Blockchain is the second era of the internet where it provides value through a new distributed platform that can help reshape how we conduct business and transform society for the better. While there was a lot of skepticism when this technology first made its appearance, the perception has completely changed as it continues to prove its worth.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger where you can store anything of value like the following:
- Intellectual property
- Health records
It doesn’t stop there as you can also store a lot more with it. So when we said ‘anything,’ we really meant anything:
- Loyalty points
Blockchain also enables us to store our identities and manage communications and transactions privately and securely. As a result, it’s no surprise that it’s revolutionizing financial services and new technologies from artificial intelligence (AI) to the internet of things (IoT).
If you look at its history, blockchain can be broken down into five stages:
Stage 1: Bitcoin
Stage 2: Blockchain (the realization of the underlying technology)
Stage 3: Smart contracts (a second-generation blockchain system called Ethereum)
Stage 4: Proof of stake (moving away from proof of work)
Stage 5: Blockchain scaling (expected to be able to power IoT and take on SWIFT and VISA)
This makes it pretty obvious that blockchain will continue to grow in importance over the months and years to come. But what will it mean for Canada?
Blockchain and Canada
Canada is in a unique position to take advantage of this phenomenon because the country already has a head-start in the space. With cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Waterloo emerging to be vibrant tech hubs, top talent is also on the ground.
What’s unique is the fact that it’s already a global leader in AI and quantum physics. As a result, blockchain is the natural next step forward.
So it’s not surprising that many of the core bitcoin developers are Canadian and usually work within the startup community. Even Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, is an alum of the University of Waterloo.
There are also several technologists and entrepreneurs who are working towards stimulating the evolution of blockchain technology in Canada:
- Protocol Fund
Unlike traditional banks around the world, Canada’s banks have also been uniquely receptive to change and are ideal to foster the growth of blockchain. While the technology might not be ready to be totally integrated, it’s been taken seriously by Canadian financial institutions.
How can Canada cement its blockchain leadership?
Before Canada can become a solid blockchain leader, the country first needs a clearly defined strategy for both government and private stakeholders to take advantage of this technology. While the government is focused on AI and attracting more tech talent to the region, it’s clearly missing the critical underlying blockchain infrastructure.
The funding needed for tech startups is also difficult to secure and as a result, most end up heading south to California. But if blockchain is also added to the government’s focus on turning Canada into a technology leader, then hopefully Canada can continue to hold its place at the top.
The blockchain era will revolutionize the internet as it’s proving to be an unstoppable force that will probably impact every aspect of your lives. As a result, it’s something that Canada can’t afford to ignore as doing so will mean missing out on an enormous economic opportunity. And what's your take on this?