Asia has led the way with the progress made in the adoption of the Blockchain technology with two of the three biggest Crypto markets (South Korea & Japan) located there. However with the initial euphoria fizzing out on the premise of lack of regulation, most of the startups moved to more blockchain friendly jurisdictions like Malta and neighboring Singapore becoming the regional hubs of this digital revolution. Australia with its digital friendly economic policies, e-government initiatives & support for innovative ventures has benefited from the spillover effect of the “Blochchain corridor” up North.
Australia was one of the first countries in 2016 to utilize the blockchain technology combined with Internet of Things (IoT) in a global trade transaction of a shipment of cotton to China with Commonwealth bank of Australia & American Wells Fargo as the financial intermediaries. Australia has claimed the number two spot in e-governance according to a United Nations 2018 E-Government Survey, behind Denmark & ahead of South Korea, a position that it has held since the inception of these rankings in 2014. The decision to create the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has supported the Australian government in digitizing, streamlining & improving government services for the people by incorporating latest technologies.
Recent blockchain initiatives in Australian Public & Private sector is helping the country towards a blockchain future. The provincial government of Queensland was the first in the world to issue a government “virtual cryptobond” last year using smart contract technology to manage ownership & automating coupon payments. This was just the beginning. Some of the more recent developments have highlighted the strides Australia is taking in adopting the blockchain movement & becoming the premiere Blockchain government in the world.
Huobi expansion & Crypto Index fund:
The fourth biggest Crypto exchange by volume has been on an expansion spree ever since it moved out of Mainland China to set up base in Singapore. Huobi has already established presence in London, Silicon Valley and Canada to attract a global investor base. The strategic move to the “Land down under” has been cited to increasingly knowledgeable base of Crypto traders, growing number of mature blockchain projects & a strict regulatory regime in a separate continent. The Australian version of the trading platform has enabled Fiat to crypto trading in ten AUD cross pairs in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Power Ledger (POWR), Aelf (ELF), Cortex (CTXC), Data (DTA), IOST (IOST). It intends to add more pairs in the future.
More recently a Bitcoin startup CoinJar started a digital index fund where big name investors can invest with no hassle. The minimum requirement for investment is either AUD $2.5 million net worth or an annual income of AUD $250,000 with an initial investment of at least AUD $50,000. The fund offers two investment classes – Bitcoin class which offers exposure to the crypto kingpin only while the mixed class offering a mixture of bitcoin, ethereum, ripple & litecoin. The fund also offers multi signature wallet for added layer of security.
IBM Joint Venture:
Last month Australian government entered into a five-year, $1 billion AUD ($740 million USD) agreement, with the tech giant IBM to be its technology partner for different federal government departments. The agreement will see IBM bring seamless automation with re-engineered platforms for added security against cyber threats apart from planning to implement blockchain, AI & quantum computing solutions to the different departments in the long run. Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has already put aside $530,000 for blockchain research with the intention of staying in the top cadre of the digital governments in the world.
First ever Blockchain Bond:
The World Bank has partnered with the fourth largest bank of the nation, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to develop an Ethereum based blockchain bond denominated in Australian dollars. The technical details are not yet available but according to MIT Technology Review it will be run on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform. The expected proceeds of $50-60 million will go to the sustainable development initiatives of the World Bank. Keep in mind that WB issues $50-60 billion worth of bonds every year to support the humanitarian programs around the globe. It has been issuing bonds since 1989 & floated the first electronic bond in the year 2000. The bond is going to be referred as “bond-i” or Blockchain Offered New Debt Instrument, which also refers to an iconic Sydney spot – Bondi beach. CBA in Sydney & WB in Washington will be able to jointly operate the platform. CBA has also been actively using the blockchain recently in supply chain projects to improve the efficiency & accuracy.
First Crypto Bank:
Fred Schebesta, one of Australia’s leading tech entrepreneurs, founder of comparison website Finder & self-proclaimed time traveler plans to open a Crypto bank in Australia to serve the growing needs of Cryptocurrencies since the traditional banks are so afraid to touch the digital coins. Schebesta proclaims he can accomplish the task within 18 months but needs an authorized deposit taking institution license (ADI) to tap into his “multi billion dollar idea.” For this purpose, he has bought shares in Goldfields Money – the only bank in Western Australia with an ADI license. It remains to be seen though if he would be able to cross the regulatory hurdles.
The kangaroos are all set to reap the rewards of the increased industry adoption of the blochchain technology. With all the Crypto friendly initiatives they seem well ahead of the curve.
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