A Look at Australia’s New 5-Year National Blockchain Roadmap

A Look at Australia’s New 5-Year National Blockchain Roadmap

by February 20, 2020
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On February 7, the Australian government released its national blockchain roadmap in which it said it was exploring the potential benefits of blockchain to create new economic growth and improve productivity.

The Australia National Blockchain Roadmap sets out a strategy for governments, industry and researchers to capitalize on the opportunities of blockchain while addressing its challenges, and delves into three main industries which it believes would benefit from applying blockchain: the agricultural sector, the education sector and the financial services sector.

In the agricultural sector, the report says that blockchain can improve every step in the process of generating produce and getting them customers. Blockchain can assist in inventory tracking, facilitate automated payments between supply chain members, and reduce counterfeiting through provenance traceability, the report says.

In the education sector, blockchain can help with credentialing by offering technological infrastructure on which credentials can be managed and shared. The ability to record or reference credentials on a blockchain provides benefits to students, education providers, employers and other service providers (including recruitment agencies) in the employment value chain, it says.

Finally, in the financial services system, blockchain can enhance customer experience notably when it comes to know-your-customer (KYC) procedures. Blockchain can be an effective solution to support the sharing of KYC information, allowing the results of KYC checks to be transmitted securely, at speed, and with the highest level of confidence.

 

Challenges to overcome

But in order for Australia to take full advantage of the blockchain opportunity, there must be a regulatory environment that’s conducive to innovation and growth.

According to the roadmap, blockchain and its uses will need regulatory frameworks that are fit for purpose, which address challenges including cybersecurity, maintaining trust, data integrity, balancing privacy with transparency, tech-neutrality, and the legal status of smart contracts, among others.

Another key challenge is blockchain education and talent. Given that blockchain is a relatively new technology, there is a need to build a skills-base that can translate into the capability that drives innovation. There’s also a need to educate industry and government about blockchain’s potential, the report says.

 

2020-2025 roadmap

The Australia National Blockchain Roadmap also provides a set of goals for 2020-2025. These include the establishment of the National Blockchain Roadmap Steering Committee which will provide advice on existing government programs, as well as the establishment of collaborative working groups of industry, the research sector and government to progress analysis on blockchain use cases.

The government will also be studying how other countries are using blockchain, and will set up programs and initiatives aimed at supporting its domestic blockchain industry and facilitating collaboration with foreign players.

Australia’s blockchain landscape has grown steadily over the past couple of years with the share of startups in the country identifying with the blockchain industry up from 3.4% in 2016 to 8.1% in 2018.

Last year, CSIRO’s Data61 conducted a study of 138 blockchain activities in Australia and found that financial and insurance services was the leading industry followed by professional, scientific and technical services, and retail trade. The research also found that most blockchain activities (93%) were undertaken by small and medium-sized organizations with 1 to 200 employees.

Noteworthy blockchain startups from Australia include ShareRing, a decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace, Synthetix (formerly Havven), a crypto trading platform, and Power Ledger, an energy trading platform.

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