Australia backs transparent tech blockchain
As part of Blockchain Roadmap, grants A$5.6M to companies Metal Tech News – July 14, 2021
Last updated 7/13/2021 at 5:14pm
The Australian federal government July 12 announced grants of more than A$5.6 million (US$4.2 million) toward demonstrating how blockchain technology can support supply chain solutions and help ease regulatory burdens as part of its wider Australian Blockchain Roadmap.
"The Blockchain Pilot Grants will demonstrate the potential for blockchain to help businesses to save money and cut red tape by improving processes such as tracking products throughout the supply chain and transferring customer information," said Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter.
The two recipients of the blockchain pilot grants are:
• Everledger – has received A$3 million to investigate how blockchain technology can be used to create a "digital certification" for critical minerals throughout the extraction and movement phases. This will help companies in the sector to ensure adherence to compliance regulations and increase the demand for Australian products in global markets while also simplifying the process and lowering costs.
• Convergence.tech – has received A$2.6 million to leverage blockchain technology to help automate key reporting processes under the Excise system, a commodity-based tax on goods including beer and spirits. This will help companies in the sector to reduce compliance costs associated with the creation, storage, and transportation of their products.
"These two successful projects will also highlight opportunities to improve the technical and regulatory environment for blockchain in Australia, bolster blockchain literacy and support collaboration between Australian governments, the private sector, and blockchain companies," added Porter.
Conceived initially to track the transactions of cryptocurrency such as bitcoin, blockchain has evolved as a means of safely and transparently tracking goods from mines to consumers, among other industries that involve raw materials to finished products.
Blockchain offers all parties involved in a business network a secure and synchronized record of transactions. A blockchain ledger records every transaction sequence from beginning to end, whether it is hundreds of steps in a supply chain or a single online payment.
As each transaction occurs, it is put into a block. Each block is then connected to the one before and after it, with groups of transactions being linked. Subsequently, a kind of fingerprint of each block is added to the next, creating an irreversible chain, which is why blockchain is an ideal method for recording the mining, refining, and distribution of the most valuable goods in the world.
Founded in 2015, Everledger combines blockchain with artificial intelligence, intelligent labeling, and internet of things technologies to track a product through its complete lifecycle.
With offices found worldwide, Everledger focuses on digitally streamlining the compliance process by helping share the history of an asset more efficiently and accurately.
Everledger's technology handles some of the most valuable commodities, like diamonds, by tracking every aspect of contact with the supply chain, from mine to manufacturer, from retailer to the hands of the consumer. So, for individuals interested in knowing the history of their next wedding ring or exotic gift, whether it has been ethically sourced, has a clean bill of sale, or is compliant with environmental standards, the information is cataloged and tracked every step of the way.
With the Australian grant, Everledger will apply this technology toward tracking critical minerals from Down Under mines to their delivery into global markets.
As part of its National Blockchain Roadmap, the Australian government has set out a strategy for government, industry, and researchers to realize the opportunities and address challenges unique to blockchain technology.
The roadmap proposes 12 signposts for a blockchain-empowered future and they are:
• Formalize the National Blockchain Roadmap Advisory Committee.
• Establish a collaborative model comprising working groups of industry, the research sector, and government to analyze subsequent use cases.
• Investigate options for progressing the three use cases in the roadmap.
• Establish and coordinate a group of government blockchain users to discuss the learnings from existing government use cases to further diffuse across the scale of government.
• Look internationally to identify examples of countries using blockchain to provide efficient government services.
• Work closely with blockchain providers to engage with the Business Research and Innovation Initiative program.
• Ensure that blockchain is included in broader policy work to increase management capability around digital technologies.
• Work with Austrade (Australian Trade and Investment Commission) on a capability program for Australian blockchain start-ups.
• Work with Austrade to deliver a blockchain-focused inbound investment program.
• Leverage existing bilateral agreements to consider pilot projects or collaborations incorporating blockchain technology with other countries.
• Work with relevant government departments to ensure Australian businesses can connect to the emerging digital trade infrastructure being developed.
In this condensed summary of the roadmap signposts, it is evident the Australian government intends to enact many policy changes to shift to blockchain technology as a means of tracking its many industries' commodities.
With the help of blockchain expert Everledger, while it may be years or even decades until a fully realized system of transparency becomes a reality, Australia is well on its way to transitioning to a digital future.
The complete Roadmap can be read at https://www.industry.gov.au/data-and-publications/national-blockchain-roadmap.
More information on blockchain technology can be read at Blockchain provides mining accountability in the January 22, 2020 edition of Metal Tech News, and details on how mining companies are implementing this technology to better comply with environmental, social, and governance standards (ESG) at Rio Tinto STARTs transparency campaign in the February 10, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News.