The Blockchain has provided a platform for key innovations like cryptocurrencies, but this is just one of it’s many use case applications.
Indeed the thesis of this ebook is that it offers a platform for an entire digital nation.
From Walmart’s supply chain to renewable energy management to a Covid screening tool, there is a myriad of scenarios that leverage the capability of the technology to enable transparent integrity of digital transactions.
And this is still just the early adopter phase. From ‘Programmable Money’ to a wholesale reinvention of democracy, the Blockchain will entirely transform society as we know it, and Canada is presented the opportunity to be a global leader of this transformation, creating a truly 21st century Digital Canada.
There are two main component parts to this strategy: Regulatory legislation and the innovation / technology ecosystem.
A keystone foundation is regulation and legislation, the right approach could either inhibit innovation or unlock an unparalleled scale of economic growth. As Coindesk reports a new German law could theoretically bring as much as €350 billion (~$425 billion) of institutional investment into their cryptocurrency market.
Writing for the Globe and Mail Neil Gross paints a somewhat bleak picture of Canada’s recent actions in this area, but also one with a silver lining.
Commenting on the recent move by the financial authorities to regulate crypto exchanges, Neil says those operating outside of Canada simply won’t bother with compliance or will cease trading in Canada, so the requirement will only impact local Canadian players, who will bear the brunt forcing them to pass on the costs to Canada buyers.
However he also points to the opportunity this presents for Canada, that well crafted regulations will play to the ‘brand strength’ of Canadian providers – The ideal of safety through robust governance and practices.
“we can stick a stake in the ground on rules and professional standards to make Canada the safest, most reliable place to buy or sell crypto assets in the world.”
He compares the positioning to that of Swiss bankers or German car makers, highlighting that there is a compelling market need. The crypo industry is still perceived as something of a cowboy landscape, especially to newbies, with great perceived risk due to faulty procedures, negligent systems design and therefore the risk of theft and fraud, such as the loss of $250m by Quadriga.
So he intelligently suggests that if Canada is to enforce tough legislation the smart move is to leverage this such that it plays to and reinforces the ideal of Canada as a global ‘safe haven’ for crypto trading. The right procedural requirements could enforce the diligence needed to protect consumers from this type of risk, and would fit with and enhance the international reputation Canada already enjoys as a highly trustworthy nation to do business in.
When this goes hand in hand with policies that also enable innovation, such as approving crypto assets for trading, it would cement Canada’s brand as the best place in the world for crypto.
In the follow on article we explore the second component of this strategy, the technology / innovation ecosystem.
This explores the dynamics of how new services and thus startup businesses might be encouraged and enabled, to provide the mix of products that consumers most want and would adopt, factoring in related industry developments such as Open Banking.
These different sectors don’t exist in isolation indeed it is their synergy that unlocks the most potential, and this presents huge opportunity for Canada. There are core technologies common to both, and growing expertise and capability there will create an accelerating effect for all of them. This includes cutting edge innovations that present massive growth potential in their own right, such as Self Sovereign Identity, where Canada is already a world leader in its adoption for use cases like Government.
Further investing in this capability and applying it across multiple industries would see Canada propel itself head and shoulders over every other country on earth as a truly digital nation and tech sector giant, enjoying an associated scale of economic boom.