A report from Canada’s Chamber of Digital Commerce has shed
a largely positive light on the country’s fledgling blockchain ecosystem,
albeit with warnings over scalability.
The paper, the first in a series put together alongside
Accenture and the Blockchain Research Institute, assessed that more than 400
ventures in Canada are leveraging distributed ledger technologies (DLT), with
Ontario accounting for more than half of these organisations. The country is
just inside the top 10 for blockchain-related funding received, at US$220
million over the past five years.
Aiming to provide the first quantitative analysis of the
Canadian blockchain ecosystem, the report conducted an online survey of 200
respondents, with follow-up interviews undertaken from entrepreneurs and
leaders in large organisations.
The report notes Canada’s interest in blockchain technologies
goes back longer than most, with the Toronto Bitcoin Meetup Group in 2012 cited
as the first major event. The first meet was attended by Ethereum inventor Vitalik
Buterin, of Canadian and Russian heritage. Hyperledger’s decision to hold its
annual member summit in Montreal last year was seen as a key recent initiative.
In terms of specifics, the most popular Canadian blockchain business
is by providing blockchain-based products, cited by 30% of those polled. Aware
that there is potential for overlap, business consulting services (26%) came second,
ahead of infrastructure development (24%). More interestingly, 24% said their business
focused on decentralised enterprise applications. Nine out of 10 respondents
had joined at least one industry consortium.
While the report notes enterprises were thin on the ground in
the initial survey, this is a growing area and will be checked assiduously over
time. Despite this publicly disclosed enterprise blockchain initiatives
included plays in payments, the supply chain, identity, and healthcare.
Respondents also see Canada as being a fertile breeding
ground for future innovation. Eight in 10 of those polled said their country’s
laws, policies and regulations supported their blockchain and digital asset
Despite this, uncertainties naturally remain. Optimism was
there in terms of access to consulting and venture capital firms for Canadian
blockchain businesses; yet regulatory concern, access to talent, and obtaining
affordable legal services are roadblocks. The question of scalability was the
thorniest; 60% of respondents said Canada’s ecosystem needed support to remain
competitive, with funding gaps cited alongside regulatory issues.
“The report presents a compelling picture of opportunity for
Canada to leverage its existing blockchain ecosystem to advance national
priorities in the public and private sectors,” the researchers conclude. “The
pace of growth in the global innovation ecosystem is accelerating, and the time
to develop a roadmap and national plan to harness this potential in Canada is
This publication has previously reported on blockchain initiatives
in Canada. Last July the Canadian
government reviewed blockchain as a possible solution for securely tracking
marijuana ‘from seed to sale’, following the passing of a bill legalising
recreational use of the drug the previous month. A year later, the
City of Richmond Hill was reportedly working with Coinberry to provide a cryptocurrency-based
payment processing solution.
You can read the full report here (pdf, no login required).
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