Alex Tapscott: Thousands of people descend on the city this week to see ground-breaking work in the new ’internet of value’
Canada has a rich history of innovation, but in the next few decades, powerful technological forces will transform the global economy. Large multinational companies have jumped out to a headstart in the race to succeed, and Canada runs the risk of falling behind. At stake is nothing less than our prosperity and economic well-being. The FP set out explore what is needed for businesses to flourish and grow. We talk to some of the innovators, visionaries and scientists on the cutting edge of the new cutthroat economy about a blueprint for Canadian success. You can find all of our coverage here.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has declared the week of April 22nd, Toronto Blockchain Week, to “celebrate and promote blockchain innovation in the City of Toronto.” Over the course of the next few days, thousands of people will descend on the city to attend more than 50 events that will showcase the ground-breaking work of Canadian and global businesses, governments and startups, who are harnessing the blockchain to build a new “internet of value.”
Blockchain is often associated with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but this is just one way that this technology can be used. Blockchain is the first native digital medium for value, a “trust protocol” that allows parties to transact and do business without intermediaries or middleman.
It holds the potential to transform not only how we move, store and manage financial assets, but also allows us to finally rethink many of our institutions and address global problems such as financial inclusion, privacy and identity. It is also critical to Canada’s (and Toronto’s) transition to a prosperous and thriving knowledge economy.
Startups struggling to raise seed capital can issue “tokens” representing equity in their company to a global investor base, tapping into vast pools of capital, without the need to decamp to Silicon Valley. The “initial coin offering” or ICO boom already showed this was possible. With the right business and regulatory infrastructure, we could be at the halcyon days for entrepreneurship.
After revelations that social media giants such as Facebook misuse its users’ personal data, many are calling for government intervention. But blockchain enables digital identities that citizens own and control. “Virtual You” could not only preserve our rights to privacy and personal security but also restore our control over our own identities and the data we create.
Nearly $2 billion dollars of goods and services crosses between the Canadian and U.S. border each day. Blockchain allows us to rethink supply chains as “asset chains” where every stakeholder — from manufacturers to customs agents, retailers to distributers — have real time access to the provenance, authenticity, and location of every asset that matters. Wal-Mart, IBM, Maersk, FedEx and others are making blockchain a cornerstone of their future business strategy.