Blockchain technology utilization is at its peak, and the notion is fuelled by the recent hype about Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). Almost all the nations across the globe have researched cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Even if the majority of the cryptocurrencies are looked down upon by the regulators, blockchain has been accepted as a transformative technology.
Authorities have come to realize the use-cases of blockchain and its now a part of the core development plan in many countries. Blockchain technology first started booming in China, and for much of the rest of the world, in 2018 when the price of Bitcoin sank and attention drifted elsewhere. Other nations soon followed China’s footsteps and the blockchain hype started gaining traction.
Australia’s blockchain campaign
Australia is one on the lists of nations that has a thriving blockchain economy. Recently, the nation has released its much-awaited blockchain roadmap on February 7. The new policy is aimed at boosting the use of blockchain technology across various sectors within the nation, making it a global leader.
The roadmap discusses the opportunities that blockchain technology could unleash across sectors from supply chains and logistics to the nation’s wine industry, with finance and banking being priority sectors. The policy reads:
“Blockchain technology is predicted to generate an annual business value of over US$175 billion by 2025 and in excess of US$3 trillion by 2030. The Australian Government is proactively addressing challenges and leveraging opportunities across a range of sectors to make this a reality.”
The roadmap emphasizes on a total of 12 recommendations for a “blockchain-empowered future.”
1. Formalize the National Blockchain Roadmap Advisory Committee and rename it the National Blockchain Roadmap Steering Committee
2. Establish a collaborative model comprising working groups of industry, the research sector, and government to progress analysis on the next use cases, with each providing equal funding contribution.
3. Investigate options for progressing the three use cases in the Roadmap, including completing a full economic analysis of Agricultural wine exports and credentialing and investigating a possible pilot project on Know Your Customer (KYC) checks.
4. Government to establish and coordinate a group of government blockchain users, with State and Territory government representatives invited to join, to discuss the learnings from existing government use cases, promote and diffuse these learnings across government, and identify further government use cases.
5. Look internationally to identify examples of countries using blockchain to provide efficient government services, for example, Estonia, for learnings for Australia.
6. Work closely with blockchain providers to engage with the Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII) program and have a specific challenge in one of the use case areas we know blockchain can provide good solutions
7. Ensure that blockchain is included in broader policy work to increase management capability around digital technologies.
8. Industry and educational institutions work together to develop common frameworks and course content for blockchain qualifications.
9. Work with Austrade on a capability development program for Australian blockchain start-ups so that they are ready to expand globally and link qualified companies to Austrade supported programs such as Landing Pads.
10. Work with Austrade to deliver a blockchain focussed inbound investment program introducing potential investors to Australia with a view to achieving outcomes that grow and bring the capability to the Australian blockchain ecosystem.
11. Leverage existing bilateral agreements to consider pilot projects or collaborations incorporating blockchain technology with other countries.
12. Work with relevant government departments to ensure Australian businesses can connect into emerging digital trade infrastructure being developed.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, noted that the five-year blockchain roadmap would hold up the work of regulators, startups, and researchers on the matter, according to a report by The Sydney Herald. She said:
“I think what’s really exciting is the potential for blockchain to strengthen export opportunities, helping Aussie producers and manufacturers track their goods, which are in demand around the world because of our clean, green reputation(…) Blockchain technology offers great potential to save money, initiate new business and export opportunities, boost economic growth and create new jobs.”
The roadmap follows previous blockchain investments from Australia’s liberal national government that allocated AU$700,000 (~$500,000) to the country’s Digital Transformation Agency in 2018-19 to explore the various benefits of using blockchain for government payments, as well as AU$350,000 (~$250,000) to Standards Australia to promote the development of standardized international blockchain standards.
Blockchain hype across the globe
Australia isn’t the only nation whose efforts are focused on blockchain technology. India has been largely exploring the various use cases of blockchain technology to benefit various sectors including finance. Uttar Pradesh (UP), the most populated state of India, tested a blockchain-powered solar energy trading platform with tech assistance from Australian blockchain startup Power Ledger and India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF), a public-private partnership initiative of India’s Ministry of Power for accelerated development of smart grid technologies.
The impact of this emerging tech has been so huge that the United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres has stated that the UN should embrace blockchain technology. With the largest organization in the world seriously exploring blockchain technology at its highest levels, it is likely to bring blockchain and cryptocurrency closer to mass adoption.