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Is it time for a serious discussion about Web3 in Canada?

Bill C-249 attempts to do just that

GM. Are we ready for a serious discussion about Web3 in Canada? One Member of Parliament thinks so. The reality? Doesn't really seem like it. What will it take to get politicians to take Web3 seriously?

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Back in February, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner introduced a private member's bill (C-249) into the House of Commons that would create a national framework for cryptocurrencies in Canada, with a view to encourage growth in the sector.

Specifically, the bill would require the Minister of Finance to consult with crypto industry innovators and leaders to develop the framework that would help lower barriers to entry into the sector and protect the industry from administrative red tape. At the time of its introduction, Rempel Garner said, "This marks the first time crypto assets will be debated in the house even though 14 years have passed since the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper on blockchain was released. Canada should be attracting billions of dollars of investment in the fast-growing crypto-asset industry. However, we’ve seen Canada lose crypto-asset talent, innovators and businesses to other leading jurisdictions…”

In a more recent Twitter thread, Rempel Garner raises the point that key stakeholders within the crypto sector actually want smart regulations to not only create more stability in the industry (something that might be wishful thinking) and to provide them with more legitimacy which would—ideally—lead to more investment and broader uptake.

This is the same view that Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky, had as early as 2014. To him, government regulation meant that the business and its business model were legitimate. The company worked with policymakers to find a solution that 1) legitimized Airbnb, 2) allowed hosts to continue to earn money, 3) was somewhat unique between jurisdictions around the world, and 4) granted them good will. Chesky understood the value and importance of getting politicians and policymakers on his side so that they wouldn't stifle the innovation from the company. Travis Kalanick of Uber took the exact opposite approach.

Regulations may also protect against 'pump and dump' schemes, which outgoing US House Representative Madison Cawthorn has been engaging in leading to him being investigated for insider trading. Embarking on a formalized path forward for crypto in Canada would hand legitimacy to the cause and is counter to the approach CPC leadership candidate, Pierre Poilievre, is taking. Presently, it is unclear if Poilievre is actually invested in crypto (though he does have some investments) or just taking advantage of a potential voting block.

Ultimately, Rempel Garner's bill seeks to lay the groundwork for investor protection regulations, but it doesn't seem like the House of Commons is ready to engage in that discussion just yet.

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