According to a news release earlier this week, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) supported the development of a blockchain explorer. The new explorer was developed with help from the NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). Blockchain start-up Bitaccess built the new platform, and it is hosted on the widely-used InterPlanetary File System (IPFS).
Bitaccess co-founder Moe Adham, had this to say about the program in a statement that was made after the new explorer was released,
“Our goal is to enable institutions to become fully transparent and enable constituents to participate in the verification and validation of public information,” and continued, “We built the [IPFS] as a simple, low risk, application for institutions to get introduced to blockchain technology.”
The NRC explained that they chose IPFS because it operates as a peer-to-peer file sharing network that is highly resistant to shock. Programs that are hosted on the IPFS are nearly impossible to change, or remove. Users can use this new explorer to locate information about public grants, and other subjects on the Ethereum blockchain.
Canada wasn’t a major development center for cutting-edge technology in the 20th century, but that appears to be changing. Ethereum was more or less born in Canada, and numerous blockchain start-ups have chosen to make Canada their home.
Canada Takes a Leading Role in Blockchain Investments
Canada’s financial markets are often overshadowed by their neighbor to the south. US financial markets are arguably the largest in the world, but Canada brings a lot of flexibility to innovators that can’t afford to deal with the huge costs of bureaucracy in the USA. The first crypto-miners to go public did so in Canada, due to the ease of doing business there.
HIVE Blockchain was a market darling on the TSX-V (Toronto Venture Exchange) last year. Like most things in the crypto sector, it has since cooled off. Canada was also the first major nation to allow a blockchain ETF to list on their exchanges. Next month, it looks like another blockchain ETF is set to be listed for public trading.
The blockchain ETF that Vancouver-based First Block Capital (FBC) plans to list next month won’t be the fabled Bitcoin ETF that US investors have been waiting for. Instead of focusing on the wildly volatile crypto sector, FBC plans to invest in major companies that are working with blockchain technology.
FBC is looking at companies like IBM, Maserk and Walmart, probably because they are securing blockchain patents, and have the ability to take on long-term development programs. This ETF may not deliver the kind of returns that some tokens created last year, but over a long-term time horizon, it may prove to be a safer way to invest in the blockchain space.
Novogratz Went to Canada
Mike Novogratz has been one of the most outspoken proponents for blockchain in the public arena. A former Goldman Sachs employee, he has been working to take his crypto merchant bank, called Galaxy Digital Holdings, public for more than a year. It finally happened at the beginning of August, though the current bear market in crypto prices hasn’t helped Galaxy much.
Mike Novogratz had this to say right before Galaxy shares began trading on the TSX-V,
“If I knew what I know now, knew the crypto markets were going to swoon as much, and it was going to take so long, I might have stayed private for another year or so and then gone public,” he commented in an interview with BNN Bloomberg, “But I don’t think it’s a mistake.”
Although the shares initially rose to over C$3, they have since fallen to C$2.35. Other companies like HIVE Blockchain, have seen even larger falls from the heady days of 2017. HIVE shares rallied as high as C$4.71, though they recently traded as low as C$.68. Regardless of the roller-coaster ride in crypto prices, Canada has shown that it is willing to accept blockchain technology, and allow start-ups to take the risks that can lead to great companies.