Koleya Karringten
President & CEO - Bitcoin Rodeo
Part of the Spotlight on Bitcoin & Blockchain

Canada Must Showcase and Promote its Tech Prowess and Potential

Takeaways

  1. Finding the right funding fit remains a challenge for Canadian tech SMEs, limiting their growth and access to global markets.
  2. Canada possesses a wealth of highly specialized tech talent which drives innovation in tech and across many other Canadian industries.
  3. Canada’s light regulation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain has allowed for the development of Canadian companies in these sectors, which have been able to compete globally.

Action

I would urge all our government leaders to read The Bitcoin Standard and strongly urge them to reconsider the current Keynesian economic system that is putting this country into an inescapable debt spiral.


What is your vision for The Bitcoin Rodeo’s ‘Blockchain and Technology Symposium’?

My vision is to bring together economic development initiatives, government, businesses, banks, VC firms, academics, entrepreneurs, decision makers and technology innovation leaders in robotics, the internet of things, blockchain and machine learning, in an effort to strengthen networks and foster lasting relationships to produce bountiful results.

During my fourteen years in the tech sector, I’ve noticed a real divide between budding entrepreneurs, and the support they needed to succeed and grow. Finding the right funding for a specific tech project can be difficult without access to some of the province’s best development initiatives and grants, so we’re looking to connect Alberta’s startups with everything they need to commercialize, expand and branch out into new markets.

“If Canada wants to maintain its position on the world stage, we should be doing a better job of promoting the innovation that is happening here.”

I’m hoping this symposium will bridge the funding gap tech SMEs face and pull together all the tools and networks that have helped my company grow into what it is today. I want to help people adapt their mindsets to thinking broader; to open their minds to the possibility of adapting their technology to serve multiple industry sectors, so that Alberta’s SMEs do not have to suffer so drastically when oil and gas has another recession. I feel like I speak for a lot of Albertans when I say that we offer more than just oil and agriculture. I want to raise awareness of the spectacular and thriving tech industry in our province, and showcase its lucrative and exciting investment opportunities. It’s about shedding a stigma and moving forward; shifting our attention to machine learning, robotics, IoT, blockchain and all things tech.


What should Canada prioritize to solidify our global position in tech and what are the opportunities we should be going after to further strengthen our position?

As a country we have both an incredible talent pool and we excel in innovation across multiple industry sectors. What a lot of the world does not realize is the actual of level of talent in this country. We are far too polite and quiet about our success and accomplishments, especially here in Alberta. If Canada wants to maintain its position on the world stage, we should be doing a better job of promoting the innovation that is happening here.

Regarding the opportunities we should be going after, I see a lot of value that blockchain technology can add to the banking, patent and land title industries.


What approach should Canada take with regards to the regulation of crypto and blockchain?

At the direction of the Senate, regulators in Canada have been cautious not to over-regulate the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries. Overall, this light-handed has been the right approach as it has avoided stifling innovation and has allowed businesses in the blockchain space to evolve naturally and compete on a global scale. Continuing this regulatory approach will be key to maintaining our position as a global leader. In most cases new laws or regulations aren’t required, we just need to help educate regulators so they can see where the existing laws should be applied to these new concepts.

“Light-handed has been the right approach as it has avoided stifling innovation and has allowed businesses in the blockchain space to evolve naturally and compete on a global scale.”

Beyond regulation, I would urge all our government leaders to read The Bitcoin Standard and strongly urge them to reconsider the current Keynesian economic system that is putting this country into an inescapable debt spiral.


You mentioned banking as an industry that is ripe for disruption by blockchain. Why?

Banking is ideally positioned to seize the opportunity blockchain represents. Currently banks act as individual centralized databases where clients only have one point of contact if there is a discrepancy between the bank and the client regarding funds. When a dispute occurs only the bank can settle the dispute with the client. If all banks shared a public blockchain database, then a client would be able to have numerous points of contact regarding a dispute instead of just one. It would help create more trust by being able to use a trustless database.


How would you characterize Alberta’s tech strengths and challenges, and how must they be maximized and mitigated?

We have an amazing pool of organically grown tech talent here in Alberta. We need to bring this to the forefront and out from the shadow of the oil and gas industry. Alberta has incredible, innovative talent across all industry sectors from hardware, software, agriculture, energy, renewables, and more. To support our own economy and strengthen it to mitigate risk, I would encourage other Albertan companies to source and shop locally. My other company, Absolute Combustion, has its head office at the Edmonton Airport, right across from the largest industrial park in north America and close to the best technical training institutes in Alberta for a reason. If it were not for our ability to collaborate in our own back yard our revolutionary technology would not have been created.

“Alberta is third in the world for machine learning and many have no idea about that or what this province has to offer besides oil and agriculture.”

I think that a key piece of what could be missing is that many venture capital (VC) firms, while having a strong portfolio in Alberta’s oil and gas industry, are unaware of the various other technologies that are starting to grow here in the province. Alberta is third in the world for machine learning and many have no idea about that or what this province has to offer besides oil and agriculture. We as a province don’t highlight it well so VCs might not see all the opportunities we have to offer. Absolute Combustion’s model is showcasing how we can take a technology that was specifically designed for the oil and gas industry and repurpose it for application in a completely different sector, thereby allowing it to generate another revenue stream and gain additional recognition for technologies developed here in Alberta.