Recap: The Not-So Dark n’ Stormy Canadian Tech Summit

Event Recap
May 5, 2021

How One Week Can Shape the Future of Blockchain

Following a week of ferry rides, fish sandwiches and profound discussions, Penrose Partners and the entire Canadian delegation left Bermuda in full alignment with their new friends on a vision of a future digital economy. The Canadian Technology Summit in Bermuda successfully brought ambitious leaders in the blockchain industry together to bring innovation to market and to assist the Bermudian government in achieving its digital asset goals. It was a week filled with thought-provoking discussions, compelling company pitches, fruitful meetings and newfound friendships. As the delegation departed from the island, there was reassuring confidence that they would all be back to deliver on promises made during their stay.

Penrose's Canadian cohort meeting with Premier David Burt.

Bonding With Changemakers

The week’s spotlight event was a conference at the prestigious Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club. The event accomplished its goal of bringing together the brightest technology minds from both Canada and Bermuda. The invitees were each individually selected based on their ability to benefit from doing business with this cohort of Canadian businesses. They listened intently and asked clever questions, sparking intelligent and thought-provoking discussions. As afternoon turned to evening, the audience grew to 150 eager professionals, keen on learning of the delegation’s mission and networking with other attendees.

Notable guests included Khawar Nasim, Acting Consul General of Canada, and other government officials from different verticals of the Canadian Government; Denis Pitcher, Fintech Advisor to the Premier, and the Hon. E. David Burt, JP, MP, Premier of Bermuda. Other important collaborators from the Bermudian community included the BMA, CCS, Hitch and Appleby Global.

Putting the Key Pieces in Place

Penrose co-founder, Kerem Kolcuoglu, hosting at The Candian Technology Summit in Bermuda

Kerem Kolcuoglu, a proud Canadian hosting in his full Bermudian attire.

Penrose Partners facilitated introductions of Canada’s most innovative blockchain talent to Bermuda’s key stakeholders. Over the course of just a few days, the cohort had a unique opportunity to meet with and present themselves to the country’s Premier, Fintech Unit, and Business Development Unit. The Canadian founders spent time explaining their business models and demonstrating their fit within the Bermudian economy to promote innovation and job growth. These founders were preselected by Penrose Partners, who have long ago identified the tremendous opportunity for Bermuda to become the leading jurisdiction for digital assets.

The five companies highlighted throughout the week were 1– GDA, a specialized capital markets and digital asset advisory firm offering a suite of services to execute on bringing a digital asset to market; 2– Knøx Custody, an institutional-grade digital asset custodian with full insurance coverage of assets under protocol; 3– Bidali, a fully operational digital asset and stablecoin merchant payment solution, 4– Workwolf, a blockchain-based credential verification platform and, 5– Mantle Blockchain, an innovative platform that connects existing enterprise IT systems to blockchain infrastructures without the need to deploy its own blockchain.

GDA, having successfully advised on over 25 ICOs, was especially attracted to the jurisdiction as Bermuda’s ICO legislation allows for a clear and compliant token-based fundraising framework. With an ICO and DABA license, GDA has the opportunity to be the first advisory firm to offer compliant ICO-as-a-Service to the global blockchain ecosystem.

Knøx’s custodial business is highly appealing to the Bermudian ecosystem as it enables the government to achieve its digital currency initiatives, such as accepting tax payments in USD-C. Bermuda has the opportunity to be the first country in the world to migrate to a fully digital economy, offering tremendous opportunities to locals conducting domestic and international business.

Bidali’s fully operational digital asset and stablecoin payments network is exactly what the jurisdiction has been looking for to get closer to achieving their digital currency objectives. Bidali is poised to be the crucial player in Bermuda’s fintech ecosystem as its software empowers vendors to accept digital currencies easily, efficiently and securely. Their product suite is synergistic with Stablehouse, a stablecoin clearing house in Bermuda that was just recently awarded their DABA license.

“Between Bidali’s payment network, Stablehouse’s clearinghouse, Knøx’s custody technology and other partners in our network, we [Penrose Partners’] are bringing all the necessary players to Bermuda to build the digital infrastructure of the future.” Sean Stapley, Penrose Partners.

Our setup for a blockchain use-case demo for Appleby, the global law firm.

Building out the payments ecosystem is the first important step towards moving to the digital economy of the future. The next logical steps are to enable government, enterprise and regulatory services to communicate together safely and compliantly using blockchain technology. Workwolf, presented its fully functioning blockchain-based credential verification platform to local enterprises, more specifically recruitment agencies to improve staffing and operational efficiencies. While interest was garnered from professional service organizations such as law, accounting, and recruitment, the digital identity solution was a megahit with government immigration and border security. Penrose Partners understands that a future digital economy is underpinned by a strong credential and identity verification solution.

Last but surely not least, Mantle Blockchain was building on established relationships from its previous visit in October for Bermuda’s Tech Week. Apart from its innovative offering, enabling the government and regulators to seamlessly integrate blockchain to their existing systems, Mantle drew great attention at the Summit with the official launch of Appleby Global’s Whack-A-Mole game, one of Bermuda’s first live blockchain-based platforms. The game was played by contestants eager to set high scores and test the blockchain capabilities by auditing the leaderboard. Finally, Mantle formed a strategic partnership with CCS Group Limited, a local IT consultancy that already supports the majority of the island’s enterprise IT infrastructures. These forces will join together to develop the local technical blockchain expertise to support the development of enterprise blockchain projects in the Bermudian market.

Always Looking to Add Value

Being at the center of the action, Penrose has carved out an important role as an educator and facilitator. By bringing parties to the table to facilitate business deals, each participant benefited significantly from the catered experience and tapping into the Penrose network. With a holistic and long-term approach to ecosystem development, Penrose has and continues to ensure that the right steps are being taken to deliver success in Bermuda and abroad.

Penrose’s efforts were clearly recognized through the week with co-founder Kerem Kolcuoglu, speaking in front of global regulators at the Commonwealth Fintech Forum. He presented to executives from central banks around the world why Bermuda and Canada were the right partners to drive innovation in the blockchain space.

“It was a true honour to represent Canada at the Forum and have the opportunity to speak with regulatory leaders about our initiatives in Bermuda. It truly puts in perspective how important it is for us to build these digital assets ecosystems the right way to ensure inclusion and accessibility for all global citizens.” Added Kerem Kolcuoglu, Co-Founder of Penrose Partners

The Penrose Partners (from left to right: Sean Stapley and Kerem Kolcuoglu) in discussion with Bermuda’s Premier David Burt.

Initial feedback from the Canadian companies indicates that this visit would not be a one-off as there is tremendous potential for blockchain-business growth in Bermuda. Bermudian business leaders praised the event’s success, citing that it was one of the more insightful conferences and conducive for creating long-lasting partnerships. By collaborating with its Canadian partners, Bermuda is in a position to show the world how much positive change can be made when progressive legislation meets technological innovation.

If you would like to get involved in future initiatives or have any questions, please contact info@penrosepartners.com.

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