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Australia’s National Blockchain Roadmap released


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There are 12 signposts on Australia's road to blockchain.

The Australian government has released the National Blockchain Roadmap.

The roadmap makes a series of recommendations, which appear to be primarily based on the idea that blockchain has a lot of potential, but that if left alone, neither industry, government or academia has the ability to fully unlock that potential.

To that end, it's largely about bringing together a cross-sector group of participants from these three sectors, and setting clear, meaningful goals for them to pursue.

"While blockchain initially gained prominence in the public sphere through Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, its potential for the broader economy is beginning to be appreciated by other sectors," it says. "As outlined in this Roadmap, there are significant opportunities for the technology across multiple sectors in the economy: to save money, solve problems, increase efficiencies in multiple processes, and enable new opportunities. There are some challenges to realising these opportunities which need to be addressed in order to capitalise on this promising technology."

"Continued progress will rely on government, industry and the research sector sharing a vision and a focus for the development of blockchain for the whole economy, which this Roadmap’s signposts provide."

These signposts take the form of twelve recommendations, spaced out along a road that stretches from 2020 to 2025. Some of the signposts are very specific, while others are much broader.

1. Create a National Blockchain Roadmap Steering Committee

The idea is to transition the roadmap committee, which includes representatives of government, academia and industry, into a steering committee.

Its goal would be to help guide the caravan of government, industry and academia participants along the road, and support them as they go. A large part of this includes providing advice to all members on how they can better use the resources of each sector. For example, by highlighting relevant incubators and venture capital programs, or organising blockchain meet-ups.

The membership of the steering committee can be flexible. It can include relevant regulators, and secondments to the committee to support specific projects.

2. Establish a collaborative model for industry, academia and government to work together

Representatives of each sector can form working groups, with each sector providing equal funding.

The goal of these working groups will be to progress towards specific, live blockchain use cases. Three use cases were selected as good blockchain candidates.

  1. Agricultural supply chains, specifically wine exports
  2. Trusted credentials, specifically tertiary education credentials from Australian institutions
  3. Transferable digital KYC checks for the financial sector

As they work on these use cases, the steering committee will ensure that the working groups can engage with regulators, while the working groups will take obstacles to the steering committee, to help collaboratively bring these use cases to fruition.

3. Investigate the three use cases

The first step in bringing these use cases to life will be to conduct a full economic analysis of wine exports, credentialing and investigating a pilot project on KYC checks.

4. Establish a group of government blockchain users

Start using blockchain in government to get some learning experiences, and invite state and territory government representatives to discuss their learnings, promote these lessons across government, and identify further government use cases.

5. Identify international examples of working blockchain government services

"Look internationally to identify examples of countries using blockchain to provide efficient government services, for example, Estonia."

6. Engage with blockchain providers in the BRII program

The Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII) is a government grant that details up to five challenges the government currently faces in policy and service delivery areas. The grant is for applicants to conduct feasibility studies and then develop a proof of concept solution to the problem.

The goal of this step is to identify a challenge in one of the three use cases (wine, credentials, KYC) which the committee is sure blockchain can solve, and to put that challenge up for BRII grant applicants.

7. Ensure that blockchain is included in broader policy work

By ensuring blockchain is included in broader policy work, the committee hopes to increase management capability around digital technologies.

In other words, start skilling people up. Which leads neatly to...

8. Develop formal blockchain qualification frameworks

Drive collaboration between industry and educational institutions to develop common frameworks and course content for blockchain qualifications.

There are a few blockchain courses in Australia. The first ASQA-approved blockchain course is the Advanced Diploma of Applied Blockchain, and RMIT also has an online blockchain course, created in collaboration with Stone & Chalk, so this step may already be well underway.

Of course, the number of people inviting you to get rich trading Bitcoin with one simple trick still outnumbers these kinds of blockchain courses about infinity to one.

9. Work with Austrade on a development program for Australian blockchain startups

Work with Austrade on a program for blockchain startups, and link qualified blockchain companies to Austrade programs such as Landing Pads.

In other words, start laying the foundation for Australian blockchain startups to go global.

10. Work with Austrade on a blockchain-focused inbound investment program

Work to drive overseas investment to Australian blockchain startups.

11. Leverage existing bilateral agreements for international blockchain collaboration

Drive towards international pilot blockchain projects, or collaborations incorporating blockchain technology with other countries.

12. Ensure Australian businesses connect with blockchain

Work with relevant government departments to ensure Australian businesses can connect with the emerging digital trade infrastructure.

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Disclosure: The author holds BNB, BTC at the time of writing.

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