A week of major developments for blockchain in Australia

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For blockchain, 2017 was year of the ICO boom, 2018 saw the dust settling on the hype train, and so far 2019 has seen the need for regulatory support in order to move blockchain adoption further into the mainstream.

There have been a number of developments in the past week that have elevated Australia’s position on the global blockchain stage, cementing the country as a driving force when it comes to innovation.

From corporate mergers and government funding to international blockchain powerhouses setting up shop Down Under, there’s a lot to be excited about as a blockchain enthusiast in Australia.

Merger strengthens blockchain voice in Australia

Blockchain Australia (BA) and Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA) have announced they’ll merge to form a united blockchain voice in Australia. The merged entity will go by the name of Blockchain Australia and will work together towards their shared goal of boosting blockchain adoption in the country.

“The merger of ADCA and Blockchain Australia brings together the full spectrum of the blockchain community in Australia to advocate for the adoption of blockchain technology,” CEO of ADCA, Nick Giuretto said.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for this rapidly growing industry to have a united voice and help lead the way for Australia to become a leader internationally.”

“The blockchain economy opens up numerous business opportunities, either in reinventing existing business models or creating new and innovative ventures, that have not been possible, until now,” said David Jackson, CEO of the existing BA and board member of the new Blockchain Australia.

The board of the new Blockchain Australia will see experts and industry leaders in all sectors working with various Australian regulatory bodies including local, state and federal governments. Seeing as both entities were previously fighting a similar fight, the merger will see a united front presented to government bodies for consideration moving forward, strengthening their position.

Blockchain leaders taking notice

Blockchain Australia’s efforts have already proved fruitful. From the 18th to 20th of March, the ADC Global Blockchain Conference elevated Australia’s blockchain presence to the world stage.

The event brought together attendees, industry experts, regulators, members of government, businesses and entrepreneurs from over 30 countries including Binance, tZERO and TravelbyBit to learn, collaborate and develop a roadmap for the development of blockchain technology. And it all took place in South Australia.

During the conference three international blockchain companies announced they’ll use Adelaide’s technology hub Lot Fourteen as their Australian base.

The South Australian Government has invested in Lot Fourteen, on the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital, and the site has already been selected as the home of the National Space Agency.

One of the global blockchain companies to establish roots in Adelaide is Hong Kong-based Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange based on trading volume.

Binance CFO, Wei Zhou, also used the conference as an opportunity to announce Binance Lite, a platform that enables Australians to purchase cryptocurrencies at news agencies across the country. The goal of Binance Lite is to demystify the process of acquiring and transacting with cryptocurrencies, which has previously been cited as a roadblock to mass adoption.

Other global companies setting up base in Lot Fourteen include Shyft, a company working hard on identity and compliance banking solutions and SALT Lending, an American and Mauritian operation offering loans secured by crypto assets.

Growing Government acceptance

In addition to the international representation, there were two announcements from the Federal Government at the event. The Government has committed to provide $100,000 to support Australian blockchain companies to go to the Consensus Conference in New York, one of the world’s most notable blockchain events, which will be held in May this year.

The Federal Government also announced they are working on a roadmap for blockchain implementation and adoption in Australia.  The roadmap itself is set to be constructed with close collaboration and help from the Australian blockchain community.

According to South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, a huge part of the South Australian government initiative at Lot Fourteen is to look at technology as a driver for the South Australian economy. The Premier pointed to South Australia as a pioneer in using blockchain for government applications and its goal to develop into an epicentre for Australian technology.

“South Australia is becoming a hub of innovation,” Mr Marshall said.

“The creation of Lot Fourteen and the world-class attention it is garnering is not purely focused on blockchain, but the future of technology and how society interacts with technology. It’s about not just businesses, but the way we want to run our society that will come from it.”

Aligning blockchain-based companies with other innovations in technology, such as the National Space Agency and Lockheed Martin Australia and Adelaide University’s new Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) which are also based at Lot Fourteen, mark an important step in the acceptance of blockchain technology.

Now over a decade old, growing regulatory and government acceptance are proving there’s a level of maturity in understanding blockchain. Blockchain is becoming less of a buzzword and more of an accepted technological development which, when used correctly, can positively impact economies and industries in Australia and around the world.

Dr. Jemma Green is the Executive Chairman and Co-founder of Australian blockchain-based cryptocurrency and energy trading platform Power Ledger.