Crypto

WonderFi to Become First Canadian-Regulated Crypto Exchange Listed on TSX

WonderFi’s listing comes at a time when market watchers say the sector is approaching a ‘crypto winter’

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Vancouver-based WonderFi Technologies Inc. will soon become the first Canadian-regulated cryptocurrency exchange and registered trading platform to list its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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WonderFi, which owns Bitbuy Technologies Inc. and is backed by Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, will list under the ticker TSX:WNDR on June 22. O’Leary said that he is seeing more investors demanding diversification and options to invest in cryptocurrency assets.

“Most banks are under tremendous pressure from their own constituents who have accounts with them to expose them (to cryptocurrencies),” he said. “So we make sure we keep our platform open, ready for businesses to interact with any banking platform that wants to work with us, and I think being a part of the TSX, where a lot of other financial services are listed, is a very nice thing to do. important.”

The TSX in early May approached WonderFi to see if the company would go public. O’Leary said that the TSX has been listening to its constituents and pointed to the growing institutional demand for cryptocurrency assets.

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By listing on the TSX, WonderFi hopes to capture a “new generation of retail and institutional investors,” CEO Ben Samaroo said in a press release, adding that this generation tends to be older investors who trust the TSX.

Bitbuy data pointed out that crypto investors are getting older. In 2022, the average age of new cryptocurrency investors was 39, five years older than in 2018. Bitbuy added that there was a three-year increase in the average age over the last 12 months or so. Assuming the trend continues, the exchange expects the average age to soon be around 40 years old.

O’Leary also noted that older investors tend to have more capital to put to work.

However, WonderFi’s listing comes at a time when market watchers say the sector is approaching a “crypto winter” or a sustained decline in asset values.

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On Tuesday, Coinbase Global Inc. CEO Brian Armstrong warned of a crypto winter after the company cut 18 percent of its staff. His shares have fallen 80 percent this year, according to data from Bloomberg. New York-based exchange Gemini Trust Co. and US crypto lender BlockFi Inc. have also sharply reduced the number of employees.

The cryptocurrency market slump doesn’t faze O’Leary, who said even success stories like Amazon.com Inc. had deep drops in share price when they were finding their footing in the early days.

“I feel the same way about the cryptocurrency sector,” he said. “It is incipient, it is early. There are many unregulated positions on leverage, and this too will eventually pass. They will explode.”

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O’Leary added that more regulation will attract institutional capital, bringing price stability and appreciation once assets are owned by larger players.

“But it all starts with a regulatory environment,” he said.

Another favorable factor that O’Leary noted was the large number of engineers graduating from top US universities looking to work or start businesses in the blockchain sector.

“The amount of intellectual capital that enters this market is so great that, without a doubt, the sector will become the 12th sector of the economy given all the productivity that it will bring to the largest sector, which is financial services. “, said.

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“Politics is one of the reasons you want to see this mature, and part of the maturation is a listing on the TSX, which is obviously a move toward an institutional investor, a move toward supporting the banking sector, a move toward a larger base of shareholders and, ultimately, account holders”.

Before listing on the TSX, WonderFi had been on an acquisition spree, buying Bitbuy for $206 million in January and Toronto-based cryptocurrency trading platform Coinberry Ltd. for $38.5 million in April.

O’Leary hinted that WonderFi would be looking at other global jurisdictions as part of the company’s expansion strategy, though he did not specify which countries in particular were drawing his attention.

WonderFi has previously been listed on the Neo Exchange and has OTC market listings in the US.

• Email: shughes@postmedia.com | Twitter:

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