Australia leading international blockchain standards

The Treasurer has welcomed the decision by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to support Australia’s proposal to develop new international standards on blockchain.

Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The technology is attracting attention across many sectors of the economy and there is growing global recognition of its potential to re-engineer benefits through greater data sharing.

The technology utilises powerful algorithms to allow multiple, independent parties to share digital information or transact with one another, using distributed or shared ledgers. Such environments are typically not ‘owned’ or dominated by any one user, but still allow all parties to have confidence in the integrity of the shared content.

“The Turnbull Government is excited by the opportunities of distributed ledger technology. We want Australia to be a leading global player in this new area,” the Federal Treasurer said recently.

“Establishing standards around this emerging technology will provide a common language for industry, policy makers, regulators and technology developers. This will provide a basis for ensuring interoperability as this technology becomes more widely used.”

“The Turnbull Government is particularly pleased ISO is backing Australia to lead the international committee. Leading this committee will cement Australia’s position at the forefront of blockchain technology.”

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Blockchain to revolutionise Australian financial markets

“Why is it that buying a house should necessarily take 4-6 weeks to complete, even if a buyer has the cash to buy it outright? Why can’t they buy it this minute, and sell it to someone else the next?” questioned Sapien Ventures’ Victor Jiang.

“Imagine a world where we can do those kinds of transactions, at those speeds.

“Australia is uniquely positioned in the world of blockchain. As of now, we are the world-pioneers in the real-life adoption of blockchain technologies in any significant commercial undertaking.”

Australia’s FinTech Advisory Group has already made some real progress working with government, with the introduction of measures such as the CSIRO Data61 review of opportunities for distributed ledger technology (Blockchain). The review will fully examine the far-reaching potential and implications for both government and industry of the adoption of ‘blockchain’ technology.

More specifically, Data61 will explore the potential benefits or productivity gains for the Australian economy; the skills Australia might require to become a global leader as blockchain technology becomes more prevalent; as well as potential legislative and regulatory implications such as privacy consideration.

The review will look to provide practical use cases where blockchain technology could be piloted in government services and the private sector.

Stefan Hajkowicz from the Data61 Foresighting Team said a number of potential ‘proof of concept’ projects will be evaluated in conjunction with industry experts and across government.

“There are currently a few potential areas where we could explore opportunities – such as sharable registry information, verifiable supply chains and assessment of aggregate risk exposure in the financial services sector,” he said.

“This is a rapidly emerging area and now is definitely the right time to look at what it could mean for our economy.”

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