The Senate Banking Committee launched its study on digital currencies in March 2014. While the focus of the Committee’s study was “digital currencies” in general, many witnesses spoke specifically about cryptocurrencies, which are digital currencies that rely on encryption. Bitcoin was the cryptocurrency most often discussed by witnesses.
Public hearings in Ottawa and a fact-finding trip in New York City enabled Senators to explore the potential uses for these currencies, and to learn about the opportunities, the risks and challenges resulting from the use of digital currencies and their technologies.
During the study, Senators heard from 55 witnesses, including representatives from federal departments and agencies, the Bank of Canada, law enforcement entities, provincial securities regulators, the financial services sector, digital currency-related businesses, trade associations, a charity, money services businesses and payment card operators. They also heard from academics, lawyers, and individuals who participate in the digital currency sector.
The use of cryptocurrencies has resulted in a range of opportunities, including:
The emergence of new technologies inevitably comes with a number of challenges such as:
The Committee believes in the potential of the underlying technologies of cryptocurrencies and the importance of monitoring these associated technologies as they evolve. A regulatory environment that allows the positive benefits of these technologies to flourish is essential. To this end, the Committee has made eight recommendations to the Government of Canada.
C - (Ontario)
Lib. - (Bedford - Quebec)
C - (Alma - Quebec)
C - (Alberta)
Larry W. Campbell
Lib. - (British Columbia)
C - (Halifax - The Citadel - Nova Scotia)
C - (Shawinegan - Quebec)
Paul J. Massicotte
Lib. - (De Lanaudière - Quebec)
Lib. - (New Brunswick)
C — Alberta
C - (Saskatchewan)
Other Senators who have participated from time to time in the study:
The Honourable Senators A. Raynell Andreychuk, Michael L. MacDonald, Fabian Manning, Don Meredith, Percy Mockler, Thanh Hai Ngo, Dennis Glen Patterson, Rose-May Poirier, Nancy Greene Raine, Michel Rivard, Betty E. Unger, and David M. Wells.
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