The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has announced it is hosting a regulatory hackathon for blockchain and fintech innovation. The event follows the recent launch of the OSC LaunchPad, a service that engages with fintech startups and provides opportunity.
Hackathon Looking for the Wow Factor
The regulatory agency that oversees the Canadian province of Ontario seems excited about financial technology. Now the organization is having a three-day hackathon. “RegHackTO” will take place November 25-27 at the Bitmaker — located at 220 King Street West, Toronto. The event will be the first Canadian hackathon by a securities regulator.
OSC said “all hackers are welcome” and contestants can enter as individuals or teams of six. A judgment panel consisting of Maureen Jensen, Chair and CEO of the OSC, Joseph Lubin, Founder of ConsenSys, and other experts. The hackathon isn’t looking for a run of the mill bitcoin wallet submission, either. The OSC wants serious projects, as the RegHackTO website states:
“We’re looking for the wow factor here. Just another app or bitcoin wallet won’t cut it unless it has unique features we’ve never seen before. Does your app make regulatory systems more user-friendly and approachable? How will it ease pain points in regulatory systems?”
OSC LaunchPad to Guide Startups Through Regulatory Maze
The contest follows the OSC’s recent unveiling of its fintech LaunchPad. The LaunchPad engages with financial technology businesses and navigates them through the regulatory policies. “As a new fintech business, the last thing that you want to hear is that you’re not complying with securities regulation,” the agency said.
The OSC added that eligible fintech companies could be digital platforms raising capital, lending applications, data-driven, and others. The LaunchPad aims to connect the fintech landscape with “securities requirements, and accelerate time-to-market.” The OSC said the agency embraces innovation and promotes confidence in markets.
Canada’s Hubs for Fintech and Blockchain
Ontario and other Canadian cities have been hubs for blockchain innovation and fintech. The region has been very forward with innovative protocols and financial technology markets. Canada was the first country in the world to initiate a digital currency law in June 2014. Many believe the regulation towards Bitcoin and digital currencies is generally quite friendly in Canada.
The Canadian central bank has shown interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as well. Just recently, the Bank of Canada’s senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins revealed the bank was testing distributed ledgers. The experimentation detailed a blockchain using Canadian legal tender on its network, according to Reuters.Canada also has a vast assortment of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related startups. The region is home to associations such as the Vanbex Group, Decentral, and Coinkite.
The OSC hackathon and LaunchPad shows regulatory agencies want to join this movement. There’s a lot of innovation happening in Canada, and government officials across the region seem very open to disruptive change. On November 17, the LaunchPad team will open its doors and introduce itself to the fintech community. People are encouraged to join them at 20 Queen Street West, Toronto.
What do you think about the Ontario Securities Commission’s upcoming hackathon and fintech LaunchPad? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and the OSC website.
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