By now, it is well known that blockchain tech has caught the eye of the federal government and Canada’s big banks. So it is not surprising that as a company that aspires to solve one of the most intractable problems of the construction industry, the late payment, Arkilio would be interested to connect with government officials that care about this topic.
The Blockchain Government Forum that took place between June 12 and June 13th in Ottawa and was organized by the Blockchain Association of Canada, presented one such opportunity.
This forum was setup to promote a better understanding of the true potential of blockchain technology and offer opportunities to interact with federal government officials, bureaucrats as well as regulators.
Arkilio opted for the same mode of transportation that we used when visiting New York Token Summit in May. The drive was much shorter and the weather was nice. Probably the most memorable part of the drive was witnessing how a Honda Odyssey can "chew" roads at 100 km/h on 7.6 l. This is quite remarkable considering the car can carry 8 passengers.
This was also the first time ever Arkilio used Airbnb since all the hotels in downtown Ottawa were fully booked. The room was recently renovated but in an older house close to the University of Ottawa. Watching the middle class family that owns the house putting in serious weekend hours to renovate the house just so they can lease the rooms for $70/night, made me wonder if Airbnb is such a long lasting disruptive technology after all. Pitting private property owners against hoteliers seems mainly to serve the Airbnb financial interests. With no economies of scale on their side and with high customer service expectations, it is hard to imagine how property owners will come out of this battle as winners.
The Blockchain Government Forum was held at the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards, just 5 minutes from Parliament www.thebayviewyards.com. The Innovation Centre is based in a recently renovated 46,000 sf municipal building located at 7 Bayview Road, about 75 min walk from the Airbnb "hotel".
The conference opened with Michael Tremblay from Invest Ottawa followed by Steffen Christensen, a Senior Policy Researcher at Policy Horizons Canada, Sunny Ray, Co-Founder of Unocoin, the India's largest bitcoin wallet provider and Manav Gupta from IBM Hyperledger. Afternoon speakers included Ethan Wilding from Ledger Lab and Philippe Chevry from Nash.
The second day started with breakfast followed by a keynote from Amber Scott from Outlier Solutions discussing various compliance aspects of blockchain tech and presentations by Adam Cole from HealthChainRX discussing prescription use case, Samson Mow from Blockstream & Joseph Weinberg from Paycase introducing the Blockstream Liquid Network and Illiana Oris Valiente from ColliderX discussing new business model to fund research.
The speakers that left the deepest impression on us were Steffen Christensen and Sunny Ray. Steffen because of his deep knowledge of a wide breadth of research topics and Sunny because of his personal story of discovering bitcoin and founding Unocoin.
Samson Mow from Blockstream and Joseph Weinberg from Paycase were leading the list of the most impressive speakers from the second day of the forum. Joseph's impressive command of the blockchain technology and Samson's politeness that is in such a stark contrast to his hard-hitting online persona were refreshing, surprising and educational.
We returned to Toronto happy to have connected with all the speakers, having a good chat with Adam Cole, his HealthChainRX team and Sunny Ray. Arkilio got to know some dynamic personalities like Loretta Joseph, an advisor to Sidney Stock Exchange and Kyle Kemper, Executive Director at Blockchain Association of Canada.
We returned home with few key takeaways:
- We need more forums like this. Forums that bring government officials and the blockchain community together promote a constructive and informed conversation that should result in a more pragmatic and technology-friendly regulatory environment in the future.
- Brainstorming breakout sessions were refreshing and useful and other conferences should consider adopting them. The brainstorming sessions provided an opportunity for interaction between speakers, organizers as well as attendees. When conducted by professional facilitators, they are also an opportunity to learn the craft of brainstorming from the best.
- Conference organizers should be willing to take little bit of risk and provide more podium time to startups or companies that are not well-known in the industry. The future Google of the blockchain world may have not been born yet. And the forums like this should be an opportunity to introduce the "veterans" of the industry with the "newbies".