INTO THE FUTURE - Emerging Tech Conference @Deloitte (Invite Only)

The Blockchain Society regularly hosts special conference exclusively for investors, regulators, corporate and thought leaders within the blockchain and emerging tech spaces. On December 8th, 2018, The Blockchain Society partnered with Deloitte Canada to host an Into The Future Emerging Tech Conference at Deloitte’s modern new office in downtown Toronto. Speakers from a wide variety of different industries lead engaging panel discussions about crypto currency, cannabis, blockchain, propetch, AI and much more.

The schedule was as follows:

8:30am: Registration

9:30am to 9:55am: Security Tokens and Global Markets Panel

10:00am to 10:25am: International Blockchain Panel

10:30am to 10:40am: Morning Coffee Break/The Future of EdTech with Michael Siligidaze

10:45am to 11:15am: FinTech Panel

11:20am to 11:30am: The Future of Crypto Exchanges with Justin Hartzman

11:35am to 11:50am: The Future of Cannabis Tech with Matei Olaru

11:55am to 12:15pm: Entreprise Blockchain Panel

12:20pm to 12:50pm: Lunch Break

12:55pm to 1:10PM: Proptech Panel

1:15pm to 1:30pm: The future of the Media Industry with Allen Lau

1:35pm to 2:00pm: Marketplace/SASS Panel

2:05pm to 2:25pm: E-Gaming Panel

2:40pm to 3:00pm: Cannabis Tech Panel


The Blockchain Society greeted those assembled and thanked everyone for coming before introducing the first panel discussion topic of the day: Security Tokens and Global Markets Panel. Joining the panel was Robert Young, Managing Director at Canaccord Genuity, Rob Richards, General Partner at Plaza Ventures, Jack Bensimon, Chief Compliance Officer at LINKCHAIN, Richard Carleton, CEO at CNSX Markets Inc. and Jai Waterman, Founder and Chief Enterprise Architect at Blockstation.

An International Blockchain Panel took the stage next, on which sat 5 blockchain professionals from a wide variety of different sectors. Anthony Sturgeon, Account Manager in the Technology Sector at Export Development Canada, Peter Kieltyka, Co-Founder & CEO at Horizon Blockchain Games Inc, Shelby Pearce, Marketing Manager for blockchain at Skrumble Network, Ameer Rosic, Co-Founder of Blockgeeks and Alexia Hefti, Deloitte’s Blockchain Tax Lead shared valuable insight from multiple very different perspectives about the way blockchain is applied and adopted around the world.

After guests were invited to take a brief coffee break, Michael Silagadze, Founder and CEO at Top Hat, made a keynote speech about the way his company is using emerging tech as an educational tool. Top Hat is a higher education teaching app that makes active learning come to life. Their easy-to-use tools address four teaching challenges: student engagement; textbook affordability and customizability; student comprehension; and secure test administration. More than 2 million students at 750 of the top 1,000 colleges and universities in North America have used Top Hat.

Mike Silagadze is the CEO and co-founder of Top Hat. Under Silagadze’s leadership and vision, Top Hat has become the market leader in student engagement software, and is used by millions of students at three-quarters of the top 1,000 colleges and universities in North America. Silagadze is an active speaker and lecturer in the higher education, technology and startup communities, having lectured at the Rotman Commerce Entrepreneurship Organization, the ASU GSV Summit, MaRS, Tech Fest Toronto, SAAS North and T­E­Dx­Laurier­University, among many others. Silagadze holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

After Mr. Silagadze’s keynote, a panel about FinTech formed to discuss this new and evolving field. Aliza Lakhani, CEO at Northeastern University Toronto, Johnathan Holland, Founder and CEO of Curexe, Brian Mosoff, CEO at Ether Capital, Kyle Feucht, Director at BDC Capital and Fatema Pirone, Senior Director, Enterprise Innovation at CIBC discussed the ways emerging technology can be used as a means of streamlining and improving important finance operations.


Justin Hartzman, Co-Founder and CEO at Coinsmart, followed the Fintech panel discussion with a keynote speech about the future of crypto exchanges. Speaking from his experience at Coinsmart, Mr. Hartzman spoke to the ways in which his company is attempting to simplify the complex world of cryptocurrencies for everyone. In this way, the future of crypto will see a growth in adoption as more and more people begin to understand how decentralized currencies operate. Coinsmart works around the clock to provide it’s users with a best in class service where they can buy, sell and learn about the ever evolving world of cryptocurrencies.

Justin Hartzman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Coinsmart. A seasoned business leader and entrepreneur, Justin’s passion for innovation has seen him lead numerous companies from start-up to successful exit. His proven track record of entrepreneurial success includes founding the first website brokerage exclusively serving online businesses, pioneering the industry and achieving over $100M in transactions to Fortune 1000 companies, PE firms, family offices and venture funds. He has also led multiple fundraising rounds working with Canadian and U.S. Angel Investors and VCs. In addition to leading CoinSmart, Justin is also co-founder of Needls, an Ontario-based company that uses Data Science to automate social media advertising processes for small to medium enterprises worldwide.

Following Mr. Hartzman’s talk about the future of blockchain, Matei Olaru, CEO at Lift&Co, was tasked with a similar responsibility - delivering an address to the collected audience about his predictions about the future of cannabis. Mr. Olaru’s company Lift & Co. ( is at the cutting edge of media and tech, with a mission of empowering the cannabis industry to make better-informed decisions through superior information and data. For consumers, Lift & Co. is like a "trip advisor" for cannabis, enabling discovery of cannabis products, producers, and retailers through content and user reviews. Lift & Co. also hosts Canada's premier consumer events: the Lift & Co. Expos, which are the largest cannabis consumer trade shows in North America; and the national Canadian Cannabis Awards. For businesses, Lift & Co.'s proprietary database of market trends powers competitive analytics, targeted marketing and innovative retail solutions.


Mr. Olaru spoke to the ways his business used technology to create a platform that would provide access and education to cannabis, and established those principles as being integral to the future growth of the cannabis industry both within Canada and worldwide. Under Mr. Olaru’s leadership, Lift & Co. has become the world’s leading review platform of federally-legal cannabis products, raised $13-million and gone public under the ticker symbol TSXV:LIFT, tripled its team, and launched several key products that empower the cannabis industry to make better-informed decisions through superior information and connections. A corporate lawyer and consultant by trade, Matei previously helped advise international governments on business and investment policy with the World Bank in Washington, D.C. and practiced law in Toronto with a focus on cannabis and corporate matters. As CEO of Lift & Co., Matei regularly appears on BNN, CP24 and CBC, and has commented on stories in Forbes, Financial Post, Toronto Star and Maclean’s.

Before a brief lunch break, those collected got to engage in a panel discussion about Enterprise Blockchain with Marc Lijour from Consenys, Jordan Anderson, VP of Sales and Marketing at Bitbuy, Misha Hanin, CEO and Co-Founder at DeepDive.Tech, Scott Howard, Co-Founder at Full Stack Capital, and Soumak Chatterjee, Partner at Deloitte Canada.

After lunch, a PropTech Panel took place, consisting of stimulating discussion about an exciting new space from Grant Findlay-Shirras, Co-Founder and CEO at Parkbench, Salim Naran, Co-Founder at SAVVYY, Jamie Rosenblatt, Principal Investor at Golden Ventures and Jay Berard, Founder & CEO at Jagger. There is major buzz about Property Tech entering 2019, and it was super enriching to hear from this group about the cutting edge ways their using technology to disrupt the real estate space.


 Allen Lau, Co-Founder and CEO of Wattpad, took the stage next to deliver a keynote speech about The Future of Media, citing ways in which his company uses emerging technology as one particularly thought provoking example. Wattpad is a global entertainment company. Their apps let about 65 million monthly users discover and share stories from science fiction to romance and everything in between. Leveraging the data and insights from more than 500 million story uploads, Wattpad studios then partner with the entertainment and publishing industries to turn the best stories with built-in, global audience into movies, TV shows, books, and new forms of digital media.

Allen Lau leads the company’s vision to entertain and connect the world through stories. A leader in Canada’s technology sector and startup ecosystem, Allen is a member of the Canadian Council of Innovators, a lobby group that advances the interests of Canadian technology companies at all levels of government. He is also the co-founder of Two Small Fish Ventures, a fund that invests in Toronto and Waterloo-based early stage internet companies with strong network effects. Prior to Wattpad, Allen co-founded FeedM8, a mobile advertising company that was later acquired. He also previously co-founded Tira Wireless, where he helped leading brands optimize content for mobile delivery. Allen received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Toronto’s Electrical Engineering program.

Following Mr. Lau’s keynote address, Kuljeev Singh, CEO and Co-Founder at ResQ, Saif Altimimi, CEO at ChefHero, and Anna Klimbovskaia, COO at Diversio formed a panel to discuss the function of software as a service and current trends in the SaaS marketplace.


Those assembled at the Into The Future conference then got to hear from a super innovative group of professionals who are currently making huge moves in the rapidly growing E-Gaming space. Menashe Kestenbaum, CEO at Enthusiast Gaming, Chris Overholt, OverActive Media, Dani Lipkin, Innovation Sector Head at TMX Group and Genevieve Roch-Decter, CEO at Grit Capital shared some super exciting insights and predictions about this booming sector, which is set to grow exponentially in 2019.

To conclude the conference, Nick Riebel, Canadian Market Manager at Baker Technologies, Nima Noori, CEO and Founder at TVAPE, and Stephen Verbeek, CEO at Hello Cannabis took to the stage as part of a Cannabis Tech Panel. For those entering the new and emerging cannabis market, it’s important to consider the cutting edge work being done with technology in the space. It was helpful to have Mr. Riebel, Mr. Noori and Mr. Verbeek share some exciting new technologies that are being created post legalization.

On March 5th, 2019, The PropTech Society will be hosting a Deal Making Conference at Osler, where keynote speakers and panellists will be sharing valuable insights and news specific to this exciting, evolving market. You won’t want to miss it - grab your tickets here:

Aaron Ballantyne