Coinbase becomes first international crypto exchange to secure restricted dealer licence in Canada

Coinbase Canada's Lucas Matheson.
The approval comes as Coinbase faces an SEC crackdown at home.

United States (US) cryptocurrency giant Coinbase has announced that it has become registered as a restricted dealer in Canada with the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA).

This makes Coinbase the first international crypto exchange—and, it claims, the largest—to become registered in Canada to date. In a statement, Coinbase Canada CEO Lucas Matheson called the news “a significant milestone in Coinbase’s journey in Canada,” noting that the company intends to continue working with stakeholders across the country.

Coinbase Canada CEO Lucas Matheson called the news “a significant milestone.”

Following the collapse of numerous unregulated crypto trading platforms in 2022, the CSA has levied more restrictions on exchanges operating in Canada, seeking to protect investors and prevent another FTX debacle, and pushed all firms to become regulated, leading Coinbase competitor Binance and others to pull out of Canada.

With the news, Coinbase has now joined a group of domestic crypto trading platforms registered with the CSA that includes WonderFi-owned Bitbuy and Coinsquare, Netcoins, Newton, Shakepay, VirgoCX, and Wealthsimple. Other international players, including, Gemini, and Kraken, are also hoping to join these ranks.

Coinbase, which had quietly operated in Canada for some time now, announced its “official entry” into the country in 2023. Last March, the firm completed a pre-registration undertaking, initiating the process of becoming registered with Canadian securities regulators.

“We’re really excited to be committing to Canada for the long term,” Coinbase’s Matheson told BetaKit in an August 2023 interview.

Coinbase is not new to Canada: the company has operated here for years, offering crypto trading services, and investing in Canadian startups. Today, with nearly 200 full-time employees, Canada represents its largest tech hub outside of the US.

RELATED: Coinbase says it wants to be a long-term leader in Canada’s crypto market

According to Matheson, Coinbase sees room to expand in Canada given the country’s “regulatory clarity,” strong developer ecosystem, and crypto-aware population.

This approval comes as Coinbase and other US crypto firms face a regulatory crackdown at home, with Coinbase fighting a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the alleged unregistered sale of securities.

Over the past 12 months, international expansion and regulatory approval have been a key focus for the firm, which said it has now obtained licences and registrations in France, Spain, Singapore, Italy, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

Feature image courtesy Coinbase.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories and breaking news. His coverage is more complete than his moustache. He was also the winner of SABEW Canada’s 2023 Jeff Sanford Best Young Journalist award.

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