencies using a crypto trading platform reported experiencing issues using these platforms, including a halt in trading (21 percent of trading platform users), problems withdrawing money from their account (20 percent), problems transferring money into their trading platform account (16 percent), and not understanding the fees they are being charged (15 percent).

Fleming said that the educational initiatives will help investors better understand cryptoasset products and services as well as be on the alert for any potential red flags before making a purchase.

“The mandate of the OSC is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices, to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in the capital markets, and to contribute to the stability of the financial system and the reduction of systemic risk,” the regulator said. “Investors are urged to check the registration of any persons or company offering an investment opportunity and to review the OSC investor materials available at http://www.osc.gov.on.ca”