CPPO Symposium Recap — Crypto In Canada: What’s Next, What’s Real, What’s The Opportunity?

An industry that’s moving faster than on-demand payments, the future of where crypto fits into Canada’s unique economy is still up for debate. Crypto in Canada remains a hot regulatory topic of discussion across every player in the payments ecosystem. During a session of the 2022 CPPO Prepaid Symposium, industry experts, product managers, regulators and investors will separate hype from honesty about the true potential for crypto in Canada.

There’s one major question in the Canadian payments market that’s part of major regulatory discussions: Where does crypto fit into Canada’s economy?

This hot topic is going to continue to drive conversations across the payments ecosystem. How crypto fits into the mainstream financial system is one that regulators are having continue to face head on. Regardless of what the regulatory landscape looks like for crypto in Canada, one thing is clear: the fintech market in Canada has embraced crypto as a new and innovative way to attract more consumers onto their platforms. Even more interesting is how prepaid has made its ways into the crypto conversations.

Prepaid as a platform continues to fuel Canada’s digital payments and banking ecosystem by helping financial services companies of all sizes bring new, inclusive offerings to market. Increasingly, when companies launch prepaid card programs, they are finding new ways to tie unique loyalty programs around those cards.

Symposium Panel: Crypto In Canada: What’s Next, What’s Real, What’s The Opportunity?

Moderator: Ben Harrison – Partner, Head of Partnerships & Policy, Sagard

  • Panelists:   
    • Phil Barrar – Chief Innovation Officer, Mogo
    • Nassib Kazoun – Crypto Consulting Practice Lead for North America, Mastercard
    • Lisa Durnford – Senior Manager, Regulatory R&D, Wealthsimple
Speaker Soundbites

Lisa DurnfordWealthsimple – “Crypto is a great lever for younger generations to participate in the economy. They are able to take control back to be able to guide their financial future.”

“I’m excited about competition and what crypto can do to make a more innovative environment for financial services in Canada.”

“For younger consumers, it’s about ownership of your engagement with services and ownership of what you’ve contributed to the economy. It’s a way to guide your financial future. Our roadmap is inspired by this.”

“Crypto is a great lever for younger generations to participate in the economy. They are able to take control back to be able to guide their financial future.”

“Payments technology and innovation can make everything more affordable, more accessible and more efficient. …People are seeking out ways to move their money around that is efficient and more affordable.

“There are opportunities in the globalization of markets and access to new economies — through blockchain-powered exchanges and those marketplaces.”

Nassib KazounMastercard – “There is not one narrative about why people are using crypto. …being a part of the ecosystem is part of it — and having that level of ownership.”

“Crypto is so global is nature. The geographical barriers have been removed.”

Speaking on key use cases for crypto and blockchain: “The notion of real-time payroll is being built out…by the minute and by the hour. There’s such a value prop for anyone recruiting people who need faster. Or NFTs in the SMB world. That’s the long-term play for payments.”

“The narrative around fraudsters and crypto is a bit dated. There are real use cases now. Fraud and AML exist in the fiat world — why would we expect it to go away in the crypto world?”

“It’s important to find the right risk framework. If our customers want to meet us there, we have to meet them there. …Let’s get moving. Technical challenges exists. Integrations challenges from legacy infrastructures exist. There are regulatory issues. But with blockchain systems there can be standards. We need actual data standards so it becomes actually interoperable.”

Philip BarrarMogo – “Canada has what it takes to be a leader in the crypto space. We have the talent right here, and American companies are turning to us for talent because they see that.”

“There is a lot of different room for disruption…It’s really exciting to see the globalization of payments…A lot of people see crypto as the gold rush…we’re seeing a lot of U.S. firms enter the Canadian marketplace. It’s really exciting to see adoption of technologies be validated in the market.”

“It’s no longer the early-adopter phase. Everyone is adopting crypto.”

Ben HarrisonSagard – “The killer use case is Stablecoin to show the potential and opportunities in the crypto payments space.”


When asked about if Canada can be a leader in this space? 

Nassib Kazoun: Yes. There is a lot of work happening in the background. When you look at Toronto as a whole. Ethereum was founded here. A really cool layer one infrastructure is being built out. Banks aren’t public about it, but innovation is happening. Visa and Mastercard are all leaning into the space. We don’t want to be left behind. We have the grit.”

Lisa Durnford: Yes. We have to ask — how do we want to succeed in the sector? Our governments and banks and VCs need to decide. We still see startups founded by Canadians in other places. We can’t get clear regulatory answers here. We’re excited to bring pieces together and innovate in this space.”

Philip Barrar: We have the talent. We have programs to develop IP. There are use cases today that show the potential and opportunity in this space. It is inclusive and allows for participation across all sectors.”


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