At the forefront of a rapidly accelerating area of technology is the Alberta-based Canadian Blockchain Consortium, a national organization dedicated to the advocacy of blockchain and cryptocurrency in Canada. The Consortium consists of individuals across diverse industries working together to ensure that the country utilizes the technology with proper regulations, education and cooperation with the public sector.
Blockchain technology involves blocks of electronic data linked together across a network of many devices. These electronic lists may then be verified or rejected by other network participants, and this tamper-proof feature is commonly used worldwide for safety and security purposes. However, many individuals will likely know about blockchain through its association with digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
Cryptocurrency alone is projected to hit 1 billion users by the end of 2022, but more and more industries are adopting blockchain technology outside of digital assets.
“One of the first adapting industries to do it [use blockchain] was supply chain,” said Jade Alberts, Vice President of the Canadian Blockchain Consortium. “One of the biggest players in that is right out of Edmonton, TrustBIX.”
TrustBIX is a technology and services company that uses blockchain technology to help people trace cattle from gate to plate. Users can see how the animal was cared for, fed and shipped, which allows for better transparency between suppliers and consumers.
“You’re also getting into the security side of things now for transferring goods, and the medical industry is looking at putting all of their documents onto blockchain because it’s safer and easy to transfer.”
However, no significant change can be made without some cooperation with the government.
“We’re really focused on regulation and making sure we have the best relationship with the Alberta government … so that these regulations are moved forward federally and provincially. I would like to say it’s gonna be in the next 6 months or 1 year, but I really don’t know. We try to be politically agnostic, and everybody that sits at the table tell us they’re working with all parties, so we take their word for that,” Alberts explained.
Most of the regulations that would benefit blockchain will inevitably be on the financial side. White-collar crimes concerning the stock market, such as fraud and market manipulation, are punishable by law in today’s society. However, there are currently no regulations against people manipulating the crypto market. For example, if a celebrity tweets about Bitcoin and the coin’s value skyrockets, there is nothing that fraud investigators or lawyers can do right now to cut down on that behaviour.
Alberts believes that Alberta could be one of the first provinces to fuel those good regulations. Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency-trading platform by volume, moved their company to Calgary. iMining, which deals with blockchain investments, also announced that they will be moving their head offices to Alberta. The province recently started pushing for a more crypto-friendly environment, and if this continues, Alberts believes that it will “create jobs, a lot more taxes and revenue for our government.”
With such vast opportunities, students might wonder how they can get started on their blockchain journey. The Canadian Blockchain Consortium has a lot of resources on its website, as well as a monthly magazine that they release for free. They host industry events for businesses and enthusiasts and even partnered with NAIT to offer a Blockchain Certificate. They are also hosting the first annual Canadian Blockchain Summit at a discounted price for students.
As for the summit itself, Alberts says he’s looking forward to the lawyer panel. “I know it’s not gonna be the most exciting or charismatic talk, but it’s about crypto changing the legal and regulatory landscape,” said Alberts. “Just little things, right? … I think it’s gonna be a very interesting conversation.”
The Canadian Blockchain Summit will be held from October 19th to 20th at the Contemporary Calgary in downtown Calgary, AB.