Toronto Stock Exchange Executive Anthony Di Iorio Wants to Turn Canada Into a Blockchain Powerhouse
Anthony Di Iorio was one of the original founders of the Ethereum project, which has received ample attention in 2016 as it passed a billion dollar market cap for the first time. Technology firms both inside and outside the Bitcoin industry are exploring the ways in which non-financial applications and Ethereum-based projects could change our world.
Di Iorio, for the most part, has been at the heart of this in Canada. The nation’s most-headlined FinTech project has been the Royal Canadian Mint’s MintChip project, which recently sold to nanoPay. But Di Iorio has commanded a large part of the remaining attention in Canada on Bitcoin and blockchain.
Now he wants to turn Canada into a financial giant and center of innovation around Bitcoin and blockchain technology.
Di Iorio, who purchased his first bitcoins in 2012 on LocalBitcoins, has enjoyed a colorful history in Bitcoin. He founded Bitcoin Alliance of Canada and the first Toronto Bitcoin Meetup. The Bitcoin Alliance is a non-profit organization tasked with increasing Bitcoin awareness and adoption in Canada.
He started the Toronto Bitcoin community meetup where he met Vitalik Buterin and Peter Todd and got the idea for the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada amid constant press attention on Bitcoin. He saw news anchors giving people the wrong idea about Bitcoin and saw the value in education.
Di Iorio also launched in 2013 the first Bitcoin Chrome wallet extension, KryptoKit, and co-founded Ethereum with Buterin and others in the summer of 2014. They focused on Ethereum for some time, and recent price action and collaborations have cemented the legitimacy of the project.
At the beginning of 2014, he launched Decentral, an “innovation hub for disruptive and decentralized technologies.” The firm offers blockchain and financial technology consulting services and software development.
Di Iorio recently became chief digital officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange. Decentral has worked with the TMX Group, which operates the Toronto Stock Exchange, the for some time. Further, TMX Group is sponsoring the forthcoming Blockchain World Expo in Toronto hosted by Decentral and Ethereum Canada.
"The blockchain has the potential to be as disruptive as the Internet," Di Iorio said in a statement. "It is a comprehensive technology with impacts to be felt in many financial and nonfinancial industries over the coming decades. This is the right time to showcase the many emerging ecosystems, platforms and companies that are at the forefront of this exciting new technology, and Toronto and Canada are well positioned to host this premier event."
Di Iorio’s passion seems to be working with regulators and financial technology executives to propel Canada to the ranks of New York and London for technological innovation: “That’s my long term vision ‒ to propel Canada using my connections and the support of our clients,” he said.
He plans to do this not only with Bitcoin technology, but any technology inspired by the digital currency and payment system.
“We understand public blockchains are not the only solution,” Di Iorio explains. “We try to solve problems. Sometimes, though, problems come down to blockchain tech, and sometimes other technology is better and faster.”
Decentral strives to ensure executives don’t waste time evaluating dead-end products and technologies. “We take a product agnostic approach, and look to see the problem and what technology solutions are out there for them,” he said.
Di Iorio emphasizes that financial technology firms are not necessarily looking into Bitcoin.
“It’s the underlying technology behind Bitcoin, the blockchain,” he told Bitcoin Magazine. “They’re interested in providing solutions; they don’t care what technology it is as long as it works. Sometimes the solution is Ethereum or sometimes it’s colored coins.
The emphasis for Di Iorio and Decentral is on distributed technology: “We are a hub for decentralized technology, we try to have all of our products use decentralized technology to solve problems,” he said. “Our wallets are products where we don’t hold customer funds, or have access to the funds.”
Di Iorio has helped host more than 100 events since 2012 and believes this deep experience in the blockchain space ensures Decentral boasts the connections and resources needed to adapt to the changing needs of not only the blockchain industry, but financial technology overall.
“Fintech is important,” he says. What Di Iorio’s work for the Toronto Stock Exchange will entail remains to be seen, although sponsoring events such as the World Blockchain Expo could be on that list.
Di Iorio says Decentral’s first year in business was about building up a network and community. After that, he built up connections with larger organizations interested in technology.
For 2016, Di Iorio resolves to “grow Canada as a financial powerhouse in the world by working with regulators and letting them know how fantastic the technology is.”
Di Iorio loves pushing for financial innovation. Although his forte is blockchain and decentralized technologies, he still considers himself a financial technologist. Most of all, he wants everyone to come together.
“The key is to work together, to collaborate and build up community,” he says.