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How will blockchain affect traditional industries in Australia?

We seem to be standing on the edge of the blockchain tipping point, but what does it mean for Australian business?

Blockchain technology is at an interesting stage in Australia. The federal government released its National Blockchain Roadmap in February 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic, citing predictions that blockchain technology would generate $175 billion in global trade value by 2025, and more than $3 trillion by 2030.

More recent, post-COVID projections have been slightly less enthusiastic, but we’re still talking about serious growth potential. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global blockchain market is expected to hit USD$163 billion by 2029 (up from its current state of USD$7 billion).

We seem to be standing on the edge of the blockchain tipping point. On the one hand, most experts agree the technology has almost unlimited potential. But many, like the ACS – the professional association for Australia’s tech sector – are asking the big question:

“Can blockchain progress beyond the hype to deliver tangible, high-value applications and a thriving industry for Australia, or will [it] amount to little more than a market bubble?”

So, what are some of the traditional industries set to be disrupted by Blockchain?


Blockchain and banking


Blockchain has the potential to disrupt the banking sector by, essentially, cutting out the middle man. With its secure, decentralised digital ledger, blockchain tech allows peer-to-peer financial transactions, without the fees and red tape of traditional banks. As the IMF noted this year, despite recent crypto setbacks, “The future of money is undoubtedly digital.” We’ve already seen the start of this in Australia, with the Reserve Bank greenlighting a pilot project, testing the use cases for a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Essentially building blockchain into the heart of Australia’s finance infrastructure. Watch this space…


Blockchain and property


Australian Senate interim reports have also flagged the potential of blockchain to affect the property sector, mainly in regards to property management, reporting and data sharing. The idea is that, in the future, Australia could have one set of blockchain-encoded property data, which could be used to ‘encode, confirm and transfer almost all forms of property.’ A report from RMIT has shown that blockchain tech could go even further in real estate, using tokenised property assets to increase liquidity, boost transparency and streamline the entire purchasing experience.

“We have agents in Sydney being the first in the world to accept payment for property in cryptocurrency, as well as emerging smart contract technology for sales and rent rolls,” said REIA President Hayden Groves.


Blockchain and supply chain management


On the surface, blockchain ledger technology seems perfectly suited to the logistical hurdles of supply chain management, effectively mapping the entire chain and providing total transparency, while at the same time validating transactions shared by multiple partners. You could track seafood from ocean to restaurant plate (and WWF-backed projects like TraSeable are basically doing just that). There are dozens of blockchain supply management start-ups in Australia, offering everything from visibility platforms, to AI-powered waste management tools, to smart pallet tags that can track the location (and even temperature) of assets in transit.


Blockchain and healthcare


Imagine a world where your private health data is, at the same time, completely secure and instantly accessible. From anywhere. Healthcare seems like one of the industries that can benefit most from blockchain technology, given its data-heavy, regulatory nature, and there are plenty of start-ups trying to disrupt the traditional service model.

Claims and billing can be automated with smart contracts. Patient data can be shared quickly, and safely, between practitioners and organisations. Data security is vastly improved, eliminating the need for multiple patient records. And prescription drugs can be tracked more accurately through the supply chain, shrinking the risk of fraud or counterfeit medication. “Simply put,” José Moray wrote in Forbes, “Blockchain holds the potential to revolutionize healthcare.”


Blockchain and government


While blockchain-powered digital voting might be some way away, there’s plenty of evidence that so-called ‘e-government’ applications could shape the future of Australia’s public service. In 2018, Australia placed second on the United Nations’ E-Government Development Index (a global rank of readiness to use ICT to deliver public services), however, according to Deloitte we still undertake more than 800 million interactions with government agencies each year – 40% of which are done using non-digital channels. That’s a huge opportunity to boost speed, efficiency and security of data. Deloitte calculated that, if we could shrink that rate to 20% over the next 10 years, Australia would save around $17 billion in real terms.

So what might that look like? Well, Estonia, who ranked number one on the E-Government Development Index in 2018, already uses blockchain to power digital registries in areas such as security and commercial code, public health, and the judiciary. Instead of multiple government agencies not talking to one another, there’d be one unified ‘you’ on the public system, protected and shared via the blockchain.


Want to start your blockchain career journey for you or your workforce? Check out RMIT Online’s blockchain related courses here.



This article was originally published on 13 September 2022