How Canada can be a global leader in blockchain technology

This article outlines some of the conclusions from a 2016-17 research project conducted by the Tapscott Group on behalf of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and written by Don and Alex Tapscott. The full report is available here.

The first era of the Internet was based on information and content being available anywhere and any time. Now, the second era – powered by blockchain technology – is bringing us the Internet of value: a new, distributed platform that will help us reshape the world of business and transform the old order of human affairs for the better.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger in which anything of value can be stored, ranging from money, stocks, bonds and intellectual property, to votes, art, music, loyalty points, carbon credits, health-care records and student accomplishments. Even our identities can be stored, transacted, communicated and managed securely and privately.

In addition to revolutionizing financial services, blockchain will be the foundation for integrating into our economy technologies such as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things and robots. Governments will shift their computer systems to blockchain. Even the Canadian dollar could become a digital dollar based on blockchain.

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Blockchain is a disruption we simply have to embrace

The technology likely to have the greatest impact on the financial services industry and the world of business has arrived. Not peer-to-peer lending, artificial intelligence, big data, robo-advisers or Apple Pay – I’m talking about the blockchain, the technology behind digital currencies such as bitcoin. Blockchain represents nothing less than the second generation of the Internet, and it holds the potential to profoundly transform the financial services industry.

Because the first generation of the Internet was built for moving and storing information, not value, it has done little to change how we do business or access financial services. When you send someone information, you’re really sending a copy, not the original. It’s okay to have a printing press for information – but not for money.

As a result, we rely on powerful intermediaries, such as banks, to establish trust. Today’s financial intermediaries also perform eight important functions in business and society: authenticating identity and reputation, moving value, storing value, lending and borrowing, exchanging value, funding and investing, insurance and risk management, and audit and tax. We call these the “golden eight,” and they will all be transformed through blockchain.

Read Alex’s full article