The federal government will develop a national blockchain roadmap in a bid to position Australia as a global leader in distributed ledger technology.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews announced the strategy and $100,000 in accompanying funding on Monday to nurture a “burgeoning” industry.
It comes just weeks after advice from the Digital Transformation Agency urging “pragmatism” from agencies around the use of blockchain in government.
The roadmap is expected to focus on policy areas like “regulation, skills and capacity building, innovation, investment and international competiveness and collaboration”, the government said.
It will be developed in consultation with experts from industry and academia, as well as CSIRO’s digital arm Data61, who will incorporate its findings on blockchain.
Data61 has spearheaded much of the government’s investigations into the practical applications of blockchain to date, including working with the Commonwealth Bank to bring programmable money to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Andrews said the strategy would put Australia on the “front door in exploring how government and industry can enhance the long-term development of blockchain and its uses”.
The $100,000 funding will be used to bankroll attendance by Australian companies at Austrade’s third Mission to Consensus in New York in May, which Andrews described as “a landmark event for the blockchain industry”.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the event would allow Australian blockchain companies and start-ups to connect with investors and customers.
“Consensus is the leading event for blockchain globally and will present significant opportunities for Australian tech companies to showcase their products on the world-stage, he said.
“It is vital Australia and our tech companies stay ahead of the game in one of the world’s fastest growing technology sectors,” he added.