Canadian regulator bans crypto leverage

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Canada City Street With National Flag

Crypto exchanges operating in Canada have to comply with new directives after the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) said it had updated its approach to the regulation of crypto trading in the country.

The regulatory body said in a press release that its new guidelines follow recent events within the crypto market. The CSA is targeting better oversight for all crypto platforms and to protect customers, the announcement added.

CSA asks exchanges to hold user funds separately

As well as banning the offering of crypto margin or leverage to Canadian clients, the CSA has also asked all crypto platforms to ensure customer funds are held in separate accounts. Exchanges will also have to hold all customer assets with a qualified custodian, the watchdog added in the Monday announcement. The CSA noted:

“Custodians will generally be considered qualified if they are regulated by a financial regulator in Canada, the U.S., or a similar jurisdiction with a supervisory regime for conduct and financial regulation.”

The regulatory agency’s expanded oversight comes at a time when the crypto industry is battling massive contagion following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX. The crypto platform’s former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested on Monday by Bahamas police after the US filed multiple criminal charges against him. Bankman-Fried has confessed to mixing user funds with those of the company, and using these client funds at his other firm Alameda Research.

The CSA’s efforts also follow various incidents of customers being hurt with exposure to massive leveraging amid the 2022 bear market.

In August, the CSA asked all crypto firms seeking various registration approvals to provide commitments under an arrangement dubbed ‘pre-registration undertaking (PRU)’. The agreement between CSA member agencies and unregistered crypto platforms thus includes the undertaking to adhere to terms and conditions such as those currently being enforced.

The requirements apply even to exchanges operating outside of Canada but offering services to Canadian clients. The CSA says these platforms have to comply with the country’s securities laws, or face enforcement action.

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