#BlockchainForBiz: Future of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies

On March 5, the Digital Finance Institute and Blakes, Cassels & Graydon LLP hosted the Blockchain for Biz event here in the Financial District. The future of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies were discussed, but also the future of the blockchain computing system as it is beginning to be used in industries such as logistics and banking. 

Definition – BLOCKCHAIN: “A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. By design, a blockchain is inherently resistant to modification of the data. It is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.”

Opening the event was Michael Gokturk, CEO of Einstein Exchange, a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange, with an overview of the staggering scale of cryptocurrency growth in the past year. $20 billion is traded online each day.

Gokturk discussed Einstein Xchange’s vision of legitimizing the industry by preparing for and promoting proper regulation of the industry here, especially here in Canada, the company’s home. Einstein Xchange is tracking its users closely and aims to create a verified user base in preparation for future regulations for cryptocurrency.

Einstein Xchange, and the industry, needs to understand who customers are to prevent money laundering and identity theft. Gokturk discussed how the company tracked $8.3 billion in attempted fraud on its first day implementing Interac Online on its platform.

“To get the banks on our side, we have to ask them, ‘What do you see as a problem? What do you need to see?’” says Gokturk. The future of cryptocurrency relies on faith in the answers that the industry can develop.

The panel, “How Blockchain is Transforming Business,” included speakers on real world applications beyond cryptocurrencies.

The example of Walmart tracking the logistics of its pork supply in 2017 was highlighted by Alex Sterk, CEO of Ubiq. All transactions through the supply chain can be tracked with complete transparency.

Ameer Rosic, cofounder of Blockgeeks emphasized that private blockchains like this that can be better controlled will be a benefit as companies learn to use them. Data does not come in quickly, but it’s fully transparent and creates new lines of communication to identify problems and find efficiencies.

The group also discussed the opportunity for alternative cryptocurrencies to gain traction as actual functioning currencies in the future. At present, Bitcoin is almost entirely used for speculation. However, speakers identified that specific-use currencies being developed and used for industries such as sports betting and in-app purchases may rise to the top and become widely used as currency.

While regulation and government involvement receives a lot of speculation, Rosic highlighted that 46% Initial Cryptocurrency Offerings (ICOs) failed in 2017. “The industry is already starting to regulate itself.”

The Digital Finance Institute can be found at www.digitalfinanceinstitute.org and @DFInstitute.