Australia’s National Blockchain Roadmap was officially released in February 2020. Since then, significant funding and planning have gone into actioning key areas cited in the plan. While Australian businesses have been using a combination of blockchain and other technologies in the agricultural, education and finance sectors, we may shortly see emerging solutions in areas like supply chain management, credentialing, cybersecurity, and regtech (regulatory compliance technology).
What is the national blockchain roadmap?
The development of the roadmap was announced in early 2019 and officially released by the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology on 7 February 2020. According to the press release:
The National Blockchain Roadmap sets a number of signposts for the future, highlighting initiatives that include the development of common frameworks for blockchain education, working with Austrade on a capability development program for start-ups and pilot projects with other countries.
With an initial $100 000 of funding from the government, the roadmap outlined the potential business opportunities, job creation, and economic benefits Australia could gain by embracing the use of blockchain technology.
Along with the release of the blockchain roadmap, Standards Australia was also provided with $350 000 in funding to address the need for regulation and lead the development of international blockchain standards. Having internationally aligned standards can allay concerns many parties have about the large-scale use of blockchain; this includes the integrity of data, the security of systems, balancing privacy with transparency, and the legal status of smart contracts.
At the end of 2020, the National Blockchain Roadmap Steering Committee was formed. The group brings together experts from private industry, government, and academia to realise and promote blockchain technology in Australia. This committee created four working groups that target specific areas of potential blockchain application including supply chains, credentialing, cybersecurity, and regtech.
What is happening in 2021?
So what has happened since Australia’s national blockchain roadmap was released last year?
At the beginning of March, Australia’s Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology held a public hearing that detailed the work and research being conducted. One area of focus was the blockchain programs being funded by the government.
The first project was awarded $11.4 million in funding and aims to enable Australian start-ups to pitch ideas for a blockchain-based regulatory solution. The committee is in the process of identifying four main areas of challenge and once decided, will invite SMEs to develop a proposal on how they will address these challenges. Successful proposals will be awarded $100 000 to develop a feasibility study, and of those, a select number will be invited to apply for a grant to develop a pilot to commercially implement their solution. This program builds upon the key area of ‘supporting start-ups’ cited in the national blockchain roadmap.
The second project has seen the government provide $6.9 million in funding to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to explore the use of blockchain for regulation. The department has allocated the funding to two pilot projects that aim to demonstrate how blockchain can be used to reduce the burden of regulatory compliance. The first project concerns the use of critical minerals and the second is centered around food and beverage provenance.
The critical minerals pilot will support a solution that addresses the need for supply chain integrity and contributes to Australia’s National Ethical Certification Scheme. The project will assist in proving the origins of locally produced minerals set to be exported to international markets. The food and beverage pilot calls for a solution to address the challenges of complying with excise tax regulations throughout spirit production and supply. Both of these pilots will receive a single grant of up to $3 million each and applications to work on them are currently open until 29 April 2021. Blockchain has long been known for its ability to efficiently track and trace transactions; this hinders the chance of fraud and human error and presents unique benefits to industries that are subjected to rigorous compliance auditing.
Blockhead Technologies is excited to be a part of Australia’s growing blockchain economy with our suite of solutions.
Contact us today to see how we can help your business become more secure, auditable and ESG-ready with blockchain technology.