Potential of blockchain technology in supply chains to be investigated

Adam Leach is a freelance business journalist
9 May 2016

Government research body Data61 is to lead a nine-month study into the potential applications of blockchain technology within the public sector, including its use as a secure method of verifying supply chains.

As part of the federal budget the government announced the review will seek to ascertain the “potential productivity gains” on offer to government from the technology that underpins digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

Consisting of a series of secure data structure blocks that each contain individual entries, the technology has long been discussed as offering a more secure method of managing and tracking transactions or activity.

A key advantage of the technology is its ability to be accessed by multiple parties, without ever allowing the revision of the chain of data. Such a capability offers particular potential as a method of recording the activity and interactions within a specific supply chain, which Data61 has highlighted as one key area of study.

Stefan Hajkowicz, a member of the Data61 Foresighting Team, said: “There are currently a few potential areas where we could explore opportunities – such as shareable registry information, verifiable supply chains and assessment of aggregate risk exposure in the financial services sector.”

In addition to the blockchain study, the government also announced that it is to establish a mechanism for financial technology companies to trial their technologies without requiring a license. The “regulatory sandbox” is intended to enable FinTech start-ups to more rapidly test and trial their technologies.

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