Executive summary Process
In Toronto on 10 May 2018, the Blockchain Research Institute brought together a unique international group of stakeholders to discuss the regulatory issues around blockchain, cryptoassets, and new blockchain-based methods of raising capital.
Participants had to hold one of these roles. We wanted a diverse portfolio of responsibilities in the room. To participate, contributors had to be playing one of these five roles in the blockchain ecosystem:
- » Executives from blockchain start-ups in a wide range of industries and exchanges
- » Senior representatives of various global banking and securities regulators
- » Senior non-regulatory government officials
- » Business leaders from various established industries that are experimenting with blockchain in their business models and practices
- » Lawyers, accountants, investment bankers, and other key industry professionals
Participants represented diverse functions, industries, and interests. The blockchain companies that participated in the roundtable are involved in a wide array of projects: clearing and settlements, trade finance, syndicated loans, supply chain management with agriculture and food safety, and the pharmaceutical industry. Others are developing digital banks, insurance solutions, loyalty point programs, digital identity systems or focusing on new types of capital formation.
Participants received a brief orientation to the lay of the land. Usman Sheikh, partner at Gowling WLG, Joel Telpner, corporate and finance partner at Sullivan and Worcester LLP, and Don Tapscott each gave a brief presentation to map out the landscape of blockchain innovation and regulatory response and to suggest paths to progress that would satisfy the different needs of stakeholders at the table.
Three working groups did the heavy lifting. After opening remarks, participants broke into three working groups:
- » Regulators were facilitated by Jeff Bandman, former fintech lead at the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and founder of Bandman Advisors
- » Enterprise representatives were facilitated by Usman Sheikh
- » Innovators and entrepreneurs were facilitated by Joel Telpner
Each group explored three key questions. Jeff, Joel, and Usman facilitated their respective group’s exploration of these questions:
- » What are the opportunities for business and the economy created by initial coin offerings (ICOs), blockchain, and cryptocurrencies?
- » What are the impediments to realizing these opportunities?
- » What breakthrough ideas or solutions could overcome these impediments and help us to achieve an innovation economy?
The facilitators managed the flow of ideas and recorded notes of the discussions. Jeff, Joel, and Usman each reported the consensus views and recommendations of their working group to the whole roundtable. The full group then discussed what they heard.
Please read with three caveats in mind. Participants did not vote on or otherwise rank the issues or the possible actions, and so the Blockchain Research Institute takes full responsibility for gauging the sense of urgency in the room around each topic. Also, we conducted the proceedings under Chatham House Rule, whereby “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed” without that participant’s express permission.4 Finally, although the roundtable discussed global issues, a majority of participants came from Canada—hence, the Canadian slant of this report.
Download: [wp_otfd id=”7″ title=”2018 BLOCKCHAIN REGULATION ROUNDTABLE” class=””] (pdf)