The Toronto City Council is requesting the public’s suggestion on how the City’s commercial sector can become more involved with cryptocurrencies. On February the 2nd, 2018, the City approved that the public and the City Executive engage in deputations on March 19th, 2018.
The motion was introduced by Councillor Norm Kelly and seconded by Chin Lee. Kelly has recently come out as a strong promoter of Toronto’s potential when it comes to innovative new technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrencies. “Toronto is a world class city and well placed to be one of the premier innovation centres in the world,” said Kelly in a Bitcoin Magazine interview.
“We have startups and talented innovators right here that are working on the frontier of the new digital revolution.”
Kelly pointed out that Canadian governments and banks are currently in the process of developing pilot projects to discover new practical use cases for the blockchain technology. “The Ontario and federal governments and some of our banks are already running pilot projects to see what practical applications can come from using blockchain technology,” said Kelly.
Kelly has also suggested that, in agreement with experts and professionals, the City might adopt bitcoin as a way for citizens to pay their taxes and parking tickets. “I’d rather be ahead of the wave than behind it,” said Kelly.
Kelly noted that: “A number of communities like Zug, Switzerland, are already taking cryptocurrencies for payments. Venezuela has its own cryptocurrency and many international charities accept bitcoin.”
Toronto’s Blockchain Scene
Toronto is already a hub of business that involve cryptocurrencies, including Decentral and Coinsquare. TrueBit COO, Robbie Bent observed that the Toronto crypto community has an ever increasing number of members, currently counting over 3,000 participants.
Toronto is also home to MaRS, a world-class innovation center that is in the process of developing a number of Bitcoin and blockchain startups.
“Toronto’s Innovation Centre MaRS is a symbol and an example of what can be done when governments partner with business to promote the future growth potential of an innovation economy,” Kelly said.
The Toronto-based Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) is only one of two in the world; the other one is located in Beijing, China. The BRI, which has been working on potential use cases for Toronto, has already confirmed that it will be presenting to the City Executive on March 19th.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has played a significant part in getting Toronto to join the BRI and agrees with Kelly that Toronto must keep up with the ever-evolving world or risk being left behind.
Canada is the third out of the top ten global startup ecosystems for countries, according to a November 2017 report made by StartupBlink; Toronto ranks 11th in terms of cities. Toronto’s dynamic entrepreneurial tech sector has also made it the city in Canada to appear on Amazon’s HQ2 shortlist.
Though bureaucracies are rarely on the forefront of technology, the City’s desire to engage with the potential of cryptocurrencies may suggest that the number of opportunities for Toronto’s entrepreneurs will be on the rise.