Australia to Release National Blockchain Roadmap After Year of Preparation

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The Australian government is going to launch its national blockchain strategy on Friday, Feb. 7, following a nearly year-long preparation.

It has been almost a year since the country’s Ministry for Industry, Science and Technology and Ministry for Trade, Tourism and Investment announced the national blockchain strategy and roadmap last March.

The new policy roadmap aims to make Australia’s nascent blockchain industry into a global leader, making the country’s wine industry, banking and finance the key priority sectors.

Special focus on domestic wine

Outlining the program’s development, Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, said that the five-year blockchain roadmap will underpin the work of regulators, startups and researchers on the matter, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Feb. 7. She also mentioned that the sector is set to be worth AU$259.4 billion ($175 billion).

Andrews pointed out blockchain’s purported capability to strengthen export opportunities, enabling domestic manufacturers to trace their goods, particularly when it comes to wine exports and wine labeling. Additionally, blockchain is expected to ensure wine’s provenance and cut part of expenditures.

Local wine is one of the most successful export products in Australia, with over 2,000 exporters shipping it to 123 destinations around the globe. In 2019, the country’s wine export volume reportedly grew by 3% to AU$2.91 billion ($1.9 billion), although volume declined by 12% to 744 million liters.

Australia’s spendings on blockchain

However, the government has ostensibly not yet allocated any funds to blockchain roadmap implementation.

As reported last March, previous blockchain investments from Australia’s liberal national government — under Prime Minister Scott Morrison — allocated AU$700,000 (~$500,000) to the country’s Digital Transformation Agency in 2018-19 explore the benefits of using blockchain for government payments, as well as AU$350,000 (~$250,000) to Standards Australia to promote the development of standardized international blockchain standards.

Other countries’ approach to blockchain spendings

The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE — a multi-stakeholder operation focused on science and technology — the Dubai Future Foundation and the World Economic Forum jointly released a paper in January, saying that the deployment of blockchain technology can save the UAE more than $3 billion.

Conversely, a major Russian firm recently decided to cut spendings on blockchain development in the country by at least 50%, as Cointelegraph reported in late January. Russian government-backed corporation Rostec is planning to spend 28.4 billion rubles ($453.2 million) on the development of blockchain technologies in Russia by 2024, instead of initial 55 billion ($877.8 million) to 85 billion rubles ($1.3 billion).