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Banking on Blockchain
39 minutes | Jun 11, 2018
Navigating the Public Sphere
As part of an emerging industry, blockchain companies face both legal and reputational risk in the public sphere. With the spectres of data breaches, litigious behaviour, and regulatory uncertainty ever present, how can blockchain companies best prevent crackdowns by governments, handle media scrutiny, and shape public opinion? We talk to our own insiders about how these companies can define themselves as good actors and improve public perception of their work. Our guests this week are: Jaime Watt, Executive Chairman, Navigator Ltd. Mike Van Soelen, Managing Principal, Navigator Ltd. Danielle Parr, Principal, Navigator Ltd. A portion of our discussion with Jaime Watt is transcribed below. Subscribe here to have the Navigator’s latest insights delivered right to your inbox. Clare: I want to talk about reputation today because it’s something many blockchain companies don’t often think about but probably should. You’ve shepherded a number of organizations through high profile public facing crises and you often talk about the kinds of jeopardy a company faces. Can you explain that concept to our listeners. Jaime: Sure. Generally speaking we see clients face three kinds of jeopardy. They face legal jeopardy, they face reputational jeopardy, and now they face a new kind of jeopardy which is moral jeopardy. So when you think about it in the old days, the old days are defined to be before the internet before Google, we used to deal with those Jeopardy’s consecutively. Deal with the legal jeopardy get that fixed up you’d move on to the reputational Jeopardy. You don’t have that luxury anymore. You have to deal with them concurrently. And for a lot of organizations that’s a problem because dealing with your legal jeopardy often increases your reputational jeopardy and dealing with reputational jeopardy often increases or exposes you to more legal jeopardy. And now to make things even more complicated, we introduce the first cousin of reputational jeopardy which is moral jeopardy. Looks a lot like reputational jeopardy but it behaves differently. It’s more intense and it’s much faster to come to fruition and to cause you problems and it requires a much faster response. Clare: On our first episode Don Tapscott pointed out that the blockchain industry now operates in a wild west of sorts. And so I wonder what kind of advice would you give to blockchain companies on how they conduct themselves especially with all the hype that’s around the industry. Jaime: I would say that the cliche ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’ should be the guiding principle. So just because it is the wild west and just because there aren’t regulations doesn’t mean that companies should take advantage of that. I think what they need to do is say not how does a responsible blockchain related company behave but how does a responsible organization behave and put in the kinds of processes the kinds of practices and the kinds of policies that make them a respected organization regardless of what their antecedents are or where they come from. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Clare: Absolutely. In our last episode we were talking about regulation. As a seasoned political adviser yourself do you think blockchain companies should be embracing regulation or should they be trying to find ways to self regulate. I mean what’s the what’s the best path forward. Jaime: Well I think the best fast forward is to start from the proposition there’s going to be regulation. I just don’t think it’s possible that as this becomes meaningful part of the economy and a meaningful parts of people’s lives the government are going to abdicate what is their responsibility, which is to ensure that the marketplace is well ordered and it’s regulated. So regulation is coming in my view and anybody who thinks it may be very nice to be an idealist and think that this is going to escape that, I don’t buy that for one second. So if regulation is coming and I believe it is, the question then becomes what is the best way to achieve that regulation. And I would suggest the industry get together and propose the regulation itself rather than be exposed to regulation in a developed by bureaucrats who actually have no idea how things work. And you know through the law of unintended consequences may provide regulations which are actually quite harmful and unnecessarily restrictive. So I would say the enlightened practitioner in this area would say regulation is coming. How can we propose a regulatory regime that we can live with. It also delivers as against the public expectation and the public good.
28 minutes | Jun 4, 2018
The Wild West of Blockchain
We tackle the regulatory environment for cryptocurrency and blockchain – how it’s currently treated by Canadian law and where the big questions remain for Canadian regulators. In some areas, the industry is operating in a “wild west” without clear oversight or consideration for the public interest. Where will Canada land on regulating this new technology? Our guests this week are: Dr. Shamsul Alam, Associate Dean, Dhillon School of Business, University of Lethbridge Jason Dearborn, Chairman, Dominion Bitcoin Mining Company Aaron Grinhaus, Partner, Grinhaus Law Zach Masum, Manager, Legal Services (Capital Markets Advisory), B.C. Securities Commission
22 minutes | May 28, 2018
Hashing Healthcare Solutions
According to Deloitte, 35 per cent of the healthcare industry is aggressively planning deployments of blockchain solutions by 2018. The sector receives mountains of data every day, including patient data, clinical data, and medical research. So what happens when you use blockchain solutions to give patients their data or help patients navigate mental health services? Our guests this week include: Dr. David Jaffray, Executive Vice President, Technology and Innovation, University Health Network Dan Matlow, President & CEO, VitalHub (excerpt below) A portion of our discussion with Dan Matlow is transcribed below. Subscribe here to have the Navigator’s latest insights delivered right to your inbox. Clare: Before we dive into the nitty gritty of what your company does and the many platforms that it’s developed let’s look at 50000 feet up in the air. How do you think blockchain technology could help the health sector. Dan: You know we started getting an industry research and started reading reports, that was a Frost and Sullivan report that came through and they did a good job of analyzing the health care sector into a couple different sectors, claims and billings was a predominant one. But the one that we honed in on was the interoperability of health records and the applicability of that health record, of a patient health record being interchangeable between, we call them providers. Providers are the delivery of care being doctors, community health centers, doctors offices, hospitals etc. But the ability to interchange that information amongst those in real time really provides a better quality of care and a really good cost benefit to health care systems. So those are the two hot buttons that we’re always after is can we get better quality of care extremely important and can we do it more efficiently and if you check up all those boxes it makes it makes things much easier. Clare: Turning to some of the platforms that you’ve developed, public awareness about mental health in Ontario is perhaps higher than it’s ever been, with initiatives like Bell Let’s Talk and the work of many at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health. So CAMH estimates the economic burden of mental illness in Canada is about 51 billion dollars a year and your company is looking at some of the serious gaps in mental health care that results from inadequate access to available patient data. What exactly is the solution that you’re proposing. Dan: There’s many different elements of mental health but the use case that we would like to suggest for potential customers or people that are interested in what we do is: I’m a mental health patient. Mental health care is different than for other types of illnesses. You hurt your knee you have taken x ray you need to do a blood test you need to do a cardiogram. We can use imaging or other systems to diagnose and to understand those situations. Mental health is primarily diagnosed through what we call assessment based technology where assessments are done on the individual, either self-assessment but usually done by care workers, those assessments are not completed in 30 minutes. They get completed over a series of extensive meetings and of observations at which point a diagnosis is done and treatment plants are put in place. Those treatment plans are you know vary in many different ways. They may involve pharmacy and drug interactions or just a fair amount of counselling or or self based treatments but those patients and those care plans are put in place and off they go. But that care plan and those assessments are locked in either this digitzed system within that community care access centre which you know in itself is overcrowded and that record can’t be shared at all. So we want that record to be shared. That that patient now presents itself at another community care centre or probably will present itself at a hospital emergency room, checks into an emergency room and that hospital has no understanding of that patient and that creates issues within itself. So the the the patient checks in there now they have to go get another site console to do an emergency assessment. That potential patient in a waiting area is clogging up the emergency room. It’s not good for the patient who’s under stress and so they try to give them best care as possible. They’re limited in the amount of psychiatric beds that they have in there so they’re trying to carefully screen if they get into the hospital. If they do get in there taking up a bed or someone else potentially gets in. And so there’s liability to the hospital if they don’t check the man so they’re careful that they do. They want them to come in so they might check people that don’t need to be there on the adverse effect, they might not check a patient in that really does need to be in there and that patient potentially could do harm to themself or harm to others. And meanwhile five miles away is locked in that computer is that record of that patient. The emergency room could have that information. Blockchain represents the opportunity to get that record into the hands of that emergency room as effectively as possible. Clare: So ultimately puts the patient back in the driver’s seat for control of their own data.
25 minutes | May 22, 2018
Distributed Energy, Distributed Ledger
As we move from the age of the Internet of Information to the age of the Internet of Value, we are no longer relying on centralized networks. This trend isn’t only true of information – it’s true of the energy world too. Where previously we all relied on the local power plant for our electricity, today home owners can install solar panels on their roofs and hospitals can generate their own power. So what happens when you use blockchain technology to power the energy sector? Or vice versa? This week’s guests are: Paul Ghezzi, CEO, Kontrol Energy Michael Marcovici, Co-CEO, HydroMiner Shidan Gouran, CEO & President, Global Blockchain Technologies
25 minutes | May 14, 2018
Banking the Unbanked
While the front-end experience may be seamless for the user, modern payment systems are not so modern on the back end. Cross-border bank wires can go wrong, remittance fees cut deep into money sent back to one’s home country, and assets can be seized by warring governments. In this week’s episode, we explore how payments on the blockchain ensure frictionless transactions that are cheaper, faster, and free of institutional baggage. Our guests this week are: -Miro Pavletic, Co-Founder and CEO, STACK -Nilesh Dusane, Chief Revenue Officer, nanopay -Karsten Arend, President and CEO, Just In-Genius Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Navigator or its affiliates.
25 minutes | May 7, 2018
Creating a Digital Fingerprint
In this week’s episode, we explore how blockchain technology can help you create a digital fingerprint. Blockchain technology can help secure that personal information and empower users to control their own identity and share it between trusted entities with meaningful consent. Innovators in Canada are leading the way in building digital identity solutions on the blockchain. Blockchain can change the game in a digital age where many believe the notion of privacy is dead. Our guests on this week’s episode are: Andre Boysen, Chief Identity Officer, SecureKey Joni Brennan, President and CEO, Digital Identity and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) Franklin Garrigues, Vice President, Digital Channel, TD Bank Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Navigator or its affiliates. A portion of our discussion with Andre Boysen is transcribed below. Subscribe here to have the Navigator’s latest insights delivered right to your inbox. Clare: Andre could you tell our listeners a little bit about your companies origin story and how you first got involved in this space. Andre: Yeah. SecureKey’s been working with banks to solve the online delivery service challenge for quite some time. And so what we started in this program is we’re helping the Government of Canada solve a problem they had and the challenge that the Government of Canada has is they have very important services to deliver online. The challenge is that Clare and Andre and everybody else who comes to their website doesn’t do it very often. And so the challenge is you can’t remember your password. And so the Government was locked in this challenge where they have a high value service that Canadians want but people can’t remember the password and so people are getting locked out which was frustrating, it was also very expensive for the government and so working with the banks so they came together to build a service that allows Canadians use their bank account to get to the government and that service has been quite successful and I can take you through some of the key elements. One of the key reasons those service was adopted and accepted by Canadians is because we introduced in the service the notion of triple blind privacy which says when I use my bank account to get the government that the bank doesn’t get to see the online service I’m trying to access and the government in its place knows I came from a Tier 1 bank in Canada but they don’t get to see which bank I came from and certainly not my bank account details. Our company SecureKey which operates the network, we don’t know who they are we don’t have any personal identical identifiable information. Clare: SecureKey has done a lot of good work with the government of Canada and IBM to build a digital identity network. But the goal of helping citizens access e-services. Could you tell us a little bit more about how that works and what types of services it covers. Andre: Sure. So The challenge today is for high value services things like government, getting a new bank account, or a new cell phone, or health care insurance. The challenge we have today is we can’t deliver these services on the Internet. We require you to come in for a counter visit to get to the service the first time and then we make we give you a user id and password. So the challenge with that is that as we try to grow the economy and make it more digital these in person visits are one not convenient for consumers and two they’re very expense. Any given counter visit for one of these industry players would be you know half hour to 45 minutes at the counter to photocopy your documents and sign the papers and whatnot. And that’s expensive depending what industry, that’s 50 to 75 dollars. And so the opportunity with a network like this is to take the cost down from 50 to 75 dollars down to two or three dollars. And you know a bank or a telephone company is happy to see that reduction in cost but more importantly because we can do this online now we can take the cost down but even better we can automate compliance. We can demonstrate the documents are real. We can demonstrate they belong to the person who’s presenting them and we can verify they haven’t altered since they were created. So this creates a level of integrity we can’t even do in person today. And so that’s the opportunity for business. The opportunity for Canadians is to allow you to prove you who you are and get the services you want online.
24 minutes | Apr 30, 2018
The Hard Truth About ICOs
In Episode 4, we explore new crowdfunding mechanisms made possible by the advent of blockchain technology and smart contracts called Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and Initial Token Offerings (ITOs). We speak to the leaders of two regulated platforms that seek to employ this new mechanism to help entrepreneurs in Canada and how they’re playing by the rules amid all the hype. We also speak to a blockchain-based social media network who used their tokens to sponsor a Canadian athlete. Our guests on this week’s episode are: -Christopher Kramer, President and CEO, OneName Global -Adrian Rosenbusch, Chief Visionary Officer, OneName Global -Peter-Paul Van Hoeken, President and CEO, FrontFundr -Alan Wunsche, CEO and Chief Token Officer, Token Funder (exerpt below) Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Navigator or its affiliates. A portion of our discussion with Alan Wunsche is transcribed below. Subscribe here to have the Navigator’s latest insights delivered right to your inbox. Clare: I guess this is one of the harder questions out there almost as hard as asking you know what is blockchain. But today we’re going to be talking about inital token offerings and I’m wondering if you could in the very simplest of terms explain what that might be for listeners. Alan: So in order to understand initial token offerings what we should do is take a quick step back to what happened in 2017. Most your listeners will probably be very familiar with the initial coin offering craze and hype cycle that that happened throughout 2017. Many projects spun up with the intent of essentially exchanging your base currency such as Bitcoin and Ethereum for example and exchanging your crypto currency for one of their new project crypto currencies. So many of these new crypto currencies where we’re called coins on on their platforms, on these projects platforms. So what we have is essentially a new mechanism for projects around the world getting funded through cryptocurrency and this this whole initial coin offering craze took off. Now tokens are the more generic term, tokens are the more, are the term that we actually in the Ethereum space and there’s a standard around an Ethereum token that these projects we’re using and it’s the more it’s the more generic term because not everything ends up being a coin. So initial token offerings now is going to be and is the the next evolution of the initial coin offerings and what that will mean is a creation of an entirely new asset class because as these tokens don’t need to represent coins per say or as some call them utility tokens or utility coins for platforms they can now represent real world assets and real world value. As we all talk about it in the industry blockchain allows us to transfer value from from peer to peer and then and Bitcoin basically was the first transfer value and it was meant to be digital cash. Now we’re able to very frictionlessly and rather easily through the blockchain and securely I should add be able to transfer value that could represent shares in a business, shares in areal asset, shares in a royalty stream, many different applications. So these are not coins anymore. These are tokens and that’s where our marketplace will evolve to. Clare: That’s interesting because I often heard those terms used interchangeably so it’s good to have that sort of differentiation in our listeners minds. As I understand it your company TokenFunder is Ontario’s first regulated blockchain venture funding platform. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what exactly that means for the market. Alan: Definitely and by venture funding we come back around to one of the one of the initial use cases here, allowing for new projects and new businesses to take advantage of this very frictionless funding mechanism. So we were starting there as one of our first applications. It’s not the only application but as a platform, and we are the development phase of the platform, we’re currently in the token offering phase. So the the story is or are the backdrop and the story goes like this, the the coin offering craze is going on and we see that with my background, I mean you mentioned that I’m a chartered accountant, chartered professional accountant and I’ve worked in the capital market space for a long time, you can just imagine how how the regulatory environment is going to evolve and to allow this space to mature. So I envisioned and those those around me, we envision how frankly this can’t be unregulated and be sustainable going forward. There’s reasons for that which we’ll get into I’m sure and other questions that you have. The fact that we’re regulated what we did was we started working with the Ontario Securities Commission as soon as they came up with their launch pad and we brought in a new idea and that was that we would apply this token offering model to allow for all kinds of start ups in mainstream ventures to take advantage of this technology. Now the first step in this is to launch our own initial token offering and that is a regulated security financial instrument. So by being a regulated security we’re in the process of developing a regulated platform but the regulated side of this is that we actually have, we’ve got real disclosure beyond white papers that that provide you with vision. We’ve got disclosure, we’ve got credit, we’ve got audited financial statements, we’ve got an offering memorandum, and this is how the industry in terms of creating a new asset class will emerge will emerge in ways that allow investors to feel more safe and to kind of understand what they’re buying and the nature of the regulated aspect is really that we’re accountable to the to the regulator to do as we say we were going to do and if anything even if investors have questions or concerns they know how to get a hold of us and you know we’re not in some other country asking for their crypto.
25 minutes | Apr 23, 2018
Ethereum: Canada’s Unicorn
Could virtual cats break the Internet? In this episode of Banking on Blockchain, we explore the world of Ethereum, a blockchain-based platform developed by two Canadians, Anthony Diiorio and Vitalik Buterin. You’ll learn about how Canadian innovators are leading the charge in developing smart contracts and digital collectibles that will change financial markets, government records, and mobile gaming. We talk with our guests about the challenges that face Ethereum with respect to governance and scalability, while hearing how our country can best cultivate more unicorns in this space. Our guests for this episode: Moe Adham, Co-Founder, Bitaccess Bryce Bladon, Director of Communications, Axiom Zen; Co-Founder, CryptoKitties Benjamin Roberts, Co-Founder and CEO, Citizen Hex Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Navigator or its affiliates.
24 minutes | Apr 16, 2018
Bitcoin and the rise of cryptocurrencies
Would you dig through your attic for an old hard drive if it had bitcoin on it? In this episode, we explore why Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have become so valuable and why Canadian investors are watching the space with interest. We take a look at new financial products being built around these cryptocurrencies now arriving on the scene – ETFs, futures contracts, trust funds, and new vehicles for investing in blockchain technologies. Find out why Canada could beat the United States in bringing regulated bitcoin products to market. Our guests for this episode: Karsten Arend, President, Just In-Genius Inc. Karl Cheong, Head of ETFs, Canada (exerpt below) Shidan Gouran, President, Global Blockchain Technologies Elliott Johnson, Chief Operating Officer, Evolve ETFs Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Navigator or its affiliates. A portion of our discussion with Karl Cheong is transcribed below. Subscribe here to have the Navigator’s latest insights delivered right to your inbox. Clare: You had mentioned earlier that there are some challenges both here in Canada with the OSC and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission looking at these Bitcoin ETFs and not sure what to do with them. Will we ever get to a point where there’s a real chance these products come to market and if they do what does that mean? Karl: Yeah. So I do believe in every asset class I have ever seen whether it be gold or equities and real estate, if there is enough demand by the public it will be made available in some form. We’re already seeing some form of access to Bitcoin via over-the-counter trusts. Just because there is no Bitcoin available right now, there’s one in the U.S. I’m thinking of in particular G BTC that trades in the over the counter market. So it’s an exchange traded fund but it’s not exactly like an ETF in a sense that it trades at a 55 percent premium to the net asset value of the product because you cannot create in redeem shares. But if an investor wanted to go on an online account they can get access to the Bitcoin price by paying a huge premium to do so. And so that’s why I feel the ETF will make it far more efficient for the everyday investor to get access to a burgeoning asset class. Now I would say though you know the timing is going to be a bit tricky. When I first started talking about this I thought it was going to be by summertime, given the demand and what we saw. And and we have filings that have been in the market place for over three years four years with the Winklevoss twins being the first to file. So I feel they’ve been working with regulators and they’re going to need to continue and educate and address these concerns. I would say it’s probably going to happen in the next three years. But that’s kind of … I don’t have the crystal ball. And obviously regulators will do the necessary homework they need to on this product. But as it becomes more of a utility in society and you see more companies accepting crypto currencies, you’ll see others like you know Kodak, for example, they’re creating their coin that they can pay others and remittances in other areas. I feel this this whole blockchain and Bitcoin concept can really disrupt many and it becomes more everyday usage. You’ll see a product eventually. Clare: Yes exactly. And you know what the regulators have been okay with, we saw back in February the OSC approved Canada’s first blockchain ETF. Is that a different way to go, is that is that a better way to go right now. And why do they think that’s a that’s a better product or a product that has less uncertainty than say a Bitcoin ETF. Karl: So we also launched a Bitcoin ETF last Friday and so I expected less red tape with blockchain ETFs. There are several in the U.S., there’s a few here in Canada now because it’s investing in the underlying securities. And so I’ll give you a few examples of companies that we hold in our blockchain ETF that you wouldn’t necessarily affiliate blockchain with the name. We hold companies like IBM. IBM, if you go onto their website I’m sure you’ve heard of software as a service, you would see something on the website called blockchain as a service. So they’re enabling other companies to use the blockchain technology in the one example I’ll give you as they’re partnered up with Wal-Mart for a pilot case study on how to track food and produce. They have this one example regarding a bad crop of mangoes. Wal-Mart went through their normal processes to try to identify the farm it came from to avoid you know food recalls and borne illnesses for example. And it took them about six and a half days to actually track that down via phone calls and other methods that they traditionally have. Wal-Mart partnered up with blockchain and within a consortium and it’s really important to distinguish blockchain could either be public which is the crypto currencies or private and in this case it was a private blockchain, Wal-Mart had all its suppliers on this blockchain. There’s no mining or what not. Everyone knows who everyone is on this blockchain it’s just an open ledger that’s verified by one or two people. So in this case Wal-Mart entered into a bar called of the mangos and identified where that farm was within 30 seconds. Right. And so you can see the time in efficiency and cost that this technology can produce. Over time it will be something like, I think like what we saw with cloud computing and Amazon. So very early on Amazon in 2011 started investing in the cloud. We all had high hopes that it would be a great business line for them. Today, fast forward web services is a significant part of their overall revenue and contributor to growth. So the way we have seen the blockchain ETF come to market because they’re playing it more pick and axe, you know think about like way back when in the 90s many people wanted access to the internet and the only company available for purchase was AOL right. And so you know I liken it to that period because right now you have certain blockchain companies that haven’t been a blockchain company for very long. They’ve changed their name in some cases to avoid getting delisted and some of them kind of very eerily reminiscent to the dot com era. And so with these products that are coming to market including ours of course, we are screening through and ensuring that you’re getting leverage to the blockchain exposure but we’re investing in infrastructure, in companies that have the resources to to build in this technology. RBC for example and Goldman Sachs that use this technology but you know it’s too early stages right now because there’s no one line item that shows blockchain revenue and that’s the challenge of creating portfolios so most of us are creating it via indirect exposure.
2 minutes | Apr 9, 2018
Welcome to Banking on Blockchain
Navigator is introducing a new podcast series to talk about the advent of blockchain technology. Over the next 10 weeks, we will explore what this technology means for Canada and how it will position us on the global stage. In this introductory episode, we talk about what listeners can expect to hear and learn through the series. It’s all about answering the fundamental questions about the technology, how it will disrupt traditional institutions, and bring a host of benefits to everyday Canadians.
1 minutes | Apr 9, 2018
Are You Ready for the Blockchain Revolution?
Navigator is launching a brand new series to talk about the technology that is changing the way we do business in Canada and around the world. These are the untold Canadian stories about the next wave of Internet innovation – and how it’s happening right here in our backyard.
20 minutes | Apr 8, 2018
What is Blockchain?
Everyone is talking about blockchain, but does anyone really know what it is? In this episode, we sit down with...
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