Banking News

Australian disability blockchain payment test completed

carer

Last month, Ledger Insights reported on how Data61, the IT innovation wing of Australia’s federal science agency CSIRO, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) were building a blockchain-based payment system that revolved around ‘smart money’.

Today, the findings of a trial for the system was published in a report entitled ‘Making Money Smart’.

The trial aimed to test the viability of smart-money in business and government which could also in the future integrate with Australia’s country-wide New Payments Platform.

Smart money is a form of digital currency that has pre-existing conditions which can dictate when, where and on what it is spent.

The trial decisively showed that smart money could help manage insurance pay-outs, budgeting and the management of trusts and charities in Australia.

10 participants and carers in the NDIS used smart money on a prototype app. With it, patients enjoyed better choice and control over their disability support services. It also reduced paperwork, administrative costs and the risk of fraud and mistakes.

Indeed, participants and carers estimated the app could save them one to 15 hours per week. Service providers predicted benefits too. They estimated potential annual cost savings as a percentage of revenue of 0.3% to 0.8%.

Overall, CBA modelling suggests that a conservative roll-out of the app across the NDIS ecosystem would see economic benefits of hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

“This has been an important research project for understanding the benefits and limitations of blockchain technology in the context of conditional payment environments, such as the NDIS,” Dr Mark Staples, Senior Principal Researcher in the Software and Computational Systems program at CSIRO’s Data61, said.

“Our use of blockchain added new kinds of programmable behaviours to the smart money in the prototype system. This automation and flexibility could reduce friction and enable greater innovation in many payment environments and unlock network-effect benefits.

“This could include more directly connecting citizens to public policy programs, empowering people to optimise their spending through things like smart savings plans and smart diets, and reducing costs for businesses, including through the potential for self-taxing transactions.”