Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for Calgary Nose Hill for the bill that she brought forward to attempt to make Canada a leader in the crypto space, which we kind of already are.
I heard a couple of comments today from speakers about growth. We have to have certainty before we can continue to grow. This is trying to provide certainty to the industry so that people know the rules as they go forward. A couple of years ago, there was a framework specifically around cryptoasset trading platforms. The Canadian securities administrators, with all of their provincial trading commissions, put this together and it set a framework. It is a very public document worked on in collaboration. It established, for exchanges that wanted to be exchanges in this country, a path to that goal. In Ontario, my home province, we have had a number of spot exchange-traded funds in this province, which is significant. The United States does not even have that yet. It only has future exchange-traded funds.
In addition to that, Bitbuy, just in the last quarter of 2021, worked with the OSC IIROC to be a market maker: to be an exchange and a marketplace for cryptoassets to be traded, because this framework was done three years ago. Just as the member for Calgary Nose Hill provides, let us get the experts and the industry to come together so we can get this moving forward. In the United States, people only wish that they had a spot ETF. Let us not get mixed up on the growth. What the member for Calgary Nose Hill is trying to say is let us not get in the way of growth. Let us make sure that industry has certainty so companies will want to come here and invest their billions of dollars.
The market cap of the cryptoassets is $2 trillion. That is in 13 years. The market cap of gold is $10 trillion. Therefore, it is $2 trillion for crypto and it is $10 trillion for gold. How long has gold been around? It has been around since the earth was established. There is $100 trillion in real estate, so there are huge opportunities here. We have to continue to push forward. That is what they want.
I will give an example. Let us look at all the different entities that businesses have to deal with. I made a list. They have to deal with the securities administrations and their provincial administrations, including the OSC and all the ones in all the provinces. IIROC is one they have to deal with. CRA is on the list, for how they are going to be taxed. The entities include the Department of Finance, potentially, the Bank of Canada, potentially, and on and on. When we say that it is the wild west and it is not regulated, that really is not the case, in my opinion. Obviously, people are transferring money into investment accounts, and it is monitored in many different ways including how it is backed, how it is secured and where the assets are held. It is not really the wild west, I would say, and I am sure the chair of the OSC, the executive director and the president would all love to have a comment on that. There is regulation, but we need more certainty because of the investment.
One example is Bitcoin mining, or miners in general, and how they are taxed by the CRA. Where is GST applied? Where is HST applied? When is the actual tax triggered? There is a dispute right now with the CRA as to where and when that occurs. This is what the member for Calgary Nose Hill is talking about. Let us have the framework of industry experts get around the table and say, “Hey, what the heck, are we charging HST every time we mine a Bitcoin?” That does not make any sense. This is not a service business. This is a mining company, just like Kinross Gold or somebody else. That is what we are talking about.
In regard to illicit activity, I am going to say right now that this is the last $20 bill I have. There is more crime done with twenties than will ever be done with cryptocurrency. What I will say is that the amount of crypto crime is decreasing. From 2020 to 2021, it decreased by almost 60%. Why is that? Only a stupid criminal would do a crime with crypto, because it is a public ledger and that wallet has an address.
There was a case where a couple defrauded billions. It was thousands of Bitcoin, and they held onto it for five years. The minute they tried to transfer that money in the fall of 2021, the FBI picked them both up and charged them. Only an idiot criminal, and there are some out there, would do it with this. They are going to go with cash or something else. They are not going to do it with that.
My colleague from Quebec made a comment. We are always getting to know each other, which is great. In Quebec, for example, there are a number of Shakepays. There are Shakepays in Montreal. I am sure some of my colleagues have heard of Shakepay before. Also, there is a Bitcoin mining company. There is about five or six. It is called Bitfarms. There is more than just Bitfarms, but Bitfarms is a $1-billion company traded on a public stock exchange. It went through all the regulatory burden to become publicly traded in la belle province.
I think it would be great if Bitfarms, Shakepay and a number of these Quebec-based companies reached out, did a little government relations, and explained to the government, not in an embarrassing way, but in an informative way, that this is a new industry of 13, 14 years, and explained that CRA income tax issue. That would be great.
To my good colleague from the NDP, who I had the honour of serving with on the industry committee, Bitfarms is 100% renewable energy from Hydro-Québec. It is green. By the way, there is a North American mining council whose mandate is to be a leader in renewable energy. There are great initiatives coming out of this. There are solar initiatives in the southern states, and wind initiatives. Some of the greatest innovation in green energy is actually going to come out of crypto. It is hard to believe, but it is true.
The best and brightest minds. When I was going to university, and that was quite a long time ago, people were learning how to chisel rocks. Now, the best and brightest minds are going into the crypto space. We want the best and brightest to graduate from these great universities and work in Canada. We do not want them to go to Silicon Valley.
In fact, the crypto space is not even in Silicon Valley, it is in Miami and Toronto. That is where we want people to be. The U.S., the UK and the European Union are all working through this process we are proposing here because they see the value in this one-time opportunity to be the world leader in this space. That is what we are trying to do here with this bill.
There is much to talk about. We are having executives from Bitbuy and WonderFi come to speak to us in a couple of weeks. They are going to explain the process they went through to be market-makers in Ontario. They would love to talk to all members of Parliament to explain how the process works and how the regulation works. We are not trying to slow things down.
Business wants certainty. This is how we are going to do it. As well, there is FINTRAC and know your client rules. These are money services businesses. They know what they are doing. They have to go through all these things to do it.
The last thing I will talk about quickly is remittances, as well as Bitcoin, the lightning network and Strike. Twenty-four percent of the GDP in El Salvador is in remittances. That is where somebody in Canada or the U.S. transfers money to a relative. Honduras, Haiti, Jamaica, there are all sorts of them, and they are all over 20%. They go to a money market and they get hosed. I am not against money markets, but I am just saying they get hosed. They can do this with Bitcoin, lightning and on the Strike network. It is that quick, and it costs nothing. That is making a difference.
Two million people in this country are unbanked. This industry is giving people a leg up. We have to make sure that all the technology is in Canada and the innovation is in Canada, so we not only make the lives of Canadians better, but subsequently, give opportunities and livelihoods to people who have never even had a bank account. It has been a real thrill to speak on this.