27 September 2017 0 Comments Posted By : Tyler Orton

Regulators push fintechs to clean up cryptocurrencies

Four years ago, “cryptocurrency” or “blockchain” would have been met with investor suspicion or confusion.

The tables have since turned, however, and the increasing eagerness of businesses to cash in or raise capital through digital currencies is pushing Canadian regulators to act.

“Bitcoin was essentially a dirty word until recently,” said Axiom Zen CEO Roham Gharegozlou, whose Vancouver-based innovation studio offers support to early-stage companies, similar to an incubator. “It was associated mostly with money laundering and drug deals.”

That reputation has dissipated in tech circles, and Gharegozlou now frequently fields requests from clients wishing to develop innovations that harness digital currencies and blockchain, which is an electronic ledger.

But late last month, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) signalled to startups and financial technology companies that they would have to be diligent about not running afoul of securities laws when pursuing initial coin offerings (ICOs) or initial token offerings (ITOs).

Like an initial public offering (IPO), an ICO’s goal is to raise capital. Instead of selling shares in exchange for capital, a company offers new cryptocurrencies in exchange for capital.

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