Alberta wants to 'own' the big opportunity in cryptos: Minister Schweitzer
The Canadian province better known for its oil-rich resources is now looking to become an international destination for the cryptocurrency industry.
Alberta is placing itself on a path to host all aspects of the crypto world including digital token mining, data centres and access to a high-tech workforce.
“This is an area of huge disruption and we want to make sure we're there in that market,” said Doug Schweitzer, Alberta’s minister of jobs, economy and innovation, in an interview on Thursday.
“It doesn't seem like any jurisdiction in Canada actually wants to own this opportunity. And we're here in Alberta - we want to talk to people, we're looking at setting up a regulatory sandbox on the securities side. We're more than welcome to having conversations on the power market. It’s a big opportunity for us."
A number of crypto-related firms have already made Alberta their home base including Blockchain Guru, Terraform and Bitcoin Well.
Schweitzer touted the province’s abundance of natural gas, its private sector-driven electricity market and environmental offset credits that “well position” Alberta for the energy-intense crypto industry.
Alberta has been marketing itself globally as a tech-friendly hub to diversify its economy and become less dependent on the volatile oil and gas sector, especially as the world shifts away from fossil fuels. Economic diversification has been under development since the 2014 oil price collapse but that has intensified in recent years.
To help attract crypto companies, the province has been working to lure technology workers.
“It's an international race for talent. In Alberta, just as last month, we announced a brand new immigration stream to accelerate tech talent coming into Alberta,” Schweitzer said.
While he acknowledged the current narrative on oil is positive in light of the crude price rally, he said building the province’s tech industry will benefit its economy in the future.
“When you take a look at the whole [decentralized finance] space, crypto, you know, this area is not going away. We know what's going to be here long term,” he said.