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Blockchain will have profound effect on economy, says Data61 study

George Nott | June 8, 2017
CSIRO's Data61 reports the risks and opportunities of distributed ledger technology and smart contracts.

Nevertheless, the study's authors sense we are on the cusp of something big around blockchain.

Group leader of Data61's Software Systems group, Mark Staples said: "It feels to me now, blockchain feels like what the internet felt like in the late 90s."


Ignore and perish

Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Craig Laundy told gathered media yesterday that blockchain had suffered an image problem, but had reached an inflection point.

"It's obviously an emerging technology but the waters have been muddied somewhat with Bitcoin and the dark web. And it is fair to say also there has probably been pushback from industries where this runs the risk of being a major disruptor," Laundy said.

"However in the commercial world, the reality of it is that at some stage private enterprise works out - hey this could be a major fork in the road, we've got two choices: we embrace and invest, or we ignore and perish."

In a statement, Treasurer Scott Morrison, said blockchain would have a "profound impact" on the economy.

"We should all be answering the question, whether in Government or the private sector about how we can use blockchain developments right across our economy," he said.


Centre stage

Australia is setting itself up as a world leader in blockchain technology.

Independent body Standards Australia heads an international technical committee in developing ISO standards for blockchain.

"This exciting initiative will put Australia at the centre stage of global innovation and digital disruption," said Standards Australia CEO, Dr Bronwyn Evans at the time.

In May a 26-member delegation from Austrade, Data61 and New South Wales and Victoria state governments represented Australia at blockchain summit Consensus in New York.

Earlier this year the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released guidance to help Australian corporations that are considering the technology.


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