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Canada’s Top Women in Fintech and Blockchain honouree roundup

In contrast to ITWC's top women in cyber security fest, interest in the inaugural top women at this year's fintech and blockchain festival was overwhelming.

Our judges were flooded with nominations for women who have mastered their own way in the fintech and blockchain space. They managed to shorten that list to 12 honorees.

Hilary Carter, Vice President of Research at The Linux Foundation
Few people are more knowledgeable than Hilary Carter about the real-world applications of blockchain technology. In his previous role as Managing Director at the Blockchain Research Institute, he helped launch and operate its research program in 2017 and in four years, the institute has produced over 100 research projects, tracing That's how blockchain technology is transforming the private and public sectors. Carter is adamant that applications, particularly in the finance world, are growing rapidly.

Anne Connelly, Entrepreneur and Faculty at Singularity University and SU Canada
Anne Connelly is an entrepreneur and faculty at Singularity University and SU Canada, part of a global organization that provides executive educational programs. Connelly says the world has only seen one percent of the full capabilities of blockchain in the real world. It is expected that this number will increase further.

Connelly says Canadians should bet big on digital currencies, describing cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum as the future of money and decentralization.

Elena Sinelnikova, . CEO and Co-Founder of
The financial sector is full of talented startups yearning for attention. Just ask Elena Sinelnikova, CEO and co-founder of the educational nonprofit

Sinelnikova has an extensive background in developing enterprise software solutions for the government and law enforcement industries. He has a master's degree in computer science and has specialties in blockchain, cyber security, and full-stack programming.

Canada's big banks are under pressure to innovate, and as smaller fintech startups emerge to fill some of those gaps, it becomes difficult for startups to stand out.

A big part of that startup talent is led by women with great ideas, and Sinelnikova encourages any entrepreneur going through startup life to rely on her for help.

Amy Ter Haar, Attorney at Templeman LLP

Templeman's attorney, Amy Ter Haar, says everyone should be prepared for serious changes when it comes to how they handle their finances.

Blockchain technology is already making a home in the peer-to-peer payment space. Ter Haar says that peer-to-peer payments powered by blockchain could help remove the traditional gatekeepers of finance and empower "everyday people."

Ter Haar says that increasing fintech interest in cryptocurrencies and impressive capabilities are putting a lot of pressure on financial institutions to stay afloat.

Christine Day, CIO for Questrade

For Christine Day, helping lead a relatively small and "poor" online brokerage like Questrade means she has to compete against the nation's financial juggernaut.

That negligence has helped Questrade become a registered investment dealer, a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), and a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. The big banks are well aware of the activity in the fintech space, but according to Day, Questrade's chief information officer, their focus is elsewhere.

Blake Cassels and Graydon's partner Bonnie Murray

Our next honor is partner in the Financial Services Regulatory Group at Blake Cassels and Graydon. Bonnie Murray has significant experience with federal and provincial regulators regarding compliance issues, regulatory approval applications, and complex matters such as corporate mergers and acquisitions. Murray has a unique perspective on financial services and payments and says the traditional banking infrastructure is undergoing a serious change.

Murray says the regulatory world in Toronto is too small in legal terms. But she gets a front row seat to the innovation happening at the Fringe and says she has excellent mentors to help her along the way.

Alice Odin, Executive Director and Chief AI Officer at Digital Finance Institute
Alice Odin, executive director and chief AI officer of the Digital Finance Institute, says large banks have made great strides in recent years to meet consumer demand and expectations. The Institute is a think tank based in the City of Toronto and is involved in local and global trends involving FinTech, AI and Blockchain.

Odin says the growing interest in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum is only the tip of the iceberg.

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