It is expected that the distributed books and blockchain will provide a significant positive improvement to New Zealand's economy, according to a new report.
In the report, Books and distributed Blockchain – Opportunities for New Zealand, author Joshua Vial of Enspiral, found that these emerging technologies would likely have a positive impact on high-tech jobs and digital exports to New Zealand.
"There is much unclaimed ground in the blockchain space: widespread use of security tokens, social links on the blockchain, adoption of mass digital identity and centralized digital currencies," he writes.
He concludes that New Zealand could be a world leader in this space.
Fiala has interviewed more than 50 blockchain entrepreneurs and investors, government officials, academics and international experts, for the report, commissioned by Callaghan Innovation and the blockhouse block study, Centrality. The Ministry of Enterprise, Innovation and Employment also financed research.
"We expect this report to spark further discussion on the potential of emerging technologies such as blockchains and distributed registries," says Erica Lloyd, general manager, market effort and experience at Callaghan Innovation, in a statement. "Technological innovation is the way to increase our earnings and our productivity".
"Even if we are still in the beginning, there are significant opportunities for us to understand and apply the blockchain to sustainable and innovative innovation that can support our economy."
Andy Higgs, general manager of strategic partnerships at Centrality, said the report provided a useful analysis of the significant existing opportunities for distributed accounting and blockchain technologies.
"Blockchain represents an enormous opportunity, with over 11 billion dollars raised through the first coin offerings (ICO) in the first half of 2018. New Zealand has the opportunity to pave the way, thanks to our sense of equity and social inclusion, to ensure all New Zealanders benefit from the full potential of blockchain and decentralization ".
Spotlight on the public sector and primary industries
The report says that blockchains can offer governments new opportunities to improve transparency, prevent fraud and build trust in the public sector.
Mitigating the potential damage caused by financial crime by using this technology is a precious niche to be fully pursued
Short-term applications for better public services include audits, licensing claims, accreditation and secure document management. Possible longer-term applications include tax collection, reimbursement and distribution of benefits, eligibility guarantees, elections, procurement and social assistance payments. These applications, however, would require substantial progress on digital identity, digital inclusion and, possibly, digital currencies of central banks.
Many projects are focused on solving supply chain problems with distributed registries, which could have a significant impact on New Zealand's primary industries, the report says.
The report quotes how NZ Post and Fonterra have partnered with Alibaba to use blockchain technology to track consumer orders in an effort to increase food security. The centrality is experimenting with a supply chain traceability solution to show Kiwi products in international markets.
The report cites some considerations for the government and the private sector to make the most of the opportunities offered by blockchain technologies.
One of these is the establishment of a multidisciplinary research center for decentralized computer science, with particular attention to distributed accounting and blockchain technologies.
For example, the center could have research chairs focusing on technology, entrepreneurship and public policies with the flexibility to add chairs in other disciplines when opportunities arise.
Initial funding could come from both the public and private sectors, but the goal is to self-sustain through private funding from primary blockchain bases. The center could be hosted by a single university or a consortium and should aim to attract leading academic talent in our country.
The report says that another consideration is the establishment of a blockchain forum on preventing financial crime
As the report points out, blockchain and crypto-asset have been widely criticized for the activation of financial crime, but technology also offers significant potential to provide solutions.
The mitigation of potential damage caused by financial crime using this technology (in addition to using distributed records to reduce existing financial crime such as fraud and identity theft) is a valuable niche to be fully pursued, he says.
This will further strengthen New Zealand's reputation as a trusted jurisdiction, attracting quality companies in the country.
Likewise, the blockchain industry must recognize the high-risk nature of technology and the development of active resource solutions to keep people safe online. Crypto-goods and public registries offer the opportunity for sophisticated tools and techniques that keep people safe, discouraging financial crimes.
Another consideration in the use of technology is to help prioritize the adoption of digital identity and digital inclusion.
While digital identity is not inherently a blockchain technology, there is an important relationship that can greatly increase the value of blockchains and distributed registers, explains the report.
The best way to support the creation of neutral standards with respect to the supplier and the implementation of blockchain-compatible digital government system interfaces to integrate RealMe could be considered.
Many potential applications of distributed registers and blockchains are only interesting when a significant part of the population is using them.
Those who have access to these emerging technologies will have a significant advantage over people who do not, which will reinforce social inequality.
"The widespread adoption of digital identity and access to the digital service for all New Zealanders would help unlock the full potential of blockchain and distributed registries," concludes the report
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Tags innovationemerging technologycurrencydisruptiondigital dividegovernment CIONew Zealand Governmentdigital strategyCallaghan Innovationdisruptive technologyBlockchainMBIEprimary industriesdistributed ledgerdigital transformationleadershipCIO50 2019cybersecurityCentrality