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Canada says no to Bitcoin as legal tender

If you’re planning a trip to Canada any time in the near future, don’t expect your Bitcoin to be treated as legal tender. The North American country made its position on the crypto-currency clear this past week.

“Only Canadian bank notes and coins are recognized as legal tender in Canada. Bitcoin digital ‘currency’ is not legal tender in Canada,” an official from Canada’s finance department said in an emailed statement to the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Journal, the official declined to comment on whether the country would allow people to convert their Bitcoin into recognised currency, such as the Canadian dollar.

Canada isn’t the first country not recognise Bitcoin as legal tender. France also recently came out against the virtual currency, saying that it “represents a clear financial risk for those that hold it.”

China meanwhile outright banned Bitcoin in December 2013, before going a step further and banning transactions between Bitcoin exchanges and third-party payment companies.

All of these approaches are in stark contrast to that of the United States, where former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that Bitcoin “may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure, and more efficient payment system.”

The news probably also won’t be welcomed by the more than 100 Canadian companies that accept Bitcoin as payment. It should be noted however that this does not mean that Bitcoin has no future in the country.

“Smaller, stand-alone payment systems for which there are many substitutes — like Bitcoin — should generally require much less intensive oversight and regulation because they pose much less risk to the Canadian financial system as a whole,” said Bank of Canada spokesperson Alexandre Deslongchamps.