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Ep27-Mar 1: Blockchain Gaming and Esports with Shidan Gouran

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NCFA Canada | Mar 1, 2019

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Ep27-Mar 1:  Blockchain Gaming with Shidan Gouran

About this episode:  On this week's episode of the Fintech Friday's Podcast our host Manseeb Khan sits down with the CEO of Global Blockchain Technologies Shidan Gouran. They chat about acquiring X2 games, Facebook getting into the blockchain, and the future of Fortnight - Enjoy! (Transcript)

HOST:  Manseeb Khan, Fintech Friday's show host

GUEST:  SHIDAN GOURAN, CEO, Global Blockchain Technologies (Linkedin)

BIO:  Shidan is a serial entrepreneur who helped pioneer unified communications and the connected consumer electronics industries. He mined his first Bitcoin in 2010, and has been involved in cryptocurrencies ever since. He has been widely quoted in business and tech publications on matters relating to blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies, and currently serves as CEO of Global Blockchain Mining Corporation, a publicly-traded cryptocurrency investment company based out of Vancouver, Canada.

Subscribe and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech.

Listen to more podcasts here: Season 1 | Season 2

 


Transcription of Interview

Intro: Welcome fintech Friday's a weekly podcast brought to you by the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and partners.Covering all things fintech block chain be AI and alternative finance.

Manseeb Khan : Thank you so much for sitting down with me today. I'm super excited to jump right into today's topic.

Shidan Gouran: Great. So am I Manseeb.

Manseeb Khan : Awesome. So, could you just before the audience that may not know essentially who you are and the amazing work that your company is doing could you just give us a quick rundown?

Shidan Gouran: Yeah. So many. My name is Shidan Gouran. I'm the CEO of Global Blockchain technologies and a few other companies from the blockchain space. Global Blockchain technologies  recently merged with a gaming company created by. Noel Bushnell who is the founder of Atari and that's called Global Gaming now. Global Gaming Technologies. And separate to that I'm an investor in the space. I've invested in a lot of game related startups and it's an area that I'm very bullish on for the future.

Manseeb Khan : Awesome. So, I'm going to try to dig a little bit more into this so how did this whole like gaming initiative really start. Was it like I mean like where you a huge fan of Atari growing up and then now you get that kind of work with the actual like the creator over like how? like what's really the story behind you getting into the gaming industry?

Shidan Gouran: Yeah. So, I was a huge fan of Atari. Like everybody else my age practically. And you know so it was thrilling to meet Nolan and you know learned that he started a company back then in the blockchain space and blockchain the fight for the gaming industry. And that's an area that I  thought was a perfect fit. It's like a glove for a hand. It's blockchain can really change that industry dramatically because it brings fairness to keeping score. It allows trading of digital assets. And it allows trading of games and whatnot. All these things. A small independent. Publisher can do just as well as the largest publishers. Through these technologies. Right. Right. If a small publisher who you know. Three people working. Let's say 12 hours a day on a game. In their basement. They're not going to have the opportunity to really architect and build an in-game economy. They'll build an in-game wallet system for trading these things and the customer support that comes with it. Just  doing multiplayer game, simple casual multiplayer games is very difficult over the Internet without partnering with a large portal. All these kinds of things can be. Solved through these technologies that make commerce and trading things very easy and allows anybody to create a solution like. A. PayPal let's say. Well in theory there's still I mean  I'm talking about digital assets here  not fiat currency obviously. But to build something infrastructure that that's not robust that not secure and allows trading of these things and keeping track of things. Allowing games to federate with each other so you could have a group of games that decide to federate and use. One In-game currency or one matchmaking service that's not owned by any particular person. But all of them together. All these kinds of things are possible through blockchain technologies. They're different things. But I think I think they're going to be having a dramatic impact on the sector.

Manseeb Khan : Just I mean like just sticking with the whole merchant aspect or just you know just like being able to like buy and sell and trade games and just have like in the indie game creators kind of just all like jump in and just like stand like just federate together and stand behind like a token or coin or what have you. I mean that that that in and of itself is very interesting because now with I mean as a gamer myself I'm sorry.

Shidan Gouran: It's not just standing behind a token it is standing behind one database   right so what it would mean. They can share the same users the same ranking of the users the same token you know the digital assets everything. Right. If it becomes it becomes a social network for them essentially that they can tap into and use. So, it's not just Facebook but they have their own users on the platform that is theirs and the people that are federated with it. So that's  a really big deal right now. Right now, we're not seeing where we're actually seeing decentralized social networking really gain more steam than anywhere else. It's in games that it's not on clones of Facebook or YouTube or anything like that but it's all these publishers were building their solutions on one common block chain infrastructure with one game and there's many of it. Right now, the two contenders are EOS and Ethereum and it looks like EOS is leading the pack. We've we started an initiative there as well and we we're working on it prior to the crash of the markets. We still have great partnerships there and are looking to see how we sit in this ecosystem as it builds up. So, you know this this is an area that that we're extremely interested in. It's very early days. What are you What are you what I can also tell you is for example a lot of small really artistic and talented groups are forming around? Recently I met with somebody from a company called blockade games. They've taken something like crypto kitties and really taken that to videogames on a level that I've only seen a few other startups do. But they are popping up so you can each clothing each item is actually represented as a token. It's all stored on the block chain. It's all accounted for there the wallet is there and they're tradable between people without these people being involved in any way shape or form. So, it is it is really interesting how the space is evolving. Interactive Media! Interactive Media is becoming a lot easier. So, you saw Bandersnatch you saw a bunch of other things come out this year like Resident Evil  who's doing a movie that's you know interactive in the sense of decide how it evolves and everything. These things are being dignified and prizes are going to be a big part of it. So gaming is changing rapidly. You see what's happening with Esports it's becoming more popular than. Traditional sports.

Manseeb Khan : Yes, they're getting very competitive there. They're starting to worry competitive I feel like Olympic a lot like Olympic numbers now like EA Sports is getting massive which is just incredible.

Shidan Gouran: It is it is. And all of this together I mean I mean EA Sports you win prizes. The game there's betting involved all these kinds of things tie into block chains and the digital assets. Economy worlds and gaming. It's going to be a huge driver for her retail I.T. it for this decade. So, 2020 to me is a big year for gaming, I think it's going to be. Personally, I think it's going to be bigger than cannabis actually real. That's what millennial's do. I mean I mean right now the most popular stock. On Robinhood is Aphria Right. So, they smoke pot and they play video games. You talk to a millennial.  That's what they do and that's why this is gonna be so important. Facebook and companies like that  their biggest threat in my opinion the gaming worlds that let you do social networking and do everything. I think we realize that and Just with the way everything is going this new culture that's being built up around them it's a really important space thing that's been good, I think.

Manseeb Khan : Yeah, I agree with you. I think it’s kind of makes sense why Facebook way back when decided to buy Oculus right because they knew VR gaming is going to be the next frontier that they really have to capitalize on. Right. Like you said like 2020. Yeah. Because like now we have like if you get an iPhone you go on the app store like the 8th and if you go into like the little categories AR gaming right. Augmented reality gaming is huge right. This explains the whole like Pokémon Go. It blew up overnight because it's just it's interactive and like this is just going to be the first of many. Right.

Shidan Gouran: Yeah absolutely right.

Manseeb Khan : So I mean like this is just this conversation is actually very interesting because like now with blockchain what it really is  it's starting to create an actual true community for gamers for not only gamers but like for creators for designers for everybody is kind of creating this whole, this union because right now I mean I guess the only way people can kind of like the closest thing like an actual community would be either if you go on twitch and you watch a famous streamer or if you can go on Discord watch your famous or just you know  go on chat. So, I mean yeah how else is blockchain gonna just radically change like gaming scene. Aside from just creating this amazing community?

Shidan Gouran: Well the community the most important thing. So, I don't think it necessarily needs to revolutionize it in any other ways. Do I. Do I think Discord is going to be replaced by a decentralized platform anytime soon? No, I don't. But do I think a platform like Discord will come by that you know relies on ideas and user it's being stored on a block chain but it's still a centralized service that those users have to you know sign up too much in the same way that you sign up too many services using your Facebook ID. But no. You can do that without Facebook. And I think what will be attached to that is also your tokens your holdings your scores certain things which can be put on a block chain but certain things that you're not going to replace all the centralized features of a death squad or YouTube in the next decade probably but you are bit by bit going to have more of it decentralized and solutions are going to come by that that use though. So very interesting is what Mark Zuckerberg has recently been saying about block chain technology because he actually I just discovered this recently agrees with me on this and for somebody like that who's an incumbent to say this is the future and this is what we're looking to do. We're trying to figure this out ourselves. It's a huge deal because he doesn't need to, but you know Facebook does it and doesn't need to compete to compete with blockchain at this point. It is the incumbent in the world that he doesn't need to compete with anybody and yet it seems that this is going to be disruptive and this is the future. He makes it very clear that that he believes decentralized identity is a very important area for Facebook and he believes. Blockchains are a major potential solution here. So, bit by bit you are going to see blockchain become the database of everything and where it's going to start is with identity and you know accounting for things like value transfers and eventually it's going to be everything right. This will be the back end of everything, and everything will be an app on your kind of commons just  like other commons we had in the world like the park or anything right. So, it's but that's I think the promise of block chain and that's how they're evolving. You're not going to get the TV industry adopting it you're going to get small gamers. Yeah and people like. You know were able to see farther in the future like Mark Zuckerberg who says yeah you know what. We're not going to compete with that.

Manseeb Khan : We're gonna join it. Now I agree with you I mean just harping on what you just said like the whole TV industry. You're not going to see them or even the movie industry adopt it anytime soon you to some small renegade you're going to see gaming communities you going to see like other small little pocket ecosystems really fully adopt and  really take advantage of it and then sooner or later like this is probably what 2030, 2035 TV might start considering or even if it's still around.

Shidan Gouran: I absolutely I was very surprised to hear Mark Zuckerberg recent opinions on this space because so many of his initiatives rate his initiatives are really amazing in this space. You know I can see that coming from a telegram game I can see it coming from an indie game developer. But to see a major incumbent say that this is the way we're going. We haven't seen that from Google for example Google is doing nothing in this space because you know common. Sense tells you this is eating their own lunch at the end of the day. It gets rid of platforms right. It doesn't get rid of publishers, but this space can get rid of platforms and you know. At the same time, you are seeing some major game developers and you are seeing as I said parties like from major, I guess the largest platform in the world for social interaction kind of saying yeah, we're exploring the space too it's not just these small companies.

Manseeb Khan : Yeah I mean if anything this kind of gives all this gives a lot of market validation right because like just like not only the work that you're doing in the blockchain gaming space but like just what the other it like the other guests that I had on the show that are doing other aspects that that also involved blockchain like the fact that like you having  Mark Zuckerberg like a we're kind of like saying like hey you know this is something we're looking into this is like Okay thank god this is like a breath of fresh air that like hey you know we're not crazy like we told you this is coming. This is the amazing work that we're doing now. The fact that he has a validation this is only going to like to propel this until another into the stratosphere.

Shidan Gouran: Yeah. I mean I mean just to give you an example of the kinds of people working on applying blockchain to gaming. Right now, you have. Fortnight's founder who is who is developing solutions around the states and very much involved and passionate about it for example. He is developing Tim Sweeney. Developing solutions on the EOS blockchain. And you have people like Again Nol Bushnell either the list can go on and on. It's absolutely amazing. How strongly the gaming industry has embraced these technologies these decentralized technologies. I mean it kind of does make sense because they are the best developers actually somebody who is you know built an A.I. engine or is very good at computer graphics. It's much easier for them to pick up any technology because they're already at the forefront of as far as skill sets. They have been you know even in the 90s they were somebody who understands computer graphics from back then is a very good developer. Blockchains are still not very user friendly. I need somebody who can who can you know dive under the hood and understand how the code works. You can't hire your average web developer and expect them to take a blockchain technology and build solutions for you. Because cookie cutter templates and frameworks haven't really been developed yet. You are yet to actually understand the protocols. You have to actually understand how the technology works and the low-level details become much more important. So that's maybe one reason why people in the gaming world are adopting it more than people. You know your average web site entrepreneur for example because for them it's too difficult. Well for the people in the gaming world they already are so technical It's actually an easier challenge to approach.

Manseeb Khan : Yeah, I mean it's light like you mentioned. It's taking away platforms and it makes sense like gamers or game developers and gaming entrepreneurs are it makes sense that they'd take on blockchain a little bit more openly because they are on the forefront of these kind of technologies right. I mean like sooner or later like just a fortnight example right you're going to see them probably building and not build an A.I. that's going to probably just make the game that much more fun than before interactive and just have like you know, now at Right now you have a creative mode right. Like if I just took over creative mind just having all these cool little missions and adventures and everything, I just like its endless fun. It really is endless an endless adventure.

Shidan Gouran: Already a lot of the AI machine learning and more traditionally AIs and gaming it's the science actually one of the areas that that's always been at the forefront of that. And I think I think as the solutions increase yeah, you're going to see a lot more of that you're going to see a lot more bots. So, I think and independent agents in these games for sure that you don't have today just look at how much chat bots have improved in quality since Siri came out right. It's still not really commercially viable that. But there was a little hype bubble in the chat bot space because people were amazed that these things are so much better. Right. It was just a few years ago you couldn't call into a phone number into an IVR. You know one of these phone menus. And have somebody ask you what you are looking for and be able to directly properly. These are things that the people are kind of not realizing how much they've improved. Right. So, I am very bullish on A.I. and in gaming and I think that's a very interesting area as well.

Manseeb Khan : A little bit more of a tangible example. I mean what this could is more of a hypothetical question right. I mean like I guess how radical of a change would block chain bring to say a game like Fortnight.

Shidan Gouran: Well it'd be incredible, I think. And you know so. One thing is again you would have an independent user base where people from fortnight to play in other places and maybe even characters could grow in other worlds other games maintain their digital identity maintain their assets. Trade their assets very easily fortnight as recently getting into the e-sport space then people mistakenly think that fortnight is not a good platform for E-Sports. But you know it's the early days it takes a while to build technologies and platforms to make sports interesting for the I mean a game like fortnight interesting to the youth sports world. Right. So, betting on a fortnight for example is can be immensely popular because all sorts of rich events you know you're not just winning you're losing how you kill somebody, what you do, what weapon you use, all these kinds of things are all betting events it becomes very rich. And you're seeing solutions where you can focus on a certain number of players and you know again some very creative people coming by with methods, you're just seeing this pop up now where you can follow a fortnight game and it's very entertaining. I myself don't enjoy it. I enjoy watching video games, but I am very bullish on where this is going because I see that a lot of people do and fortnight actually some of these technologies which I can't talk about too much because they're not public yet public knowledge and I'm involved with as an investor you know they're making a game like Fortnight. Really interesting to watch actually. And I think that's going to be what's really interesting when you have E-sports that don't look like traditional sports, but you can do even more with it right. When the web came out everybody was trying to replicate the piece of paper as far as there you know cognitive understanding goes. But it's grown to be a lot more than that. And the same thing is going to happen with these sports. Right now, it's mimicking regular sports and the same way of watching it. But people are going to make it much easier to watch and be entertained by something like fortnight as well. So, it's not just like DOTA for the future it's also games like Fortnight that are going to have a huge viewership I believe.

Manseeb Khan : Yes, I agree. I think it should be interesting of like right now E-Sports is again just to harp on what you said just that it really is trying to mimic regular sports. I think it's going to take off and just form and become its own animal in and of itself. I mean I'm a not a huge fan of really watching gaming videos or anything but like that's like my 10-year-old brother is the first thing he does like I remember when I was his again, I would watch my cartoons. He comes on and he just has like a list of like all these favorite streamers and he's like arcades and watch Ninja first then he's going to watch like Mr .Beast and goes down his list. It's incredible.

Shidan Gouran: This was exactly you talk to your average 10-year-old and this is what they do. This is what they loved doing. Oh yeah. It's all about games. They live in games and in the gaming,  industry is already much larger than the music and video industry put together. Oh yeah. And This is just going to increase. I mean. The whole thing is going to get blurred. Video and gaming are going to get blurred for sure. And that's why interactive video to me is very interesting Sure.

Manseeb Khan : I think like even taking it one step further like you did you did touch on digital identities. I mean sooner or later you're gonna have like the digital like your digital persona and your real persona that's gonna start getting pretty blurred to at some point right. Because you'll be spending too much time and energy creating, I guess like the best example would be like if you had like a second like us you can't get on Second Life persona online Absolutely yeah.

Manseeb Khan : Look I mean so I guess what the audience can. I mean what can fans of Atari what can we really expect from X games like what is what is something that I mean like you mentioned you are investor a lot of companies or you're very heavily invested in the gaming industry. What is something that I like I can  touch back on my comebacks on this episode of kind of like hey Shidan the things that you said like  what's the news? what are the updates?

Shidan Gouran: Yeah. So, look X2 is an amazing company because it has a really wide spectrum of areas that it's working in. It has a blocking division where they're doing stuff with gaming and block chain that consortium, I told you about that that we were involved with for over a year there. They're still partners with everybody there as far as friendships go and whatnot and good things will come out of it eventually. They have an in-game wallet that they can license to so many game producers and whatnot a game some of these small independent operators that need games and very large operators as well because obviously they're a very connected team right in the center of the gaming universe which is Los Angeles. Really that's one aspect of this blockchain aspect but that's not even the major aspect of it. That's one spectrum. The other is that they're coming out with game after game and they're coming out with an area that I'm very excited about the game which is that interactive video area and other interactive content that's not traditional you know DOTA like gaming or Fortnight like gaming it's much more casual so they're coming out with a board game where you have an interactive bot voice narrative that goes with it. You can make decisions and it's also integrated with mobile so it’s the first of its kind. I think Amazon should be very excited about what they're doing, and I see them you know they're there they're always invited to these conferences with Amazon and whatnot because it is an Amazon Alexa based product. I think when that comes out it's going to be a whole new way a whole new type of game a whole new media essentially right? So that's really exciting to me because it's something completely new. It's not something better. It's something completely new and they're coming up with a number of productions like this. And I think that's really where global gaming is going to shine in the future. Personally. Yeah. So, I mean I mean that's I think really for it for especially the retail audience. I think it's important that they realize that this is a very risky space and working with a company that has. A wide spectrum of projects is really to their benefit for startup

Manseeb Khan : Right now, I agree with you I mean the gaming space is very new it's I mean I mean it's not really volatile. But it's very new it's emerging it's up and coming so yeah, I'm excited for this whole Alexa thing that's there should be a I can't I can't wait for that. So Shidan. To wrap this up what with the best way for our fellow gamers to contact you would it be through email, Snapchat. I mean is there Discord chat we can jump in with you, would it be raven?

Shidan Gouran: Yeah. So maybe my Twitter handle is Shidan and you can always follow me there and reach out to me I'm very happy to speak with everybody there you can email me shidan@forkcsc.com  Yeah that's probably the best email that's global block mining technologies which I'm still running myself and I think I think those are the two best methods.

Manseeb Khan : Awesome. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today and I'm super excited for all your incredible projects to really revolutionize and take over the gaming industry.

Shidan Gouran: Yeah likewise. Thanks very much for having me Manseeb I enjoy your podcast in general

Manseeb Khan : Thanks so much.

Outro : you've been listening to fintech Fridays brought to you by NCFA and partners. Tune in weekly for the latest fintech Friday podcast by subscribing to this channel. The National crowdfunding and FinTech Association of Canada is a non-profit actively engaged with social and investment fintech sectors around the globe and provide education research industry stewardship services and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers. For more information please visit and see if a Canada dot org. Oh yea.

 

End of Podcast

 

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Meet FFCON19 Featured Keynote Speaker: Dr. Dan Rosen
NCFA | FFCON19 Team | March 14, 2019 Want some credit for being in Fintech? Things are tough out there for some parts of Fintech. If you are part of the ICO, blockchain economy for example, they tell you it’s winter. Those bear markets are tough. It’s like Rodney Dangerfield used to say: No respect. You just wish you could get some credit for your hard work and your groundbreaking innovation... I’ve got some good news for you. FFCON19: FEARLESS has partnered with a company that wants to give you the credit you deserve. Well, $10 bucks worth on your next ride with our friends at Lyft. (No taxi for you!) But only if you register and join us on April 3-4 in downtown Toronto. FFCON19 is a fintech focused conference and expo with several special guests, an amazing lineup of speakers, many well known investors and investment opportunities galore through a pitching competition. And guess what? You can still get a discounted ticket. But you only have 2, that’s right, TWO days left. This deal disappears on March 15, 2019. So if you would like Lyft to give you a little fintech credit while networking, pitching, speaking, connecting and ...
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Want some credit for being in Fintech?
CSA | March 14, 2019 Toronto – The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) today published Joint Canadian Securities Administrators/Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada Consultation Paper 21-402 Proposed Framework for Crypto-Asset Trading Platforms. The consultation paper seeks input from the fintech community, market participants, investors and other stakeholders on how regulatory requirements may be tailored for crypto-asset trading platforms (platforms) operating in Canada. “This consultation outlines a proposed regulatory framework that provides clarity for platforms, greater market integrity and protection for investors,” said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “Platforms have told us that a tailored regulatory framework is welcome as they seek to build consumer confidence and expand their businesses across Canada and globally.” “The emergence of digital and crypto assets continues to be a growing area of interest for regulators, investors and marketplaces – and, together, securities regulators are taking steps to deepen our understanding of this area,” added Andrew J. Kriegler, President and CEO, IIROC. “We must adapt to innovation, and provide clarity to the market about how regulatory requirements might best be tailored and applied to these unique business models, while ...
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Canadian securities regulators consult on regulatory framework for crypto-asset trading platforms
Polymath / KABN release | March 11, 2019 TORONTO & SAINT MICHAEL, Barbados & GIBRALTAR--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Polymath (www.polymath.network), the global leader in software solutions that enable assets to be digitized, distributed, fractionally owned, and ultimately liquidated, has formed a consortium in close collaboration with KABN (www.kabn.network), a global financial services platform that has developed, among its suite of products, a patent pending, blockchain based, GDPR compliant, Always On, global identification and accreditation as a support service for investors and other types of contributors. Polymath is leading the effort to make it easier for organizations to create digital securities from traditional assets through partnerships and a community that supports a transparent and compliant process for issuers and investors. Through its extensive service provider network with firms like KABN, Polymath provides security token issuers with access to top quality service providers. “Our solution supports the creation of digital securities from a wide range of traditional and non-traditional assets,” said Kevin North, CEO of Polymath. “The intention of this partnership is to create a best practice model for customers who need help with the full lifecycle of an STO (Security Token Offering). In this model, the issuer would work with an integrated network of ...
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Polymath and KABN Announce Consortium to Accelerate the Creation, Distribution, and Management of Digital Securities Across Multiple Jurisdictions and Platforms
NCFA Canada | Burden Reduction Committee | March 1, 2019 Executive Summary In response to the Ontario Securities Commission’s (OSC’s) January 14, 2019 request for comments, this submission responds to the eight questions set out in the OSC’s Staff Notice 11-784. This submission draws heavily on, and also updates, the Association’s earlier submission to the OSC dated August 24, 2017 (see Appendix), which primarily focused on the crowdfunding requirements in Ontario. The National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada (the Association) represents over 2,000 fintech SMEs and individual members that support financial and capital market innovation, small businesses and technology. We are pleased that the Ontario government is undertaking this important regulatory burden reduction initiative to the benefit of all Ontarians. The Association has consulted a number of diverse crowdfunding and fintech stakeholders – including exempt market dealers, industry experts, securities lawyers, regulators and government agencies and is proposing several recommendations to reduce unjustifiable burdens placed on Ontario’s businesses. The Association recommends that the province undertake the following: The OSC conduct a review and publish a report evaluating the effectiveness of Ontario’s crowdfunding regulations (45-108) compared to other jurisdictions in Canada and international competitors such as the UK, US and ...
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March 1, 2019:  NCFA Submission to the Ontario Securities Commission on Regulatory Burden

 

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