Blockchain: what does the future hold for blockchain in Australia?

Blockchain: what does the future hold for blockchain in Australia?

Our examine probes how blockchain technology could be used across government and industry in Australia to supply productivity benefits and drive local innovation.

The challenge

Defining blockchain and its risks and opportunities

Blockchain is a form of distributed ledger technology (DLT) that connects different parties over the internet to provide a secure and trustworthy record of their transactions (both financial and non-financial), without providing control to a third party.

On blockchains, you can prove where information has come from and gone to, which means it has the potential to open up fresh economic activity in areas such as financial services, regtech, supply chains and government registries.

Our response

Two reports: long term scripts and instant technical applications

Funded under the National Innovation and Science Agenda, we have delivered two reports that examine the risks and opportunities of blockchain technology in Australia.

The very first report, Distributed Ledgers: Scripts for the Australian economy over the coming decades, probes four plausible adoption screenplays of blockchain technology in Australian in 2030. This treatment includes scripts that are aspirational and transformative, establish a fresh equilibrium and represent collapse.

The 2nd report, Risks and opportunities for systems using blockchain and clever contracts, selects three use cases to examine how blockchain systems can support fresh markets and business models. These include: agricultural supply chains, government registries and remittance payments.

We identified the following benefits for businesses and government.

Business

Since they eliminate the need for a third party, blockchains can reduce the number of stakeholders involved in a transaction therefore reducing cost and saving time. Blockchains can also enable better information sharing and better business processes, providing stakeholders more confidence and reducing cost and risk.

Government

Blockchain can be used as a common reference point to bring together different levels of government (local, state and federal) to host government registries of open data.

This may mean more reliable integration across government services, improved mobility and business consistency across states and better regulatory oversight when blockchains record operational information in regulated industries.

The results

More informed decision-making

[On a black background, a pallid green hexagonal pattern wipes down the top of framework and out of the bottom of framework, as the logos for Data61 and the CSIRO emerge above the text, “Creating our data driven future” with the website address “www.data61.com.au”

In an animation, on a pallid green background, a cow wears a blue prize ribbon.

On a map, lines arc from locations in Australia to locations in Fresh Zealand and across Asia.

Blue prize ribbons are stuck on crates. A masked figure thrusts a crate marked “Fake Meat” toward them. A ribbon falls off a crate.]

VOICEOVER: Australia’s high-quality beef is in high request, particularly in Asia. However, food fraud, like counterfeit Aussie beef, costs the global food industry an estimated US$40 billion each year. This erodes the reputation of Australian brands.

[On a menu, “Premium Beef Steak” is marked with a blue prize ribbon.

In a restaurant, a duo eat steak.]

VOICEOVER: So how can consumers and businesses trust that their premium Aussie steak truly comes from the paddock promised on the label?

[Long dotted lines run from skyscrapers into the air. Handshake symbols show up on some of the lines. The logos for Data61 and the CSIRO sit above the buildings.

Text: Blockchain Technology.

Oblong symbols are connected in a chain. Each symbol contains five coloured pentagons. Five pentagons budge into the open oblong at the end of the chain. The oblong closes and a fresh empty, open oblong shows up at the end of the chain.]

VOICEOVER: To solve this problem, CSIRO’s Data61, Australia’s leading data innovation group, is working to help industry adopt revolutionary Blockchain technology.

[Pictures show up in a series of six arrows signifying a supply chain – a cow, a factory, transport, a warehouse, a shop, and a plate. Silos emerge above the arrowsDotted lines budge from the the arrows to silos. Some silos are not connected to some arrows.]

VOICEOVER: Agricultural supply chain transactions are typically recorded in isolated data silos, making it difficult and time-consuming to audit the origin of products and prevent imitations from sneaking in.

[The blockchain graphic substitutes the silos. When a coloured pentagon shows up above one arrow, then pentagons of the same colour soon emerge above all the other arrows, and then inwards the open blockchain oblong. Blockchains show up below the arrows as well. These blockchains are also coordinated with all the arrows.]

VOICEOVER: Blockchain technology, on the other forearm, is not wielded by any single party. Rather, it’s operated by a collective. It provides neutral ground for all stakeholders in the supply chain to record their interactions on a distributed ledger.

[In the blockchain above the arrows, the dots are substituted by padlocks in every oblong. The blockchains below the arrows are substituted by blue prize ribbons and handshake symbols.

A magnifying circle highlights a blockchain’s oblong. Ticks show up inwards all the pentagons.]

VOICEOVER: Blockchain’s transparency and inherent resistance to tampering creates a distributed network of trust and integrity. Which means anyone can check every step in the history of the goods across the supply chain.

[Circles containing food, then a cow a factory and a truck are surrounded by concentric rings of dotted lines.

A handshake symbol is labelled ‘Trust’. A tick inwards a decorated circle is labelled “Food Safety”. A prize ribbon is labelled “Quality Brands”.

A padlock inwards a circle is labelled “Secure Trade”. A dollar sign in a circle is labelled “Finance”.]

VOICEOVER: When it comes to food, having reliable data that shows exactly where and how ingredients were grown, processed and distributed is essential to establish trust and food safety, as well as build high-quality brands, improve efficiency and secure trade. It also creates opportunities for fresh kinds of finance and insurance. To collaborate with Data61, visit data61.csiro.au/blockchain

[On a black screen, the logos for Data61 and the CSIRO show up above the text, “To collaborate with Data61, visit data61.csiro.au/blockchain.”]

What’s the beef about blockchain?

While we can’t paint a utter picture of all the opportunities for blockchain technology at present, a number of initial recommendations are evident. Blockchain is continually being explored globally by governments, enterprises and the begin up ecosystem.

Our recommendations in the report include:

  • Increase research and development (R&D) on trustworthy blockchains
  • Test blockchains for ‘rainy day screenplays’
  • Scrutinise technology-specific risks for fresh systems
  • Provide indicative guidance on sufficient evidence for regulatory acceptance of blockchain-based system
  • Inform regulators and businesses about the typical technical risks and limitations of blockchain technologies
  • Implement technologically-neutral regulation and policy.

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