November 01, 2018

Using or Investing in Cryptocurrency

As October is Investor Education Month, the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) is warning consumers of the potential risks of investing and trading in cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency is digital money that is not legal tender.  It is not issued by the Bank of Canada and no financial institution is involved with the transactions.  Digital money is sent from one person’s computer to another through a peer-to-peer database network.  The most popular type of cryptocurrency is the Bitcoin.  Other types can include Ethereum, Dash, Ripple and Litecoin.

“If you choose to use or invest in cryptocurrency, do your due diligence and know what you’re dealing with,” FCAA Acting Deputy Director of Enforcement Securities Division Harvey White said.  “Be sure to contact a professional advisor who can help you with any questions you may have.  It’s important to remember that if you don’t fully understand the risks - don’t get involved.”

Cryptocurrency Investment Risks:

  1. Volatile cryptocurrency prices rise and fall dramatically often driven by media hype and public interest.
  2. Unprotected cryptocurrencies are not backed by a bank or authority like Canadian currency is.  Additionally, cryptocurrency may not be subject to securities regulation, which means you may have little recourse in a dispute and may be vulnerable to your investment’s value being manipulated.  Cryptocurrency trading platforms and exchanges are susceptible to cybersecurity threats and hacking.
  3. Complex cryptocurrencies are by their nature, complex and difficult to understand.  It can be confusing and time-consuming to trade or withdraw cryptocurrency, often requiring several intermediaries.  It is also hard to make informed decisions without financial statements and traditional assessment criteria to rely on.
  4. Expensive certain fees are associated with trading cryptocurrency.  Make sure you understand what it will cost you to trade.  These costs have the potential to erode profits.

For more information about cryptocurrency, visit or contact the Securities Division at 306-787-5645.