On September 6th, 2017 the British Columbia Securities Commission (“BCSC”) announced the first registration of an investment fund manager in Canada solely dedicated to cryptocurrency investments. The BCSC has granted First Block Capital Inc. registration as an investment fund manager and an exempt market dealer in order to operate a bitcoin investment fund. According to the BCSC cryptocurrency investments raise risks that are different from traditional asset classes, including the cybersecurity risks inherent in dealing with digital currencies. These risks relate not only to the registrant, but also to the bitcoin fund’s custodian, a third party chosen to facilitate the safekeeping and exchange of bitcoins.
The BCSC encourages companies in British Columbia, whether they are potential new registrants or existing investment fund managers, to contact the BCSC’s Tech Team if they are considering pursuing cryptocurrency investments in their funds. The BCSC launched the Tech Team in January 2017 as part of its fintech outreach initiative to help B.C.-based fintech and technology companies understand their securities regulatory requirements. The Tech Team is also actively involved with the Canadian Securities Administrators’ Regulatory Sandbox Initiative, which supports fintech businesses seeking to offer innovative products, services and applications in Canada.