Ontarians and Cryptocurrencies: A First Look

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December 11, 2017 – Over the past several months, interest in cryptocurrencies has increased significantly. The Investor Office commissioned a small online survey of Ontarians age 18 and over, carried out in November 2017, as a first step towards learning more about which segments of the Ontario public are purchasing cryptocurrencies, how Ontarians perceive the risks of cryptocurrencies, and some of the reasons why Ontarians either are or are not purchasing cryptocurrencies.


Our research indicates that Ontarians are acquiring cryptocurrencies for a variety of reasons, including as a way of paying for products and services, out of curiosity, and as an investmentInvestment An item of value you buy to get income or to grow in value.+ read full definition.

New financial products can help foster the dynamism of our capital marketsCapital markets Where people buy and sell investments.+ read full definition, but investors should always do their due diligence before purchasing a cryptocurrencyCryptocurrency Digital currency that is not regulated by the government. Cryptocurrencies are risky, vulnerable to hacking and are often used to support illegal activities. They are decentralized, meaning that no one owns or controls their networks, instead using peer-to-peer structures with hundreds of computers working together to process transactions.+ read full definition or cryptocurrency-related product—fraudsters have tried to capitalize on market interest in cryptocurrencies by creating fake initial coin and token offerings, promising high returns and then walking away with any funds raised.

It’s also important for investors to think about their individual investments in the context of their portfolioPortfolio All the different investments that an individual or organization holds. May include stocks, bonds and mutual funds.+ read full definition as a whole: large, undiversified investments in any single financial product can be risky, especially when, as can be the case with cryptocurrencies, prices are volatile and liquidity is limited. Depending on their characteristics, certain cryptocurrency-related products may be subject to securities regulation. Unlike traditional currencies, cryptocurrencies are not issued or backed by any government entity.

We encourage those interested in purchasing cryptocurrencies as an investment to first check out our many resources on investing at GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca. The OSC Inquiries and Contact Centre is also available to answer your questions about investing, or any concerns or complaints you have about investments, at 1-877-785-1555 or inquiries@osc.gov.on.ca.

About the Survey: The OSC Investor Office engaged Innovative Research Group Inc. (Innovative) to conduct a survey to better understand Ontarians’ investment practices as they relate to cryptocurrencies. The survey questions were included as part of an omnibus survey that Innovative regularly conducts. The survey was conducted online among a representative sample of 1,017 Ontarians, 18 years of age or older, between November 9 and 16, 2017. The sample has been weighted down to n=1,000 by age, gender and region using the latest Statistics Canada census data to reflect the actual demographic composition of the adult population 18 years of age or older residing in Ontario. Since the online survey was not a random probability based sample, a margin of error cannot be calculated. The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association prohibits statements about margins of sampling error or population estimates with regard to most online panels.

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