The industry of trust
Blockchain stories from the frontier
Blockchain technology is offering a potentially dramatic reduction in the cost of verification of information and identity, which in turn has the potential to shape radically multiple industries and the ways we transact with each other.
Geographically, Toronto is emerging as a key hub where innovations in blockchain and related areas, such as artificial intelligence, are created and transformed into new businesses.
In this panel session, we will hear the stories of three key players in and around the blockchain ecosystem in Toronto and get an inside view on these exciting changes.
Sampsa Samila, Professor of Strategic Management
Sampsa Samila received his PhD from Columbia University and his MSc from Helsinki University of Technology (now part of Aalto University). He has taught previously at Columbia Business School, Brock University, and the National University of Singapore.
His research focuses primarily on economic geography, innovation, entrepreneurship, and social capital. He has studied for instance how venture capital, labor laws, and government research funding affect regional economic growth. He is currently engaged in studies of performance persistence in venture capital, gender and ethnic integration, trust and networks, returns to sustained brokerage in networks, and co-authorship networks in science. His work has been published in journals such as American Sociological Review, Management Science, Research Policy, and Review of Economics and Statistics.
Pilar Troncoso, Senior VP Institutional Relations and Strategic Alliances Nodalblock
Pilar Troncoso, Senior Vice President of Nodalblock, directs and executes institutional relations and strategic alliances, overseeing the search for financing, investor relations and strategy of this company. She is an expert in finance, human resources, auditing, consulting and financial controls. Her enthusiasm for blockchain technology has led her to explore and carry out extraordinary projects, resulting in investments and products based on the most secure technology of our time.
Pilar is a member of Woman Angels for Entrepreneurs, which focuses on unlocking female angel investment and access to risk capital for women entrepreneurs.
She is currently co-founder and advisor in ChainGo, a start-up that uses blockchain technology in the maritime logistic market.
Pilar joined Nodalblock from Yaap Digital Services, a joint venture between Santander, Caixabank and Telefónica, where she was the responsible for institutional relations and strategic alliances. Prior to Yaap Digital Services, Pilar held positions as an international controller and worked in international business development in Grupo LID and KIA, in Gescosol, where she was in charge of strategic consultancy and financial operations, Grupo Urbar, where she was a member of the Board of Directors, Audit Committee and Recruiting, Retribution and Compensation Committee, Aon Hewitt Spain as a consulting business managing director, and PwC, where she was a senior manager in consulting and auditing for 12 years.
Pilar graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administrations from Centro Universitario Villanueva (Madrid, Spain) and is an IESE alumna (PDD 05).
Ramesh Siromani, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Transformation, Technology & Operations RBC
Ramesh Siromani, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Transformation, sets and executes the strategic direction of Technology & Operations (T&O) at Royal Bank of Canada. Ramesh oversees transformational initiatives and leads the Program Management Office to ensure effective governance, financial management, program execution, and adoption of the strategy.
Ramesh joined RBC from A.T. Kearney, where he was a partner with the Financial Institutions Practice. He has led engagements across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, and is known for his expertise in advising financial institutions on operations and technology transformation. Ramesh is a thought leader in core banking systems and infrastructure, payment mechanisms and innovation in financial services. He is an expert in payments and has advised banks, retailers, networks, utilities and payment associations on the emerging payments ecosystem including real-time payments, frictionless commerce and payments modernization.
Prior to A.T. Kearney, Ramesh worked with HSBC for over ten years leading teams in retail and commercial banking and cards.
Ramesh graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) from the University of Delhi in India and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
Asif Qayyum, Managing director PwC Canada
Asif Qayyum is managing director in PwC Canada's emerging technology assurance practice. He has worked across multiple industries, having hands-on experience in managing complex transformation programs in emerging tech and legacy modernization in North America and Asia.
He is a leading thinker in blockchain and crypto space technologies and is a trusted advisor to his clients when they’re considering the interplay, optimization and oversight of strategy, people and processes as they relate to these innovative technologies.
Asif has worked in Asia, the Middle East and North America. He launched the first regional payment gateway and also was instrumental in launching the first mobile payment platform in 2001, which was both PCI compliant and the first 3DS compliant gateway.
He sits on the Ontario Securities Commission's fintech (financial technology) advisory committee, is