Vancouver’s Strong Showing as a Canadian Tech and Crypto Hub Despite Regulatory Challenges


Vancouver, Canada has emerged as a major tech and crypto hub despite its relatively small size. In a recent ranking of CoinDesk’s top crypto hubs, Vancouver was the only Canadian city to make the final cut. The city scored high in per-capita opportunities for crypto jobs, companies, and events, as well as quality of life measures. However, its regulatory structure score was just middling, sitting at three out of five maximum scores.

Despite this, Vancouver is known for being a hotspot for early crypto adoption. It is home to the world’s first bitcoin ATM, installed in 2013 by Robocoin. The city is also home to Dapper Labs, the developer of CryptoKitties, and some miners like Hive Blockchain (HIVE). The growth of high-tech jobs in Vancouver has been remarkable, with the city having the biggest growth in tech jobs in North America in 2019 compared to any other city, according to commercial real estate firm, CBRE.

The city’s geographical proximity to Microsoft’s hometown of Seattle, its diverse population, low tax rates, and world-class amenities are some of the factors contributing to its growth as a tech hub. Vancouver also has greater access to Asia Pacific networks and seems to act as a launchpad for other jurisdictions. It works in coordination with Toronto, another major Canadian tech hub.

Vancouver has a large Asian diaspora, including Changpeng Zhao, the founder, and CEO of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume. Zhao moved to Vancouver at age 12 from China and grew up there until he left for university in Montreal.

However, Vancouver’s regulatory environment has been challenging for companies like Binance and other major crypto exchanges that ceased operations in the nation due to its tight regulatory rules for crypto operators. The exit of these exchanges has left space for competitors like the US-based Kraken to gain market share in the country.

Despite the challenges, Vancouver’s growth as a tech and crypto hub has been impressive. Its strong per-capita opportunities, quality of life, and grassroots adoption of crypto are just the tip of the iceberg of its growing potential as a major global tech hub.