Recently I revisited some recordings of the Senate hearings on Digital Currency from 2014-10-02. I appreciate the number of very insightful questions you have raised to the panel - it was a pleasure hearing both them and the answers to them.
During the hearing you brought up the fact that Canada Post holds a bank charter in Canada, and that the company is in need of extra revenue stream. I would like to address some of the possibilities that this fact brings to both the world of Bitcoin-related companies in Canada, as well as the wider Canadian population as a whole.
In the modern world, there are a number of technologies and services that have emerged in the recent years that are essential in everyday lives. Many people would count access to the Internet as well as banking to be among them. I will leave the discussion of the former and focus on the latter.
Efficient banking as well as access to digital payment methods is needed for virtually every business and is prevalent in personal lives of many people. However, as was illustrated multiple times in the hearing by Michael Perklin, all of the banks are private companies and have the right to refuse business to anyone they choose without any legal reason. This problem is not unique to the Bitcoin world - there are a lot of banks that discriminate against people with poor credit scores or dealing in "taboo" businesses. Such people essentially become "unbankable" - unable to take part in the modern economy that is largely driven by online purchases and digital payments.
If the Canadian Government decided to address this issue by offering even the most basic banking services through Canada Post indiscriminately to anyone in Canada, it would not only help the Bitcoin businesses, but also many of the disenfranchised people living in our Country.
I know Canada is quite open to innovation. The former MintChip project by Canadian Mint, or the possibly future project of Bank of Canada are a clear indicator that the Canadian Government is interested in the digital currency space. I do believe that no matter which direction projects like these go, Canada Post will be playing an integral role.
The current "Big Five" banks hold about 920 to 3'330 branches each in Canada, while Canada Post has over 6'000 post offices. Similarly, a lot of those offices are open for twelve or more hours per day, while a number of bank branches are open for less than eight hours per day. As such, Canada Post is an ideal solution for money deposits and withdrawals, as well as everything else that is needed (performing identity verification for example) - the post offices should be accessible to every citizen.
There are of course many other services Canada Post could offer to help with payments, such as delivering money directly to the recipient's nearest post office (as is the case with Money Orders), or perhaps even directly to their home address.
However, from what I learned talking with a few Bitcoin businesses that require efficient, traditional banking for the core of their business, all that matters to them is to be able to receive money from their customers, be able to pay their suppliers efficiently, have confidence that their bank account won't get shut down, and have all of this at an affordable rate.
Even this little is too much for a lot of banks. I have done some research on international banking for Bitcoin businesses and I have seen Canadian companies banking in Czech Republic, or companies from USA banking in Malta not because these banks are the best, but because they can't open a local bank account.
As such, I am grateful to you Senator for bringing this issue up and I remain hopeful that the future will give us a more inclusive banking system, whether it is in Canadian Dollars, or Bitcoin. I am open to any follow-up discussion, questions or general consulting you or anyone else from the Canadian Government might have.