Category Archives: Commonwealth Bank of Australia

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Australia Tests Blockchain ‘Smart Money’ for Disability Insurance

A federal research branch of the Australian government has partnered with a major national bank to conduct blockchain testings for disability insurance claims via a smart contract-backed token.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) announced details of the ”Making Money Smart” project Tuesday, saying they are currently testing the proof-of-concept.

Together, they will investigate the usability of blockchain in creating what they describe as “smart money”, using Australia‘s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as an initial case study.

Through binding smart contracts encoded into tokens, the project is attempting to solve the issue of NDIS funds being spent outside of the scheme’s preconditions, such as on banned items, outside of the restricted time frame, and by the wrong people. These ”highly personalized payment conditions” were the reason it was chosen for the first proof of concept, to ensure that blockchain technology could meet all of the necessary requirements.

So far, a prototype app has been developed for participants in the NDIS scheme, which aims to give users improved management over their plans by giving them a direct, paperless method for finding, booking, and paying for NDIS service. The proof of concept has received input from government officials and industry leaders, right now being tested by NDIS participants and carers.

Several external participants helping collaborate on the project are cited as the Digital Transformation Agency, the Department of Human Services, FinTech Australia and the Australian Digital Commerce Association.

Sophie Gilder, Head of Experimentation and Blockchain at the Innovation Lab, CBA said that due to the complexity of the project, she recognized a substantial amount of feedback from different organizations with a variety of expertise would be most beneficial. Gilder said, “We threw open the doors and the response has far exceeded our expectations,” a press release reports.

A further more detailed report on the Making Money Smart trial will be shared with the public in November, including information regarding the design, benefits, limitations, and viability for the token to be used in other cases.

 

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World Bank and Commonwealth Bank Team up with Blockchain

The World Bank and The Commonwealth Bank of Australia have combined to create an Ethereum-based Australian dollar blockchain bond.

The bond project has a target of between USD 50 million and USD 100 million for sustainability projects. The World Bank issues between USD 5060 billion a year for project funding around the world.

With 189 member countries, staff from more than 170 countries, and offices in over 130 locations, the World Bank Group is a unique global partnership: five institutions working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries.

The World bank has three priorities in working with countries to end poverty and boost prosperity for the poorest people. It helps to create sustainable economic growth, the surest path out of poverty. It also invests in people, through access to health care, education, water and sanitation, and energy, building resilience to shocks and threats that can roll back decades of progress.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is one of the country’s big four banks and has been chosen to be responsible for the new blockchain bond after consulting with investors. Microsoft had carried out an independent review of the CBA’s blockchain platform which will run on the MS Azure cloud platform.

The World Bank sees blockchain as the ability to streamline its necessary processes simplifying the raising of funds and operational conditions. The banking giant issued its first global bond as far back as 1989 and the first electronic bond in 2000.

As for selecting both the CBA and Ethereum for the project, World Bank treasurer Arunma Oteh said that it had worked with the Australian bank for a year before it could launch the project. Ethereum was top of its list as it had “the largest and most active development community globally”.

The CBA has recently been very active in using blockchain for a number of its recent projects including a shipping project reported by Bitcoin News recently. The bank shipped 17 tons of almonds from Sunraysia to Hamburg, Germany using a newly-developed blockchain platform. The trial demonstrated the usefulness of blockchain technology in international supply chains by tracking the almonds every step of the way from packing in Australia to delivery in Germany.

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World Bank Mandates First Ever Blockchain Bond

The World Bank has mandated the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to authorize the world’s first blockchain bond. The foreign bond issued in Australian dollars has been dubbed bond-i, an acronym for Blockchain Offered New Debt Instrument, as well as a reference to Sydney’s Bondi Beach.

bond-i

A joint press release from the World Bank and the CBA describes bond-i as the first of its kind to be fully managed with blockchain technology. The bonds will be entirely created, allocated and transferred using distributed ledger technology to secure every transaction.

Noting the benefits of applying blockchain technology to bonds, the two organizations wrote in the press release that blockchain is capable of streamlining the processes of a number of debt capital market intermediaries and agents. Several benefits of this are listed, including simplifying raising capital and trading securities, improving the efficiency of operations and augmenting oversight of regulations.

Arunma Oteh, World Bank Treasurer, said: ”We believe that emerging technologies, equally offer transformative, yet prudent possibilities for us to continue to innovate, respond to investor needs and strengthen markets.”

The World Bank and CBA have built a private, Ethereum-based blockchain platform on which bonds will be issued and distributed. The CBA said that they were open to using alternative blockchain networks as the space continues to evolve.

Sophie Gilder, Head of Blockchain Innovation Labs at the CBA said that bond-i is a significant step in unlocking the revolutionary potential of blockchain in financial services and markets.

Investor interest in bond-i has already been strong, according to the World Bank, although it plans further consultations with investors prior to launching the transaction.

The World Bank will run its operations for the bond from Washington, DC, with the institution already responsible for issuing between USD 50-60 billion annually in bonds for sustainable development.

 

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“Time Traveler” Millionaire Investor Plans Australia’s First Crypto Bank

An Australian crypto enthusiast has set plans in motion to open his own crypto bank. Fred Schebesta has decided on a radical scheme in order to circumnavigate restrictive regulations by Australian banks towards anything cryptocurrency-related by opening his own bank and doing what he needs to get a share in an established bank.

The West Australian enthusiast has purchased a personal shareholding in an existing bank, West Australia’s Goldfields Money, in order to obtain an authorized deposit-taking institution (ADI) license to get his plans on the road.

Tiny by banking standards, Goldfield’s Money has a USD 35 million market cap but it does have the much-needed ADI, in fact, the only one in Western Australia to have it. Schebesta explains his reasoning:

“You don’t have your money. The bank has your money. Have you ever gone to the bank and asked for all your money? If everyone did a bank run on CommBank [Commonwealth Bank of Australia] right now, they wouldn’t be able to service it. That’s why I’m so big on crypto. I think eventually people will go, “Oh my god, this is so messed up”, and they’ll move to where they can hold their value. Not all of their money, but some of it.”

The current legal situation that the crypto banker-to-be is clearly attempting to come to terms with is as follows:

“New entrants to the banking industry will be able to apply for a Restricted ADI license, which will have a lower barrier to entry than a full ADI license, to assist their transition into the industry over a two-year period…  Restricted ADIs will be subject to an aggregate deposit limit of $2 million and must disclose to all its customers that they are operating on a restricted license.”

Schebesta clearly feels that his crypto bank idea is worth all the paperwork regardless of Bitcoin’s current fluctuation fortunes in the crypto market. He explains:

“At its core, you’ve got to remember, just because the price of Bitcoin has gone down and people feel angry, that doesn’t reduce the interest… We’re living in the future. That’s what I’m all about. I think I’m a time traveler. I travel forward five years into the future, work it out then come back and try to take active steps to make it happen.”

His enthusiasm is reflective of Australia’s current drive towards crypto adoption, with recent deals in the pipeline including a new contract which will allow IBM to explore blockchain technologies and integrate some of the results into the Australian political structure over the next five years.

The passionate crypto-enthusiast hopes to have his bank ready for business within 18 months. If Australia is ever governed by blockchain, Schebesta’s crypto bank will certainly be well placed for business.

 

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