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Australian blockchain delegation readies for Consensus New York Featured

A 26-member blockchain delegation is preparing to showcase Australia’s blockchain capabilities and technologies at Consensus 2017 in New York next week.

The New York presentation at Consensus, taking place from 22 to 24 May, is an initiative of Austrade, the CSIRO’s Data 61 and the state governments of New South Wales and Victoria, with the support of the Australian Digital Currency and Commerce Association.

Nicola Watkinson, Austrade’s senior trade and investment commissioner, USA and Canada, says the mission to Consensus 2017 provides a unique platform to profile Australia as a global leader in the testing and development of blockchain technology and standards, and position Australia as an attractive investment destination.

“New York City is also a hotbed for blockchain technology, management and innovation. From digital currencies, to payments, decentralised energy to smart contracts and cloud storage, New York City is a vital research, development and deployment market for disruptive technology.”  

According to Wilkinson, blockchain technology has attracted increasing global attention due to its ability to disrupt existing business models and processes, with the emerging technology having the potential to build trust, reduce cost and accelerate secure transactions across a range of sectors.

By using cryptography, blockchains can allow multiple parties to keep private information private, while remaining publicly auditable, providing a foundation for multi-party trust.

And, Wilkinson says blockchain technology is also increasingly becoming a viable tool for financial services startups and large corporations.

“Australia is well positioned to provide global leadership and has become a pioneer in proof-of-concept and adoption of blockchain technologies. Australian financial institutions, in particular, stand in a globally competitive position.”

Wilkinson cites the Australian Government announcement in the budget of  its intention to eliminate Bitcoin double tax.

Specifically, the government will seek to align the GST treatment of digital currencies such as Bitcoin with regular currencies in a bid to promote the growth of Australia’s fintech industry.

“Australian corporates are also embracing blockchain technology. All four major Australian banks have blockchain innovation programmes that have already delivered successful proofs of concept," said Nicholas Giurietto, chief executive of the Australian Digital Currency and Commerce Association.

“Commercial deployment of a blockchain-based solution by one or more players in the finance sector is likely within the next 12 months.”

Wilkinson also pointed to the Australian Stock Exchange as another organisation embracing blockchain technology, with its evaluation of replacement options for its clearing, settlement and asset registration with broader plans to become the first exchange in the world to upgrade to post-trade services using the technology.

And also cited was Standards Australia leading the development of International Blockchain Standards as chair and secretariat for the International Organisation for Standardisation’s technical committee on blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.

“In March this year, Standards Australia released its roadmap for Blockchain Standards Report which outlined how the organisation will work to deliver measures to support the privacy, security and interoperability of blockchain systems globally,” said Dr Bronwyn Evans, Standards Australia chief executive.

“It is this stewardship which demonstrates Australia’s global leadership in the world of blockchain and further underpins our participation at Consensus,’ Watkinson concluded.

Consensus 2017 will feature more than 100 speakers and 2000 attendees representing over 800 companies from 35 countries.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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