According to a recent article on Computerworld, the Australian Government's Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is on track to have a prototype blockchain platform ready by the end of the current financial year. At the moment the DTA is in the middle of a phase of discovery with Data61, in which they are "exploring the relevance and application of the blockchain for the government."
There are numerous areas where blockchain could help the Australian government save money and increase overall efficiency. Randall Brugeaud, who was appointed CEO of the DTA at the start of this year, has identified the Australian welfare system as a short-term goal for the implementation of the blockchain.
Mr. Brugeaud told a technical conference at the start of this year that the DTA will look for
"innovative ways to deliver government services safely and efficiently using blockchain", and that, "The potential of the blockchain to securely record the transactions will be investigated on the basis of the experience of other public and private sector organizations. "
Australia is a driving force in the adoption of blockchain
At $ 700,000 AUD, the money that was awarded by the DTA to, "investigates areas where blockchain technology may offer the highest value for government services," is small by global standards. Countries like South Korea and China are launching billions of dollars in blockchain research, and a single city in China has allocated more than a billion dollars for local development of blockchain.
All this said, Australia has been a leader in the development of blockchain technology for – world use cases. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) launched a proprietary blockchain logistics platform a few months ago when it used to ship an almond shipment from Victoria, Australia, to Hamburg, Germany.
The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) has also been working to move their commercial settlement platform onto blockchain. The ASX has decided to restore the departure date for its new blockchain regulation platform from 2020 to 2021. They are still on track to have the first blockchain platform for global equity settlement, and the ASX he is also seeking, "other asset classes that financial institutions still manage on legacy technology and manual processes" according to ASX CEO Dominic Stevens.
Blockchain for public and private applications
Social services represent a potential blockchain distribution. Most public assistance services could easily be addressed via a blockchain platform, and numerous areas where waste is possible could be eliminated through smart contracts that deliver benefits over pre-established lines.
It is not necessary for a government office to cut a check, or even to use a direct deposit when it can be easily automated with a blockchain platform that can be revised automatically in accordance with national guidelines. Eliminating the need for human control removes the potential for errors and at the same time reduces costs.
The same premise is fundamentally true for applications in the private sector of blockchain technology. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) recently formed a consortium with Herbert Smith Freehills, a law firm and IBM. They plan to build an Australian blockchain platform that allows the use of smart contracts in legal matters.
The consortium is planning to call the new platform the Australian National Blockchain (ANB). The goal is to enable companies to use smart contracts for many applications, including "The ability to record external data sources such as IoT data (Internet of Things), allowing these clauses to self-execute if the specified contractual conditions " according to a group press release.
Developing the benefits
The gains that Australia is creating with their support for blockchain technology are twofold. Firstly, Australia will benefit from the efficiency gains that almost certainly the Blockchain will create in many areas. Secondly, they will have experience in the transition to blockchain-based systems, which could help them compete globally as other nations move to blockchain.
ASX commented on the state of their blockchain transition, and why they were taking more time to launch it,
"Several respondents noted the possible risks, in particular to ensure that all users are ready by the expiration date, "they noted, and continued," Some have advocated a more gradual implementation approach, ASX recognizes this feedback, but remains of the opinion – informed by previous critical systems transition experience of market infrastructure – that the single cutover weekend is the most appropriate solution and is less risky than other alternatives such as running multiple systems in parallel. "
It is clear that moving critical systems from a settlement architecture at another is not an easy process. Now that ASX is taking steps to stay ahead of the curve, it could very well be in a position to help other exchanges launch their programs. The same goes for the logistics platform used recently by the CBA, which could play a much more important role in global trade in the coming years.