The national blockchain roadmap is all about progressing the country towards a blockchain-empowered future. Engagement with the industry and researchers resulted in the roadmap to highlight blockchain’s potential and opportunities that exist.
Make no mistake, the Australian government is all over blockchain technology and the powers to be are laser focused on this new gold rush. According to Gartner, blockchain will generate an annual business value of over USD$ 175 billion by 2025 and is projected to rise to over USD$ 3 trillion by 2030. By 2023, blockchain will support the global movement and tracking of US$2 trillion worth of goods and services annually. Within the financial services industry alone, analysts predict blockchain will save US$15–20 billion annually by 2022. The costs to Australian food and wine producers of direct product counterfeiting and substitution, was estimated to be over AU$1.68 billion in 2017 alone. Scenarios like this make it ripe for blockchain adoption on a large scale.
In terms of signposts for the future, a five year plan that runs from 2020 to 2025, has essentially 12 key facets. A National Blockchain Roadmap Steering Committee will oversee incubators, entrepreneurs, research programmes and even fintech initiatives. The second facet will involve working groups to provide advice to the committee on regulatory challenges. Thirdly, options will be investigated in terms of completing a full economic analysis of possible use cases. The fourth thrust will be about establishing a group of government blockchain users to discuss learnings, diffuse them and identify further opportunities. Identifying examples of countries using blockchain to provide efficient government services is the fifth facet.
The sixth signpost revolves around working closely with blockchain providers to know how to provide good solutions. Broader policy work is also needed to increase management capability across digital technologies, and developing common frameworks and course content for blockchain qualifications forms the seventh and eight thrusts. The ninth and tenth facets of the program revolve around developing blockchain startups with the help of Austrade to have a blockchain focused inbound investment program too. Finally, the last two facets of the plan are about leveraging existing bilateral agreements to consider pilot projects and work with relevant government departments to ensure Australian businesses can connect into emerging digital infrastructures.
A 2018 PWC survey of global executives concluded that 7% currently consider Australia to be a blockchain leader, ahead of Japan (6%), the UK, Denmark, India and Hong Kong (each at 5%). While still significantly behind the US (29%) and China (18%), respondents predicted that only Australia, China and India were on target to expand their share through to 2023. Financial services are seen as the most advanced industry in developing blockchain (46%) compared with industrial products and manufacturing (12%), energy and utilities (12%), healthcare (11%) and government (8%). However, these figures represent a shift away from the financial services sector as the near-exclusive user of blockchain technology in 2017 (82%) and a growing engagement with blockchain’s potential across a broader range of industries. As outlined in this Roadmap, there are significant opportunities for the technology across multiple sectors in the Australian economy: to save money, solve problems, increase efficiencies in multiple processes, and enable new opportunities.
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