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IR Ventures: New hub bolsters Australia’s blockchain development

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Australia is fertile land for blockchain firms, and hubs like these help them grow.

Independent Reserve (IR), one of Australia's most prominent cryptocurrency exchanges, has cut the ribbon on its new IR Ventures blockchain accelerator in North Sydney.

The Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA), Australia's leading cryptocurrency industry group, is already confirmed as a tenant.

On the move

"When we founded Independent Reserve in 2013, the blockchain ecosystem in Australia was non-existent; we knew something had to change. We had a vision of helping accelerate blockchain innovation in Australia which underlines our core purpose at Independent Reserve – helping foster a vibrant and thriving community behind blockchain entrepreneurship and innovation," said Independent Reserve CEO Adrian Przelozny.

"We began by building one of Australia’s first digital currency exchanges to ensure that the footprint of blockchain innovators across the country could be recognised and continue to spur on the adoption of digital currencies by making them mainstream. IR Ventures extends on that vision and our commitment of working towards one common goal: developing our local blockchain ecosystem and strengthening Sydney's credentials as a regional hub for blockchain innovation."

To that end, IR Ventures aims to offer a holistic development space for up to 24 Australian companies in early commercialisation stages as well as those building blockchain and fintech solutions and supporting Australia's expanding blockchain industry.

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Beyond the physical space, startups can also access IR Ventures' cross-industry range of mentors, including representatives of the law firm Piper Alderman, venture capital firm KTM Ventures, accounting firm PKF and app security company Entersoft, as well as the team at Independent Reserve and the other hub residents.

“Every now and again you get to work with an amazing company and this is Independent Reserve," said KTM Ventures Innovation Fund chief investment officer Martin Rogers. "IR Ventures is the next leg of the journey, allowing for the iterative breed of start-ups to join on the success of Independent Reserve. We are honoured at KTM Ventures to be part of the journey and look forward to the next implementations of innovation."

Australia is turning into a bit of a blockchain centre of the Asia Pacific region, with many overseas firms coming in largely due to the relatively clear regulatory climate around digital assets in Australia. By setting up shop in Australia, some companies are hoping to "export" – in a manner of speaking – the benefits of this regulatory clarity.

According to the 2018 EY Fintech Australia census (PDF), Australia ranks 5th of 22 markets globally for rates of fintech adoption, while Australia's biggest banks, the ASX, several law firms, housing institutions and many more have all proven to be enthusiastic explorers of the crypto space so far. Also, overseas investment might be more willing to enter the space because of the wide breadth of cross-industry blockchain knowledge they can likely find Down Under.

Accelerators abound, mostly in Melbourne so far, but Australia's burgeoning blockchain industry can almost certainly benefit from more.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, XLM and BTC.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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