Canadian politicians are seeking answers after the half-brother of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was paid by the federal government to speak at a blockchain conference last year.
- According to a Monday report by The Globe and Mail, Kyle Kemper was paid C$12,430 (US$9,127) for speaking about blockchain technology at a conference in Zug, Switzerland, in June 2019.
- Kemper had reportedly been asked by Canadian government officials to take on the speaker role after they'd heard him discussing the tech at a previous conference in Dubai.
- Kemper said the choice was not made because of his family connection with Justin Trudeau.
- The Prime Minister's Office said the role was given the seal of approval by Global Affairs Canada, the country's consular support and diplomatic relations department.
- Opposition members of parliament (MPs) have said Trudeau's government should detail how the contract came to be gifted to Kemper.
- A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, Krystyna Dodds, said the selection criteria for speakers are based on their recognition in the business community, their subject knowledge and their ability to speak in public.
- Kemper was until last year the executive director of the Blockchain Association of Canada and is still an adviser to the group, according to his LinkedIn profile.
- He's also written a book titled "The Unified Wallet: Unlocking the Digital Golden Age," and has founded a wallet firm called Swiss Key.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.