NCFA Fintech Confidential October 2021 (Issue 4)

The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA) and partners are excited to present Vol. 1 Issue 4, FINTECH CONFIDENTIAL, a digital pop-up of the 7th annual 2021 Fintech & Financing Conference and Expo (FFCON21) held virtually from May 11-13 and co-hosted by NCFA and Toronto Finance International (TFI). As global economies strive to contain the latest Covid outbreak and recover fragile sectors, fintech innovators continue to ‘BREAK BARRIERS’, the main theme of this year’s conference, and the second year in partnership with TFI, reflecting the growth and emerging challenges that the Canadian Fintech industry must navigate to achieve mass adoption and scale. It’s been another unprecedented year with covid accelerating trends such as bitcoin’s institutionalization, the growing power of retail investors, the 2nd round of Open Banking consultations and the advisory committee’s recommendations to the federal government, payment modernization efforts, adoption of harmonized Crowdfunding regulation, AI roadmap, emergence of digital identity as a ‘right’ and core data infrastructure (ie., vaccine passports), growing support for Purpose (not just shareholder profit), green finance solutions tackling shared global problems such as SDGs and climate change, EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion), and regulatory push back and a firm ‘line in the sand’ for Big Tech. FFCON21 was a successful event attracting over 100+ thought leaders, 75 partners, 500+ attendees, an NFT charity fundraiser in partnership with CanadaHelps for front line workers, and our second annual 2021 Fintech Draft competition -- a pitching event inspired by sports league drafts and designed to identity emerging high growth fintech ventures. A hearty congratulations to the winners: Agryo (Overall) and Copia Wealth Studios (People’s Choice)! Thank you to all the partners, speakers, attendees, volunteers, and the entire organizing team for making ‘Breaking Barriers’ an impactful and amazing online experience and for being part of Canada’s fintech and funding community. We hope you enjoy reading this special edition of Fintech Confidential.

The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA) and partners are excited to present Vol. 1 Issue 4, FINTECH CONFIDENTIAL, a digital pop-up of the 7th annual 2021 Fintech & Financing Conference and Expo (FFCON21) held virtually from May 11-13 and co-hosted by NCFA and Toronto Finance International (TFI).

As global economies strive to contain the latest Covid outbreak and recover fragile sectors, fintech innovators continue to ‘BREAK BARRIERS’, the main theme of this year’s conference, and the second year in partnership with TFI, reflecting the growth and emerging challenges that the Canadian Fintech industry must navigate to achieve mass adoption and scale.

It’s been another unprecedented year with covid accelerating trends such as bitcoin’s institutionalization, the growing power of retail investors, the 2nd round of Open Banking consultations and the advisory committee’s recommendations to the federal government, payment modernization efforts, adoption of harmonized Crowdfunding regulation, AI roadmap, emergence of digital identity as a ‘right’ and core data infrastructure (ie., vaccine passports), growing support for Purpose (not just shareholder profit), green finance solutions tackling shared global problems such as SDGs and climate change, EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion), and regulatory push back and a firm ‘line in the sand’ for Big Tech.

FFCON21 was a successful event attracting over 100+ thought leaders, 75 partners, 500+ attendees, an NFT charity fundraiser in partnership with CanadaHelps for front line workers, and our second annual 2021 Fintech Draft competition -- a pitching event inspired by sports league drafts and designed to identity emerging high growth fintech ventures. A hearty congratulations to the winners: Agryo (Overall) and Copia Wealth Studios (People’s Choice)!

Thank you to all the partners, speakers, attendees, volunteers, and the entire organizing team for making ‘Breaking Barriers’ an impactful and amazing online experience and for being part of Canada’s fintech and funding community. We hope you enjoy reading this special edition of Fintech Confidential.


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VOL. 1, ISSUE 4 | OCTOBER 2021







Through Social Tokens


BANKING in Canada



To Develop Sustainable

Economic Systems



Why This Time It’s for Real






MORE INSIDE: Open Banking • Hiring Talent • Cyber Risks •

Decentralization • Digital Identity • Crowdfunding’s Impact •

Crypto Payments • Unlocking Wealth • Stablecoins • PBOC

Whitepaper • Power of Psychometrics

Cover: Cathy Hackl, Godmother of the Metaverse


Minerva.ai Republic.co Rich Thinking StableCorp Future Earth TAAL University of Waterloo The Crowdfunding Hub CloudTree

Luge Capital Finliti Crypto Assets Institute FGS PayTechs of Canada CoinPayments Forward Security bloXmove Liquid Avatar

Dear Global Fintech & Funding Communities,

The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA) and partners are excited

to present Vol. 1 Issue 4, FINTECH CONFIDENTIAL, a digital pop-up of the 7th annual 2021

Fintech & Financing Conference and Expo (FFCON21) held virtually from May 11-13 and cohosted

by NCFA and Toronto Finance International (TFI).

As global economies strive to contain the latest Covid outbreak and recover fragile sectors,

fintech innovators continue to ‘BREAK BARRIERS’, the main theme of this year’s conference,

and the second year in partnership with TFI, reflecting the growth and emerging challenges

that the Canadian Fintech industry must navigate to achieve mass adoption and scale. Fintech

is not a niche but a permanent technological evolution that is changing the world of finance by

high growth fintech companies and incumbent financial institutions. It’s setting new standards

and demanding new regulations. It’s about delivering better financial products, services, and

outcomes for everyone especially consumers and small to midsize enterprises (SMEs).

It’s been another unprecedented year with covid accelerating trends such as bitcoin’s

institutionalization, the growing power of retail investors, the 2nd round of Open Banking

consultations and the advisory committee’s recommendations to the federal government,

payment modernization efforts, adoption of harmonized Crowdfunding regulation, AI

roadmap, emergence of digital identity as a ‘right’ and core data infrastructure (ie., vaccine

passports), growing support for Purpose (not just shareholder profit), green finance solutions

tackling shared global problems such as SDGs and climate change, EDI (equality, diversity and

inclusion), and regulatory push back and a firm ‘line in the sand’ for Big Tech.

FFCON21 was a successful event attracting over 100+ thought leaders, 75 partners, 500+

attendees, an NFT charity fundraiser in partnership with CanadaHelps for front line workers,

and our second annual 2021 Fintech Draft competition -- a pitching event inspired by sports

league drafts and designed to identity emerging high growth fintech ventures. A hearty

congratulations to the winners: Agryo (Overall) and Copia Wealth Studios (People’s Choice)!

Thank you to all the partners, speakers, attendees, volunteers, and the entire organizing team

for making ‘Breaking Barriers’ an impactful and amazing online experience and for being part

of Canada’s fintech and funding community. We hope you enjoy reading this special edition of

Fintech Confidential. Please consume responsibility and share with your networks.

Finally, we continue to encourage the community to be mindful of others, and to do the right

thing. Dream big, be open to partnerships, and execute like your life depends on it -- it’s not

too late to participate. The world is changing because of you but there is a long bridge to

cross, and more glass ceilings to break. Onwards and upwards…

All the best

Craig Asano

Founder and CEO

NCFA Canada



01 07 10 12 14














































































64 FFCON21




















2020-21 FINTECH




We are living through a

period of rapid change,

possibly beyond society’s

capacity to keep up. The

metaverse has taken over

tech headlines. There’s an

unprecedented acceleration

and convergence of

technology. It’s rampant

and widespread.

Various emerging technologies, such as

artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR),

virtual reality (VR), and 5G, along with dozens of

devices that work together (Internet of Things),

have helped to create an environment in which

new inventions, possibilities, and learning

curves change weekly.

According to Peter Diamandis and Steven

Kotler, authors of The Future Is Faster Than

You Think, “Moore’s Law is the reason the

smartphone in your pocket is a thousand

times smaller, a thousand times cheaper,

and a million times more powerful than a

supercomputer from the 1970s. In 2023 the

average thousand-dollar laptop will have the

same computing power as a human brain

(roughly 1016 cycles per second). Twentyfive

years after that, that same average

laptop will have the power of all the human

brains currently on Earth.” That’s rampant,

exponential acceleration.

Rampant Acceleration

In the past, there was a slow evolution of

technology, which gave people time to

adapt. In the decade to come, it will feel

more like the Cambrian Explosion—an

event over 500 million years ago when most

living things burst into being. For instance,

radio preceded the advent of the television

by decades, which trained people to go

to a device for news and entertainment.

Mainstream cell phones predated the

smartphone’s popularity by thirty years and

slowly changed how we interact and work.

The Internet was prevalent for ten years

before mobile apps were popularized and

changed how we consumed and processed

information. These gradual changes, one on


top of the other, made for a smooth transition

from a typical household living in the 1950s

to a family living in the 2000s. How many

people today use a smartphone, laptop,

ebook, and tablet multiple times a day? This

would’ve been unthinkable in 1950. But the

change was gradual and maneuverable.

Make no mistake—technology is evolving,

as is our relationship with it. In the first phase

of the Internet, we connected information. A

person could search the web using a search

engine, send a document via email, and use

all this new information in novel ways. The

second phase of the Internet-connected

people. Facebook and Twitter created a social

media revolution, conceivably connecting

one person with millions of other people in

ways that were unthinkable in the past (e.g.,

think of a president’s or movie star’s Twitter

feed). And in the third phase (which we’re

entering), the Internet is connecting people,

places, and things in a more dynamic and

amplified way.

The Internet of Things is amplifying the

concept of location and the concept of

merging our digital and physical lives. It’s

gradually impacting more of how we live,

work, and play. A union of digital and physical

realities, already seamlessly affecting many

areas of our lives. From an acceleration

technology standpoint, we’re seeing an even

greater change than what we’ve seen in the

past—and at a faster pace. The combined rate

and scale of change is causing exponential


In the next decade,

we’ll experience more

progress than in the

past 100 years.

Diamandis and Kotler, again in The Future Is

Faster than You Think, wrote,

They explain: “We’ve been living through

a time of constantly accelerating

technological capabilities. We’re living in a

world of increasing, exponentially growing

computational power. Technology is always

on, always available, and we’re now moving

into the quantum computing era—these

exponential technologies are enabling

artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing,

synthetic biology, augmented reality,

blockchain and allowing these technologies

to converge, creating new business models.

It’s the convergence of these technologies

that creates waves on top of waves of

capability, which will change our world—every

industry—our economy, our government, our

health, our families. Everything is beginning

to change.”

If you think that is a great deal to consider,

Diamandis and Kotler also predict that metaintelligence

(i.e., when humans merge with

technology), will take place in less than

twenty years. We will be able to connect our

brains with the Cloud. The accumulation of

AI, AR, 5G, and IoT, plus related technologies

such as crypto/blockchain and extended

reality (XR) may have snuck up on us, but we

can adapt and catch up.

Business Disruption

Businesses are constantly on the lookout for

things that decrease time, cost, and increase

value. That’s why businesses are one of the

main drivers of technology. Manufacturers

equip operators with augmented reality

devices. Instead of reading a paper manual

or asking another person for help, AR glasses

teach operators where to go for parts or how

to fix equipment. Connected sensors on

hardhats monitor workers’ location and notify

them of dangers or other equipment.

In the restaurant industry, line cooks work

alongside robot arms equipped with different

appendages like hamburger flippers or deep

fry baskets. Even marketing teams have to

evolve as they work with digital influencers

(CGI people who pose with sponsored

clothing or gear).

We’re used to working side-by-side with

devices that we believe are safe, and doing

that saves us time. For instance, many

families have a robotic vacuum cleaner, and

they don’t think twice about it. Warehouses

use robots to fetch and store packages. Tye

Brady, Amazon Robotics’ chief technologist,

said, “The efficiencies we gain from our


associates and robotics working together

harmoniously—what I like to call a symphony

of humans and machines working together—

allows us to pass along a lower cost to our

customer.” As these “cobots” (robot coworkers

or collaborative robots) become

prevalent, it’s likely that our interaction in the

home with Alexa, Siri, or Roomba, will have

conditioned us to be accepting of our new

digital co-workers.

Talking points, instead of planned slides,

allow the audience to more easily move

from topic to topic based on their interest.

VR provides subject material on an asneeded

basis instead of going from slide to

slide. Immersive environments like virtual

and augmented reality and holographic

telepresence make more sense than ever.

Virtual reality is data-rich, providing a whole

new level to the conference experience.

Conferences are disrupted

by virtual reality. In 2018,

Cathy spoke at Lethbridge

College’s Merging Realities,

the first conference hosted

in virtual reality. Over three

hundred people registered

for the event. People

outfitted their avatars in

business attire.

At the time of this writing, companies are

getting rid of their corporate headquarters,

opting to stay remote even after the

pandemic subsides. Kara Swisher stated that

Zoom’s shares rose 60 percent in the month

of February 2020 as employees embarked

on a litany of Zoom meetings from home.

One managing director at Accenture asked

her team to buy Oculus Quests headsets so

they could meet virtually for daily tasks. In

the past she had only used VR for specific

training modules or client needs but after

a few weeks using VR with her team

she noticed “group energy and sense of

camaraderie are better than with any other

mode of communication.”


Virtual reality reduces costs to participants

since hosts do not have to rent out large

convention centers. It also opens the doors

to even more participants since people aren’t

held back by physical constraints. Vendors

create 3D booths to upload into the lobby.

“Instead of handing out pens and candy, they

can give away free credits to their product

or services, something that would actually

be more beneficial since it brings potential

customers right to their website instead of

a pen they’ll forget in a desk drawer,” said

Lily Snyder, digital technologist. “Vendors

who pay a premium can have a whole virtual

experience of their product or service in

action for participants to take part in.”

Since then virtual reality conferences like

Enablers of Tomorrow, Women in XR Venture

Fund Pitch Showcase, and Educators in VR

Summit are all examples of VR disrupting

business. Public speakers better engage

with audiences in “nonlinear conversations.”


A training manager at Nestle Purina thinks

using VR will “help the company recruit a

more technically fluent workforce in the

future.” Nestle Purina uses virtual reality to

build out shelf ideas and category concepts.

VR lowers the risk for employees who build

live tests. It also accelerates time to market

because of the shared vision customers and

employees virtually walk through together.

“Instead of showing them PowerPoint after

PowerPoint or showing them a demo that

might not be to scale, we’re able to use the

virtual reality technology in ways that offer

customized solutions and allow us to make

changes over and over and over again,” said

Kenny Endermuhle, Senior Manager of Retail

Innovation Strategy at Nestlé Purina.

Months into the 2020 coronavirus pandemic,

a local chapter of the Construction Financial

Management Association conducted their

monthly meeting in virtual reality. The virtual

reality boardroom was what the chapter

needed after burnout from “zoom fatigue.”

Experiencing the immersion of virtual reality

once inspired construction firms in the

meeting to investigate other opportunities for

augmented and mixed reality.

The companies that can provide tools to

work from home are the ones experiencing

growth and profits. Yet, even with this data,

some companies decided not to hold virtual

conferences. In early and mid-2020, they

canceled or postponed previously scheduled

(physical) conferences, even across techforward

industries like telecommunications,

entertainment, and social networking. Their

failure to adapt cost them business.

Social Disruption

The Internet and mobile technology changed

how we communicate as human beings.

Generation Z (a.k.a., the iGeneration) make

and break friendships on social media, never

confronting each other in real life. Families are

divided online by algorithms that feed them

one-sided articles, making Thanksgiving dinner

a battle of “Fake News.” The Internet, with its

promise of opening world views, now seems

to close them. From a social standpoint, the

convergence of technologies will continue to

change how we interact with family members,

friends, and co-workers. In under ten years,

people will be able to experience a volumetric

or holographic (3D visual) representation of a

friend or family member in front of them. They’ll

be able to have a conversation with someone

as if they were sitting in the same room, though

thousands of miles apart.

At Magic Leap, Cathy worked with an amazing

corporate team, including some of the most

advanced software developers specialized on

spatial computing, which Simon Greenwold

defines as “human interaction with a machine

in which the machine retains and manipulates

referents to real objects and spaces.” The dev

team created a mixed reality chessboard and

the ability to play against a live 3D opponent.

One chess player was on the first floor, and the

other was on the second floor. They saw each

other as holographic images and could see

each other’s moves as they played on the virtual

chessboard. Companies like Spatial, Rec Room,

AlcoveVR, VR chat, and Galaxity are among

the spatial computing companies altering the

way we work and play from a social standpoint.

These social VR apps change the way we

share experiences, how we share photos of

our vacations, and how we relate to people

because we’re interacting in a 3D space and

experiencing the same presence as in real life.

If given a choice, most students would likely

rather have a volumetric display of Abraham

Lincoln giving a speech than read about it or

watch a video representation of it. Holograms

have something 2D videos don’t: presence.

When people interact with a volumetric video,

they have the experience that they are there with

that person, and they experience emotion and

memory that comes from physical interaction.


Internet dating will change dramatically when

people do not have to guess whether a flat

picture represents the person accurately since

they will have a holographic display of the

person right in front of them that may be harder

to manipulate. Instead of having quarantinesafe

first dates on Skype, potential couples

can date via volumetric video. Someone who

may come across as boring or distant on video

can be themselves by moving around as a

hologram. And if the date isn’t working out?

Simply shut off the stream. Maybe someone

tested positive for an asymptomatic version of

a virus. They want to go dancing but don’t want

to get anyone sick. Dance clubs will enable

people to join the dance floor where they’ll be

a holographic presence for others to see and

to experience the club themselves using VR.

The possibilities are endless.

Golf and country clubs are already being

reimagined with virtual reality. Ready Player

Golf re-envisions a golf outing in virtual

reality. Friends join in VR to play a few holes.

Colleagues or business partners can join in

for a virtual game and talk business. Charities

like Doctors Without Borders have taken

advantage of the social aspect of VR in Ready

Player Golf. RPG generated $12,300 from 78

donors and sponsors.

to their Facebook profile. People can play

games, but more interestingly create worlds

that their friends can explore. Here lies the

possibility for monetizing digital goods within

Facebook, making virtual living a profitable

one. Facebook Horizon is monitored by real

Facebook employees (represented as avatars)

to avoid some of the social pitfalls that can

effect people in VR.

While Facebook essentially requires you to

be “you” in VR, other virtual realities allow

more freedom where a boy might appear as

the wizard Gandalf, or an older woman may

appear as Iron Man. These virtual realities

are interesting because they allow people to

experience a completely different life. But,

anonymity is not without consequences. Social

VR is like the early days of the Internet. People

met in chat rooms and talked to strangers;

there were no online rules of etiquette. In

some social VR platforms, people “sensory

bomb” others who are new to VR, causing

them confusion without a chance to escape

or set boundaries. In the workforce, etiquette

and social harassment guidelines will need to

be put in place before deploying VR. People

will find significance and purpose in the virtual

world, which will change how they relate to

each other in the physical world.


We may be physical creatures, but we

now have digital personas as well. These

existences—online and offline, physical and

digital—are slowly merging. That doesn’t mean

that future generations will always represent

themselves as their physical persona in the

digital world. They can choose to be the color

purple, a dinosaur, or a superhero—or all

three! In the future, people will choose to be

whatever they want to be because they’re a lot

more fluid in their concept of identity. And that

will transcend even further in the future.

For instance, Facebook has created a social

VR world called Facebook Horizon, which it

describes as a “social experience where you

can explore, play, and create with others in VR.”

Cathy was an early beta tester of Facebook

Horizon. She was one of the first people to

livestream from inside Horizon and show the

world what it looks like. In Horizon people

are represented by avatars that look like

themselves as their Horizon avatar is linked

We anticipate seeing job ads in the future for

people who can work seamlessly between

digital and physical realities. We think this way

because job titles like “hologram stylist” exist

today. Hologram stylists work with people to

prepare them for volumetric video capture.


They pick clothes to wear and how a person’s

hair should best be worn so that it is fully

captured in 3D. Fashion brands like Gucci

are already turning to digital only clothing

and accessories. Virtual couture designers

make digital fashion first, in the form of filters

or 3D assets. As we depend on AI robots,

like Amazon Alexa or Siri, they will become

gatekeepers. Business-to-Robot-Consumer

(B2R2C) marketing managers will reach

customers through robots. No matter how we

communicate, we expect AR, VR, AI, and 5G to

have an impact.

Entertainment Disruption

Hollywood is shifting to more immersive

content—not just for viewers but also during

production. In 2016, director Jon Favreau

started experimenting with VR through a film

called Gnomes & Goblins. He took what he

learned and applied them to his remakes of

The Jungle Book and The Lion King.

Traditionally, for a blend of live-action and

animated films, the actors speak into a

microphone while standing up, remaining

stationary when recording their lines. Instead

of utilizing the traditional route, Favreau had

the performers act together in a live space so

that he could capture their movements and

their facial expressions. He then incorporated

that into the animation. Favreau also had

people act using VR so that they could see

themselves as a lion, hyena, or a warthog.

The crew joined them in VR too. This changed

how people performed because they were

able to see themselves as the animated

character and were able to interact in a

digital space. If you had to play a lion, would

you rather stand still at a microphone or see

yourself as a lion in VR? Peter Rubin from

Wired wrote:

The Lion King was filmed entirely in virtual

reality (well, save a single photographed shot).

All the locations you know from the original—

Pride Rock, the elephant graveyard, Rafiki’s

Ancient Tree—exist, but not as practical sets or

files confined to an animator’s computer. They

live inside a kind of filmmaking video game

as 360-degree virtual environments, full of

digitized animals, around which Favreau and

his crew could roam. Headsets on, filmmakers

had access to all the tools of the trade, just in

virtual form.

We believe this will lead to a transition from

storytelling, where we’re passive recipients

of information to “story-living,” where we’re

active participants in the story with agency—a

capacity to act independently. The ultimate

way to experience this will be in an artificial

reality like VR. Of course, this isn’t completely

new. There have been branching narrative

concepts in the past, blending “choose

your own adventure,” with certain digital

technologies. In approximately five years from

now, there will be another shift from “story

living” to “story doing” (similar to AR) where the

person is part of the story.

Think of a supercharged version of Pokémon

GO. The previously passive audience will

now be active, leading to improvements in

engagement and entertainment. The increased

use of interactive storytelling techniques will

blur the lines between mediums. Watching

a pitched medieval battle on TV? Pick up the

controller (or your VR headset!) and help turn

the tide. This transformative experience is

coming soon to a screen near you.

To get access to new content from my second

book, “The Augmented Workforce: How AR,

AI, and 5G Will Impact Every Dollar You Make”

with my co-author, John Buzzell, visit https://



Cathy Hackl


Futures Intelligence Group

Cathy Hackl is a globally recognized tech futurist and

top business executive with deep experience working in

metaverse-related fields with companies like HTC VIVE, Magic

Leap, and Amazon Web Services. She’s the founder of the

Futures Intelligence Group where she advises Fortune 1000

and top luxury fashion brands on metaverse growth strategies,

NFTs, and how to extend their brands into virtual worlds. She’s

a sought-after consultant, speaker, and media personality.

Hackl was recently featured in 60 Minutes+, Bloomberg and

Cheddar’s coverage of the metaverse and is a contributor to

Forbes. She has written two books and is writing an anticipated

book on the business opportunities of the metaverse that

will be published by Bloomsbury Publishing. Hackl has been

dubbed the Godmother of the Metaverse and is one of the top

tech voices on LinkedIn.



You might not yet have heard of social tokens

or creator coins, but it’s very possible that you

heard the news of Lionel Messi changing

football clubs from Barcelona to Paris Saint-

Germain. Well, millions of dollars of his $40M

signing bonus were paid in $PSG tokens

issued by social token platform Socios. Those

tokens allow fans to interact with the team by

earning rewards, participating in select club

decisions, and accessing unique merchandise

and experiences.

But what are social tokens?

Social tokens allow brands, whether individuals

or organizations, to include their fans and

community in a dedicated tokenized economy

that facilitates:

- Direct monetization

- Community engagement and loyalty

- Governance

Social media platforms can take 5-30% of

content creators’ tips and payment tools like

Venmo charge 3% commission. However,

creator coin platforms like Rally are able to

charge 0% for direct digital payments to creators.

Amazing platforms like Patreon, Substack,

YouTube, Instagram, and Twitch have enabled

creators to build business models on top of their

communities and content, but in addition to

expensive commissions, there is always the risk

of de-platforming and censorship, potentially

eliminating a particular revenue stream entirely.

On the pure donation side, even Twitter and

Clubhouse are now offering in-app tipping.

While there exist great tools like Gumroad

for monetizing downloadable content and

products, content creators need more choices

for direct digital payments that are independent

of any specific content platform or merchant

account. Social tokens facilitate low to no-fee

fiat and crypto transactions between creators

and their communities.

The ability to hold a balance of a creator’s token

creates an opportunity for deeper engagement

and customer/fan loyalty. Platforms like Discord

and Clubhouse or tools like WordPress can

confirm a user’s token balance through APIs

and provide token-gated access to content,

events, and VIP discussion channels. Fans can

earn rewards by contributing to, supporting and

evangelizing the community.

If you have explored NFTs at all, this may

sound familiar, as the ability to bake in early/

VIP access to special content, merchandise,

online and offline events, and other benefits is

exactly the same with creator coins. The third

utility allows for token holders to participate

in the decision process around a brand or

organization. Maybe you want to pick the color


of the next PSG jersey or vote on which subject

a content creator should discuss in their next

video or podcast. You’ll be hearing a lot about

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations

(DAOs) over the next year and the functionality

is the same here; token holders can actively

participate in the governance of an organization.

Social tokens can be:

- Individuals, like your favorite YouTuber,

podcast, or newsletter

- Brands, like a soccer team

- Communities, like an online forum or NGO,

or the social token platform itself, like Rally

or Socios (Chiliz).

Why I’m bullish on social tokens: 3 trends

You might be saying, fine, those are a few,

recent examples, but is there really huge

potential here? There are three signals that

suggest that tokenizing content creators’

communities could lead to a massive market.

The first is the existing centralized creator

economy growth over the past few years.

Hundreds of thousands of people now create

full-time incomes on YouTube, Instagram,

and Twitch. There are hundreds of journalists

and writers making thousands (even tens of

thousands) of dollars per month through small

subscription payments on Substack. Patreon

has 200,000 content creators monetizing

their communities. During home confinement,

practically every band you know used StageIt

to perform paid concerts from their sofas. All

of this runs through centralized platforms and

legacy payment systems. Fans have shown

that they are more than willing to financially

support their favorite content creators directly.

The second signal is the rapid growth of NFTs

and digital collectibles this past year. While

you may be a bit dubious on the potential

of pixelated digital art, people continue to

innovate around the kinds of content and perks

they are creating with non-fungible tokens.

Digital collectibles, however, are the evolution

of the billion dollar industries behind baseball

cards, Pokemon, and comic books. Three

year old fantasy football platform Sorare is

built on NFTs, has generated more than $100

million in revenue in 2021, and is rumored to

have recently raised over $500M at an almost

$4B valuation. You don’t have to understand

the blockchain or care about bitcoin to see

the future value in business models built on

digital collectibles.

And third, decentralized finance continues

to create new financial solutions that don’t

rely on historical financial infrastructure in the

areas of savings, loans, bonds, crowdfunding,

and insurance. Each month, more people

are discovering and getting comfortable

with crypto/blockchain services without

necessarily being “into” crypto.

Taken together, these three trends show

us a very near future where brands use a

mixture of centralized and decentralized

platforms and financial services to monetize

their communities. Still not sure? I already

mentioned Lionel Messi but Sorare has 180

officially licensed football clubs and just signed

La Liga. Social token-issuance platform Rally

just raised $50M and signed a deal with United

Talent Agency to begin tokenizing some of the

thousands of actors, musicians, and athletes

that UTA represents. Sotheby’s just auctioned

$24M worth of digital collectibles. The Vault

($WHALE) is a social currency fund of curated

digital art, blockchain gaming, and virtual real

estate, with a market cap of over $100M. The

future of finance is social and tokenized.

For my part, I use $ETHAN on Rally as a

payment service for advisory and speaking

services, media sponsorship, as well as

providing access to my networking events

when I’m at The Next Web, Web Summit,

Slush, CES, or SXSW, for example. If you’d like

to give it a try, check out the pinned tweet on

my Twitter for instructions on how to receive

$10 worth of $ETHAN for free.

Twitter: @EthanPierse | Rally.io: $ETHAN


Ethan Pierse


The CryptoAssets Institute

Director at The CryptoAssets Institute, evangelizing the

blockchain economy across Europe and Southeast Asia.

Director, Quantum Economics Financial Advisory. Founder of

Borderless Ventures focused on FrenchTech, CEE, and ASEAN

startups. Former Managing Partner, Nest Venture Capital.

Serial entrepreneur in digital and e-commerce in the US and

Western Europe. 20+ years digital marketing strategy advising

Coca-Cola, HP, BP, large banks, airlines and governments.




A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic,

the global economy is looking cautiously

at recovery. According to the World Bank,

growth will be very uneven given surges of

virus variants, patchy vaccination rates, and

withdrawal of government support measures,

so global GDP in 2021 is still expected to be 3.2%

below pre-pandemic projections. To support

a more equitable and sustainable recovery,

it is imperative that our economic systems

recognize how they need to be underpinned by

“flourishing communities, strong and resilient

social institutions, thriving natural ecosystems

and a stable climate” as the Capitals Coalition

articulates. As a member of their supervisory

board, I truly believe that we must empower

organizations to understand that their success

and the success of the global economy more

broadly is fundamentally dependent on

natural, social, and human capital, in addition

to produced capital.

We must work to curb greenhouse gas

emissions in all the ways we produce goods

and services, whether it is how we impact, air

quality, energy management, water quality,

how we reduce waste streams and maximize

circular economies to minimize our ecological

footprint. We must ask ourselves how are we

valuing the rights of all people and nature, how

are balancing our need for privacy and need

for security, how are we making sustainable

goods and services accessible, affordable and

producible by all, not just some. It is time to

consider product passports that standardize

the ability to assess carbon footprint through

a products lifecycle to help customers make

buying choices that support planetary health.

It is also important to ensure labor practices

that favor employee health, safety, inclusion,

diversity and equity.

It is time to enable that our businesses, financial

institutions and governments include the value

of all forms of capital in their decision-making,

especially as countries face their commitments

to the Paris Climate Agreement and United

Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

And this is where there is huge potential to

leverage digital technologies and increasingly,

financial technology (fintech) to support

a capitals accounting approach and to

develop stronger ESG (environmental, social,

governance) metrics in support of more

sustainable investments.

For example, AgriLedger’s work in Haiti is very

inspiring. This agricultural-focused blockchain

systems provider is piloting a project to use

blockchain technology for traceability and

payment that will allow the farmer to maintain

ownership until the sale at final destination,

while all the packing and logistics services will

be provided by AgriLedger. This mechanism

scaled globally would give more power


and improved livelihoods to farmers while

minimizing waste streams as produce lifecycle

management ensures maximum contribution

to value chains as well as composting waste

to increase soil health. CarbonX, a Canadian

fintech-designed environmental software,

enables users to calculate the carbon impact

of their products and services and to offset

this through investments in carbon mitigation

projects carefully evaluated not only for

their environmental impact but also for their

social and economic impacts. Open Climate

is a collaborative project led by the Open

Earth Foundation, an non-profit organization

operating globally and based in the United

States. The project explores the potential

application of a range of digital technologies

to developing a transparent, global, integrated

climate accounting system and aims to codevelop

a decentralized ‘ledger of ledgers’ to

collect and share climate data from around the

world, balancing transparency and privacy.

Even with all these excellent examples, it is

critical that the tools and technology are not

developed in a black box. In order to have

mechanisms such as stronger ESG metrics

that can potentially transform investments

and truly increase accountability, it is critical to

first build trust. Trust in the metrics and trust in

the technologies underlying the development

of those metrics. By creating more inclusive,

collaborative approaches to probe the

assumptions underlying the algorithms used

to develop ESG metrics, trust and common

standards can be agreed upon.

Another barrier to overcome is the complexity

of the systems at play. There is a dichotomy

between technological literacy and education

to build technological capacity on the one

hand, and over-complexification of digital

systems on the other hand. More of an effort

must be made in order to de-complexify

technology to some extent. This will avoid

the development of what colleagues have

referred to as “technological expertocracy” –

or the continued development of a group of

elites who have access to and understanding

of the incredibly complex systems underlying

the digital infrastructure that increasingly

dictates our lives and is shaping fintech. A lack

of trust in digital technologies or in the experts

who develop and control them can create

huge barriers to implementation, scaling,

enabling policy frameworks and impact in

terms of addressing systemic challenges such

as climate change.

Related to this, there is a strong need to

develop more human-centric technologies

– including fintech. Engaging citizens more

directly could be a positive way forward here,

both to build trust and also to ensure that

technologies are addressing biases, reflecting

shared values, allowing more equity in access

and incentivizing collaboration as opposed to

increasing division.

And efforts are being made. For example,

our initiative, Sustainability in the Digital Age,

convenes leaders in business, government,

science, and civil society to explore how to

consciously steer the societal transformations

unfolding from the development and

deployment of new digital technologies,

towards equitable and sustainable paths.

Similarly, the Global Commons Alliance has

been inviting all stakeholders interested

in accounting and standard setting that

considers ESG, to come together and work

at shaping a co-creative space to align

everyone. The international Coalition for

Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES)

is an open multi-stakeholder community of

change makers and practitioners that seek to

collaborate in accelerating a digital planet for


So the momentum is here, and collaboration

is critical to unleashing the transformative

power of digital technologies in an inclusive

approach that values not just profit making

but also our collective contributions to natural,

social and human capital for planetary health.


By Éliane Ubalijoro, PhD

Sustainability in the Digital Age,

Executive Director

Future Earth, Global Hub Director


Decades of experience span academia, science-policy and the

non-profit and international development sectors. Professor

of Practice for Public-Private Sector Partnerships at McGill

University’s Institute for the Study of International Development,

where her research interests focus on innovation, gender and

sustainable development for prosperity creation. Her teaching

over the last decade has focused on facilitating leadership




Challenger Banks are the players that offer

digital-only alternatives to traditional financial

institutions’ banking products and services. As

per FGS database, there are 40 such players

in Canada, and we categorize them into the

following 4 categories based on the status of

their banking license. Top players under each

category include:

• Beta (using parent FI’s banking licence)

- EQ Bank, Simplli, Tangerine, Brightside

by ATB

• New (secured a new banking licence) -

PC Financial, Motusbank, Canadian Tire

Bank, Rogers Bank

• Neo (don’t have their own banking licence

but have a partner who does) - Neo

• Financial, Koho, STACK, Mogo

• Non (don’t have a traditional banking

license but meet the conditions to offer

financial products in non-traditional

ways, like getting a e-money license) -


Over the years, these players have seen

tremendous growth in their adoption through

launch of innovative value propositions for

Canadian consumers. Following are some of

the recent trends seen in space:

SME Challenger Banks finally enter the


While challenger bank for small and medium

businesses was a white space for a very long

time in Canada, this year we have seen four

players enter the space - Carry, Float, Benji,

Jeeves. While most of these solutions are in

beta stage right now, they have amazing value

propositions for Canadian SMEs like no fee, no

personal guarantee corporate cards, unlimited

one-time use virtual cards, one-click accounting

sync and spend management. While these

are the solutions for small businesses, Moves

is a player that has recently launched Moves

Spending Account, a banking solution for gig

workers. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have also

partnered with Payfare to offer instant payments

to their gig workers through a prepaid card. Apart

from these, there are expected launches of

SME banking solutions in Canada from Shopify

(Shopify Balance) and Quickbooks (Quickbooks

Cash), which are live south of the border.

Kids/Teen banking gaining traction in


In the past couple of years, we have seen a

new niche of challenger banks appear on the


Canadian landscape - Challenger Bank for

Kids/Teens. Treasure, Walo and Wingocard

are some of the players in this space. RBC

Ventures has also launched a kid banking

app called Mydoh. These solutions not only

enable parents to digitally give money to

their children, they also help them to track

children’s spending, set tasks that need to be

completed for earning allowance, and help

kids learn about savings. While most of these

apps are meant for kids and teens for earning

allowance from their parents, we have seen

a new player, SideKick, which is meant for

international students in Canada. SideKick

helps international students to receive money

from their family in different currencies and

enables spending in Canada through a

prepaid card.

Challenger Banks are enabling innovation

in the rewards and PFM space

Challengers are innovating the rewards

space which is no longer limited to the

traditional loyalty programs. The new players

are offering a range of reward options from

cashbacks that are immediately accessible

for spending to personalized discounts at a

curated list of

retailers. Mogo has given the rewards a

completely different twist by offering a

cashback in bitcoins. For every purchase

through a Mogo account, you earn 1-2%

bitcoin cashback which is accessible through

Mogo’s bitcoin account (Mogo also has a

bitcoin investing product). STACK has created

a community called World Stream where

STACK users can share their purchases and

STACKHacks to earn best rewards and save

money. PC Financial, on the other hand, is

staying strong on its loyalty program game

through its PC Optimum points program. The

program has more than 18 million members

and is in fact the layer behind most of the

Loblaw offerings - PC Money, Credit Cards,

PC Health and beyond.

solutions. These use-cases will further grow

with the advent of Open Banking in Canada

as users would then be able to link all their

accounts to a single app and get a full view

of their financial standing which will enable

informed financial decisions.

Prepaid is enabling non-banks to enter

challenger banking space

Non-banks are entering the financial space

through the launch of ‘bank like’ solutions

which are mainly enabled by a prepaid card.

The categories of these non-bank players

launching challenger banking solutions

for their customers range from tech giants

to e-commerce players to major retailers.

Prepaid enables these players to quickly

enter the financial industry and start capturing

the banking relationship of their customers

with minimal regulatory requirements and

skipping the need for getting a bank license.

The non-bank players are thus able to not

just offer an end-to-end experience to their

customers but also capture their spending

data which helps them to learn more about

the consumer and further innovate to offer

predictive services.

FGS tracks FinTechs players operating in

Canada and as per our data, there are 40

challenger banks in Canada as of August

2021 and the number is constantly growing.

If you are interested in more Canadian

FinTech trends and insights, reach out to us

at sbritton@fintechgrowthsyndicate.com and


Surinderjit Kaur Bhatti




Additionally, challenger banks are enabling

Canadians to better manage their finances

by offering tools like automated savings,

spending limits, sub-accounts for saving

goals, transaction round-up savings and

spending insights. Some of the players also

offer credit score monitoring and building


Surinderjit is a FinTech expert with experience ranging from the

venture capital world to leading an innovation lab of a financial

institution to innovation consulting. At present, she is a leader

at FinTech Growth Syndicate and helping Canadian Financial

Institutions build their FinTech strategies through market

intelligence services.


A multi trillion dollar universe of illiquid,

privately held assets stands ready to be

securitized on the blockchain. Millions in

venture capital is riding on the premise.

So why haven’t security tokens caught on


The difference between Utility & Security


Utility tokens are like chips in a casino. They

can be used as currency within the casino

for playing games, tipping dealers and

sometimes buying drinks or hotel rooms.

Holders of a casino’s chips do not own a

stake in the casino, nor does it entitle the

holder to any of the house’s winnings or

profits. Security tokens, on the other hand,

are like owning stock in the casino, shares

in the company itself. When the house

wins, you win. Security token holders own

something that might pay off through profits

or distributions. Utility tokens are used in

an ecosystem. Security tokens give you

ownership in that ecosystem.

In 2018, when many notable utility tokens

nosedived in value, the crypto community

rallied around security tokens and declared

that their simplicity would be the salvation

of the crypto economy. Some were even

saying that security tokens would become

crypto’s “killer app.” Venture capital poured

into security token projects, lured by the

prospect of bringing liquidity to private

markets, especially real estate, which is the

world’s largest asset class--and one where

brilliant minds have struggled to bring true

liquidity for decades.

That year, Founders Fund and Andreesen

Horowitz led an unusually large ($28MM!)

seed round into Harbor, a crypto startup

promising to put ownership of real-world

assets on the blockchain. The company’s

founder declared that Harbor would do

to the real estate market what email did

to snail mail. Three years later, the real

estate market has escaped any noticeable


Harbor’s slow attempt to mainstream

security tokens is indicative of what has

happened across the entire security token

industry: big promises, disappointing

results. It’s easy to see why people might

(wrongfully) conclude that security tokens

are a bust.


Why have security tokens been so slow to

catch on?

In order for security tokens to achieve their

full potential, they must fulfill their promise

of liquidity. Liquidity requires two things: a

regulated exchange and sufficient trading

volume. So far, neither of these requirements

has materialized.

Security tokens are subject to greater

regulatory scrutiny than utility tokens (like

Bitcoin or Ethereum) from the US Securities

& Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Security

tokens require full SEC approval to be sold in

public offerings to non-accredited investors

or traded on secondary exchanges. This is

one of the many reasons their growth and

adoption has been more modest.

Most attempted security token exchanges

have floundered. In 2018, well-funded

companies like Templum, tZero, Coinbase,

Openfinance and Sharespost announced

that they would list security tokens on their

exchanges. Sharespost was particularly well

positioned to do so because they were an

existing broker dealer with ATS registration.

Three years later, the only exchange which

has succeeded even modestly is tZero.

However, even tZero, a passion project of

publicly-traded firm Overstock.com, only

offers two security tokens for public trading,

one of which is an affiliate of its parent

company. Openfinance, although still in

existence, offers securities with a combined

market cap of only around $50 million–a

mere drop in the bucket.

At the moment, no dominant platform for

trading security tokens exists. Furthermore,

the complex compliance issues have

largely discouraged new entrants. But

there is hope. Since security tokens are

programmable, compliance can be baked

right into the token which should reduce

compliance hassles. Compliant protocols

like Polymath and Harbor have figured

out how to collaborate with exchanges to

address these issues.

The SEC (once considered

an insurmountable obstacle

to compliant token offerings)

is finally starting to qualify

offerings. Nothing pours fuel

on a financial product’s fire

quite like transparency and

regulatory clarity, and it’s

happening now.

In July 2019, the SEC qualified the first

Regulation A token offering (a $23MM offering

for Blockstack) setting precedent for the

sale of tokens that are immediately tradable

to both accredited and non-accredited

investors. They also provided clarity around

secondary sales.

In July 2020, Arca Labs began trading its digital

security token, the ArCoin, which is registered

with the SEC and represents shares in Arca’s

U.S. Treasury Fund.


Trading volume has also been thin, but the

expectation that digital securities would

trade with the volume and frequency of

public equities or cryptocurrencies was

flawed from the start. Digital securities

represent private investments, an asset

class that has always traded infrequently.

Adding blockchain does not necessarily

incentivize owners to trade them any more


Exchanges don’t exist and trading volume is

thin. Where is the silver lining in all of this?

In September 2020, the SEC finally registered

an $85 million security token offering from

INX, a foreign crypto trading company.

This became the first ever security token

IPO qualified by the SEC, marking a major


In April 2021, the SEC qualified a Reg A+

token offering for Exodus, marking the first

digital asset security which conferred equity

in a US-based issuing company. Exodus

subsequently raised $75 million from 6,800

individual investors.


Security tokens aren’t strictly

a US phenomenon. In May

2021, a Singapore-based

bank issued its first security

token offering, a $11.3MM

digital bond that pays a 0.6%

annual coupon.

These movements may appear relatively

small, but they mark an important transition

for the crypto industry, as it evolves from

the Wild West of the dark web to navigating

the daunting obstacle course of regulatory

scrutiny. All of these changes pave the way

for massive mainstream adoption.

Given all of these positive developments, I

have become very bullish on security tokens,

but let me be very clear: my enthusiasm has

absolutely nothing to do with fractionalization

or liquidity. Both of those things are already

widely available in the stock market.

Tokenization adds very little on either of these


Instead, let’s be brutally honest about what

people love about crypto. (Hint: it’s not their

stability or their SEC compliance.) Crypto’s

popularity is entirely attributable to its insane

volatility--so volatile that 20%+ intraday

swings are not atypical. Previous attempts to

tokenize stable, income-generating assets

have failed to acknowledge this fundamental

truth. If the carrot of fractionalization alone

were seductive enough to encourage people

to invest, then REITs would be as popular as

Shiba Inu coin. But they’re not.

The problem with early security tokens like

Aspen Coin or the RealT coins is that they

seem like they make sense but they offer

absolutely zero potential for the kinds of

meteoric returns that Dogecoin fans love.

Security token advocates point to the stability

of underlying assets as an important attribute

and one that should breed a strong affinity. But

stability contradicts the very ethos of crypto. If

security tokens are ever going to induce fullfledged

crypto mania, it will be because their

issuers finally embrace their volatility rather

than try to avoid it.

The perfect security token is one that is

secured by real assets--but where the

underlying assets themselves offer the

potential payout for a moonshot return.

I believe that security token alchemy will

occur when an insightful issuer finally creates

a SEC-qualified digital security token that has

potential moonshot returns. Why?

Combining the legitimacy of SEC qualification

with the rocket fuel of crypto-style returns

would be like the gateway drug for all the

crypto-curious conservative investors who

have dabbled in Bitcoin but are too timid to

invest in the types of highly speculative utility

tokens which might turn out to be completely

worthless. A truly compliant crypto asset

backed by actual, quantifiable and verifiable

assets with the potential for exceedingly high

returns would break the internet--and maybe

Coinbase, too.

For investors attracted to the high returns but

deterred by an investment backed by nothing

more than a white paper and a promise of

future utility, the allure of such a security

token would be irresistible.


Janine Yorio

Managing Director


Republic Realm is a metaverse innovation and investment

platform and among the largest owners of digital real estate

NFTs in Decentraland, Sandbox and Axie Infinity and among the

most active developers of in-metaverse content in Sandbox

and Decentraland. Republic Realm is the creator of the Fantasy

Islands master-planned community NFT project. Republic

Realm is backed by strategic financial and crypto investors

and Galaxy Interactive. Republic Realm is based in New York

City, and is an affiliate of Republic.co, the alternative investment

platform. For more information, visit www.republicrealm.com.




As the world emerges from a year or more

of uncertainty to find it’s new normal, the

aftershocks of the pandemic will leave

some indelible marks particularly on the

payments industry. Consumers that were

forced to shop online triggered warpspeed

developments in the eCommerce

space, as merchants (big and small) jostled

to convert shopping carts. Add to this

a growing popular sentiment to protect

personal wealth, the current evolution of

the payments space seems almost obvious.

As a long-time payments and blockchain

entrepreneur, I believe that we have reached

a watershed moment in the adoption of

digital currencies, with new data proving

that cryptocurrencies are increasingly part

of our everyday transactions.

Crypto finally breaks into the mainstream

With large corporations, banks, governments,

and retail investors alike holding crypto

assets, digital money as an effective

investment vehicle has been a reality on

Wall Street – and in the public psyche – for

a while. But, only recently are we seeing

the real tipping point for mass adoption of

crypto into the everyday lives of consumers,

as it moves from purely an investment

vehicle into the realm of value exchange. To

everyday shoppers, crypto has now become

a viable alternative to fiat currencies.

Triggered by changing buying behaviours

and escalated by pandemic-fuelled digital

innovation, I believe this evolutionary

tipping point in crypto adoption has been

realized because people have the choice

to pay with a wide array of cryptocurrencies

and have the desire to exercise this choice.

That’s why we’re seeing more merchants

partnering with payments experts to enable

crypto payments for customers, and this

is empowering them to spend gains on

real-world goods. From vacations and cars

to professional services and groceries,

consumers are being given the choice to

step outside the more traditional payment

methods, and this trend doesn’t seem to be

losing steam, especially as more merchants

jump on board.

Consumers also have much to benefit

from the greater transparency and control

afforded by blockchain-enabled payments.

Merchants also benefit from embracing

crypto, avoiding higher fees associated with

credit card payments (especially for crossborder

transactions), and by gaining access

to an entirely new, tech-savvy customer

base. The immutability of the blockchain

also helps merchants circumnavigate the

rising challenge of so-called friendly fraud

claims, as it eliminates chargebacks. Put

simply, accepting crypto payments can

help businesses of all sizes break down

barriers to entry when it comes to securing

profitable sales.

Our crypto data tells a compelling story

At CoinPayments.net, we are seeing a rise

of crypto payments across industries, even


with our eCommerce merchants. According

to our data for the first half of 2021, overall

merchant transaction volumes exploded

by more than 200% to almost $3 billion

year-on-year. Diving deeper into industry

indicators, you can see rising consumer

confidence in crypto payments as they

are willing to spend more per purchase,

with transaction sizes growing to $300 on

average. In the last year, CoinPaymants has

seen 10X transaction volume growth for

Shopify merchants alone. These numbers

would have been unheard of just three

years ago as widespread adoption was in

its infancy, and offer clear proof that people

are using crypto for everyday transactions.

Regulation is the crypto final frontier

Despite the change being evident, it’s worth

noting that this is not, by any means, universal

yet. CoinPayments.net data also shows that

some geographic regions are streaks ahead

when it comes to mainstream adoption.

Europe, for example, has a much more

established crypto community, with higher

levels of acceptance among businesses and

readiness among consumers. Conversely,

North America is only just getting off the

blocks and has massive growth potential.

the defining core of decentralization, but

I strongly believe that regulation is the

key to truly unlocking digital money for

the masses. And, further, it is exactly this

divide in opinion among industry players

that is preventing us from achieving greater

adoption through collaboration. By lacking

transparency in our practices, it is us -

industry leaders - who are going against

the nature of the blockchain and holding it

back. We are creating barriers to successful

mainstream adoption of crypto.

Questions from regulators will undoubtedly

make the industry ask questions of itself;

which is only a positive thing as more

conversation leads to greater education,

awareness and, in turn, greater adoption.

If industry leaders like CoinPayments can

collaborate to help design the best path

forward, the crypto industry can gain the

credibility required to earn the trust of the

consumers and businesses we are trying to

reach; those that so evidently are ready to

use digital money to exchange value.

Jason Butcher




Why is Europe so ahead,

you ask? To put it simply:

regulation. In May, I

participated in the FFCON21

panel entitled “Mainstream

Adoption of Digital

Currencies and Investing in

Alternative Assets,” where

I said that clear regulatory

controls are required to

maximize crypto adoption.


Jason is the CEO of the CoinPayments.net, the founder

of HODLtech.eu, Parallel Payments, Clear Payments, and

a board member and advisor for a number of payments,

fintech businesses and associations such the Emerging

Payments Association, the National Crowdfunding and Fintech

Association (NCFA Canada) and many others. He is passionate

about applying his entrepreneurial spirit to help digitalize the

world of finance and payment processing. Driven to make the

world a better place, his mission is to bring trailblazers and

innovative businesses together across all disciplines.

Some might argue that the notion of

governance for the blockchain goes against


Overrated or underrated?

It’s a question Tyler Cowen, one of my

favourite public intellectuals, poses to

guests on his podcast. The question turns

simple conversation into meta-conversation.

It moves you from discussing something to

discussing the discussion of something. The

question is almost magical, like a spell that

makes you disappear only to reappear on a

new cognitive plane.

So let’s pop the question: is the fintech

policy agenda overrated or underrated?

The answer depends on who’s asking.

Currently, the federal government is

reviewing Canada’s approach to financial

sector policy to put fintechs on a level

playing with banks. Open banking is

supposed to let fintechs access Canadians’

financial information, giving fintechs the

means to offer better products and services.

The government is also exploring whether

to give fintechs access to the payments

infrastructure our economy runs on — a

privilege exclusively afforded to financial

institutions, such as banks. Let’s call these

two initiatives the fintech policy agenda.

If the median voter is asking whether the

agenda is overrated or underrated, then it’s

grossly underrated.

The median voter likely doesn’t even know

what the fintech agenda is. Is open banking

about keeping my bank branch open longer?

I make payments whenever I tap my card at

the point of sale, so what’s the problem? In

fact, the median voter likely doesn’t know

what a fintech is, let alone what problems

the fintech agenda is meant to solve and

how it would solve them.

But if a fintech advocate is asking? Then the

agenda is overrated.

It’s not that payments modernization and

open banking don’t belong on the fintech

policy agenda. They do, but they’re not the

only things that do.

For example, how future proofed is the

fintech policy policy agenda when payments

modernization and open banking are at

risk of having a short shelf life? Consider

DeFi, or decentralized finance, a contender

for crypto’s killer app. DeFi refers to the

distribution of financial services on the


lockchain. As Stephanie Choo, a partner

at Portage Ventures, recently wrote, DeFi

“has the potential to become for financial

services what the Internet has been for

media production and distribution.”

The promise of DeFi

comes from innovation in

governance. It erodes the

power that rent-seeking

intermediaries, such as

banks and legacy payment

networks, have long had,

while circumventing the

barrier to entry-laden

oversight that governments

have long had.

The risk of obsolescence DeFi brings to

payments modernization is easy to see.

An endangered intermediary, Payments

Canada is building a real-time payment

system called the real-time rail, while the

government consults on giving fintechs

access to it. Fintechs support both initiatives

— and for good reason — but DeFi could

obliterate the need for both if it matures into

something more ubiquitous. It’s no wonder

someone once told me that Canada is

building railroads while the world is building


The risk of obsolescence DeFi brings to

open banking is also easy to see.

Jon Stokes, who co-founded Ars Technica,

recently described the status quo of data

governance as a “decentralized network

of siloed (user data) tables connected by

access-controlled APIs.” Stokes thinks we

could see the de-siloing and aggregation

of user data on the blockchain. If open

banking promotes competition, then

blockchain-based data portability promotes

competition on steroids. If you think such

visions are speculative, you’re not alone.

No one knows what the future of financial

services has in store, just like no one knew

what the future of media distribution before

the Internet had in store.

It’s too early to tell which way DeFi will go,

which is why experimentation is so important.

But DeFi experimentation is going to be

tricky, as it’s prone to undermining itself.

The government’s response to DeFi has

so far been an ambiguous combination of

supportive and fearful — the latter state

being one from which little good has ever

come. For example, although the Ontario

Securities Commission is allowing for

some experimentation with crypto, the

experimentation is limited and controlled.

Moreover, the Bank of Canada announced

it’s exploring how it could issue its own

digital currency to crowd out the privatelyissued

competition, should it ever mature.

It’s not hard to see the risk that the

government extinguishes too many future

possibilities, killing DeFi before its potential

is even meaningfully tested. This is why

DeFi deserves more space on the fintech

policy agenda.

Then again, perhaps you’re a DeFi bear and

think DeFi deserves no more attention than

it’s getting.


Another intermediary-centric initiative, open

banking compels banks to open their dataloaded

vaults to financial-app developers.

What I said of payments modernization is

also true of open banking: fintechs support

open banking, and for good reason. But open

banking does little good in a world where

financial services have been disintermediated

and user data is on the blockchain.

If that’s you, then substitute for DeFi for

another idea you think is underrated. Maybe

your underrated idea is sandboxing under

the Bank Act, making it easier for fintechs

to become banks, or maybe it’s better

coordination and alignment between

the provincial regulators on modernizing

consumer protection and market conduct

regulation. Alternatively, maybe Canada’s


competition laws need to be reformed

and authorities better equipped to level

the playing field between incumbents and


The point is, no matter what you pick, we get

to the same place: the fintech policy agenda

is overrated because it’s not inclusive of

what’s underrated.

If you’ve gotten this far, rest assured

that there’s a way to make the fintech

policy agenda appropriately rated — not

overrated, not underrated, and just right. In

fact, it ought to be obvious by now. Take a

cue from Tyler Cowen: gather your smartest

friends and play a few rounds of “overrated

versus underrated” with them.


Alex Vronces

Executive Director

PayTechs of Canada

Alex Vronces is the Executive Director of PayTechs of Canada,

representing the diverse community of payment technology

companies operating in Canada. Using his payments and

policy knowledge and network, Alex leads the push for a more

competitive and innovative Canadian payments ecosystem.

Alex came to the association from Payments Canada, where

he provided thought leadership and strategic advice on

important public policy initiatives, including the review of

Canadian Payments Act, the introduction of a retail payments

oversight framework, and open banking. He also was pivotal

in modernizing access to Canada’s national retail payment

system, successfully broadening access to the ACSS by way of

a regulatory amendment.

OCTOBER 27-28, 2021

Congratulations to the 2021

Recipients of the CIX Top 20 Early &

CIX 10 Growth awards program


Out of 492 submissions this

year, our 2021 CIX Selection

Committee rated these startups

as Canada’s most innovative

Join us on October 27-28 for

presentations from 65+ hot startups,

plus state-of-the-art virtual networking,

where you can see ‘who is in the room’

and join other delegates for video chats!



We are all in the COVID sea, but each of us is on

different ships. Companies that rely on faceto-face

contact, such as accommodation and

food services, have been negatively impacted,

whereas online delivery has seen significant

growth. The CFIB Small business recovery

dashboard 1 shows that as of 19th August 2021,

76% of small businesses are fully open, with

47% fully staffed and 39% at normal sales.

The data doesn’t show the massive variation

within respondents, but it is fair to say, sales

for small businesses are, overall, way down.

Women have been disproportionately

affected by COVID

McKinsey has been sharing their weekly view

on the impact of COVID. Their analysis has

shown that although women make up 39% of

global employment, they have experienced

54% of overall job losses 2 . Women have been

disproportionately represented in industries

that have declined due to COVID. Much of

the job creation focus has been in maledominated

industries such as communication

and construction.

The National Angel Capital Organisation’s

(NACO) 2021 report on Angel Investing 3

highlighted the research in Crunchbase’s 2020

report. It found that 20% of global startups

were woman-founded, but women were less

likely to seek and receive financing than men

(32.6% vs. 38%). Businesses owned by men are

more likely to receive venture capital, angel

funding and other forms of leverage such as

trade credit and capital leasing. Concerningly,

Crunchbase 2020 data shows that the

proportion of dollars to women-only founding

teams declined, to 2.3%, compared to 2.8%

in 2019. Underrepresented organizations,

including Black and Indigenous founders,

also receive less capital.

The reduction in investment in women-only

businesses is worrying since women have

been disproportionately affected by COVID.

The negative impact for women in business

during this time has been exponential in

nature. It is a double whammy.

I recall speaking at the Global Crowdfunding

Conference in 2016 on the increased

success for women and underrepresented

organisations through crowdfunding. The

PWC data supported these findings a year

later, with 17% of male-led campaigns reaching

their finance target, compared with 22% of

female-led campaigns. Overall, campaigns

led by women were 32% more successful at

reaching their funding target than those led

by men, data seen across multiple sectors,

geographies and cultures. ESMT’s data in

2019, again, backed this up 4 .










If you are curious, the drivers for success

include the ability to tell stories that engage

potential investors and the ability to multitask,

as it is not one tool that leads to an

investment. These skills are often seen well

expressed in women.

COVID has changed business permanently

COVID has accelerated change. We’ve had

a lifetime of social change in less than two

years. COVID-driven change has opened up

opportunities, and if I can say the overused

phrase, the opportunity to pivot and create

businesses that meet people’s new needs. 92%

of small businesses have pivoted in at least

one way, but many have pivoted in multiple

ways. Only 8% did not pivot their business at

all to adapt to the current environment 5 .

The biggest challenge for small businesses has

been the lack of skills for the new approach.

Followed by a scarcity of funds to make the

changes needed to survive, thrive or grow 6 .

Crowdfunding’s role in raising capital in a

post COVID world

Crowdfunding can play a crucial role to

address the capital gap for businesses. We

need to raise awareness of crowdfunding in

companies looking to pivot and capitalise on

the new opportunities—investment in new

businesses and investment in women-led,

black, and indigenous founders.

• Transaction value is expected to show an

annual growth rate (CAGR 2021-2025) of

1.61% resulting in a projected total amount

of US$24.6m in Canada by 2025.

• Even though Canada is a relatively large

player in the alternative finance space, our

Southern neighbour, the US, still leads with

a projected $1.2b in total transaction value

in 2020. Even with our new harmonised

regulations, due in September, Canada’s

regulations lag behind the US, but that is a

separate article.

Our two most recent contracts are with visible

minorities, one is a women led and indigenous

business. Both are excellent businesses that

meet a need in the marketplace. Through

crowdfunding they will benefit from growing

their awareness and customer base.

Crowdfunding has also opened up access to

capital for both companies.

Governments have spent a significant amount

of money to sustain people and businesses

through the COVID crises. But it hasn’t been

enough to build new businesses and create

jobs to replace those lost. The taps will start

to be turned off soon. The capital available

through crowdfunding can be used to build

business and employ the most impacted. I

hope the provincial securities commissions

and the government will leverage the new

harmonised regulations to encourage new

companies and new investors.


Just as we discussed the different journeys

each of us has had in the COVID sea, we’ve also

seen different financial impacts. Households

in Canada have increased their net savings 7

due to government support and reduced

spending. At the same time, the comfort in

online financial transactions has increased.

Crowdfunding breaks the barriers so that all

Canadians, not just the wealthiest, can invest

in companies. This releases capital to invest in

businesses to help them pivot and capitalise

on the new opportunities.


Victoria Bennett

NCFA ambassador and Principal

Bennett Milner Williams Consulting Ltd.

The capital available for crowdfunding was

already pretty buoyant. The transaction value

in the Canadian Crowdfunding segment is

projected to reach US$23.1m in 2021 8 .

Victoria Bennett, FCIM, BSc(Hons), is an NCFA ambassador

and Principal of the crowdfunding agency, Bennett Milner

Williams Consulting Ltd. She founded The Crowdfunding Hub

to provide broader access and support to organisations raising

capital through crowdfunding and is a passionate believer in

the democratisation of capital through crowdfunding.










Has your investment thesis changed precovid

versus now?

Covid has been a digital reality check for

financial institutions. The strongest companies

that have emerged post Covid are those

helping financial institutions accelerate their

digital transformation without being a victim

of long sales cycles. Our thesis has changed

little in that we believe in collaborating with

financial institutions and removing friction for

users to consume financial services.

What do you see as the long-term impact of

COVID-19 on the pace, shape and evolution

of the Canadian fintech ecosystem?

Many of the services provided by financial

institutions were done face to face or with a

wet signature. Due to Covid this is changing

and will last longer term. The other big

change is that a larger portion of talent

working in financial institutions will be able

to work remotely which will provide a larger

more skilled talent pool and savings.

What fintech verticals are you most excited

about over the next 5 years and why?

• We’re seeing big growth in digital

insurance (B2B and B2C) especially in life

and health and employee benefits.

• The gig economy is driving digital SMB

banking and this is a huge market.

• Security will continue to grow due to new

digital financial services that increase

possible risk.

• Online financial services means the need

for more data analytics and process


• As crypto continues its momentum, we

beleive there are significant opportunities

to further develop user-friendly DeFi

applications to address a broader user


What advice would you give fintechs who

are looking for new ways to tap the global

market during this crisis?

I have some general comments then one

specific comment during covid.

1. Succeed in one big market before going

to another. Going into other markets

requires resources and teams that

understand the nuances of those other

markets including, user preferences,

regulation, and compliance.

2. Make sure to architect the solution so that

it is multilingual and multicurrency.

3. Ask yourself can my business scale in

other geographies if travel restrictions



Is there anything else you’d like to add?

One last thing. Covid may accelerate certain

businesses however it is important to

understand demand post covid to map out

the longer-term strategy.


David Nault

Co-Founder & General Partner

Luge Capital

David has been building early stage technology companies

as an investor, founder or senior member of the executive

team for over 20 years. Prior to co-founding Luge Capital,

David was an investor with Inovia Capital, a leading North

American venture capital fund. Before becoming a VC, David

was president of Callio Technologies, an information security

compliance software provider, whose intellectual property was

acquired in 2009. Prior to running Callio, he managed business

development, partnerships and marketing at Pivotal Payments

(now Nuvei, TSX:NVEI). Nuvei, Canada’s most successful IPO,

now processes $34B in payment volume for over 80,000

merchants worldwide. https://luge.vc/



To learn more about FINToken,

visit token.finhaven.com


Canada’s innovation landscape is evolving like

never before. With Payments Modernization,

Open Banking, and the approval of Canada’s

first crypto-asset custodian, Canadian

regulators are also stepping up to the plate,

ensuring protection for consumers. This means

constant and rapid adjustment of regulatory

frameworks to ensure regulations reflect

the nuances that innovation brings, while

addressing customer demand for advanced

technology and simplified experiences

through leveraging digital options.

That can make it hard for startups and even

established organizations to keep up with the

changes, let alone ensure that they have the

right tools and resources to operationalize

complex legislative requirements.

When it comes to compliance for FinTech,

Security and Data protection often take

the lion’s share of focus and can eat up a

significant chunk of capital along the way.

For example, the average cost of SOC 2 Type

2 compliance, a precursor for the vendor

management process, ranges from $30-40K

– not including the costs to get there, which

can be well over $100K.

Emerging Retail Opportunities

The mainstream adoption of virtual assets in the

retail consumer space (e.g., cryptocurrencies,

NFT’s and the like), coupled with modernized

payment rails and consumer directed finance,

points to a likely increase of entrants into the

payments market – a historical “sweet spot”

offering for startups. Along with this comes an

increased focus on consumer protection while

trying to balance innovation and competition.

This is the driver for the new Retail Payments

Activities Act (RPAA), passed on June 29, 2021,

and continued updates to the Proceeds of

Crime (Anti-Money Laundering) and Terrorist

Financing Regulations (PCMLTFR).

What do I need to know?

The RPAA defines the nature of a Payment

Service Provider (PSP) and requires PSPs to

register with the Bank of Canada who will

administer and enforce the RPAA, including

financial penalties for violations.

A PSP is defined as “an individual or entity that

performs payment functions as a service or

business activity that is not incidental to another

service or business activity” and covers “any

retail payment activity that is performed by a

payment service provider that has a place of

business in Canada…(or) performed for an end

user in Canada by a payment service provider

that does not have a place of business in

Canada but directs retail payment activities at

individuals or entities that are in Canada.”


While there are some exceptions, this aligns

directly to the FINTRAC definition of a Money

Services Business (MSB) including services

dealing with virtual currencies. This evokes

the requirement to also register with FINTRAC

and directly connects a PSP to the obligations

outlined in the PCMLTFR for an MSB. It’s

important to note that the PCMLTFR already

accounts for Money Services Businesses

(MSB’s) and Virtual Asset Service Providers

(VASP’s) and has for several years.

players in the crypto space. An enforcement

action can have significant reputational risk,

something a startup may never recover from.

Fines in 2021 so far…

If you are unsure whether you fall under these

categories, please reach out to us and we’d

be happy to review the criteria together.

What are my obligations under the



In short, MSB’s must set up a compliance

program that consists of knowing your

customer (KYC - verifying their identity)

and conducting a risk assessment of your

customer base to determine the level of due

diligence and ongoing monitoring required.

Risk assessments should be updated

regularly to and in accordance with detailed

FINTRAC guidance.

In addition to screening for Sanctions

compliance and Politically Exposed Persons

(PEP), there are multiple reporting requirements

depending on the types of transactions

conducted and in relation to customer risk.

There are also special requirements when

certain types of transactions are above a

specified monetary threshold.

Wow, that sounds like a lot. What’s this

going to cost?

It depends. Factors like customer risk, volume,

and velocity of transactions weigh into the

costs of establishing a compliance program.

...but making sure you get it right, protects

you from fines. FINTRAC actively enforces

penalties for violations, and if the US and

UK examples are any indicator, monetary

penalties are positioned to grow. Even a small

fine can cripple a smaller firm.

Trust is also a huge factor in influencing retail

adoption for new entrants, especially for newer

What can we do about it?

What we do know is that leveraging

established Regulatory as a Service tools

like MinervaAI can help you deliver on your

obligations and are proven to be much more

effective and efficient than traditional methods


Firms like MinervaAI are led by professionals

with deep knowledge of the regulations, the

investigations process, and the machine and

deep learning expertise to “plug and play”

into your existing technology and process

ecosystem. AI innovations coupled with

cloud scalability allows investigators to do in

minutes, what would traditionally take hours

and days to do.

Compliance doesn’t have to be scary or slow

down customer onboarding. In fact, having

an efficient and accurate risk assessment

process upfront, with automated ongoing

monitoring behind the scenes, ensures

that your customers will be able to transact

without interruption.


How can MinervaAI help?

Complete client risk assessment in real time, all in under a minute:

• Execute all your regulatory tasks; Sanctions and PEP scanning, adverse media analysis, social

media review, beneficial ownership, legal and disciplinary action, networks, and relationships

• Risk rate clients and contextualize that risk against multiple risk dimensions

• Monitor for change to customer profile and risk at configurable intervals

• Generate an auditable package to complete the investigation

Request a demo at minervaai.io

Jennifer Arnold

CEO and Co-Founder

MinervaAI. Chief Regulatory Nerd and

financial crimes enthusiast.

Charlene Sebastian

Head of Client Success and Delivery


MinervaAI. Obsessed with Data and

getting *&^% done.


MinervaAI is a venture-backed financial crime discovery

platform that uses deep learning and automation to radically

increase the efficiency, accuracy and efficacy of financial

crime investigations. It’s complete EDD in under 60 seconds!

MinervaAI requires no complex integrations and works

alongside your existing case management and/or transaction

monitoring solutions.


Transformative enterprise leader focused on results; creates

strategic outcomes through value-based Agile execution.

Specializes in large, complex enterprise Regulatory initiatives

with a Data and Digital focus. Doing it well and doing it right

matters. Over 15 years’ experience leading successful programs

in Banking and Telecommunications. Collaborative influencer

who inspires trust in relationships to maximize team performance.



As the spotlight grows on Canada, one of

the world’s most cashless economies, tech

talent in the financial industry is in demand.

Home to some of the world’s most promising

fintech companies, Toronto is the secondlargest

financial hub in North America. From retail

banking to cybersecurity and cryptocurrency,

Ontario companies are booming. With

this comes competition for recruiting and

retaining top fintech talent.

In a remote world, Canadian fintech talent is

enticed to cross borders for competitive pay,

cool perks and unlimited vacation days. How

can these fintech companies continue to


The next generation of talent

Companies need to engage Millennials and

Generation Z tech talent. One way to do that

is to hire co-op students. By 2028, Millennials


and Gen Z will make up more than half (58 per

cent) of the workforce. Born between 1981 –

1996, Millennials are emerging leaders. Gen Z,

those born between 1996-2014, are entering

the workforce.

Here are ways you can attract and support


1. Showcase your values

Values matter to Gen Z in the workplace. The

University of Waterloo’s Work-Learn Institute

(WxL) research shows that understanding

those values might be most important to

effectively recruit, motivate and retain young

employees. According to WxL’s research

almost half of Gen Z students are unlikely to

accept a full-time job if it matches their skills

but not their values.

Learn more: Click ‘Top Motivators’ image

2. Highlight diversity, equity and inclusion

The Canadian workforce will be 33 per

cent international by 2036. This global and

diverse workforce presents new opportunities.

To adapt, organizations must establish

a more diverse, inclusive and equitable

talent pipeline. Diversity strategies will

focus on blind recruitment, unconscious

bias training and looking beyond Canadian

experience requirements for credentials.

Companies must commit to diversity


4. Strengthen your remote

recruitment strategies

During the pandemic, organizations

shifted their operations to work remotely.

This challenged the way we do business

as well as recruitment and onboarding

strategies. A recent survey found that 73

per cent of workers hope remote work

will continue past the pandemic.

While Gen Z agree with this, our research

shows they feel stressed and struggle more

than their peers. This research found three

core themes as priorities for young talent:

• Socialization: help them to understand

workplace culture and build professional


• Productivity: give them flexibility and

independence to manage their work.

• Meaningful work: provide them

with challenging work that aligns with their


Provide the right environment and

young fintech talent can blossom to fill

your talent pipeline. Don’t hesitate - get

them through your doors early as the

competition booms.

3. Focus on your job descriptions

Job descriptions that highlight how candidates

can learn, make an impact and link their academics

to their work, can enhance

job attractiveness for Gen Z talent. By

adding these, candidates can reframe how

they see themselves in the role – without

requiring organizations to change their own

values or offerings.

Want to increase your number of applications?

Check below to learn more and

download a job description sample:


Tammy Kim-Newman

Business Developer

Co-operative and Experiential Education

University of Waterloo

Tammy Kim-Newman is a business developer and tech talent

specialist at the University of Waterloo, Canada’s #1 university for

Computer Science, Mathematics and Engineering (Maclean’s

2021 University Rankings). She has 10+ years supporting

industry partners with their early talent strategies and is an

advocate for work-integrated learning. If you have questions

about early tech talent recruitment strategies, please reach

out to Tammy Kim-Newman (tammy.kim-newman@uwaterloo.

ca) or 289-231-3752.




Businesses focused on fintech are hardwired

to fulfill customer needs, reduce customer pain

points, and introduce new ideas that shape a

better experience. Early stage startups may have

more flexibility to shape their brand, product, or

culture, but even larger organizations that are

looking to make a similar pivot are finding value

in making a change from the norm.

Startups are fast at testing and iterating. As

a product marketing consultant for fintech

startups, validating product-market fit is

essential for hypergrowth and sustainability.

Once achieved, it takes smart, customerfocused

decisions to drive ultimate success,

starting from product to brand, and from

customer service to culture. These mechanisms

also include rigorous reassessments to ensure

they’re adapting to a continuously evolving


Successful financial businesses, regardless

if it’s a large organization or an early-stage

startup, adhere to these core elements.

Your customer wants to work with other


Humanize your business

It’s unfortunate, but for customers in modern

times, placing trust in businesses is at an alltime

low. Modern brands are focusing on

enabling human emotions within their business.

It reflects on virtually every aspect of their

public-facing self: ad headlines, PR, packaging,

content marketing, and “meet the team”

segments from the top down. Customers feel

greater trust when they can see the people

working behind the scenes.

One important takeaway: humanize the

brand, brand the human. Ultra successful

organizations brand their management team

as experts themselves. That may be why more

fans follow Elon Musk or Mike Novogratz on

Twitter over their respective company brand


Your customer wants an easier life.

Get creative and simplify your customers’


It’s no secret that AI tools, such as roboadvisors,

have taken market share from

traditional financial institutions. A product

should make the customer experience

simple without sacrificing time or money,

and at best, minimizes the customers’ need

to think. It begins by answering questions

for them. If your customers have a preferred

communication channel, make the necessary

changes to accommodate that.


In most cases, ideas that simplify your

customers’ lives may be deemed as too much

of a resource hog internally. However, a closed

mindset will inevitably lead to another company

stealing market share from you.

Your customer wants honesty.

Be more transparent than you’re traditionally

comfortable with From a customer POV,

offering greater transparency during financial

transactions has become a standard. Hidden

fees have always been a crux for customers.

Wise (formerly Transferwise) made the

smart move to not only offer lower fees for

currency conversion, but their transfer screen

also includes a detailed breakdown of where

each dollar is going (while simultaneously

showing how much they’re saving compared

to competitors like PayPal). It’s the little things

that count.

Your customer wants to be heard.

Create feedback loops for service-driven


Better service is always a primary motivator for

retention. However service-driven initiatives

need to continually evolve to keep up with

customer expectations. Scrap initiatives that are

outdated.This can only be achieved by creating

a feedback loop in your customer lifecycle that

is repeatable and actionable.

Your customer wants to work with a winner.

Make education part of your content


Thought leadership is essential in building a

successful business. Budget planner Mint

revolutionized the industry by focusing on

delivering content that educated prospective

and current customers with the knowledge

needed to plan and meet their financial goals.

Your content team, which consist of content

creators and subject matter experts, need a

sound strategy that focuses on answering

customer questions - whether they’ve thought

it up first or not.

Your customer wants to work with good


Create a solid cultural foundation that

supports diversity and inclusion

Having an organizational structure and

strategy that supports diversity and inclusion

is imperative. Embedding D&I initiatives into a

company culture begins with recurring training

sessions and fostering open communication,

but it also means changes to hiring practices

from both management and non-management

roles. Organizations that support D&I in its

foundation unlock greater hiring capacities,

stronger customer onboarding and retention,

and a healthy work culture.


Lastly, take ownership when bad service is

apparent. Accountability and humility can go a

long way to not only those affected, but those

watching from the sidelines.

Your customer isn’t a number.

Continually refine your customer personas

Digging deeper into your customer personas

can help your product and marketing efforts.

While it’s easier to see your customer base

as defined by a few lines of text, defining

your audience into numerous segments and

increasing granularity will better define your

scope as a business. Never default to treating

your customers like a number. Focus on

developing better segmentation in your CRM

to optimize your customer funnels.

Financial organizations are continuing to finetune

their culture and product/marketing

strategy to reflect the changing directions

of their customer base. In order to succeed,

startups and large organizations in financial

services need to adopt a mindset that is

adaptive, open-minded, and forward thinking.


Reggie Tan

Founder & Senior Growth Hacker

Rich Thinking

Reggie Tan is a senior growth hacker and marketing strategist,

with specialization in fintech, cryptocurrency, and blockchain



Picture this. You are the CEO

of a large financial services

company and are looking

to acquire a smaller fintech

company to expand your

business. Everything within

the company’s infrastructure

looks normal.

Turns out, technology and security of the

company wasn’t thoroughly tested, and

after acquiring the company, you inherit a

major security breach along with it, costing

you millions of dollars. Believe it or not, this

is exactly what happened to Paypal, when

it acquired TIO Networks and they are not


Paypal’s example proves the importance

of incorporating thorough technology due

diligence into the acquisition process of a


What Does the Due Diligence Process


To gauge what the due diligence process

entails, let’s consider the example of a

VC or a CEO of a fintech company who is

interested in preparing their company for

acquisition. After taking the first step to hire

an investment banker to show the company

to investors, there are three main stages of

the Due Diligence Process. The first round

of bids includes a high-level company

evaluation, addressing the condition of the

business, financials, and management team.

A handful of bids progress to the second

round of bids, which takes a deeper dive

into the business. The interested party then

submits a Letter of Intent (LOI) to indicate

interest in acquiring the company.

At the LOI stage, things could go awry

if issues are found while evaluating the

health of a company during the due

diligence process (including legal diligence,

accounting diligence, customer diligence,

and technology/cybersecurity due

diligence). After the LOI stage, if the investor

is still interested in the company, the deal

moves to the closing stage.


Why is Security Important in the Due

Diligence Process?

In any investment, buyers are clearly looking

for no problems with the company, as this

could cost them millions in the future.

A buyer’s priority is to minimize risks and

solve for sustainability and scalability through

assessing three aspects of the company:

people, process, and technology. Risks

surrounding people could involve code

development and knowledge distribution,

while risks around the process typically entail

sustainability and scalability.

Risks surrounding technology often

involve security issues and documentation

surrounding open-source code. If you think

your company will need to embark on the

due diligence process in the next 6-12

months, it’s crucial to be thorough with

documentation regarding all aspects of due


To prove that a company

doesn’t have issues, it’s

important to provide the

correct documentation

and engage security

from the beginning of the

development process and

have it ready for the due

diligence process. Engaging

security from the start leads

to strong foundations in

governance and policy as

well as in the applications


Regarding the technology and security

aspect of due diligence, it’s important to

note that doing a risk assessment shows

buyers that a company is truly worth the

investment. It’s also crucial to know where

your security issues lie by having a 3rd party

look at the code to find loopholes. It assesses

business impact and how likely a security

breach is to occur, making it more valuable

than security gaps or vulnerabilities.

If any security issues are found, it’s key to

have a plan of action for the investor or

show progress on the issues that were

found. Where open-source software is

used, keeping thorough documentation on

what is used will help tell the company’s

story while preventing it from being put on

the defensive.

Going forward, sellers should expect

more scrutiny for technology and security

aspects of the company. Therefore, any

preparation on this front would be valuable.

Buyers are also becoming more aware of

what breaches exist and will ask sellers how

they’ve prepared themselves. Buyers need

to be able to ensure these breaches aren’t

impacting them, as they don’t want to inherit


What Are the Next Steps?

In short, add security early in the

development process and document

your controls to cover your bases. Apply

security best practices while building your

company and applications. Though it may

seem more efficient in the short run, refrain

from cutting corners, and get professionals

to support you during the due diligence

process. Spending money on a 3rd party

assessment to find potential security

loopholes is valuable, as this could save

millions in transaction value. Remember,

investing in security initially to ensure

a strong security posture will only save

millions of dollars in the long-term.


Consistent and diligent documentation from

the start of the process also strengthens the

validity of the company’s security posture.

If you’re looking to learn more about what to

do to secure your company including your

products and infrastructure, check out the

Security 4 Startups (S4S) framework: https://


www.security4startups.com/. S4S was

designed by a group of investors and small,

mid, and large-corporation CISOs to help

startups combat their biggest security risks

in a balanced manner. If you’re looking for

an in-depth security consultation, Forward

Security and RiskAware are always here to

help, so get in touch: contactus@fwdsec.



Farshad Abasi

Founder, Chief Security Officer

Forward Security

At Forward Security we are all about doing application, cloud,

and information security better. Our team tackles security

using a systematic approach, leveraging standards based and

repeatable processes. We are incredibly passionate about

delivering the best security solutions, and are driven to help our

clients achieve the highest level of security to enable business

growth. https://forwardsecurity.com/

Michael Castro

Founder, Risk Executive



RiskAware was incorporated in 2018 to help address the gap

with organizations utilizing part-time or fractional CISO and to

offer executive leadership services. We serve organizations

of all sizes and specialize in small and mid-size businesses

(SMBs) in all verticals, including Not-For-Profits and Startups.





How the current macro environment is

changing the way we work, play, and

engage online.

The last time you left home, you probably

had at least 3 items with you that would prove

who you are, most likely your mobile device,

wallet, and keyring.

In the “real” world, we’re used to carrying

personal identification, driving or taking public

transit, and our keyring not only provides

security to our homes, autos, offices, and

other valuables, but also tells a bit about our

personality, based on the type of keyrings, and

fobs we have. Why should it be any different

in the online world, and how can I prove who I

really am online just as easily?

While the pandemic has held a grip over our

daily lives, not until recently have we started

to believe that things may get back to normal.

This global crisis has also been a catalyst for

digital identity.

Not only did our traditional lives change

dramatically during this period, but so did our

digital existence. Online gaming and digital

content consumption went up 75% literally

overnight. Amazon is our new best friend

delivering almost daily. While it may have

seemed novel initially, it became the new

reality thanks to our kids being educated online

and trying to keep up with friends and family

via Zoom calls instead of getting together. It

has also has meant finding reliable ways to

stay in touch with our clients and business

associates and doing more online, exposing

ourselves potentially to additional security

concerns and identity fraud. Now, more than

ever, we need something that requires us to

prove who we are.

Digitally, we can be viewed

as the sum of all our online

“information” most or which has

been controlled by corporations

intent on mining your data for

their overall benefit. However,

continuing jurisdictional changes

in privacy rules and data

protection in many parts of the

world have started to shift the

power of data from corporations

to the people.


As we spend more of our lives online, it will be

essential to prove who we are when it comes


• Reduction of potential identity fraud

• Validation of online purchases

• eSports, online gaming, and social media

• Information and data services

• Education

• Government and Healthcare services

New technologies and innovations are

changing the way digital identity and

personal information is managed. We’re

seeing healthcare passports, single sign on

applications and digital wallets, but the key is

for users to manage, control and benefit from

this information and personal responsibility.

With over 300 million people in North America

and over 5 billion people online globally, the

market, tasks and opportunities are both

enormous and daunting. Organizations

like the Linux Foundation, Trust over IP

Foundation, Cardea, The Lumedic Exchange,

Liquid Avatar Technologies and other leading

firms and organizations are working to help

empower users from around the globe to be

part of the digital identity revolution.

To find our more, please feel free to contact

us at www.liquidavatartechnologies.com


David Lucatch

Co-Founder, President, Director & Chair

of Liquid Avatar Technologies Inc.

Liquid Avatar Technologies Inc., through its wholly owned

subsidiary KABN Systems North America Inc. focuses on the

verification, management and monetization of Self Sovereign

Identity, empowering users to control and benefit from the

use of their online identity. The Liquid Avatar Mobile App,

available in the Apple App Store and Google Play is a verified

Self Sovereign Identity platform that empowers users to create

high quality digital icons representing their online personas.

These icons allow users to manage and control their digital

identity and Verifiable Access and Identity Credentials, and

to use Liquid Avatars to share public and permission based

private data when they want and with whom they want.


Create, Secure & Share a fully customized digital version of you

Show the Digital World Who You Are TM

• Manage, control and benefit from your digital identity.

• High quality icons that represents you.

• Share what you want, when you want, and with whom you want.

• Access verifiable credentials in your digital wallet.

• Prove yourself digitally as easily & effectively as you do in the “real world”.



Download today


Did you know, society generates 1.145 trillion

megabytes of data every single day? Most

of us don’t crunch numbers for a living, so

organizing data and displaying it intuitively

really matters. With all this data sprawling

the planet, one of the most significant

challenges is using it effectively.

Luckily, we can use artificial intelligence

and machine learning in our investment

portfolios to help us better understand

the data. Yet, this idea can still be very

overwhelming. Where do you start, and

what do you track and measure? How do

you know your data is working for you, and

how does your data compare to your peers?

The good news is that artificial intelligence

and machine learning work together with

big data, making it easier than ever to benefit

from the tech. One area this technology

can be applied is to our own investment

portfolios. After all, we’re all looking for a

more comprehensive understanding of our

strategies and wish we could make much

more confident decisions.

Artificial Intelligence and Better Data

Visualization Are Your Competitive Edge

People have been trying to understand and

exploit data for decades. From Bloomberg

Terminals to Robo-advisors in your pocket,

there’s been an explosion of financial

visualization tools for people of all skill and

knowledge levels. They allow just about

anyone to interpret signals and make

predictions based on their own perspective.

We can leverage those advances in

visualizations and add machine learning

algorithms to make the insights sharper

and more helpful.

Until recently, these algorithms were out

of reach for the average investor. This is

changing rapidly as today, developers build

platforms and services that make deep

learning accessible to everyone. There

are obvious use cases such as interactive

graphs or elegant charts. But from there,

it’s easy to imagine a world where your

portfolio is benchmarked against others in

a similar cohort, allowing you to fine-tune

your strategy.


Using the right wealth management

platform further allows wealth owners and

family offices with complex portfolios to

access these data visualizations and unlock

a complete picture of their overall wealth in

exciting new ways.

Use Case: Fundamental Analysis

AI-powered visualizations can help

investors gain perspective into what‘s going

on with each of their asset classes. Adding

algorithms to the mix can uncover hidden

correlations between those same asset

classes. From there, we can use this data

to suggest which investment opportunities

may outperform others and which positions

we might have to reconsider.

Another example would be using AI to

scan documents such as annual reports,

economic articles, and other financial

datasets to better understand a company‘s


In other words, AI can lead to a more healthy

asset management strategy.

to assess the risk curve of a particular

investment. It can forecast risk variables

ensuring absolute risk falls within bearable

levels, whatever those might be.

Another great example is assisting with

transaction costs for large purchases. An

AI can find the best prices for breaking up

big trades into smaller chunks. These kinds

of algorithmic traders already exist and

use artificial intelligence (we just call them


Artificial Intelligence Improves

Accessibility to Data Visualization

These tools can supercharge your

visualizations. Wealth owners can capitalize

on the advancements and availability of

algorithms to find insights in the same way

financial analysts of the past did without the

need to manually calculate outcomes.

We‘re all looking for ways to improve our

portfolio management. It might be time to

ask ourselves if the AI and data visualizations

we use are up to the task.


Use Case: Stronger Portfolio


Artificial intelligence can also help us

better predict future outcomes or expected

returns, which can help with optimal asset

weighting. This is like having a magical

crystal ball. We can understand what our

present-day portfolio looks like versus our

dream portfolio with a couple clicks. We

can run and re-run scenarios or ask the AI

to help us know what might happen to our

portfolio based on specific criteria.

Algorithms are also capable of handling

complex optimization problems. For

instance, they can restrict the number of

assets or set minimum holding thresholds.

When you couple these ideas with userfriendly

visualizations, things really start to

get interesting.

Use Case: Risk Management

AI can likewise help us analyze qualitative

data, like news reports or social media,


Michael Sikorsky


Copia Wealth Studios

Michael Sikorsky (@mjsikorsky) is an EY Entrepreneur of the

Year Winner, Deloitte Fast 500 Recipient, and serial innovator

- he sold his first company to ThoughtWorks at age 28.

His current company, Copia Wealth Studios, is a financial

intelligence platform on a mission to Simplify wealth. He is also

the Chief Investment Officer of his family office, Sky and Ray.

Michael is passionate about education and has guest lectured

at Harvard Business School, Stanford, MIT, Columbia Business

School, and the World Economic Forum.


In a cooperative ecosystem,

companies interact with each

other based on a digital trust

infrastructure. The members

can network their services

and thus temporarily access

resources of competitors.

The bottom line is that

they can better meet the

customer needs. At the same

time, all players retain their

independence, their data

sovereignty and have the same

market opportunities.

Thomas Müller


Decentralized peer-to-peer networks and

platform economics

Blockchain, Distributed Ledger Technologies

(DLT) as well as other decentralized

technologies, such as Decentralized Identifiers

(DID) provide technical mechanisms which

lend themselves very well to building fully

automated transaction platforms which can

manage financial transactions from contract

signing all the way to financial settlement

without the need for intermediaries. The

underlying peer-to-peer (P2P) principles,

in which all participants are equal peers

and operate identical nodes provide a

technical analogue to a “commons” technical

infrastructure which provides the transaction

execution layer to those wishing to conduct

decentralized commerce. Decentralized

platform economics are revolutionizing the

way services and delivered, consumed, and


Blockchain-powered cryptographic networks

(‘Cryptonetworks’) lend themselves very well

to peer-to-peer governance models in which

a common resource - the Cryptonetwork - is

community-governed. A major leap between

the world-wide web as we know it, is that

cryptonetworks have a secure and trusted

mechanism for incentivization and value

transfer known as ‘token-economics’. Token

payouts are calculated as part of the smart

contract layer and securely transferred as

part of the Blockchain’s essential function,

namely securing consensus. There is no need


for an intermediary to manage and enforce

terms and conditions, invoicing, payment and


bloXmove: a decentralized platform for

Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

As an example of how this can be applied

to real-world applications, take the market

for urban mobility. The “product” or rather

“service” urban mobility offers, is neither this

car nor that scooter, but rather seamless

travel through a city – mobility as a service.

Users should be able to roam across services

delivered by different operators. This means

they only register their identity and credentials

once and these verified credentials serve to

unlock any service provided by any service

provider in the ecosystem – this being the

paradigm of “roaming”. By using decentralized

technologies such as Decentralized

Identifiers (DID) and Blockchain technologies

the complete service lifecycle can be

orchestrated, executed and settled through

a common decentralized infrastructure:



Cryptonetworks are digital communities of

self-sovereign peers

According to the International Cooperative

Alliance a cooperative is:

“…an autonomous association of persons

united voluntarily to meet their common

economic, social, and cultural needs and

aspirations through a jointly owned and

democratically-controlled enterprise.”

Cooperatives have a long history. In their

formalized and legal form, they appear in the

19th century.

“These legal entities have a range of social

characteristics. Membership is open, meaning

that anyone who satisfies certain nondiscriminatory

conditions may join. Economic

benefits are distributed proportionally to

each member’s level of participation in the


Prominent examples of cooperative business

networks are:

• VISA, the well-known ubiquitous credit

card, which in its pre-IPO form was a

cooperative of banks who cooperated to

create a new interoperable, customerfacing

financial product.

• Star Alliance, which is not a cooperative

in the legal sense of the word but rather

an “alliance” of cooperating airlines.

Cooperative organisations are jointly

governed by those who use or consume

the cooperative’s services, hence:


• All members have an interest to grow

the cooperative and make it profitable.

• The cooperative is built to provide

services which enable the businesses of

each community member and therefore

provides direct benefit to each and all.

• The revenues of the cooperative

originate from fees by the cooperative


• The revenues of the cooperatives

belong to the members of the


• Customer relationships and therefore

access to demand and liquidity stays

with the individual members.

This creates a self-reinforcing loop

of checks & balances. Members of a

cooperative are incentivized to fund the

cooperative with their fees while at the

same time being in control to keep those

fees within a range sustainable to their

individual core business.

A common infrastructure with the goal of

achieving net-zero carbon emission

Here I quote what to me has become a

manifest and gave me the inspiration for the

name of the company I have the privilege

of co-founding: Power & Mobility Ltd.:

Making the EU the world’s

first climate-neutral economy

will require more than just

an energy transition. To cut

CO2 emissions by 2050, many

sectors will need to make

far-reaching changes. Two

sectors that play a key role

in society have the leverage

needed to do this: power

and mobility. 1

By creating a common infrastructure

across these two sectors – sector coupling

Power & Mobility – balancing of renewable

power grids using vehicle-to-grid (V2G)

technologies has become possible. By

the economical and regulatory standards

of Europe it should be obvious that such

a platform can, may and should not be a

centralized platform at the mercy of one

centralized, profit-maximizing hyperaggregator.

Rather, such a platform needs

to be thought of, built and operated along

cooperative mechanisms. Decentralized

technologies lend themselves beautifully

to this!


elia group: “Accelerating to net-zero: redefining energy and mobility”


Conclusion: Decentralized networks

provide a commons for commerce to

digital cooperatives

The last twenty years have shown us how

software indeed is eating the world and have

brought powerful new actors to the world of

international commerce. Software platforms,

have now entered a phase where they

constitute a similar danger to competition

and market balance as Standard Oil did in

the early 1900s. Politicians and regulators

are recognizing this and are addressing it

with the means at their disposal.

Blockchain and other decentralized

technologies have emerged over the last

ten years and provide a paradigm by which

new cooperative platforms can be built,

combining the advantages platforms offer;

but with a more sustainable balance of

power among market participants.

Tokens provide a mechanism to program

the flow of money into community operated

and highly secure commercial platforms.

Combining the technical advantages of

decentralization with the purpose and

incentives of cooperatives, can create a

powerful counterbalance to centralized

platforms. As well as unleash new business

models in which power does not necessarily

accrue to centralized market makers but

is jointly held by a community of equal

cooperative members.


Harry Behrens

Chairman and CTO of Power & Mobility


Harry Behrens, Chairman and CTO of Power & Mobility,

bloXmove.com, founded and headed the Daimler Mobility

Blockchain Factory until May 2021. He is a veteran Blockchain

evangelist since 2012. In 2016 he co-founded the DFS

Blockchain swarm and initiated the development of the

smartVIN ® Blockchain platform. Before starting his new

position as “Mr. Blockchain” for DMO AG, he was Head of IT for

Mobility and Digital Finance for MBAFC (DFS China). Harry has a

Master (Diplom) in Computer Science from the TU Muenchen,

with a thesis on Neural Networks, and a PhD in Information

Engineering from the University of Tokyo with a thesis on

Distributed Artificial Intelligence. He speaks six languages

fluently and is trying to learn Mandarin Chinese. In his private

time he enjoys practicing languages and reading about history.



Harnessing information and channeling its

energy to improve people’s financial activities

is the very essence of FinTech. The promise is

to thrust traditional financial services—banking,

insurance, and investment management—into

cyberspace where they can be reimagined

and elaborated by mobile software to add

both capability and fluidity to people’s lives.

This frontier of possibilities also brings new

challenges to the forefront: With more people

carrying their investment portfolios on their

mobile devices, FinTech is asked to deliver

high-quality, customized financial guidance

wherever and whenever people want it.

Finliti is ready to meet this challenge. Our goal

is to engage with investors in the ways that

are most personally meaningful and helpful

for them. We believe that investing should

be as fun and immersive or as serious and

disciplined as investors desire. We believe

in financial inclusion—that every investor, no

matter their experience or the size of their

portfolio, deserves access to personalized

financial advice. And most of all, we believe

that all investors deserve the opportunity to

earn good returns and meet their financial


This is why we developed the Finliti Investor

Profile Indicator (FIPI), a rigorously developed

psychometric assessment and interactive

feedback platform that helps investors

understand how they allocate attention, make

decisions, and react to important market

events. The FIPI was developed by starting with

the recognition that each investor is unique.

We’ve all heard it before: Some investors

are more risk averse than others. True! But

have you ever pondered the fact that some

investors are more intellectually curious and

enthusiastic than others? That some investors

more readily defer to the advice of others?

And that some investors are dangerously

overconfident? More to the point: Did you

know that these investor characteristics are

as important as risk aversion? These are

real emotional and behavioral tendencies

that define the investor experience. For too

long, they have been difficult to measure

and frequently overlooked. Until now... The

FIPI unlocks investors’ self-knowledge and

transforms those self-insights into a more

optimal investing experience and motivation

for long-term success.

The FIPI is the culmination of considerable

research and development. It was developed

using a painstaking, “bottom-up” approach

that probed over 250 different beliefs,

preferences, emotional experiences, and

behavioral tendencies that are common to

self-directed investors. From this long list,


we distilled four personality traits using

advanced psychometric tools: Zeal, Inhibition,

Conventionality, and Swag. These traits can

be used to comprehensively describe the

psychological individuality of investors.

• Zealous investors tend to be enthusiastic

and can become overly excited and

sometimes even carried away by new


• Inhibited investors tend to be risk-averse,

easily lose confidence, and often feel

intimidated by the stock market;

• Conventional investors more readily

follow the advice of others, they trust “the


• Swaggy investors tend to believe they

know more about investing than they

actually do and that they are immune to

experiencing negative financial events.

These FIPI traits characterize the psychological

landscape of self-directed investors. Our

research shows that the FIPI traits are reliably

related to key demographic variables like age

and level of education, differentially related

to economic and financial knowledge, and

predict financial behaviors and consequential

outcomes like the amount of trades that

investors execute, their levels of decision

paralysis, and their degree of impulsive

decision making. We presented some of this

research at the 7 th Biennial Meeting of the

Association for Research in Personality, which

took place in June, 2021.

Curious? Try our Discovery Survey for

FREE! It’s a miniature FIPI, powered by the

same psychometric insights but delivered

in abbreviated form. It will give you a broad

overview of your investing personality that is

equal parts informative and playful.

The complete FIPI feedback expands on the

micro-version. The feedback is longer, more

detailed, and offers many actionable insights.

It is reference material that - with the passage

of time - may aid in the development of deeper

self-understanding each time it is read anew.

It provides an objective viewpoint from which

investors can learn about their strengths,

identify their blind spots, and evaluate the

way they make investment-related decisions.

The goal isn’t to change investors’ personalities.

Rather, the purpose of FIPI’s feedback is

to help investors become more mindful

of their emotional tendencies so that they

can more easily stay focused and rationally

pursue their investment goals. For example,

Zealous investors are reminded about their

tendencies to bullishly rush into new positions;

Inhibited investors are reminded that risks

may be necessary to meet their objectives;

Conventional investors are encouraged to

crystallize their own opinions so that they

can hold their positions with more conviction;

and Swaggy investors are encouraged to

learn. The feedback is personal. The platform

is interactive. The insights are real.

Investors want high-quality, personalized

insight and they want to be able to access

it 24/7. The power of psychometrics can

be harnessed to deliver this more optimal

experience. So take a moment and give our

Discovery Survey a try.


Jennifer Schell is the founder and CEO of Finliti that she built

to help investors make informed and impactful investment

decisions to enrich their lives by achieving their financial goals.

Her career spans over fifteen years across Canada’s major

financial institutions, where she’s been passionate about wealth

management and helping her clients align effective stock

market strategies with their core values. Finliti.com


Jennifer Schell

Founder and CEO


Dr. Stefano Di Domenico

Assistant Professor

University of Toronto Scarborough

Dr. Di Domenico is an Assistant Professor at the University

of Toronto Scarborough, where he teaches personality and

neuroscience. He has published dozens of articles, advancing

the modern understanding of motivation, personality, and

decision making. His current research focus is behavioral

finance and FinTech. He serves on Finliti’s advisory board.



FLOW: OB, CAN Trends, Beyond OB: BaaS +

Embedded Finance, tunl

The Open Banking model marks a global

evolution (although some experts talk about a

“revolution”) in the financial market. Motivated

by the increased need to respond to customer

demands, compete with new financial players

and meet regulation requirements, banks are

adopting API-based 1 business models. Open

Banking emerges in the financial industry

as a new model of collaboration with thirdparty

providers. By working in partnership

with fintech banks, they are able to expand

customer reach, accelerate the adoption

of new technologies, and create new

revenue streams. The underlying mindset

is the realization that complex problems

that demand immediate resolution, need

a strategy that taps into “the wisdom of the

many”, rather than siloed proprietary solutions.

While, in some countries like the US and

China, Open Banking is spreading only by

market forces, in other geographies the

regulatory agenda is playing a central role.

In Europe, some Asian and Latin American

regulators, often driven by financial inclusion

mandates, are promoting the shift to open

ecosystems by launching directives like the

well-known PSD2 2 in Europe and the Open

Banking Standard in the UK.

Taking into account these regulatory

successful practices, the government of

Canada appointed an Advisory Committee

(AC) in 2018 for the design and implementation

of the Open Banking framework. As a first

phase, the AC started with consultations

with stakeholders across Canada. Based on

its findings, in spring 2020 the committee

started the second phase, providing advice

on potential solutions and standards focusing

on data protection, privacy and security over

consumer’s personal data.

Bringing together the government and

the private industry, Canada is aiming

to embrace a hybrid, made-in-Canada

strategy. The scope is ambitious as all

federally regulated banks will be required

to participate while other regulated banks

could join on a voluntary basis. Despite

some delays due to the pandemic, the AC

plans to have the Open Banking regime

operational by January 2023.


An API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of definitions and protocols for building and integrating application software


PSD2 is the second Payment Services Directive, designed by the countries of the European Union


Canada Open Banking Phased Implementation Plan

Live Date January 2023


Source: Final Report, Advisory Committee on Open Banking

While the regulation is cautiously but

steadily progressing in Canada, leading

banks are already partnering with FinTechs

using APIs to deliver new digital products 3 .

Even later adopters are exploring new

technologies as COVID-19 forced them

to respond, adapt and innovate. As far as

fintechs are concerned, they have gained

attention by proving to be the solution to

navigate the crisis.

According to Accenture, Fintech Report

2020 4 , the Canadian FinTech industry is

booming with 700 FinTechs and hundreds of

nascent startups. Registering record levels

of investment, venture capitalists remain

optimistic despite COVID-19 uncertainty.

The potential of the Canadian ecosystem is

massive, especially when considering the

proactive approach taken by an efficient

public sector. That explains the surge of

many Canadian unicorns, like Clearco, a

lending platform, Coveo an AI platform

and Wealthsimple, an online investment

manager, to name a few.

Going beyond the Open Banking model, the

Canadian financial sector is also benefiting

by innovative collaborative structures like

Banking-as-a-Service 5 and Embedded

Finance. As an example we have Hopper, the

travel mobile-only app that uses predictive

analytics to make travel recommendations.

This Canadian unicorn, recently awarded as

the Best Travel App, provides information

about best deals on flight and hotels,

sends push notifications to their users when

best prices are available, suggests new

destinations based on your search and most

importantly allows the payment for all travel

services through one single interface.

Open Banking can and should be a journey

towards digital innovation. As FinConecta’s

Chief Business Officer Betty deVita

remarks: “Infrastructure is sexy” (and now

it is trendy!). There has never been a better

time for enabling new business models.

In March 2021 Amazon Web Services

(AWS) and FinConecta launched Open

Finance, a leading-edge platform based


How Canadian banks prepare for open Banking| Pwc article. Pwc Canadian-Banks 2019 Article


Canada Fintech Report| Accenture 2020 Accenture FIntech Report 2020


Banking-as-Service goes beyond the data sharing contemplated in Open Banking, including products that are embedded into the financial

institution’s own core, such as infrastructure, data and banking licenses on a white-labeled basis.


on FinConecta’s technology, that expands

the boundaries of Open Banking to the next

level”, deVita adds. “And now we landed

in Canada, as the engine behind tunl., an

API platform that brings together Financial

Institutions and Fintechs” (To learn more

about Ficanex and FinConecta’s joint launch

of tunl 2.0 click here).

The future is open and Canada is ramping

up. We anticipate dramatic changes in 2021

pushed by the FinTech sector growth and the

regulatory framework. If financial institutions

were contemplating digital transformation as

a “nice to have”, now is a must-have shift.

Bottom line is, great things are to come in

Canada. A flurry of fintech activity is gaining

traction, bolstering the ecosystem.This API

economy opens new horizons for all types

of institutions, by enabling collaboration and

the co-creation of new solutions leveraging

what others have available, in a robust,

interconnected and integrated roadmap.

As the old adage says: “If it’s not here, where;

if it’s not me, who; if it’s not now, when.”


Betty DeVita

FinConecta, CBO


Betty is a global digital transformation executive with

expertise in consumer financial services/payments. Her

focus is on early-stage and emerging companies driving

value creation, partnerships and the path to global scaling. She

most recently served as Chief Commercial Officer of Digital

Payments & Labs at MasterCard. She also served as President

at MasterCard Canada. Prior to that she was with Citi in Latam,

the US and Asia in their consumer franchise and left Citi as

Chair/CEO for Citibank Canada Inc.Betty sits on the board of

Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE: TAP), where she sits

on the audit committee. She holds a Bachelor of Science from

St John’s University, a CEO Certificate from the Wharton-

KMA in South Korea and is a certified director from the

Institute of Corporate Directors, University of Toronto


The global stablecoin supply has exploded

in 2021, tripling in supply since the start of

the year with market cap surpassing USD

100 billion. What was once thought of as a

bridge between the fiat and crypto world

has increasingly become part of mainstream

financial transactions with use cases ranging

from access to crypto markets and a safehaven

asset to a means of payment for

goods and services, accessing yield in digital

markets, and remittances.

Stablecoins enjoy the benefits of blockchainbased

assets without the volatility of

traditional cryptocurrencies. The most popular

stablecoins are ‘backed’ or ‘tethered’ to a fiat

currency thus they achieve their ‘stability’ via

fiat collateral held in reserve. These reserves

are typically stored with a bank or some

other third-party requiring management

by a central authority, traditionally a private

company. The whole principle behind the

stability of this type of token is that you expect

that the collateral held in reserve is equal to

the stablecoin tokens that exist and that it is

being held by a reliable entity.

Users of stablecoins should ask themselves:

What proof is there that the collateral reserves

are actually there? Do they have the value that

has been indicated to the market? In what

jurisdiction are the reserves held and are

they being held by a regulated entity? Does

the entity issuing the stablecoin have the

appropriate licenses and are they following

appropriate regulations to operate?

Stablecoin-issuing companies seek to provide

an element of trust and answers to these

questions by providing regular attestations

that the stablecoins are fully collateralized

by a reserve, often done by a third-party

auditor, as well as providing proof of licenses

and registration to operate in the jurisdiction

in question. But why not take this another

step further? Rather than a stablecoin being

‘tethered’ or ‘backed’ to a fiat currency or bank

deposit, why not create a stablecoin that is an

actual bank deposit; a digital representation

of a bank deposit?

Stablecorp and VersaBank have partnered

together to do just that: create a token, VCAD,

that differs from the traditional stablecoin

model in that it is a digital representation of

a deposit at an A-rated Canadian Schedule I

Bank. Schedule I banks are fully audited, well

capitalized, and highly regulated by one of the

world’s most respected financial regulators. In

other words, you do not have to worry about

the value of your stablecoin, whether it is

“backed” in some offshore jurisdiction beyond

Canadian (or any) regulation, or whether

you can redeem it today for fiat. There is no


guessing game. A VCAD is a digital, secure,

transferable bank deposit receipt facilitated

by the blockchain. It has all the features of a

cryptocurrency but addresses the two major

shortcomings of the traditional cryptocurrency

market – volatility and security. For all intents

and purposes, it will function as the ‘stablest

of stablecoins’ offering the highest level

of stability and security amongst all digital

currencies in the market today.

Jean Desgagne


Canada Stablecorp



Jean Desgagne is CEO of Canada Stablecorp. He is also a

Corporate Director, Advisor, and Leader. He brings to his role

deep C-suite and Board experience within large multinational

financial institutions, exchanges & market infrastructures - in

risk, operations, technology, finance and innovation. Current

and past Board Member for regulated financial companies,

government agencies, industry associations, universities and

not-for-profit organizations. Advisor to several startups in the

blockchain, Fintech, platform and data spaces.


Today, China and the United States are

competing and growing their technological

capabilities in a wide array of sectors. The

cutting-edge area of America and China’s

technological war that’s been heating up

recently is around who will dominate the

blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.

Although China has cracked down on

cryptocurrencies, shutting down all domestic

crypto exchanges and banning all ICOs,

blockchain technology itself is recognized

as a revolutionary development by the

government. In a speech October 2019

speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared

blockchain would play “an important role in

the next round of technological innovation

and industrial transformation.” That marked

the first major world leader to issue such a

strong endorsement of the widely hyped – but

still unproven – distributed ledger technology

(DLT). (By contrast, most governments in the

West have been far more cautious.)

Calling for blockchain to become a focus of

national innovation, President Xi’s speech

detailed the ways the Chinese government

would support blockchain research,

development, and standardization. China’s

leadership position in the global competition

of central bank digital currency (CBDC) is the

prime example.

In April 2020, the People’s Bank of China

(PBOC), China’s central bank unveiled the

world’s first sovereign digital currency that is

based on blockchain-like technology. (PBOC

has started research and development

for a digital version of the yuan, known as

e-CNY, since 2014.) Since then, China has

been steadily expanding its digital yuan

pilot programs while also cracking down

on cryptocurrencies. In July 2021, the

PBOC issued a white paper detailing the

current workings of the digital yuan, also

referred to as the e-CNY, which is the first

comprehensive disclosure of its plans.

The release of the white paper probably

marks the near end of the testing phase,

and the official launch may occur soon at

the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year.

As such, China is likely to be the first major

economy to introduce a sovereign digital


The rapid development of the e-CNY is

only an inevitable result of China’s robust

digital economy. Even before the digital

economy, mobile pay has grown rapidly

in the last several years to become the

dominant form of payment in China. Since

2020, China has been steadily expanding

its digital yuan pilot programmes, given the

country’s rapid development of internet


industries such as e-commerce and social

network platforms that provide a myriad of

application scenarios.

operated cross-border payment networks,

such as Swift, which the US has used to

enforce sanctions.

The digital yuan wallet supports several

functions, including scan to pay, top-ups

and money transfers. According to the white

paper, as of June 2021, participants have

spent 34.5 billion digital yuan ($5.3 billion)

in trials. Uses include paying utility, dining,

transportation, shopping, and government

services. The new digit yuan would allow

users to spend it even without an internet

connection, and it will bring convenience

to foreigners, too. “Foreign residents

temporarily traveling in China can open an

e-CNY wallet to meet daily payment needs

without opening a domestic bank account,”

said the white paper.

That means even foreigners traveling in

China can have access to the digital yuan

without a domestic bank account. This is a

particular benefit given the difficulties that

foreigners have had using mobile payment

apps like WeChat Pay (of Tencent) and

AliPay (of Alibaba), because those apps

must be linked to banking accounts.

But it’s likely a long march for the e-CNY.

“Though technically ready for cross-border

use, e-CNY is still designed mainly for

domestic retail payments at present.” the

paper reads. For the e-CNY, its real test only

starts after its upcoming official launch.


Winston Ma

Co-Founder and Managing Partner

of CloudTree Ventures and an adjunct

professor at the NYU School of Law

Winston Ma, CFA & Esq. (@Winston_W_Ma), is a Co-Founder

and Managing Partner of CloudTree Ventures and an adjunct

professor at the NYU School of Law. He is the former

managing director and head of the North America office at

China Investment Corporation (CIC), and author of Investing

in China, China’s Mobile Economy, The Hunt for Unicorns,

and The Digital War.


Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that in its white

paper, the PBOC cited the rapid growth in

cryptocurrencies as a driver for research

and development of the e-CNY and said that

“cryptocurrencies are mostly speculative

instruments, and therefore pose potential

risks to financial security and social stability”.

This is the first time that the PBOC, in an

official document, linked its sovereign digital

currency issuance with cryptocurrencies’

potential challenges to the international

monetary system. According to the PBOC,

“cryptocurrencies’ lack of intrinsic value,

acute price fluctuations, low trading

efficiencies and huge energy consumption

make them unfit for use in daily economic


Of course, the profound impact of e-CNY is

likely to be more than China’s retail markets.

Many believe the e-CNY will bolster Chinese

currency’s global status and eventually

challenge the US Dollar’s preeminent

position as the world’s reserve currency. For

example, the e-Yuan could bypass western-


In a landscape where cryptocurrencies and

blockchain technologies are experiencing

confusion and volatile action, TAAL is focused

on bringing stability to the chaos.

Our company is a pure play on the value and

enormous potential of BitcoinSV (BSV) to

reshape how global commerce functions. As

blockchain usage accelerates, so too does

the understanding of what is needed to make

its utility value impactful — and its fluctuations

far more steady. Scale and reliability on the

network are essential to driving adoption and

eliminating skepticism about blockchain’s

long-term viability.

We chose to the BSV network because it has

the world’s lowest blockchain transaction

costs. And its lead in that area is simply


In April 2021, the average cost per BSV

transaction was $0.0062, which was

exponentially less than the Ethereum ($17.21)

or Bitcoin ($30.79) networks for the same

period. BSV is also designed to meet the

massive demand from enterprises and

governments for a secure blockchain solution.

That attribute aligns with TAAL’s strategy

to offer tools and services that help people

and organizations operate commercial

applications on bitcoin. As the global leader

in BSV transaction processing, TAAL is poised

to capitalize tremendously as more and more

organizations migrate to the network because

of its very low fees and massive ability to scale.

Already, we have entered into a phase of rapid

growth. With our operations broadening, we

have added talent and ingenuity to our team

while also rolling out new products that help

the world adapt to the era of blockchain.

Trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange

(ticker symbol: TAAL | OTC:TAALF), our

company’s public status ensures customers

that we are compliant with regulations. In our

financial report for the first quarter of 2021, we

noted several recent successes, including:

• On March 13, TAAL processed a world

record 638 MB block on the BSV network

• As of May 25, TAAL had approximately

84,000 BSV in its treasury

• Based on current network conditions,

TAAL anticipates winning at least 30

blocks per day.

Even better, the TAAL stock price has

experienced phenomenal growth during the

past 12 months, advancing from a 52-week

low of $1.42 to as high as $8.75 in the early

weeks of 2021. The company’s market cap is

at approximately $165 million.


We expect that to rise as we continue to

deliver value-added services, providing

highly scalable blockchain infrastructure and

transaction processing to support businesses

building solutions and applications on the

BSV platform. As our client base increases

and as BSV’s value lifts off, we anticipate

TAAL’s products and services will be viewed

as an important part of digital infrastructure

for many businesses.

What we know for certain is blockchain is only

at the beginning of showing what it can do.

Not only is it fascinating to be operating in this

sector, but it is also inspiring to know we are

working with the solution that will so positively

impact the world for years to come.

Chris Naprawa

TAAL President




During this year’s investment period, The

Holt Xchange hyper-targeted 7 main

verticals that deemed most promising:

digital identity, regtech, insurtechs,

cybersecurity, digital lending, wealthtech,

and digital assets. As a result, this led to

better targeted candidates and as such,

a greater number of applications were a

better fit for our investment program and

Holt Ecosystem.

As a way to engage with fintechs in these

verticals, Holt hosted the ‘Holt Invests’

Webinar Series featuring special Holt

Advisors and alumni portfolio companies

who are experts in this space. As such, we

were able to engage in some engaging

conversations as they shared firsthand

insights on the current trend and


The webinars consisted of the following:

1. The I AM Webinar explored trends and

opportunities found within RegTech

& Digital ID industries. It’s clear that

compliance costs are surging and

expected to continue this trend. For

instance in 2018, businesses spent $1.3

million on average to meet compliance

requirements and were expected to

put in an additional $1.8 million (IAAP).

In Europe, GDPR played a large role

in compliance related cost increases

for business, with more expected to

come. Given Canada is moving forward

nationally with programs like Bill C and

provincially, such as Quebec’s Bill 64,

we expect compliance costs in Canada

to further continue. Additionally, FAbout

25% of all financial services applications

are abandoned due to friction in the

Know Your Customer (KYC) process, in

part because current Identity Verification

(IDV) procedures fail users. Need for

consumers to support. To better prepare

for these proposed legislative changes

(ie. among many others), as well as

support KYC / AML process, this year we

invested in following regtech companies:

a) RequirementOne requirementone.

com: Supercharge compliance power

users and their ecosystem as Apple

did for the mobile phone user.

b) DigiPli digipli.com: We’re redefining

how financial institutions onboard

customers by bundling a SaaS-based,

end-to-end onboarding tool with

ongoing support from AML experts.

2. The I BORROW Webinar explored the

opportunities and trends found within

Digital Lending space. There continues to


e an emergence of alternative lending

options, pushing lenders to compete

on price, demographics and ancillary

product offerings. Additionally new

offerings such as revenue base financing,

and buy-now-pay-later, are received

with greater comfort by investors and

customers alike. As such, while looking

into alternative financing options and

recognizing the lack of options for first

time buyers in a surging real-estate

market, we invested in a new financing

product of:

a) FirstStep Financial firststepfinancial.

ca: Opening the Door to Home

Ownership. Digital Lending

3. The I EARN Webinar explored the

opportunities and trends within Digital

Assets, Investment & WealthTech

industries. For instance, A survey

conducted by the Alternative Investment

Management Association and SS&C

found that out of 100 global hedge

fund managers, 69% of the market

leaders use alternative data to boost

performance. Also considering property

earning assets, the real estate market

showed no sign of slowing, and real

estate sector funding appeared to be

making a comeback early in the year,

with VC funding to proptech companies

growing 29% to $2.4B for Q1’21. Given

the need for better solutions in trading

and real-estate, we invested in:

a) CityFalcon cityfalcon.com: Using Big

Data, AI, and NLP, we democratize

access to financial content, personalize

it, add analytics, and deliver it in realtime

in 50+ languages. Capital Markets

b) Reitium reitium.com: REITIUM is a

blockchain real estate marketplace

where everyone can be an investor

starting with $100. PropTech

over $6 billion in funding. The number

of deals (114) increased by 50%, with 18

mega-rounds accounting for over 75%

of the total funding. From a banking

side, according to Accenture, over

50% of banking tasks are still manually

performed. By using technology, banks

in North America can save more than

70 billion USD through 2025. Not only

can technology improve the bottom line

for banks, but we are witnessing better

customer centric designs to better tailor

and serve niche demographics and

communities. As such, we invested in the

following payment and niche banking


a) Payzel payzel.com: Forged out of

frustration we are building the GE

Capital for Innovative Industries like

cannabis. Digital Payments

b) Phaze phaze.io: A prepaid payouts

API for fintechs. Digital Payments

c) PeopleHedge peoplehedge.


The Holt Xchange has just invested in 8 of

the best fintechs that build solutions for our

society’s greatest challenges. They kickedoff

their Growth Acceleration Program and

are already in the process of working closely

with the portfolio companies and leveraging

their global advisory network to help drive

their business growth.

I am very excited to work

with this year’s portfolio

investments, complemented

with 500+ Advisors, and to have

the backing of key partners

like Fairstone, RBC, MNP, BDC

and Montreal International.

stated founding managing

partner Jan Arp.


4. While not a webinar in itself, the theme

of I TRANSFER emerged throughout

the series, focusing on payments and

banking. Payments remains the largest

attraction for VC investment, whereby

funding for payments companies tripled

compared to the previous quarter, with

If you are interested to learn more about us,

or meet our portfolio companies or Advisors

highly suggest you attend our Fintech Show

2021 either remotely or in-person: Fintech

Show 2021.


What’s Next for the Holt Xchange? The

Holt Fintech Show

• When: Tue Nov 16, 2021

• Where: Rialto Theatre (Montreal, QC)

• Agenda:

• 6 PM - 7 PM: Doors Open

• 7 PM - 8:15 PM: Fintech Show

• 8:15 PM - 9:00 PM : After Show

• Tickets to register: https://bit.ly/3tdicJA

The world-famous Holt Fintech Show, in

which our Holt 2021 Portfolio Companies will

pitch their progress to date and share their

next key milestones that the audience may

want to get involved with, such as investing,

partnerships, new clients, mentoring, etc.

This is a great networking opportunity for

anyone looking to get more involved in the

fintech ecosystem.

* If you can’t make the in-person event,

virtual options are available.

Join the LinkedIn event page here and

remember to register a spot as spaces are



Jan Arp

Managing Partner

Holt Accelerator

Jan is a fintech evangelist, passionate about improving society

through finance and technology. He founded FormFintech that

supports or has formed over 100 fintech startups. Prior to this,

he worked as Head of Finance at District 3, helping 20 early

stage teams raise more than $15 million, and was Head of

Finance at bus.com, helping it from incorporation to Series A.

He also worked as a consultant for billion dollar infrastructure

projects on behalf of banks. He holds an MBA from HEC, a

finance degree from Ottawa University, and passed II levels of

the CFA.


For the Fintech and

Blockchain Industries

We craft compelling, individualized PR

campaigns to help you stand out in an

increasingly competitive technology landscape

Find out what we can do for you.

PR Strategy | Media Relations

Content Creation | Analyst Relations


Email: pr@thetopflooragency.com

Phone: +1 (905) 379 1893











3 Day Virtual Conference

500+ Attendees

100+ Speakers

60+ Sessions

Covid-19 Fundraiser

Live Pitching Finals






24 Event Sponsors

50+ Media and Community Partners

Launches, Demos + Innovation

Partnerships + Investment

Diversity + Inclusiveness








DeFi, Web 3.0, NFTs, CBDCs

Digital assets, Open Finance

IPO Innovations, Stakeholder Capitalism

Digital Identity, Data Privacy

Financial Health / PFM

Sustainable Finance

Leadership, Talent Sourcing

“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage

to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide


Inspired by sports league drafts, the inaugural 2020 Fintech Draft Pitching & Demo competitions

were held virtually on May 12-13, 2021 where 6 pitching finalists competed for exposure,

prizes, introductions to investors, media and prospective buyers and a complimentary one

(1) year industry partnership with NCFA. The annual program is sponsored by NCFA and open

to Canadian and international companies in the fintech sector and designed to identify and

feature emerging and high growth fintech startups and scaleups. Finalists were evaluated

on a variety of criteria such as strategy, traction, product/market fit and need, differentiation,

innovation, x-factor and ability to answer judges’ questions.


Praveen K. Varshney


Varshney Capital Corp.

Som Seif


Purpose Financial/Purpose Investments

Dave Unsworth

Co-Founder and General Partner

Information Venture Partners

David Nault

Co-Founder & General Partner

Luge Capital

Missed FFCON21 Breaking Barriers? Checkout the Session Recordings -> here


Isaque Eberhardt

CEO & Co-founder

Location: Brasília Vertical: Digital Banking / Analytics / Infrastructure

Year Founded: 2019 Employees: 1 – 10

Website: agryo.com

Agryo is a global risk intelligence provider that enables financial institutions to assess and

manage financial risks in the crop field level for underwriting agriculture insurance, loans, and

trade finance globally; as well as meet sustainability goals. They are a US C Corp enterprise

SaaS provider, a mix of rating provider like Equifax/Moodys + infrastructure provider like Plaid

for the financial and environmental services in the ag space.


Michael Sikorksy


Location: Calgary and San Diego Vertical: Wealthtech / Alternative Investing

Year Founded: 2021 Employees: 15 – 50

Website: copiawealthstudios.com

Copia Wealth Studios is a financial intelligence platform that uses modern design and machine

learning to bring all your investments (including Alternatives and Illiquid assets) into one elegant





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Credit unions have gotten used to baby

boomers never moving their funds and have

failed to increase technological innovation. As

the baby boomers age, they leave over $30

trillion dollars to the younger generations. This

next generation isn’t like the baby boomers.

They switch from financial institutions based

on technological innovation and social impact.

Some big banks anticipated the generational

wealth transfer and did a better job over the

years to try and innovate. Credit unions, however,

got left behind and continue losing members

daily to the big banks. We have interviewed

credit union executives and they agreed that it

is difficult to recruit tech talent to build solutions

in-house and create a sticky ecosystem to help

their members achieve financial wellness.

Core Benefits:

At Nava Ventures, we are going to offer an

ecosystem of sticky socially responsible

products that will help both credit unions

and their members. These products include

BI tools, rewards, money transfer, loans,

and investments. meetNavi is our market

entry product for credit unions. It empowers

members to make socially responsible financial

decisions. Credit union executives have told

us that they see deep value in meetNavi and

can see it helping with their member financial

wellness, retention, engagement, and help

increase liquidity. meetNavi is different from

competitors because it uses machine learning

to provide personalized guidance to credit

union members. Another key component of our

app is that it is social and invites member-tomember


We have user tested meetNavi at every stage

and have some remarkable quotes to show for


– “Other banks don’t have anything like this.”

– “I love this! It feels like you’re using Fitbit. I would

definitely use it. Is it ready to use right now?”

Ideal Customers:

We follow a B2B2C model. Our ideal customers

are financial Institutions (Credit Unions/Banks).


• 2 Partnered with FrontFundr to launch

crowdfunding round (see our website for


• 2 LOIs from credit unions in BC

• Winners of Startup Canada SDG Pitch

Competition 2020 for Poverty Reduction

• Winners of BoomStartup Global Pitch

Competition for Finance

• Top 24 Finalist at the OKGN Summit

• SFU Venture Connection Coast

Capital Venture Prize Finalists

(Digital Platform Category)






The small business lending process at

most institutes today is highly manual and

conducted across a multitude of unintegrated

systems. We believe that a shift is happening

in the small business lending and underwriting

decisions; the focus is moving from historical

to real-time predictive data. Currently,

accounting, and financial data are locked

in silos, creating workflow inefficiencies,

and hindering digital transformation.

Core Benefits:

We are the only provider that offers

critical accounting and financial data in

both historical and predictive formats. We

further cross-validate accounting data with

multiple bank accounts data that a business

may be using to help with the authenticity

of the data or detect fraud. We believe

that high-frequency small amount funding

decisions can be fully automated using

real-time business data. Our technology

is helping banks and lenders solve

complicated problems so that they are not

flying blind. Lenders can develop targeted

marketing campaigns; for example, funding

applications are rejected because small

businesses could not qualify for the loan,

but if the connection is continuous, the

lender may notice when that business may

be eligible and come up with a product offer.

Every accounting data provider is unique

and offers data through API in a special

format. It is a daunting task to understand

and implement these APIs into a decision

engine in any normalized & secure way. This

is where ForwardAI’s API shines; our API

provides context-rich data(information about

recurring invoices or bills, whether paying

bills or receiving payments on time, etc.) in

a standardized format regardless of who the

endpoint is. Once our API is implemented,

lenders can download accounting data from

many accounting platforms in a simple,

straightforward way without worrying about

various formats.

Ideal Customers:

Businesses (B2B)


• The company is in active discussions

with many possible clients to use its

technology and recently signed up a

lender in Australia as its first customer.

• We are currently outreaching to

alternative lenders in UK, Australia, New

Zealand, the USA, and Canada while

working on our SOC2 audit compliance.





Entrepreneurs require the services of up to

20 different back-office providers to manage

banking, payroll, invoices, reconciliations,

accounting adjustments, tax, and statutory

returns. That’s over 200 processes that need

handling every year, in separate systems,

that don’t talk to each other. A sole-proprietor

spends up to 25,000 dollars a year in back

office fees. Including their billable time, that

can mean 65,000 dollars every year, and

even more for SMEs.

Core Benefits:

We’re launching with a payments and

cards business in Canada with invoice and

expense management: the heart of Orchid

B. Onboarding in just 10 minutes with cards

available immediately on mobile. Next,

we will scale Orchid B by building out it’s

brain; payroll, accounting, tax, and statutory

reporting. By year 5, Orchid B will be running

the entire back-office for small businesses

with currency wallets, insurance, and

business registration, all in one. Our frontend

interface will provide the best possible

experience. By integrating with specialised

“back-end” partners, we will not reinvent

the wheel. One value chain for all the

entrepreneur’s back-office data. We will save

our clients a lot of time and money.

Ideal Customers:

Businesses to Business (B2B)


• Version 1 of a high fidelity front-end

prototype is ready






93% of the world’s money is non-physical,

yet less than 1% of it is made instantly and

globally spendable to account holders from

neobanks, wallets and fintech companies.

Many companies seek to solve this problem

by issuing prepaid Visa debit cards.

Unfortunately, they are only available to

users in select countries and require a lot of

time and money to go live on a per-country


Core Benefits:

We give our customers superpowers so

with just a few lines of code, companies can

go live in hours not months, globally, in a

compliant way.

Ideal Customers:

Businesses (B2B2C)


• Hit $16,500 in monthly revenue


FFCON 2020-21



Migrations.ml helps asset managers increase

their returns and avoid losses in the bond

market. Using machine learning, it enables

researchers, traders and portfolio managers

to analyze more bonds, make decisions faster

and get more precise analytics.

Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2019

Vertical: Capital markets / Decentralized

Finance / Crowdfinance

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: migrations.ml

ENGAIZ has developed an AI-Driven SaaS

platform to help enterprises mitigate Third-

Party Risks such as Cybersecurity, Data

Privacy, Regulatory through an effective

Governance and Engagement framework.

Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2019

Vertical: Third-Party Governance & Risk


Employees: 1 – 10

Website: engaiz.com

Finally is a DIY Financial Planning Simulator

that allows users to create a free financial

plan in less than 20 minutes, and understand

the products and providers that can help you

reach your goals faster.

Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2019

Vertical: Personal Finance

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: myfinally.com

Kalsa is an app where friends can save money

together for things that connect them

Railz provides a single API that integrates

with the majority of accounting software

service providers used by small businesses.

They provide quick, low cost and direct

access to both existing and new customers’

accounting software systems and are solving

the traditional challenges the Small Business

lending market has seen for years with

respect to time, cost and risk.

Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2020

Vertical: Lending / Borrowing

Employees: 11 – 50

Website: Railz.ai

Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2020

Vertical: Personal Finance

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: Kalsa.co


knnct’s robust P2P platform for brokers &

lenders lets them get mortgage deals done

quicker and easier. Brokers create a digital

mortgage application, post their deal and then

knnct filters & matches the deal with lenders

whose lending criteria matches the deal &

have access to all compliance docs.

Their mission is to help people take charge

of managing their personal finances to help

them achieve financial well-being. Kaira’s

Financial Wellness Coach comes in the

form of a mobile, it gives personalized and

proactive advice to relevant events with the

aim of achieving Financial Wellness.

Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2018

Vertical: Lending / Borrowing

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: knnct.com

Location: Boucherville, QC

Year Founded: 2018

Vertical: Personal Finance

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: Kaira.ai


Lagoon empowers investment professionals

in capital markets with data science tools,

without the need to write a single line of

code. The platform places the human at the

center (HITL), allowing the user to customize

and control metrics to generate explainable,

data- driven insights.

Location: Tel Aviv

Year Founded: 2020

Vertical: Digital Banking / Analytics /


Employees: 1 – 10

Website: www.data-lagoon.com/

The challenge for group insurers is

administrative complexity. Sentro tailor

plans for every customer. But they try do

it with legacy technology that holds them

back. Sentro lets group insurers offer their

customers and partners choice and flexibility,

in a highly efficient way.

Location: Auckland, NZ

Year Founded: 2019

Vertical: Insurtech

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: Sentro.co

Established in 2018, Bitvo is a cryptocurrency

exchange that facilitates buying, selling and

trading cryptocurrencies through its bestin-class

website and mobile applications.

Bitvo offers seven different cryptocurrencies,

including Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, Bitcoin Cash,

Litecoin, Dash, Ethereum Classic and QCAD,

Canada’s first stable coin designed for the

mass market.

Location: Toronto, Calgary

Year Founded: 2017

Vertical: Blockchain / Digital Assets /


Employees: 1 – 10

Website: bitvo.com

Moves is a financial services platform for

independent “gig” workers. Overlooked or

ineligible for products offered by traditional

financial institutions, this rapidly expanding

demographic needs modern financial products

designed to support them on their paths to

career fulfillment.

Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2020

Vertical: Personal Finance

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: Movesfinancial.com


Finnovate.io has established itself as a

trusted software development partner in the

Canadian Fintech ecosystem through a wide

variety of leading edge projects. Working

with companies of all sizes, from start-ups

to Canada’s largest banks, Finnovate.io has

repeatedly demonstrated an ability to provide

technical support and expertise in all stages

of product development.

Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2017

Vertical: Software Development for Fintech

Employees: 11 – 50

Website: finnovate.io

NuMoola is the industry’s first familyfocused

consumer banking app that uses

real money, gamified education, and the

family network to teach kids (and parents!)

about managing money, missions, and

budgets. The NuMoola App focuses on

family togetherness by encouraging family

goal setting and initiating conversations

about money management.

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Year Founded: 2017

Vertical: EdTech

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: numoola.com

Fidectus automates post-deal processing

in energy trading. They connect market

participants and optimize their working

capital. Their clients optimize their working

capital while benefiting of highest resilience

and ROI.

Location: Zürich

Year Founded: 2020

Vertical: Finance / Accounting

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: Fidectus.com

Powered by unbiased AI data aggregation,

Arbor is a social spending platform that educates

consumers on the impact of their spending.

Arbor empowers everyday consumers like

you, to make informed decisions about where

and how you spend your hard-earned dollars.

Location: Calgary

Year Founded: 2019

Vertical: Digital Banking / Analytics /


Employees: 1 – 10

Website: yourarbor.com

Balance offers an insured institutional grade

digital asset custody and wallet management

solution to crypto exchanges, OTC desks, and

funds. Assets are kept secure in geographically

distributed offline vaults on dedicated, military

grade hardware.

Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2017

Vertical: Blockchain / Digital Assets /


Employees: 1- 10

Website: balance.ca

Green Apple Pay is a digital fundraising

platform for organizations like charities,

nonprofits and other community based

groups to generate new recurring revenues

from spare change and cashback rewards

from their stakeholders’ everyday spending. It

works like a rewards program for organizations

that fundraise.

Location: Burlington, ON

Year Founded: 2018

Vertical: Payments / Transfers / Rewards

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: greenapplepay.com


Senso embeds predictive revenue

intelligence into lender operations to optimize

loan portfolio retention, acquisition, and

product cross sell. Senso’s suite of solutions

helps sales, marketing, and customer success

teams in the financial services industry

improve customer experience, retention, and


Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2017

Vertical: Digital Banking / Analytics /


Employees: 11 – 50

Website: senso.ai

SolidBlock makes property work for everyone.

We are building a new asset class based on real

estate, combining the stability of the property

market growth and efficiency of blockchain-based

financial products. SolidBlock creates tradable

digital assets backed by real estate that grant

investors rights to revenue, dividends, or interest

and allow them to benefit from the growth of their

property as well as trade their assets at any time.

Location: Tel Aviv

Year Founded: 2018

Vertical: Real Estate

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: SolidBlock.co


Benefi is a fintech platform that is disrupting

the pay-day loan and predatory lending

market. We leverage AI and a unique

employee benefit channel to level the playing

field and serve underserved segments in the

$548 billion Canadian lending market with

affordable credit and financial literacy.

Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2020

Vertical: Lending / Borrowing

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: Benefi.ca

WALO’s mission is to ensure the next generation’s

financial wellbeing through a gamified financial

literacy platform. The WALO app integrates with

parents’ & their tweens/teens bank accounts and

teaches youngsters how to become financially

responsible. Our beta is available in the App

Store and Google Play.

Location: Quebec City

Year Founded: 2018

Vertical: Personal Finance

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: walo.app

We make the world smarter by connecting

existing infrastructure to cutting edge internet

of things technology and modern payment

solutions in a secure, scalable, and seamless


Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Year Founded: 2018

Vertical: Digital Banking / Analytics /


Employees: 11 – 50

Website: Trust Anchor Group

FundMore is focused on providing a simpler

mortgage experience for Canadians by being

the leader in mortgage process automation. Our

mission to provide a completely underwritten

mortgage decision in 60 seconds.

Location: Ottawa

Year Founded: 2018

Vertical: Lending / Borrowing

Employees: 11 – 50

Website: FundMore.ai


MazumaGo is a lean structured, fast-growing

Fintech start-up that enables businesses to

move away from cheques by giving them a

simple solution to send and receive no limit

payments for a flat fee. With MazumaGo,

businesses can collect money from

customers, pay suppliers, set-up recurring

transactions and move money between

internal accounts at different banks – all in

one dashboard. The company was founded

by a group of three technical co-founders

based out of Victoria, B.C., who built the

software entirely in-house. Since launching

the software in September 2019, MazumaGo

has processed a total transaction volume of

$11.2 million with over 30 active customers.

Cyclebit empowers retailers to take advantage

of new payment offerings, devices, and user

knowledge in order to provide a superior,

more engaging payments experience. We

provide simple, affordable and robust tools for

retailers to accept digital currencies, credit/

debit and cash transactions for in-store, online

and on-the-go purchases.

Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2018

Vertical: Blockchain / Digital Assets /


Employees: 11 – 50

Website: cyclebit.io

Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Year Founded: 2018

Vertical: Finance / Accounting

Employees: 1 – 10

Website: MazumaGo

The Digital Economy is worth 3+ trillion

dollars today, and yet, the majority of small

businesses in this space don’t have access

to growth capital because they don’t have

tangible assets to collateralize. Corl has

developed a financing platform that leverages

data, automation, and machine learning to

offer revenue-sharing financing to small

businesses. Using 10,000+ data points on a

business, we are able to analyze businesses

in under 24 hours, mitigate risk through our

proprietary technology and product, and

capture market share in this new asset class

by earning a % of a business’ monthly gross

revenue in exchange for capital.

Location: Toronto

Year Founded: 2017

Vertical: Capital markets / Decentralized

Finance / Crowdfinance

Employees: 1- 10

Website: corl.io


Thanks to our valued industry partners, innovators and leaders

The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada is grateful to and

recognizes the following industry partners/sponsors for their support and commitment

to NCFA Canada’s mandate to develop Canada into a world class fintech, blockchain,

P2P, crowdfunding, alternative, innovative and digital finance centre by providing

education and research, advocacy and networking opportunities for members in

the rapidly evolving Fintech & Funding industry. Our partners are industry builders

who have provided a significant level of service and/or contribution towards the

sustainability and growth of NCFA Canada and the Canadian Alternative Finance and

Fintech sectors. Please support our network of industry partners/sponsors and ecosystem

supporters by engaging directly with their companies to demo, buy, support,

and promote their collection of high quality products and services.


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