This week, Quebec’s financial regulatory agency — Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) — announced that it would be including an ICO into its experimental “sandbox” program for non-traditional securities and financial instruments. The AMF has approved a proposal from Toronto-based “socially responsible” banking startup Impak Finance, giving official approval to its MPK coin ICO. The AMF plans to use the ICO as a test case for blockchain-based securities, helping to guide future regulation in the ICO market.
As part of the two-year sandbox program, the AMF is relaxing many of their regulatory requirements for Impak’s ICO. The company won’t be required to register as a securities dealer, for instance, nor will it be required to provide a prospectus to investors. This doesn’t mean that the AMF has waived all requirements, however, as Impak must still adhere to other rules, including know-your-customer (KYC) screenings.
Speaking with Coinbase, AMF Director of Supervision of Intermediaries Sophie Jean said: “This [project] was very, very novel because we had to apply the principles of regulation to the filer and provide the filer with a tailor-made order providing terms and conditions for the distribution of the digital currency.”
If successful (in a regulatory context), the Impak ICO could usher in a wave of new, government-approved ICOs in Canada even before the completion of the two-year sandbox program. The experiment also has the support of the Canadian Securities Administration, an oversight board composed of provincial securities regulators. While many government regulatory agencies have been openly skeptical of cryptocurrency-related investments, Canadian regulators have been cautiously optimistic about the potential of blockchain-based innovation in the country’s financial sector.
Impak’s president Paul Allard told Coinbase: “I had been working with the regulators for several years prior to Impak Coin, and I knew that they were keen in adapting their regulatory framework to catch up with the cryptocurrency sector.”
The AMF’s approval of the Impak token sale has been widely praised within the ICO community. The move comes on the heels of several troubling developments, including a crackdown on ICOs in China, investor warnings about ICO-based scams, and the shuttering of the Protostarr ICO following interactions with SEC investigators.
The news has also boosted interest in Impak’s MPK token sale. At press time, the company had raised nearly 22 BTC and 380 ETH for the project.