Australia To Pioneer The First Government-Backed National Blockchain Platform

IBM and Herbert Smith Freehills have agreed to work with an Australian federal government agency to create Australian National Blockchain.


The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s federal government agency for scientific research, recently announced that its Data61 network will be collaborating with tech juggernaut IBM and multinational law firm Herbert Smith Freehills to create a national blockchain platform for the country’s businesses, according to the agency’s press release on August 29.

Australian National Blockchain

csiro-IBM-Herbert-Smith-FreehillsAppropriately named Australian National Blockchain (ANB), the platform will be the means for businesses situated within the country to converge on a single network so as to collaborate using blockchain-based smart legal contracts (SLC).

The ANB will function as an avenue for organizations to digitally manage the life cycle of a contract, as well as to use blockchain-powered smart contracts to trigger business processes and events.

The consortium partners—CSIRO’s Data61, IBM, and Herbert Smith Freehills—will be the ones to trial the concept as a pilot project through the use of IBM’s blockchain. Also, the announcement revealed that the consortium is already collaborating with another Australian law firm to bring the platform to the marketplace.

This will be the very first “large-scale, publicly available blockchain solution” for all kinds of businesses across the country, and will be designed to comply with the country’s laws. CSIRO said that the pilot will commence before this year concludes, and will be inviting regulators, law firms, banks, and other Australia-based businesses to participate in the said activity.

CSIRO assures that should the pilot prove successful, the technology will be rolled out to other markets beyond Australia.

Inflection Point

The consortium is all-in on this project.

Dr. Mark Staples, a senior research scientist at CSIRO’s Data61, said that their organization’s autonomy and technological expertise will help catalyze the creation of digital infrastructure for the country’s businesses to transition into a “digitally-enabled future.”

“Technologies like blockchain are set to transform the legal industry and the wider business landscape as we know it,” commented Natasha Blycha, Blockchain and Smart Legal Contract Lead from Herbert Smith Freehills.

Blycha expressed:

“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. 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.”

Paul Hutchison, IBM Global Business Services Vice President, even claimed that the ANB could be the “inflection point for commercial blockchain,” streamlining innovation and economic development throughout the country.

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