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Home-grown help for Bermuda’s fintech future

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Sean Stapley, partner and head of ventures at Penrose Partners, a firm of founders, innovators and industry researchers advising emerging tech start-ups, multinational enterprises and governments on blockchain adoption (Photograph supplied)

The Bermuda partner and head of ventures of a blockchain-centric advisory firm is focused on ensuring that Bermuda succeeds in its fintech ambitions, as he builds his Toronto-based consultancy.

The Government has welcomed his efforts, as pieces are put in place to fulfil the Premier’s vision of a fintech future for the island.

Authorities have shepherded legislation through Parliament, with bipartisan support, to cut bureaucratic red tape for companies licensed under the Digital Assets Business Act.

Sean Stapley is alert to the greater good for a Bermuda well situated within a new, emerging digital-based economy.

In conjunction with 3iQ Corp and the Government’s economic development department, his global blockchain advisory firm hosted the 4th Annual International Technology Summit in Bermuda in April.

One of the stated aims was to explore how the island’s regulations and sandbox environment are providing a perfect base of operations for blockchain-enabled companies.

And special attention was given to how innovators are using these technologies to combat climate change and build a more sustainable future.

While here, The Royal Gazette business reporter Duncan Hall interviewed Mr Stapley on camera, who said Bermuda had developed a reputation as the place to be for blockchain or digital asset-based firms.

Days later, on a train to Toronto, he reflected how things had changed for him since he left the island for McGill University and an economics degree.

He proudly told us: “I was born in Bermuda and grew up here until I moved away at 18 for university, so this island will always be home to me.”

Today, his team at Penrose work closely with the Bermuda Government, international companies and local entrepreneurs to help them to understand and prepare for the ways in which technology is changing the world.

He stated: “From Day 1 of Penrose, we’ve always been focused on driving education and community first and foremost, and we want to ensure that as Bermuda establishes itself as a world leader in new technologies like digital assets, the local community members benefit at each step.

“Looking to the future, I'm excited to explore advances across renewable energy, CleanTech and circular social communities, particularly as Bermuda is a close-knit island nation.

“I believe that these areas have the potential to create real positive impact for the island and its people, while also contributing to a more sustainable future for us all.”

The International Tech Summit '23, held in April, brought together leaders, regulators and innovators from around the world to explore the latest breakthroughs in digital assets and blockchain technology (Photograph supplied)

Penrose is focused on driving cutting-edge innovation within the digital assets industry by bridging the gaps between three integral stakeholders: start-ups, enterprises and investors.

Through building and strengthening relationships within these groups, Penrose seeks to help shape and scale innovative blockchain start-ups into high-calibre tech companies.

In an increasingly regulated society, artificial intelligence and related emerging technologies put pressure on authorities to keep up.

It has led to calls from powerful and influential voices to muzzle AI.

Some of the biggest names in tech are calling for artificial intelligence labs to pause the training of the most powerful AI systems, citing deep risks to our society and humanity.

Mr Stapley commented: “As new technologies develop, it will always remain important to prioritise the wellbeing of citizens, through fair, firm regulation like we’ve seen with the Bermuda Monetary Authority and their approach to digital asset regulation.”

But he said that just like children born in the 1990s saw the internet become a part of everyday life, new emerging technologies such as digital assets and artificial intelligence are likely to become more commonplace and accepted as the technology matures.

He said: “For the average citizen, some major improvements that I’m excited to see include the possibility of more personalised (and efficient) healthcare and education.

“For example, AI-powered systems could analyse vast amounts of data to provide accurate treatment and recommendations beyond what is possible today, or even to create personalised healthcare plans designed for every individual, no matter their age, race or background.

“Another possibility is that these technologies could adapt educational materials to each individual child’s learning style, taking some strain off of teachers and letting them engage more directly with children to support their overall growth.”

Mr Stapley said: “With an abundance of resources for self-learning available today, including platforms like YouTube, Khan Academy, Masterclass and more, the emphasis for education systems should shift towards encouraging children to become lifelong learners who remain adaptable to future technologies.

“It's crucial to equip students with a broad range of skills, including critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity, to prepare them for jobs that don't exist, yet.

“Part of why this is exciting is that as AI continues to replace parts of many traditional jobs, it will allow people to focus more on what truly interests them, hopefully leading to more fulfilling careers and lives.”

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Published May 22, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated May 22, 2023 at 7:46 am)

Home-grown help for Bermuda’s fintech future

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