The rapid rise of blockchain caught national governments off guard, with lawmakers first ignoring this suite of new technologies and then scrambling to respond when it suddenly became clear how far-reaching their impacts would be. Regulation always lags technology, but we are finally seeing the first coherent responses. Some jurisdictions have proven hostile. Others have been more sympathetic, realising the opportunities that blockchain offers. Australia is fortunately one of the latter, recently publishing a detailed report describing its national roadmap towards a ‘blockchain empowered-future’.
The report is a very welcome development, and is broadly positive about blockchain and the possibilities it brings. For example, the authors note that blockchain can be expected ‘to generate an annual business value of over US$175 billion by 2025 and in excess of US$3 trillion by 2030’. This presents a major opportunity for Australia, which is keen to position itself as a leader in the space. There are, in particular, key opportunities for agriculture, education and financial services (particularly in regard to KYC and identity checking requirements).
‘Together, we can drive the long-term development and adoption of blockchain technology, and capitalise on the tremendous economic and social opportunities it offers.’
– The Hon Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology
Blockchain enables businesses and users to ‘save money, solve problems, increase efficiencies in multiple processes, and enable new opportunities.’ Of course, there are also challenges – but Australia is well-placed and prepared to put in the work and investment required to meet these.
The report identifies three critical areas in which the government can assist in furthering Australia’s blockchain sector:
- Effective, efficient and appropriate regulation and standards
- The skills and capabilities necessary to drive innovation
- Strong international investment and collaboration
At Chrono.Tech, we are pleased to see that the government is taking blockchain seriously, and welcome the report’s endorsement of the technology. We also look forward to seeing further appropriate and comprehensive regulation put into place, giving businesses like ours a clear setting within which to operate and provide new products and services.
On the second point, Chrono.Tech is already a hub for skills, bringing together some of the most talented blockchain developers in the space. We welcome the commitment to increasing the national skill level, since it can only benefit our own project and other blockchain initiatives like it.
Finally, we agree that blockchain must be an international phenomenon. Whatever our location and national skills, blockchain infrastructure and communities are global. These are projects that connect and bring people together around the world, reducing frictions and opening access to services that were previously restricted.
We await further developments with interest, but are cautiously optimistic that the Australian authorities have taken a step in the right direction ??