Wealthsimple launches cryptocurrency platform

Toronto-based FinTech startup Wealthsimple has launched its cryptocurrency platform, which provides users with commission-free trading of Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Until now, the platform, called Wealthsimple Crypto, has existed in private beta with a user waitlist. As of today, users can buy, sell, and hold coins within the app, with no waitlist requirement. Some of the features of the new platform include trading available all hours of the day and all days of the year, real-time quotes, as well as withdrawals and deposits in Canadian dollars.

Wealthsimple claims 130,000 people joined the waitlist for the platform.

The startup first announced plans to expand into crypto trading in July. In August, the company received conditional approval from the Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) through its Sandbox program to test the platform for a period of two years.

Wealthsimple Crypto is now regulated by 13 provinces and the federal government, and is the first crypto trading platform to be regulated in Canada, as well as the only crypto asset platform that has been authorized by the CSA to operate in Canada.

Prior to launching Wealthsimple Crypto publicly, the company claims 130,000 people joined the waitlist for the platform.

Wealthsimple Crypto will be offered by Wealthsimple Digital Assets, which is authorized by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, better known as FINTRAC. Wealthsimple Digital Assets was registered in January along with two other businesses, Wealthsimple Cash and Wealthsimple Payments.

The cryptocurrency traded on Wealthsimple’s platform will be custodied at Gemini Trust Company, a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services. Wealthsimple asserts it will not hold any cryptocurrency assets in its own hot or cold wallets.

RELATED: Wealthsimple CFO stepping down to become CEO of Wealthsimple Foundation

On its website, Wealthsimple states crypto assets purchased and held in an account with Wealthsimple Crypto are not protected by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund, the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation, or any other investor protection insurance system.

Wealthsimple’s expansion into digital assets follows a number of developments in the Canadian crypto space. For example, Toronto-based 3iQ received approval from the Ontario Securities Commission last year to launch Canada’s first-ever regulated Bitcoin investment fund.

But the last year has not been without controversy. Over the summer, Coinsquare, a crypto trading platform, admitted to engaging in market manipulation through the reporting of inflated trading volumes. Coinsquare’s co-founders have since agreed to step down from the company.

Image source Wealthsimple.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast