We launched the Canadian Web3 Council in March with a mission to grow Web3 in Canada. As an advocacy organization, we strive to help the government find solutions to some of the toughest public policy challenges in unlocking Web3 innovation, while protecting the best interest of Canadians.
When we founded this organization, we wanted to showcase the benefits of Web3, but also look into the hearts and minds of Canadians to better understand what they want when it comes to digital assets. To make sure we got this right, we reached out to Nanos Research to help us develop unique insight.
We focused this research on crypto, and before we dive into the results, we want to explain why. Firstly, crypto is one of the most hotly debated subjects and where much of the policy discussion and public dialogue is currently focused. It is important to conduct survey research when the topic is front and centre, so we can get informed responses that lead to a better understanding of how people think and feel.
Secondly, crypto powers Web3 and will play a key role in the future of the internet and our digital economy. It’s a nascent and complex ecosystem, so it doesn’t make sense to apply old paradigms to a new asset class. We believe it’s important to first understand the building blocks of Web3 and the technologies that power it before deciding what policies are required. Lastly, crypto is where the majority of the regulatory hurdles are felt right now in the industry.
Canadians support new crypto regulations
Three in five Canadians support the Federal Government working with cryptocurrency experts and Canadians to introduce new regulations or laws around cryptocurrency to protect the public interest. About one in five are unsure.
This is an important finding because there is a misconception that regulations and innovation can’t coexist. The truth is, Canadians are not opposed to regulations in this space and neither is the majority of the industry. In fact, we can better unlock Web3 innovation with policy and regulations that strike the right balance between sector growth and protecting consumers.
Canadians have mixed impressions of crypto
Nine in ten Canadians have heard of cryptocurrency. And more than half of Canadians either had a positive impression of cryptocurrency or felt neutral while the rest were unsure or felt negatively. Those who have or had investments in digital assets, and younger Canadians, have the most positive impression of cryptocurrency.
Canadians who have heard of cryptocurrency and have a positive impression of it often believe it is a promising alternative investment tool and it’s the future. In contrast, those with a negative impression of cryptocurrency most often say it is because it is unregulated, they don’t trust it, or it could be a scam . Those who are neutral usually say they don’t know enough about it or they don’t understand it .
Mixed impressions are normal with new ways of doing things. Our takeaway from these results is that Canadians are curious and cautious. Education is the best way to provide choices to consumers, so consumers understand how to be involved and test the benefits of new things for themselves.
The future of our economy is increasingly digital
According to Nanos Research, Canadians are becoming increasingly comfortable doing tasks online with reporting they are most comfortable paying bills online, being comfortable or somewhat comfortable to transfer funds to a person using email, and feeling comfortable or somewhat comfortable networking for work on the internet.
When we think about crypto and Web3 regulation, we have to plan for the future and how to best service the next generation. For some of us, the innovation might be hard to grasp, but for true digital natives, the idea of lending protocols and peer-to-peer digital transactions might not be foreign concepts.
Moving our digital economy forward
Crypto and Web3 has grown into a multi-trillion-dollar industry with new use cases emerging almost daily. It’s clear that this innovation is here to stay, which is why it’s important to provide Canadians with education, research and data so they can properly navigate the ecosystem.
While this research provides some insight into Canadians’ comfort levels with the future of our economy being more digital, we’d like to do more research to better understand the full picture of what Canadians want their future digital economy to look like, and how we can work together to unlock it.
What we know right now is that Canadian policymakers have a big role to play in shaping the future of our digital economy. It’s important we enable Canadians to make their own choices by responsibly unlocking new ways of doing things, and without stifling them. Regulators must consider many perspectives when thinking about new policies that impact Web3, including the economic and social benefits, what it means for Canada’s global competitiveness, consumer protection, and how Web3 and crypto fit into the modernization of our financial system.
Informed policy making for crypto is a good place to start. Coming up with new regulations is a daunting task, but not one that has to be done alone. In fact, the majority of Canadian respondents (three in five) want the Federal Government to work with industry leaders to develop appropriate guidelines. This requires a collaborative and forward-thinking approach to ensure we get this right. With the expertise from our members and Canada’s knowledgeable Web3 ecosystem, we’re optimistic about the future and are ready to get to work.
A note on the research
Nanos conducted an online representative survey of 1,003 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between April 20th and 22nd, 2022. The research gauged opinions among Canadians on their level of knowledge of banking and finances, their awareness and impression of cryptocurrency, as well as their level of support for cryptocurrency. The findings are interesting and we encourage you to read the full report.