Thursday, 30 August 2018 16:01

Future Hub: 'one-stop shop for blockchain expertise'

Lakeba chief growth officer and Future Hub head Darren Younger Lakeba chief growth officer and Future Hub head Darren Younger

Australian technology company Lakeba Group's blockchain division has set up Future Hub, "a one-stop shop for blockchain expertise," according to Lakeba chief growth officer and Future Hub head Darren Younger.

The idea behind Lakeba's Future Hub is to combine the company's technology skills with expertise from financial, legal and other relevant specialisms.

A number of projects are already underway in various industries, said Younger, but not many are at the stage where the parties can be identified.

Examples include financial services (using blockchain to avoid pay-slip fraud), health (attesting to the authenticity of laboratory results), agriculture (protecting data from IoT devices), supply chain (validating goods or services), energy (to provide proof that a retailer has purchased as much green energy as it claims to have delivered to customers), and the intersection of investment and tourism (granting investors tokens representing their share in a resort, and then allowing those tokens to be used as currency at the resort).

Projects and use cases vary, Younger told iTWire, but an important part of Future Hub's purpose is to help people find situations where there is a real business case for blockchain.

For example, proofs of concept developed with a large retailer led to the conclusion that the technology wasn't a good fit for those particular cases.

Even when the technology itself is appropriate, taxation, legal or regulatory issues may get in the way.

One project that has been made public is a partnership with auction-style loans and deposits marketplace Lodex. Announced last week, the idea is to use blockchain to directly connect borrowers and lenders though a service called Blockloan.

Earlier this week, Lakeba announced that tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton is supporting Future Hub.

"With the support of Grant Thornton’s technology industry team, the Future Hub will be greatly strengthened with the proven taxation authority and accounting governance leadership Grant Thornton brings to the table," said Lakeba Group founder and chief executive Giuseppe Porcelli.

Grant Thornton tax partner Aryk Bechler said his firm's alignment with Lakeba’s Future Hub offers a powerful incentive for progressive business organisations to embrace emerging technology, giving them license to thrive in an ecosystem that delivers on three critical aspects; legal, taxation and the technology development itself.

Law firm Piper Alderman was previously announced as Future Hub's legal partner.

In April this year, Lakeba formed a partnership with Macquarie University to provide students with practical exposure and active involvement in blockchain developments as part of the university's professional and community engagement program.

Around the same time, IOT Group's IOT Blockchain Advisory Service partnered with Lakeba with an eye towards applying blockchain to the energy sector, in particular to allow consumers with rooftop solar to trade power with their neighbours.

Last year, Lakeba unveiled its "Shelfie" robot that was designed to examine store shelves to determine stock levels.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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