The Australian government this week unveiled its $574 million Digital Business Plan that includes seven-figure grants for distributed ledger technology initiatives.
Announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison ahead of next week’s Federal Government budget, the plan outlines $4.95 million in support for “two blockchain pilots directed at reducing business compliance costs.” Morrison said:
“The plan supports Australia’s economic recovery by removing out-dated regulatory barriers, boosting the capability of small businesses, and backs the uptake of technology across the economy.”
Piper Alderman partner Michael Bacina told Cointelegraph that these two projects are important “to help demonstrate and unlock the value of blockchain":
“With blockchain adoption accelerating around the world, this funding is a very welcome boost to the Australian blockchain industry and our local expertise.”
As part of the plan, $480 million has been designated for various technological initiatives that could intersect distributed ledger technologies, including $183 million towards a new digital identity system, and $301 million for developing a single business register — allowing businesses to quickly view, update and maintain their business registry data in one location.
National Blockchain Lead Chloe White from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources called the direct funding “a huge win for Australian blockchain today” adding that it “is the biggest investment the Government has made in the sector.”
Over the last eight months, White has been working closely with industry leaders to implement Australia’s National Blockchain Roadmap and announced two blockchain working groups for supply chain and educational credentialing. White noted:
“These pilots will complement the National Blockchain Roadmap, which is driving working groups on RegTech, supply chains, cybersecurity and credentialing.”
Throughout 2020, the government has shown a growing interest in distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain application. In September, the Select Committee on Financial Technology (FinTech) and Regulatory Technology (RegTech) published an interim report with over 50 blockchain citations. Submissions to the committee reported that blockchain's potential is “estimated at $175 billion annually within five years and $3 trillion by 2030”.