Australia Developing National Smart Contract Blockchain Platform

As the industry gains momentum governments and businesses are starting to recognize the potential of blockchain and how the emerging technology can streamline their operations.

Australia is one of the more crypto and blockchain friendly countries as it strives to seek applications for the tech. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have formed a consortium with law firm Herbert Smith Freehills and IBM. The aim is to build the first national cross-industry, large-scale, digital platform which will enable Australian businesses to collaborate using smart legal contracts on the blockchain.

The platform will be known as the Australian National Blockchain (ANB) and will enable companies to exchange data and confirm the authenticity of legal contracts using smart contract technology in addition to digitally managing their lifecycles. Smart legal contracts will be provided by the ANB containing clauses with ‘the ability to record external data sources such as Internet of Things (IoT) device data, enabling these clauses to self-execute if specified contract conditions are met’ according to the press release.

Herbert Smith Freehills head of blockchain, Natasha Blycha, said;

“Technologies like blockchain are set to transform the legal industry and the wider business landscape as we know it. 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.”

The platform will be tested in a pilot powered by IBM’s blockchain solutions. Regulators, banks, law firms and Australian businesses will be invited to participate in the pilot expected to commence before the end of 2018. Vice President and Partner of IBM Global Business Services, Paul Hutchison, added;

“IBM Blockchain and the IBM Cloud provide the highest level of security to support even highly regulated industries such as healthcare and government, and IBM has extensive experience building blockchain networks and convening large consortia focused around solving important business problems,”

CSIRO’s Data61, Australia’s leading digital research network, will be leading the development of the ANB platform. “Data61’s independence and world-leading expertise will help to catalyse the creation of digital infrastructure for Australian businesses to transition to a digitally-enabled future. For complex enterprise contracts, there are huge opportunities to benefit from our research into blockchain architecture and into computational law,” senior research scientist Dr Mark Staples added.

A number of industry positive developments have emerged from Australia in recent months including a blockchain bond mandated by the Common Wealth Bank of Australia (CBA) via the World Bank.