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The Blockies: Meet Australia’s award-winning blockchain stars


The complete list of winners, and why they won, in Australia's inaugural blockchain awards.

Some of Australia's blockchain movers and shakers picked up a new accolade last night, at the Australian Digital Currency Association's annual "Blockies" blockchain award.

Let's meet the winners, for a look at what's happening in Australia's blockchain scene.

Individual awards

Blockchain Policy Maker or Influencer of the Year: Michael Bacina (Piper Alderman)

Michael Bacina is a partner in Piper Alderman's Blockchain Group, and a blockchain and cryptocurrency legal specialist. As one of Australia's top blockchain legal experts, with a combination of technical, regulatory and legal skills, he's been personally involved in many of the developments in the space.

As evolving regulations help pave the way for developments in blockchain, the experts who lend their thoughts to the shape of blockchain regulations become influencers in a very literal and meaningful way.

Blockchain Innovator of the Year: Kain Warwick (Synthetix)

Synthetix is a decentralised synthetic assets project, founded by Kain Warwick, who is also the CEO of blueshyft.

As it currently stands, Synthetix is self-evidently innovative in the important stablecoin space, creating systems such as Mintr which aim to allow anyone to easily create SNX-collateralised stablecoins, denominated as needed.

Prior to this, Synthetix's cutting edge was honed by its grand experiments in algorithmic stablecoins, and consistent efforts to surf the forefront of blockchain innovation.

As they say, innovation isn't something you just do once. It's an ongoing process of making something good better, and actively pushing the envelope.

Blockchain Entrepreneur of the Year: Fred Schebesta (Finder, HiveEx)

Fred Schebesta has a cool website called Finder with a robust selection of cryptocurrency content, as well as an OTC cryptocurrency exchange called HiveEx.

Much like innovation, entrepreneurialism isn't something you do just once. It's an ongoing process and constant search for solutions to match problems.

Blockchain Community Leader of the Year: Bok Khoo (BokkyPooBah)

Bok Khoo is an actuary and quantitiative software developer with over 28 years of industry experience, and clients from bank and corporate treasuries, investment managers, government entities, exchanges and financial soft vendors in several continents.

He's also BokkyPooBah; a well-known contributor on Ethereum stack exchange, a prolific GitHub developer and the host of BokkyPooBah's Ethereum Workshop.

At its heart blockchain is a social technology, and it's all about decentralised, open-source projects. Committed community builders like Bok Khoo exemplify this.

Female Blockchain Leader of the Year: Anya Nova (Power Ledger)

Anya Nova, cryptocurrency economist at Power Ledger, is leading the development of Power Ledger's energy financing products, with the overarching goal of crowdfunding the construction of new renewable energy projects, such as solar, wind and battery plants.

She's also a natural leader in every sense of the word when you consider the ideal leader as the right person in the right place at the right time, able to bring a confluence of skills and experiences to the table, to multiply the impact of their team, and make decisions and gauge risks better than anyone else.

In this context, Nova brings time spent in leadership positions at Rio Tinto and Shell, and experience managing startups and their stakeholders.

She also brings a background of growing up in Russia under a hyperinflationary period, helping spark interest in cryptocurrency and security tokens as a store of value and a way of empowering individual investment. Nova witnessed the "botched privatisation of public assets such as factories, mines and farms", which were intended to give shared ownership of these public assets to the people, but were instead abused through opacity and corruption to concentrate ownership of infrastructure in the hands of monopolistic oligarchs.

Power Ledger aims, in part, to use blockchain technology to help people personally invest in and own critical public energy infrastructure, using blockchain technology to ensure transparency and fairness in the process, as well as subsequent energy pricing.

Nova is helping lead the process, not only with the relevant industry and soft skills acquired throughout her career, and a profound interest in the potential of blockchain technology, but also with an inimitable degree of personal experience in the problem being solved, and the risks associated with poorly-implemented solutions.

In other words, the right person in the right place at the right time.

Blockchain Leader of the Year

Anya Nova of Power Ledger was named individual blockchain leader of the year.

Business awards

There were also a range of business awards.

Blockchain Advisor of the Year

ConsenSys, for its advice and support of a wide range of blockchain projects, including Australian names like Sempo which were nominees in other categories.

Digital Currency Exchange of the Year

Independent Reserve, for consistently going above and beyond. For example, with offerings such as a cryptocurrency tax estimator, for being Australia's first crypto company to make the AFR Fast Starters List, and for being Australia's first insured cryptocurrency exchange.

Government Blockchain Project of the Year

Everledger, for its wide-ranging work on government blockchain projects, and IP Australia for its blockchain initiatives. In addition to witnessing an explosion of blockchain-related patents in recent years, IP Australia is a global leader in intellectual property monetisation via blockchain.

Corporate Blockchain Project of the Year

Project Bond-i, for being a Commonwealth Bank-helmed corporate blockchain project for the World Bank, to issue corporate bonds on the blockchain.

It may have also been awarded bonus points for its name being a triple-layered pun.

"Project Bond-i" simultaneously refers to:

  • Bondi Beach, as emblematic of Australia.
  • Blockchain Offered New Debt Instrument (BONDI) as an acronym.
  • Bond-i, because it's for corporate bonds.

Blockchain Start-up or Scale-up of the Year

Till Payments, for its all-in-one, blockchain-based payment terminals, simplifying the acceptance of hundreds of different payment instruments for merchants.

Blockchain Business of the Year

Till Payments was named overall blockchain business of the year.

Also watch

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

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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