The University of British Columbia (UBC) is ranked among the top three institutions in Canada overall and educated the current prime minister, Justin Trudeau. Its contribution to the country’s blockchain ecosystem is important.
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Blockchain@UBC describes itself as a “multidisciplinary research cluster” aiming to use “blockchain to improve the world.” It works on projects that draw in industry partners alongside academic staff from the university. It provides educational courses to students at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as professionals from outside the university.
The group’s graduate training pathway was highlighted specifically by a 2020 study by non-profit Information and Communications Technology Council on investment in the Canadian blockchain sector. The report noted that the UBC program was giving graduates the varied skills needed to contribute in the blockchain field.
Blockchain@UBC organizes an annual summer institute to educate about blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. The content includes the basics, questions of privacy and trust, the development of international standards and Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Associate Professor Vicki Lemieux was involved in founding the Blockchain@UBC group in 2016 and still plays a leading role. She has received multiple awards in the field of data science, including the 2015 Emmett Leahy Award and the World Bank Big Data Innovation Award the same year. She has collaborated on research with the U.S Treasury Department.
Canada’s blockchain industry has been growing and innovating over recent years, with the activity particularly centered in Toronto. In late 2021, a carbon-neutral bitcoin mining company was approved for public stock trading in Toronto. Earlier in the year, the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund in North America launched in the same city. Canadians can trade cryptocurrencies without fees on the Newton platform, also based in Toronto.
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