As a child of the Internet and telecommunication technology, Bitcoin is a currency that has an expansive spread, reaching all around the world, much like the Internet itself. As its use is constantly evolving in a wide range of ways, many different official institutions are weighing up their position on the cryptocurrency and how best to interact with it. In the latest edition of our series regarding the status of Bitcoin different countries, we will have a look at how Bitcoin works in Canada and what it means for our readers based there.
What’s the latest on the use of Bitcoin in Canada?
At the moment, Bitcoin can be used in Canada and it is taxed in one of two ways, depending on its use. If used for purchasing products, it is subject to Goods and services tax (GST) while if Bitcoin is being bought and sold as part of currency speculation, it is subject to different taxation.
While official positions in Canada are hard to pin down, it is understood that Bitcoin’s situation in Canada is heavily influenced by suspicions of money laundering and terrorism funding owing to its anonymous nature. FINTRAC, a Canadian government agency tasked with enforcing legislation regarding the two areas mentioned above, as of yet, has not gone after Bitcoin businesses and, in its communication with some of these businesses, it has mentioned that they are not subject to FINTRAC regulation.
This leaves Canadian-based Bitcoin businesses in a legal grey area and, at the time of writing, there is not enough solid official comment on Bitcoin’s status to make any definitive statements. It can be accepted for purchases and there are anecdotal stories of people being paid in Bitcoin so the use of Bitcoin is certainly there; it’s just a matter of clarifying an official position.
What about online gambling in Canada?
Online gambling in Canada is a regulated industry. There are no laws against online gambling but there are laws against gambling at unlicensed establishments or those which are not run by official institutions. Several of Canada’s provinces’ lotto organisers have also moved into online gambling which is proving to be a popular business in the Great White North.
The advent of online casinos has seen several foreign-based sites operating from Canada and, in particular, from the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve as the residents have organised the Kahnawake Gaming Comission which offers online gambling licenses for activities such as online poker and sportsbook facilities. Because of the legal status of online gambling in Canada and the use of Bitcoin not being restricted, Canadian residents should have no trouble accessing and no concerns about playing at Bitcoin casinos from their homes.