CoinSmart’s Justin Hartzman: Canada is behind — but not for long

Canada’s blockchain and cryptocurrency markets could bring some surprises in 2019.

Or at least that’s the thinking at CoinSmart, led by CEO Justin Hartzman, who is working to make investing in cryptocurrencies a lot easier in the U.S.’s maple-leaf covered neighbor. BlockTelegraph caught up with Hartzman for the latest on emerging innovation north of the border.

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Justin Hartzman has been thinking about Canada’s cryptocurrency markets a lot lately.

1. For those not yet familiar with CoinSmart, what do you do?

We are realizing the vision of making cryptocurrency accessible to all because I have a strong belief that cryptocurrency should be a portion of everyone’s well balanced portfolio. The world is changing with blockchain at the core and we want to help bring everyone into that.

At CoinSmart, we’ve taken all the friction and cryptic out of crypto by creating an easy to use platform, tools for better trading, and world-class customer service thereby building the largest trust factor in the market.

2. You have your own interesting background in tech. Share that.

While too old to be born into tech, it has played a vital role in my development and getting me to where I am today. It has been a conduit to ensuring everything is accessible and at my fingertips and making sure no problem is impossible. I have an eclectic background including all things internet and 3 successful exits in this space. I saw the world shifting and wanted to be at the forefront of that change.

3. Canadians face issues unique to its financial markets. What are those issues?

Canada is a very “wait and see” type of country, we are always wondering what is coming next in the way of regulation but also at the same time, as a more conservative country, Canadians are not as quick to adopt new tools in the financial space. Banking has been extremely tightly regulated so running this type of business in the Canadian market is not easy, especially when one of the things crypto investors want is the ability to quickly and easily convert crypto to/from fiat.

4. How does Canada rank in the global cryptocurrency market?

The current cryptocurrency market is estimated to hold approximately 1.8 million Canadians. However, we believe it to be closer to 0.5% of the population based on the number of cryptocurrency accounts held with Canadian exchanges currently.

Canada, while a “wait and see” nation, has been very friendly to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. This has been extremely beneficial to Canadians as we have seen a lot of emerging innovation from this space. In the way of retail and institutional adoption, on the investment side it has been lacking. I anticipate a large explosion of this as we see the market stabilize and turn from bear to bull. The EU is another exciting market in regards to cryptocurrency growth and adoption and I’m excited to share that CoinSmart will soon be expanding into that market.

5. Exchanges have come under fire from various regulators lately. What is the current environment for exchanges?

It is a lot of reading between the lines because regulators are telling us what they are ok with but not explicitly what they are not ok with. This leaves us having to use our better judgement to create proper frameworks for decision making on the non-security utility tokens that we choose to provide to our clientele.
We anticipate that more explicit regulation is coming down the pipeline and we encourage this and are prepared for this because it will build more trust and confidence in the market, which can help facilitate mass adoption.

6. What can consumers do to protect themselves when trading cryptocurrencies?

Only invest in a market that you are comfortable losing in and whatever market that is, it should constitute a certain percentage of the higher risk sector in your portfolio. That is where you want to play in this market because it is very volatile and high risk.

Additionally, when you are in the market, take all precautions to secure your coins and assets with proper custodial services and cold storage. Picking the proper exchange, like CoinSmart, takes all the headache out of this.

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Jordan French
Jordan French is the Executive Editor of Block Telegraph. He is a multi-media tech journalist on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a Fast 50 and Inc. 500-ranked entrepreneur. He is the founder of Notability Partners and the co-founder of BNB Shield, Lisbon Hill Farms, Status Labs, BeeHex, BlockTelegraph, and Grit Daily. A biomedical engineer and intellectual-property attorney, French is the author of upcoming book, The Gritty Entrepreneur.

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