This year’s CanTech Investment Conference in Toronto was yet another success, signal boosting that the Canadian tech sector is alive and thriving, with plenty of investor interest in the space.
Held on January 31 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, this year’s conference–in its fifth annual year–sold out for the first time and had the show floor grow by more than 50 percent, thanks to an increase in demand.
If you missed the show, don’t worry; the Investing News Network (INN) was there, and had the opportunity to speak with experts, analysts and companies in the blockchain, cryptocurrency, and cannabis sectors. Below is our video interview footage from the show.
With the blockchain hype increasing in Canada–and at a global scale–HIVE Blockchain Technologies (TSXV:HIVE) is one such company leading the way with this innovative technologies. INN had the opportunity to speak with Harry Pokrandt, the company’s CEO, about HIVE’s mining operations in Sweden, as well as the company’s goal have a total of 40 MW capacity online by September in addition to ASIC mining capacity to mine bitcoin.
Pokrandt said HIVE plans to do as “aggressively as [they] can,” with the ASIC farms and GPU farms the company can mine for ethereum and “a whole host of other cryptocurrencies.”
INN also caught up with Michael Kousaie, head of business development and technology at TMX Group, about the Canadian tech industry and what, exactly, he does to help private companies looking to go public.
In late 2017, Kousaie said that, overall, last year was one of the best years for the Canadian technology industry, with roughly 35 companies going public on both the TSX and TSXV.
“What [TMX Group] really loves is the diversity of those companies,” Kousaie said, stating areas where companies went public included those in life science, clean tech, tech, biotech, and new industries like artificial intelligence, blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin versus gold discussions are always popular ones, and Frank Holmes, chief executive and chief investment officer at US Global Investors (NASDAQ:GROW), is often a part of those conversations.
In this interview, INN spoke with Holmes about his thoughts on the gold and bitcoin debate, who in the past has commented that the two don’t compare at all and that bitcoin isn’t, in fact, stealing gold’s thunder.
Holmes said in the interview that if investors are considering either gold or bitcoin, or even both, it’s important to know that they’re inclusive, not exclusive. Holmes also said that in 2017, initial coin offerings (ICOs) generated nearly $4 billion.
“Millennials would rather go speculate in new ICOs than open up a brokerage account, which could take two to three days,” he said. Holmes continued, adding that an account with the Einstein Exchange in Canada or Coinbase in the US can be created and people can own cryptocurrencies much quicker, which Holmes said is where the issue with competition between bitcoin and gold is.
In this interview with Anthony Di Iorio, CEO and founder of Decentral and Jaxx, and co-founder of Ethereum, INN had the opportunity to speak with Di Iorio about governments potentially regulating blockchain. This conversation fell on the heels of the Canadian government announcing in January that it will explore the “potential of blockchain technology.”
“I think there will be [blockchain] regulations coming, but it will be the countries and the ones that understand that the value will come out, but if [governments] put too much of a heavy hand on it, people will go elsewhere,” Di Iorio said.
Kevin Hobbs of Vanbex Group Says Blockchain Industry Will See a “Big Leap” in Companies Adapting Blockchain
With blockchain as a common theme at this year’s CanTech Investment Conference, INN also spoke with Kevin Hobbs, CEO of Vanbex Group, who said some of the biggest trends he’s seen so far in 2017 are how many industries are beginning to implement blockchain technologies.
“Some companies [are] coming in and changing their name from one thing to blockchain just to grab the hype, and then [there are] other companies who are getting in for real-world applications because they see the benefits of this” he said. “We’re going to see a big leap this year in companies changing their current ways of business to adapt to blockchain.
In keeping with the blockchain theme, INN also had the opportunity to catch up with Cale Moodie, CEO of Neptune Dash (TSXV:DASH), who just went public on January 22.
In the interview, Moodie spoke about Neptune’s Dash digital currency ecosystem, which has an aim of low transaction costs, anonymity and high transaction speeds.
“We like Dash because Dash is one of the top 10 cryptocurrencies that we can actually create a vehicle where investors have exposure to one of the top 10 cryptocurrencies, but at the same time we have an operating business,” Moodie explained, who then described the Masternodes, which he said performs a certain feature on the infrastructure and the Dash network.
Chris Wagner of Emerald Health Therapeutics on the impact of the Canadian Marijuana Industry at a Global Scale
Finally, for a different change of pace, INN spoke with Chris Wagner, CEO of Emerald Health Therapeutics (TSXV:EMH) to discuss how Canada’s framework for legalization will be impactful at a global scale.
In the interview, Wagner said that Canadian companies, including ones like Emerald Health, are developing new cannabis products that are useful not just for Canadians, but for people all around the world.
“We’re creating new formulations, new ways of delivering cannabis, new products … and exporting those around the world,” Wagner said.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.