Australian National Blockchain (ANB) will be the first large-scale, public blockchain solution available to businesses of all kinds across Australia.
The CSIRO has today announced a partnership with law firm Herbert Smith Freehills and tech giant IBM, to build the platform designed for Australian legal compliance.
Companies across Australia will be able to join the ANB to use digitised contracts, exchange data and confirm the authenticity and status of legal contracts.
Natasha Blycha, Blockchain and Smart Legal Contract Lead from Herbert Smith Freehills, says she expects blockchain technology to transform the legal industry and wider business landscape.
“This presents a huge opportunity for agile and forward-thinking firms and has potential to deliver significant benefits to our clients and the business community as a whole,” Ms Blycha said.
“Our clients are enthusiastic about process automation, and how it can support a move away from paper-based systems, simplify supply chains and quickly and securely share information with customers and regulators.”
ANB ‘Smart Clauses’
The Australian National Blockchain will be built on the IBM Blockchain.
It will provide smart legal contracts that contain ‘smart clauses’. These clauses will have the ability to record data from external devices, which will enable the smart clause self-execute if specified contract conditions are met.
For example, the CSIRO says construction site sensors could record the time and date of a delivery of a load on the blockchain and trigger a smart contract between the construction company and the bank.
The bank would be automatically notified that terms have been met to provide payment on that load delivery.
Consortium partners Herbert Smith Freehills, Data61, and IBM will first test the concept as a pilot project before the end of this year.
The CSIRO says going forward, regulators, banks, law firms, and other Australian businesses will be invited to participate in the pilot.
“For complex enterprise contracts, there are huge opportunities to benefit from our research into blockchain architecture and into computational law. Smart contracts have many applications, and as the ANB progresses we look forward to exploring other business use cases to roll out,” Dr Mark Staples, Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO’s Data61, said.
If the Australian National Blockchain pilot is successful, the consortium intends to roll out the technology to other markets beyond Australia.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that enables permissioned sharing of an immutable record among parties to create consensus and trust. It empowers multiple trading partners to collaborate and establish a single shared view of a contract without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality.