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Quebec is Canada’s cryptocurrency leader, this expert says

Adam Winfield interviews SAP Labs Montreal blockchain gurus James Zdralek (right) and Hugo Levasseur (middle) about cryptocurrencies, blockchain and the future of money.


While the price of a Bitcoin keeps hitting record highs and new coin offerings are happening almost daily, regulators and governments are still trying to grapple with the cryptocurrency sector.

But in Quebec, at least, regulators are giving the industry a chance to become more established, says cryptocurrency expert Hugo Levasseur of SAP Labs Montreal, who claims that by supporting a regulatory framework, Quebec is on the road to becoming a financial leader in the cryptocurrency space.

The cryptocurrency terrain is without a doubt the Wild West of trading at the moment, with huge swings daily in currency prices, investor frenzy and talks of Bitcoin bubbles all making it a challenging space for would-be investors.

It doesn’t have to be so, says Levasseur, who claims that trust is at the root of the problem and by having more regulation, that assurance will breed a better cryptocurrency market.

“Trust is always going to be an issue but it’s an issue in the classical system, too,” says Levasseur at the Ideation Centre at SAP Canada in Montreal and in conversation with Adam Winfield of Forbes. “We trust banks, we trust evaluations exchanges and so on, too. More regulation is a good thing.

“We saw with China, for example, the demands of the currency are depending on how strict or lenient the government is going to be in controlling it,” says Levasseur. “Legalizing, putting a framework on it, having regulation is important, it’ll be critical to the advancement of the technology, putting a framework that’s clear around cryptocurrencies.”

Levasseur has praise for Quebec’s financial regulatory body, the Autorité des marchés financiers, which earlier this year decided to give legitimacy to the cryptocurrency sector by effectively labelling them as currencies and carving out regulatory space for them.

“Here in Quebec, you go to the AMF which created a framework for companies that want to do initial coin offerings and you’re legally protected and can have your ICO. That’s a really great thing,” says Levasseur, who compares Quebec’s move to similar ones taking place in tech-advanced Estonia.

“It’s a race to learn how to adopt cryptocurrencies properly,” says Levasseur. “Some of the tech and fiscal havens are already seeing this as the best way to do transactions without relying on that third party that was sometimes slowing down the process. All of a sudden, you can move millions of dollars into Estonia, pay your taxes, be an electronic citizen in Estonia without having the burden of having to rely on some of those entities which might have slowed down the process.”

“So I think the reason why AMF in Quebec are accepting ICOs is because they’re racing to use this technology to become competitive on the world stage economically,” he says. “It gives the people who are investing in it a reference to the old market and how you protect your customers and it gives the government and the authorities a chance to look at these entities that are creating this [space] and to understand how better to frame it.”

Below: Blockchain, cryptocurrencies and the future of money

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About The Author /

Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.
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