• Michael Bacina

Oh Canada? Ontario exchanges impose CAD$30,000 annual limit on certain crypto purchases

Two exchanges in the province of Ontario, Canada, have entered into undertakings with the powerful Ontario Securities Commission to limit the annual purchases of their customer's crypto to CAD$30,000, outside of a short list of "core" crypto-assets.

Users of Bitbuy and Newton will be able to buy as much Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether or Litecoin as they please, but can only buy CAD$30,000 of anything else listed. When something is sold that is not on the whitelist, then the limit is increased. In addition a "trading questionnaire" permits Eligible Investors to have a CAD$100,000 limit and Accredited Investors have no limit.

Also, certain provinces aren't taking part in this limit, so residents of British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec don't have any issues with using those exchanges at higher limits.

The move appears to be one of building in "protection" from retail speculators losing more than CAD$30,000 in a year. The math works out that if a user buys CAD$10,000 of a token, for example, they would have a CAD$20,000 limit remaining. If they sell those tokens for a gain, then the sell would push the limit back to CAD$30,000. However, if they sell those tokens for a loss, say a 50% loss (for CAD$5,000), the amount of that loss effectively comes off the limit (in our example CAD$20,000 plus CAD$5,000 = CAD$25,000 limit remaining).

As such, those most impacted will be retail speculators who might have volume trading on alt-coins outside of the major pairs. Of course, this limit is relatively easily circumvented since crypto-assets are so easily moved. A user could buy as much ETH as they want, withdraw it and use a DEX or offshore exchange to trade without limitations.

The flip side is that not many retail purchasers of crypto are likely to ever come up against this limitation if they are simply acquiring some crypto to buy and hold, so it is not likely to have a significant impact.