Last Updated: February 9, 2023
This risk statement (the “Risk Statement”) is presented to you at the time of opening your Account with ALT 5. You must acknowledge having received, read, and understood this Risk Statement in order to open and operate an Account and use of the Services. Please read this Risk Statement in its entirety.
ALT 5 believes that its clients should be aware of the risks involved in using the Services to purchase, hold, or sell Digital Assets. Digital Asset trading may not be appropriate for you, particularly if you use funds which you cannot afford to lose. The volatility and unpredictability of the price of Digital Assets relative to fiat currency may result in significant loss over a short period of time.
By opening an account with ALT 5 to use the Services, you are acknowledging that you have received, read and understand the risks set out herein. This Risk Statement does not necessarily capture all of the risks associated with trading in Digital Assets. Please refer to the terms of the Client Account Agreement for a more detailed description of your relationship with ALT 5 and the Platform. This Risk Statement provides a summary of certain risks you should take into account when deciding whether to trade Digital Assets. It also provides a general description of what is meant by the term, “Crypto” (which is defined below).
No securities regulatory authority in Canada or any other jurisdiction has expressed an opinion about any of the Digital Assets that are available through the Platform
While ALT 5 has conducted due diligence, in accordance with its written policies, to evaluate each of the Digital Assets before making them available on the Platform and has concluded that none of the Digital Assets constitutes a security or derivative under the respective securities legislation of each of the jurisdictions of Canada and the securities and derivatives laws of the foreign jurisdiction with which each Digital Asset has the most significant connection, there is a risk that ALT 5 has incorrectly determined that none of the Digital Assets is a security or derivative. There is also a risk that ALT 5’s conclusion that any particular Digital Asset is not a security or derivative may change over time.
Risks in Trading on the Platform
The following is a non-exhaustive list of risks you should consider when using the Services to purchase, hold, or sell Digital Assets.
- Platform Risk
Crypto-asset trading platforms, including ALT 5, may cease operations or permanently shut down due to fraud, technical glitches, hackers, or malware, which could have an adverse impact on the value of Digital Assets. ALT 5 reserves the right to not offer a quote should there be technical difficulties, extreme volatility or counterparty problems. ALT 5 will put a notice on its website in these extreme circumstances.
- Short History Risk
Digital Assets are just over a decade old, and as such, it is unclear whether the economic value, governance or functional elements of Digital Assets will persist over time. The Digital Asset community has successfully navigated a considerable number of challenges since the introduction of blockchain technology. That said, the continued engagement of the Digital Asset community is not guaranteed, and any future challenges that the community is not able to navigate could have an adverse impact on the price to purchase or proceeds received from the sale of a Digital Asset.
- Price Volatility
The price of Digital Assets on public trading platforms has a limited history. Digital Asset prices have historically been volatile and subject to influence by many factors including the levels of liquidity on trading platforms, public speculation on future appreciation in value, swings in investor confidence, and changes in regulatory characterization.
A Digital Asset may lose most or all of its value.
- Potential Decrease in Global Demand for Digital Assets
If speculators, investors, merchants, or consumers stop purchasing, using, holding, or dealing in Digital Assets, or the rate of adoption of Digital Assets slows, then the price of Digital Assets may be adversely impacted. There is no guarantee that Digital Assets will maintain their long-term value in terms of purchasing power in the future or that the acceptance of Digital Assets for payments by mainstream retail merchants and commercial businesses will continue to grow.
- Potential for Illiquid Markets
If there is a relatively small volume of buy and sell orders in the marketplace, it may become difficult to execute a trade of Digital Assets. Unexpected market illiquidity may cause major losses to the holders of Digital Assets.
- Transfers of Digital Assets are Irreversible
Transfers of Digital Assets are irreversible. An improper transfer (whereby a Digital Asset is accidentally sent to the wrong recipient), whether accidental or resulting from theft or unauthorized access, can only be undone by the receiver of the Digital Asset agreeing to send the Digital Asset back to the original sender in a separate subsequent transaction. To the extent your access credentials are taken over by another party (with or without your permission) and transfers are made, you may be unable to recover the Digital Assets. You are responsible for maintaining the security of your access credentials.
- Concentration Risks
With respect to certain Digital Assets, a significant percentage of their total outstanding units are held by a disproportionately small amount of Digital Asset wallet addresses. If one of these top holders were to exit their Digital Asset position, a block sale of a large amount of a Digital Asset could adversely affect the price of that Digital Asset.
- Uncertainty in Regulation
The regulation of Digital Assets continues to evolve in Canada and in foreign jurisdictions which may restrict the use of ALT 5’s Platform and or Digital Assets or otherwise impact the demand for Digital Assets.
- Financial Institutions May Refuse to Support Transactions Involving Digital Assets
Financial institutions provide bank accounts to facilitate transfers of fiat currency in connection with Digital Asset transactions. Canadian regulated banks and other financial institutions may refuse to process funds for Digital Asset transactions or to process wire transfers to or from Digital Asset trading platforms, Digital Asset-related companies, or service providers, or maintain accounts for persons or entities transacting in Digital Assets.
- A Digital Asset’s Blockchain May Temporarily or Permanently Fork and/or Split
Many Digital Asset blockchain networks are powered by open-source software. When a modification to that software is released by developers, and a substantial majority of miners consent to the modification, a change is implemented and the blockchain network continues uninterrupted. However, if a change were to be introduced with less than a substantial majority consenting to the proposed modification, and if the modification were not compatible with the software in operation prior to its modification, the consequence would be what is known as a “fork” (i.e., a split) of the blockchain. One blockchain would be maintained by the pre-modification software and the other by the post-modification software. The effect is that both blockchains would operate in parallel, but independently. There are precedents for this occurring, for example on both the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchain networks. In the future, such a fork could occur again, and affect the viability or value of a Digital Asset. ALT 5 may choose not to support any future fork of the underlying blockchain of the Digital Assets available on the Platform, in which case you might not have any rights to the new digital assets that may be created as a result of that fork. By using ALT 5 you forfeit any profit, loss, or voting right claims to any Digital Assets forked on the Platform.
- Cyber-Security Risk
Digital Asset companies, such as ALT 5, and their service providers may be subject to operational and information security risks resulting from cyber-attacks. These include, among other behaviors, stealing or corrupting data maintained online or digitally, denial of service attacks on websites, the unauthorized release of confidential information, and various other forms of cyber-security breaches. This in turn could cause ALT 5 to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures, and/or financial loss.
Third parties may send Digital Assets into wallets operated by ALT 5 or ALT 5’s third-party custodian (“Digital Asset Airdrops”). Should ALT 5 be issued any additional Digital Assets alongside the ones held by ALT 5 or ALT 5’s third-party custodians, we would not be responsible for any consequences arising from such an issuance, including any perceived or actual losses or missed gains. ALT 5 will decide in its sole discretion whether or not to support the Digital Asset Airdrops or whether or not to distribute the Digital Asset Airdrops to our clients, with or without prior notification. By using the Services, you forfeit any profit, loss, or voting right claims to any Digital Asset Airdrops to ALT 5.
- Issues with Cryptography Underlying Digital Asset Networks
Cryptographic and algorithmic protocols are used to protect the secrecy of codes regulating the blockchain system used to effect transfers of Digital Assets. In the past, flaws in the source code for Digital Assets have been exposed and exploited, including flaws that disabled some functionality for users, exposed users’ personal information, and/or resulted in the theft of users’ Digital Assets. The cryptography underlying the Digital Assets could prove to be flawed or ineffective, or developments in mathematics and/or technology, including advances in digital computing, algebraic geometry, and quantum computing, could result in such cryptography becoming ineffective. Any of these circumstances could result in the theft of users’ Digital Assets by malicious actors. Moreover, functionality of Digital Asset networks may be negatively affected such that they are no longer attractive to users, thereby dampening demand for Digital Assets.
- Internet Risk
ALT 5 accesses Digital Assets’ blockchains via the internet, and its clients access ALT 5’s Platform via the internet. Thus, the entire system is dependent upon the continued functioning of the internet. ALT 5 maintains an independent and secure ledger of all transactions to minimize loss and maintains contingency plans to minimize the possibility of system failure; however, ALT 5 does not control signal power, reception, routing via the internet, configuration of your equipment, or the reliability of your connection to the internet.
- Open Loop System
When you enter into a Digital Asset transaction with ALT 5 to buy and sell Digital Assets, that transaction provides you with certain rights and imposes certain responsibilities; In particular, the contract you sign with ALT 5 enables you to deposit, buy, sell, withdraw (with some limitations), and hold Digital Assets in your own private wallet. We refer to this as an “open loop” system. Please note that some Digital Assets may not be eligible for withdrawal from the platform for technical reasons.
- Risk if Entity Gains a 51% Share of a Digital Asset Network
If an entity gains control over 51% of the computational power (hash rate) of a Digital Asset network, the entity could use its majority share to interfere with the operation of that network in ways that could undermine trust in the network.
- Possible Increase in Transaction Fees
There are transaction fees applicable to certain Digital Asset transactions. These transaction fees have historically been relatively low, but there is no assurance that they will remain low. Higher transaction fees may result in a decrease in the value of the relevant Digital Asset(s).
- Possible Increase in Service Fees
Certain fees ALT 5 charges you for the Services are based in part on the fees charged to ALT 5 by its third-party service providers. Those third-party service provider fees are subject to change, which may result in ALT 5 increasing its fees.
- Custody of Digital Assets
As provided in the Client Account Agreement, ALT 5 may hold your Digital Assets on your behalf, directly in a hot wallet temporarily, and indirectly through a third-party custodian in cold wallet storage on an ongoing basis. ALT 5 has developed a robust set of policies, procedures, and controls to safeguard the Digital Assets in its custody. However, the “open loop” nature of the system means that while you are able to transfer Digital Assets on and off the Platform, there is an inherent risk that a part or all of your Digital Assets may be lost without any means of retrieving them. You may access the Digital Assets that you have purchased on the Platform by placing an order to sell the Digital Assets or by requesting a transfer of those Digital Assets to your own private wallet.
- Custody Risk Insurance
ALT 5 and any third-party custodians it may retain have insurance to protect the Digital Assets they hold. However, it is important to note that the insured sum may not be sufficient to cover all of the potential losses that may be incurred by ALT 5 or by any third-party custodian, and any losses of Digital Assets held in custody may only be covered partially by existing insurance. As such, you are reminded that you may withdraw any Digital Assets that you purchase on ALT 5’s Platform or hold through ALT 5’s Platform into your own private wallet(s) immediately upon execution of a transaction at your sole discretion and acknowledge that you have complete control over the Digital Assets you have in your account.
- Threats to ALT 5’s Physical Assets
ALT 5’s physical assets, such as its personnel, hardware, buildings, or data processing infrastructure could experience a range of threats, such as fire, flood, natural disaster, theft, vandalism, or terrorism. As such, there exists a risk of partial or full loss of your Digital Assets due to the aforementioned events.
- Use of Leverage
ALT 5 does not offer its clients margin or any other type of loan, but we cannot prevent clients from borrowing cash from other sources to purchase Digital Assets on the Platform. However, using borrowed money to finance the purchase of Digital Assets involves a potentially greater degree of risk than purchases made with cash. If you borrow money to purchase Digital Assets, your responsibility to repay the loan and pay interest as required by its terms remains the same even if the value of the Digital Assets purchased declines.
- Halting, Suspending, and Discontinuing Digital Assets
ALT 5 maintains written policies that govern the halting, suspending, and discontinuing of Digital Assets from trading on the Platform. In accordance with those policies, ALT 5 may decide to halt, suspend, or discontinue certain Digital Assets from its Platform, for any reason whatsoever, including but not limited to, business decisions made in ALT 5’s sole discretion, changes in market trends, changes in the demand for the Digital Asset, changes in legal or regulatory risk associated with the Digital Asset, changes in relevant blockchain support for the Digital Asset, or changes in third-party custodian availability of the Digital Asset. In such circumstances, ALT 5 will seek to give clients as much time as possible, on a best-efforts basis, in accordance with ALT 5’s written policies on this, to sell or withdraw Digital Assets through the Platform.