“Blockchain is certainly an example of a technology that has the potential to disrupt or change the way not only financial services transactions are carried out, but also those across virtually any other sector, including government.”

This quote comes from a 4 May 2016 Data61 media release,  Data61 and Treasury to examine blockchain technology potential.  Blockchain is the infrastructure which supports the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), Bitcoin being the best known example and the financial industry the primary user.  However, that is about to change. The Data61 media release notes that

“In fact, there are also potential applications for this technology that extend well beyond the financial industry, and we are excited to explore, develop and apply the technology in both financial and non?financial industry, in consultation with industry and government.”

The Digital Transformation Office is also excited about Blockchain technology and an Apr 13, 2016 DTO  blog, Working together to meet user needs: MOU signed with the UK’s Government Digital Service, describes the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by DTO CEO Paul Shetler and Liam Maxwell – Chief Technology Officer for HM Government in the UK.  Liam remarked that The GDS was founded in 2011 so we’ve had a little more time to progress along on the path to digital reform. However, I’m genuinely impressed and excited to see the work that’s been done by the Digital Transformation Office in such a short period of time, and can’t wait to see what comes next.

And I’m very pleased this MOU means we’ll be working more closely together throughout that next phase and beyond. The UK is, of course, a founding member of the Digital 5, and I do think – and look forward to the day when – we can become a Digital 6, with the inclusion of Australia”

The Digital 5 (or D5) group of nations are those who have agreed to use a form of distributed ledger technology known as Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI), developed by an Estonian company, Guardtime. Apart from Estonia, the other D5 members are the UK, Israel, New Zealand and South Korea. A lengthy (88 pages) December 2015 report by the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser,Distributed  Ledger Technology: beyond block chain, notes that “It is clear that there is a huge opportunity for the UK to develop and use distributed ledger technology for the benefit of citizens and the economy. There are a series of ‘grand challenges’ to tackle to maximise the benefits and minimise the harms of the extraordinary developments in  information technology.” The report gives examples of the successful use  Blockchain  across various industries and is accompanied by a short video which gives a succinct, interesting  explanation of the Blockchain benefits (which include better security and reduced risk of financial loss.)

Standards Australia is also seizing on the Blockchain opportunities, with a 14 April 2016 media release describing an Australia proposal to 161 member bodies of ISO for International Blockchain Standards. “This initiative represents a genuine opportunity for Australia to make its mark as a global

hub for innovation,”  said Mr Adrian O’Connell, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Standards

Australia. “Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise the way we conduct

transactions, and to reduce process management issues across a range of economic sectors”

The Standards Australia media release notes that the technology can be applied across the global economy to enhance:

· Banking and financial services;

· Movement of consumer products;

· Transfer of mineral and precious stones; and

· Land and property transfers