Skip to main content

We’re bringing the country’s blockchain leaders together to show the surprising ways that the technology is reshaping Canada’s economy, industries, and future potential.

I love the excitement and creativity of disruptive technologies, but I’ve always been most passionate about the communities that form around them. Some of my greatest friendships and collaborations have come about from chance encounters at meet ups and conferences, and the same principle is true for many of success stories in Canada’s blockchain industry.

There’s something so powerful about people from diverse backgrounds and professions gathering in person with the goal of understanding and moving an idea forward – a kind of electric atmosphere that makes it seem like the future is being created right in front of us.

Throughout my years of holding events like the Alberta Technology Symposium, many blockchain events and building content for great conferences like Inventures and Blockchain Futurist, I’ve seen how they catalyze ideas, transform relationships, and help talented Canadian companies gain international attention and opportunities.

This year, the Canadian Blockchain Summit, held in Calgary from October 19th-20th, comes at a critical point for our industry. Bringing together thought leaders and entrepreneurs from all parts of the blockchain industry, from financial services and digital assets to the metaverse and Bitcoin mining, our ambition with the conference is to accelerate the digital growth and adoption we need to stay competitive in a quickly changing world.

We know that digital technologies, including blockchain, will be the foundation of the next economy. It’s where capital is moving and data is flowing, and with predictions about the digital assets enabled metaverse reaching US $13 trillion by just 2030 by banks like Citi, and Boston Consulting Group forecasting a billion Bitcoin users by the same year, these transformations are happening at lightening speed.

Throughout my years of holding events like the Alberta Technology Symposium, many blockchain events and building content for great conferences like Inventures and Blockchain Futurist, I’ve seen how they catalyze ideas, transform relationships, and help talented Canadian companies gain international attention and opportunities.

The technology’s role is no longer up for debate. We can see that in the way that other countries around the world are aggressively positioning themselves as leaders in the digital economy. India recently announced that they expect a 46% growth in their blockchain industry over the next few years, with the country’s former Finance Secretary saying that the technology could be “the biggest and the best innovation which has been done for turning human society into a digital society.”

The UK is positioning itself as the new “dominant global hub” for crypto, putting a huge number of government resources into working with the blockchain industry to give clear legal status to its complex types of assets and protocols. “The UK can either be a spectator as this technology transforms aspects of life, or we can become the best place in the world to start and scale crypto technologies,” the UK’s Economic Secretary to the Treasury said in a recent interview – and Canada is confronting the same decision.

The EU, Singapore, and dozens of fast-growing emerging markets are also moving at an accelerated pace. However, our choice about committing to either scale our digital economy or remain on the sidelines isn’t a simple one. At the same time as countries are vying for leadership in the space, recent failures of both technology and regulation in our industry have increased its perceived risk profile.

We should be looking at the US $4.7 billion bankruptcy of US-based crypto lender Celsius, or the $60 billion Terra/Luna stablecoin crash, and take a lot of lessons on the dangers of too little regulation for unproven business and technology models. However, we have strong advantages when it comes to combining innovation and consumer safety.

Canada excels at effective and enforced regulations, as seen in our industries like energy and traditional finance, and we’re regarded as one of the world’s most stable regions to do business. But we can’t continue to stifle digital growth in the name of absolute safety.

Our crypto industry is heavily regulated through the Canadian Securities Administrators, yet unlike in many other parts of the world, our companies struggle to access basic services like bank accounts. Through close collaboration with the blockchain industry, we have the opportunity to become a leader that balances the opportunities of innovation with the need to protect consumers and our economy.

It’s not an easy task, but we can’t let the risks hold us back from a seat at the table in the digital economic future. Canada is already undergoing the challenging process of shifting from a traditional to technology-based economy, with a massive push by our government to digitalize industries and accelerate our tech start-ups and scale ups. According to PwC, blockchain will add exactly the kind of scale of value Canada is seeking with our push to digitalize, with a predicted US $1.76 trillion boost to global GDP by 2030.

Why is it such a powerful technology? Through facilitating new and more secure ways of representing identity, currency, and intellectual property, and creating a radically more efficient way of transacting through technologies like smart contracts, and allowing Canada’s land constrained, energy-rich regions to sell its value over the internet through Bitcoin mining, blockchain brings a ton of underrecognized value, and we have a lot to lose if we don’t realize our industry’s potential.

The opportunity-rich future for Canada if we can grow this industry the right way – quickly, safely, and creatively – is clear to those of us involved in blockchain, and at the Summit, we want to highlight not only emerging ideas and the work of innovators in our space, but the essential kinds of integrations with the traditional economy we need for the technology to reach its true impact.

That’s why at the Summit, we’ve curated the highest impact blockchain applications and focussed on the missing pieces they need to take root in Canada, like our panels on how to effectively regulate digital assets, ways to engage regulators and the energy industry with our Bitcoin mining sector, and how to support banks and traditional finance to collaborate with our growing cryptocurrency businesses.

This will take a coordinated effort between our industry and government regulators, traditional finance, conventional sectors like energy, and other synergistic technologies like AI and IoT. Blockchain doesn’t thrive in isolation – it takes a committed community willing to lean in to helping it succeed for the benefit of all of Canada.