Is Bitcoin Money? This question has been debated across many circles. Some opine that cryptocurrency is a speculative asset that has nothing to bring to the table in the long run. While they have some points, they have been met with stiff opposition from the circle that accepts bitcoin as a form of money. One of the proponents of Bitcoin as a tradable asset is Canadian Ministerial candidate Pierre Poillevre. In his statement shown on BITCOIN, the popular cryptocurrency online media channel, he spoke to a crowd of around a hundred people about the freedoms needed for citizens of the country. One of the freedoms he highlighted is the freedom to trade using cryptocurrencies and utilizing blockchain-based services such as smart contracts, DeFi, and Staking. Although Bitcoin, which he proposes to be a legal tender, cannot be staked because it operates on the proof-of-work consensus, it is clear that it will be an entry point for Canadians to have access to some of the top crypto coins to stake, as a result of this earn passively.
This statement by Poilievre, a popular statesman from an opposition party, comes in stark contrast to some of the policies implemented by the current Prime minister of Canada. While, as we have seen earlier, the former advocates for more freedom and transparency from the citizens and government through cryptocurrency, the latter has implemented hard-necked principles to curb the use of cryptocurrencies in the country.
While it is unclear if the policies were made due to a lack of sufficient knowledge about cryptocurrencies, little regulatory clarity, or perhaps a mix of both, it is beyond doubt that they were made with regard to a Protest that happened earlier this year.
The freedom convoy was an honest check of the Canadian rights and freedom policy that Sought to find a middle ground between the right to peaceful protests and the overwhelming power of the government when it would lead to the collective good. Although the protest had to do with the disgruntlement of the way the government is handling the coronavirus lockdowns and restrictive orders, cryptocurrencies got involved when people living outside Canada took interest in the matter and funded the cause with different digital currencies. Several protestors had their bank accounts frozen, and even cryptocurrency donations to the cause were not left out.
One of the directors of the nation’s popular blockchain association explained that the cryptocurrency terrain in Canada is facing increasing pressure and hostility from the government and while there are many ways to address the issue, the most likely approach is to explain blockchain and tax, blockchain and transparency, and the innovative power of blockchain to improve small businesses. The crypto space has gone past blockchain being a tool to launder money and evade taxes, and it is high time the government comes to terms with this.
While the ban on crypto payment was meant to deter people from using the asset to make payments, it seems like the opposite of what was intended has happened. Residents in Canada are flocking into digital assets in their thousands, and a bulk of this is done through decentralized exchanges. Like Poilievre said, as we have the freedom to live and the freedom to move, there ought to be the freedom of currency choice. Governments worldwide are not held accountable for irresponsible spending, and cryptocurrencies might just offer citizens a cushion from the wasteful abuse of fiat currency.
Although we understand Poilievre’s point of view because of our level of exposure to cryptocurrencies, many Canadians do not. The percentage of cryptocurrency owners above the legal age of 18 in Canada is an underwhelming 14%. Compared to the USA’s 22% (actually more than the total Canadian population), this is a low figure, but when you look through history and see that only 3% of Canadians knew what cryptocurrency was six years ago, the current percentage will be appreciated more.
The future of cryptocurrencies in Canada also looks promising.
Apart from the premise that an increasing influence of cryptocurrency will ultimately determine the next election, the percentage of people interested in owning any digital asset in the foreseeable future has also increased to around 25% of the population. When weighed with a Cointelegraph analysis conducted in January, more than two-thirds of the 1000 Canadians questioned would be open to having their monthly pay in cryptocurrency five years from now.
This increase cannot be overlooked, and it is just a matter of time before the government succumbs to the interests of the people or a greater protest arises.
Crypto has grown too big to be overlooked by financial institutions, denied by the government, criticized by politicians, and rejected by business owners. The honest question we all should ask ourselves at the moment is “Where do we go from here” or “How can we merge digital and traditional financial institutions for a more scalable economy.”
This trend is not only seen in Canada. In fact, countries with crumbling economies see greater cryptocurrency adoption than those with more stable economies. While this has helped the people of the developing countries preserve the value of their wealth, it has also helped in banking the unbanked. It won’t be long before cryptocurrency exchanges like Redot.com and Binance grow to be as strong as payment processing companies like Visa. It is not a matter of If but when.