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Australia to launch National Blockchain Roadmap soon

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Australia’s Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science is developing a National Blockchain Roadmap to assess blockchain opportunities in various sectors of the economy.

The Roadmap which will launch early this year is being developed with oversight by a committee of representatives from industry, academia and government.

ZDNet recently highlighted a report made to the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, in which the department stated that blockchain offers promise in agriculture and food manufacturing, providing transparency and authentication of supply chains.

The department said using blockchain for food provenance and traceability could improve food safety, and protect Australian growers from fraudulent and counterfeit products. According to Food Innovation Australia, food and wine fraud in 2017 alone cost A$1.68 billion ($1.15 billion).

Australia already has a few blockchain food traceability initiatives. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia and BCG Digital Ventures initiated the OpenSC supply chain blockchain focused on sustainability. OpenSC has partnerships with Nestlé and Austral Fisheries for food traceability.

Another blockchain startup, BeefLedger, is developing a food provenance platform for beef exports from Australia. It recently launched in China, the biggest importer of Australian beef. Additionally, meat processor Thomas Foods International and grocery retailer Drakes Supermarket are trialling the IBM Food Trust blockchain for traceability.

Meanwhile, the Australian government is also developing standards around blockchain. It provided A$350,000 ($240,170) to Standards Australia to lead the development of international blockchain standards through the International Standards Organisation (ISO). In fact, the ISO technical committee focused on blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) was in part initiated based on representations from Standards Australia. The ISO standards will include interoperability, terminology, privacy and security.

Among other blockchain initiatives in the country, PowerLedger is developing an energy marketplace for consumer and utility companies. In South Australia, the regional government is exploring blockchain for interoperability of systems run by eConveyancing transaction operators.