Blockchain not the best technology for every use considered, says Australian government report

Interesting article on innvationsaus.com about an investigation into using blockchain for government services, carried out by the Australian government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA).

The DTA was given $700,000 (£385,000) to investigate and came to the conclusion that there is an existing technology better than blockchain for every use in government it considered.

The investigation included a number of government agencies developing prototypes for the use of blockchain to deliver services. These included the Department of Human Services for welfare payments and the Department of Home Affairs for cargo settlement.

According to the report DTA chief digital officer Peter Alexander said: “Our position today, and this is an early write-up, is that blockchain is an interesting technology that would be well worth being observed, but without standardisation and a lot more work, for every use of blockchain that you would consider today there is a better technology.”

He said standardisation of blockchain might open up more opportunities for its use in providing government services.

“We’re not saying that blockchain doesn’t have potential but today, without standardisation, there is the challenge of blockchain becoming a little fragmented. When we get to the standardised blockchain then the opportunities for it will grow.”

At the  recent Blockchain Live event in London Vikesh Patel, head of UK, Ireland and the Nordics, at payments company Swift, which is owned by banks, also said standards are key if blockchain is to live up to its hype.

Patel said the need for standards was top of the wish list when it came to transmitting a piece of information to ensure it could be relied on.

“We have been looking at how we can support innovation in our ecosystem, and our primary work has been around standards,” he added. “In the many-to-many cross-border space, ISO20022 is the standard used to send financial messages. We have been looking at ways of applying that in our messaging today, and looking at new technologies including blockchain.”

Australia’s new prime minister, Scott Morrison, who is a fan of fintech, open banking and the technologies such as blockchain that will drive Australia’s future.

As treasurer, before being installed as prime minister, Morrison urged attendees at the Australian Fintech Awards in early August 2018 to take advantage of the disruption wave sweeping through the global economy.

“I am frankly counting on you not to stuff this up. You need to make this work…In today’s global economy, the ability for economies to become more productive is not being done the old way: the biggest transformer of productivity [will be] innovation,” he told attendees at the awards, as reported by the Australian Financial Review.

Read more on Computer Weekly about blockchain in Australia

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