Is Australia set to emerge as a global blockchain hub?

What is the long-term potential for Australia to emerge as a global center of expertise in blockchain development?

There are growing indications that Australia is gearing up to establish itself as a global blockchain technology hub. Over the past month or so alone, the Australian government has allocated some $700,000 AUD (£395,000) to blockchain research - and the country's Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has also proposed that the technology could be used alongside AI and IoT to manage international trade. Academic centers like the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub are also nurturing a worldwide reputation.

So, what is the long-term potential for Australia to emerge as a global center of expertise in blockchain development? And how best might IT professionals contribute to this ongoing development?


Disruptive applications

In early May, the Australian government announced that it was contributing some $700,000 AUD over the next financial year to an initiative that aims to explore innovative ways to deliver reliable and secure government services using modern technology like blockchain. The money will fund a Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) led project to investigate the benefits of using blockchain for government payments. As a DTA spokesperson explains, a key objective of the project is to carry out research 'to understand the current maturity of the technology, the readiness of government to adopt it, and high priority problems blockchain might be able to solve'. Following this stage, the project team will develop a possible solution to one of the problems identified by the initial research in an effort to help 'fully understand the potential of using blockchain to support government services'. As part of this process, a 'range of risks and sensitivities will also be taken into account, including privacy and security of data.'

According to the DTA spokesperson, Australia's expertise in disruptive technology applications and problem solving are 'continuing to mature and are providing efficiencies in multiple sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, health, finance, infrastructure and government services'.

"Recognizing this transformation potential, investigations into blockchain technologies by Australian governments, regulators, research organizations and private sector organizations, including retail and financial services, are already underway," says the spokesperson.

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