Canadian investors at risk as number of unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges explodes

When Quadriga founder Gerald Cotten died in December 2018, over 76,000 investors lost a combined $169 million, money that couldn’t be recovered from the unregulated Vancouver-based cryptocurrency platform largely as a result of what an Ontario Securities Commission investigation found was fraudulent trading.

Since Cotten’s death, the price of Bitcoin has shot up more than 1,500 per cent, breaking the US$60,000 mark for the first time earlier this month. The increase in price—and the increase in interest from both institutional and retail investors that’s come with it—has led to a surge of new businesses that allow Canadians to buy and sell cryptocurrencies.

Those businesses—and the lack of enforcement and oversight of them—could be putting investors at risk. An analysis by The Logic found there are now more than 600 companies that offer cryptocurrency trading services in Canada but that have not registered with the country’s securities regulators, with no evidence any of them have faced any penalties from Canadian authorities.

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