One of the eternal confusions of the cryptocurrency sphere is the fact that it is hard to pin it down in terms of what it can be used for. A central plank of people’s support for Bitcoin and other such currencies is that they are not controlled by a central bank and have – at most – minimal regulation from the government. It is, however, that exact decentralized status that makes Bitcoin less of an option for many people. A veil of secrecy makes it hard to really get to grips with. Ask around, and you’ll find that most people wouldn’t know how or where to buy cryptocurrency, and if they did own some, they wouldn’t know how or where it can be used.
So it is worth looking closely at some of the facts about cryptocurrencies as they work in Canada. If you own some Bitcoin or ETH, can you do anything with it other than trade it for other cryptos or back into fiat currency? Shedding some light on this detail would be a start for a lot of Canadians – so let’s start there with some base-level knowledge.
Is cryptocurrency legal tender in Canada?
Cryptocurrency is not banned in Canada, but this does not mean anything in and of itself, it simply means you are allowed to own and trade it. The status of “legal tender” is something different, and means that a currency should legally be accepted if you try to use it as payment. For example, sterling notes issued by the Bank of Scotland should be accepted in English stores by law, even if they occasionally are not in practice, because they are the same currency. However, if you attempted to pay in a Canadian store by using Bitcoin, they are under no obligation to accept it – and they usually won’t.
So you can’t use crypto in Canada?
No, that isn’t the case. The reality is that you can’t always use crypto in Canada, but there are places where you can. It is not illegal for a merchant to accept crypto as payment, nor for you to offer it. It’s a matter between you and the person or business on the other end of the transaction. A crypto casino like Cloudbet will accept your Bitcoin payment, and they’ll happily make you aware of this fact. A patio restaurant in Burlington will be less likely to accept it, and is legally entitled to demand you make payment in Canadian dollars.
Is this the final word on the situation?
Almost certainly not, but it is the last word for now. As time goes by, the economic picture can shift and other factors can come into play, so the legal status of cryptocurrency can change. In the fullness of time, it probably will, but nobody can say right now what that would look like in practice. If you have Bitcoin and want to use it, your options as they stand are to look for businesses that do accept it and keep your nose to the ground as far as changes are concerned. The rest is up to the passage of time and the power of market forces.
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