NEM Foundation launches Melbourne blockchain hub
Melbourne's innovation precinct is set to get a new fixture.
The NEM Foundation is eyeing up Australia, and it likes what it sees. It's so far enjoyed solid grassroots support in Australia, as well as a series of successful partnerships with Australian firms like TravelByBit. It has also partnered with New Zealand companies to help unlock the benefits of blockchain technology through grants and other contributions.
It's now setting up shop in Melbourne in the form of a new blockchain hub where dedicated NEM representatives will be present to engage with members of the public, and the community, to educate and communicate the NEM Foundation's vision of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
But like other startup hubs, it will also be a business incubator and a support centre for NEM-based blockchain startups, as well as hosting a range of blockchain events and educational programs.
"The launch of the NEM Blockchain Hub in Melbourne is a strong sign of our commitment towards supporting innovation in Australia and the world," said Jian Chan, NEM Foundation lead in Australia and New Zealand.
The NEM Foundation has enjoyed rapid expansion so far, part of which might be due to the presence of these kinds of hubs in other countries – and now Australia.
"Having first launched our Australian operations at the FinTech Australia Intersekt Festival last year, NEM is now present in over 40 countries," Chan adds.
LaunchVic, the startup support program established by the Victorian government in 2016, was also keen to welcome the new addition to the city's blockchain ecosystem.
"Blockchain is a fast-growing and evolving technology, and LaunchVic is pleased to welcome NEM.io Foundation to the Victorian Innovation Hub," said Kate Cornick, CEO of LaunchVic. "This is set to become a multi-sector co-working facility that celebrates collaboration and innovation for more than 360 of Australia’s top startups, accelerators and incubators."
Both the NEM Blockchain Hub and Blockchain Centre will also be a part of Stone & Chalk, one of Australia's fintech fixtures, which expanded from Sydney to Melbourne last year. Together they'll form a new element in the "innovation precinct" in the heart of Melbourne's CBD.
"We are excited to include NEM as part of the Stone & Chalk community," said Alan Tsen, general manager for Stone & Chalk. "Blockchain is an area of growth and we look forward to working together on initiatives to support the ecosystem here."
Significantly, it might also add a dose of diversity to the blockchain scene beyond awareness of bitcoin and Ethereum, and be a further example of a platform-level cryptocurrency, showing how they differ from each other.
"There is a demand within our community to understand the difference between various blockchain protocols and we are glad that we are able to work with NEM on this," notes Karen Cohen, general manager of the Blockchain Centre.
In addition to the Australian and New Zealand firms already with it, NEM says there are more Australian partners in the pipeline, as well as plans for some NEM-based ICOs in the future.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC, ADA