Category Archives: CSIRO

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Australia’s First Government-Funded Blockchain Incubator Gets One Up on State Rivals

Australia’s First Government Funded Blockchain Incubator Gets One Up On State Rivals

The first crypto lab in South Australia to receive government funding is hoped to boost the industry and catch up with other states such as New South Wales and Victoria.

The new lab due to open in September has been awarded Federal Government funding to the tune of AUD 170,00 offering 10 blockchain startups both workspace and mentoring services.

Although Australia has a forward-thinking approach to cryptocurrency in general, the government is still slow coming forward to promote the industry. Currently, under a Liberal Government the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) whose aim is to deliver world-leading digital services for the benefit of all Australians, feels that the technology needs more research before it can be described as the real deal.

South Australia is playing catch up with its state neighbors, but it is moving forward after holding the ADC Global Blockchain Summit in Adelaide last month, giving it the added credibility of holding Australia’s first international blockchain technology summit.

Adelaide crypto lab’s co-founder Yawn Rong claims that since the summit blockchain interest has “exploded”. He said that “South Australia may never be an industry leader, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be successful”. Rong was clearly happy to get one over on Sydney and Melbourne arguing:

“There are co-working spaces for blockchain in Melbourne and Sydney but there are no acceleration programs there… There are think tanks with blockchain departments, as well as university courses, but there are no specialized incubator programs in Australia that support the development of the proof of concept after their preliminary blockchain studies.”

Crypto SA’s federal government funding formed part of the Incubator Support program, which provides new and existing business incubators with grants of up to USD 500,000 to assist Australian startups to compete in international markets.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Data 61 is continuing to examine blockchains capability within government and private use, claiming that Australia has the potential to lead the world in further developing the technology.

Australia’s major banks maintain cautious policies when it comes to cryptocurrencies, despite wide public interest, but many banks now permit the purchasing of cryptocurrency using credit cards.

 

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Australia Government Change Would See Labor Push Blockchain

Visa, Horowitz, Among Investors in African Lending App’s 0 Million Funding Round

A spokesman from Australia’s Labor Opposition party has stated that it will push blockchain technology if in government, despite current views that tech is overhyped.

Currently, under a Liberal Government The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) whose aim is to deliver world-leading digital services for the benefit of all Australians, feels that the technology needs more research before it can be described as the real deal.

The current Shadow Minister for Human Services and the Digital Economy, Ed Husic, disagrees with the incumbent government’s stance over blockchain technology and is disappointed after the DTA was given AUD 700,000 to investigate blockchain as part of the 2018-19 Budget.

The government’s findings through DTA chief digital officer Peter Alexander was that “for every use of blockchain you would consider today, there is a better technology — alternate databases, secure connections, standardized API engagement”.

Husic responded during the launch of a blockchain paper from the Australian Computer Society (ACS), saying that some of the anti-blockchain reports were disappointing: “There’s this line that’s starting to creep out into the public space more and more about is blockchain over-hyped.”

He went on to compare the situation regarding the adoption of blockchain to the early days of the internet when people asked, “Do we really need a webpage? Do we really need this?”. He said, “We can just rely on what we’ve been doing at the moment… we don’t need to use this technology called the internet and other people will do it first. Then we saw other people do things first and get the advantage… and then we had to play catch-up.”

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Data 61 is continuing to examine blockchains capability within government and private use, claiming that Australia has the potential to lead the world in further developing the technology. Data61 CEO Adrian Turner commented:

“We’ve got high-performance computing capabilities, strong cryptography capability, strong protocol development experience — for example, wireless — we’ve got all the ingredients to actually smash it globally if we can get focused.”

 

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Australian Science Agency Praises “Smart Money” Blockchain Trial Success

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has completed a blockchain trial with one of Australia’s big four banks, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The trial, announced last month, tested CSIRO’s blockchain-powered “smart money” with the help of carers and participants within Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The NDIS was initiated by the Australian government for citizens with disabilities, including intellectual, physical, sensory and psycho-social. It creates a managed market for disability services in Australia.

The trial revealed that the technology could increase patients’ choices and their levels of control over their support. Also, it was seen to help eliminate the need for unnecessary paperwork and reduced the risk of both fraud and financial calculation errors resulting in misspending. Ten participants and carers took part in the trials.

CSIRO’s Data61 principal software and computational systems researcher, Dr Mark Staples, claimed that the trial was insightful in giving researchers a greater understanding of both the pitfalls and some of the benefits of integrating smart money payments into the NDIS system. He added:

“This automation and flexibility could reduce friction and enable greater innovation in many payment environments and unlock network-effect benefits… directly connecting citizens to public policy programs, empowering people to optimize their spending through things like smart savings plans and smart diets, and reducing costs for businesses, including through the potential for self-taxing transactions.”

Commonwealth Bank’s head of government and ADIs, Julie Hunter, saw wide applications for the new technology in all sectors including the non-profit environment.

Australia’s previous prime minister Malcolm Turnbull had asked the country’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) to research blockchain earlier this year. Principally, he asked for a focus on how the technology could be used to improve government services, including welfare payments. The Australian government granted the agency a budget of AUD 700,000 (USD 530,000) to carry out an investigation into DLT.

The move is one of many focused on how the government can best leverage blockchain’s advantages, including looking into how the technology can be used for making social security welfare payments to citizens. This latest CSIRO/Commonwealth Bank collaboration appears to be in line with the government’s current direction regarding implementing DLT into public services and other programs.

The new prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, plans to utilize blockchain technology to bring “much tougher competition” to the country’s big banks and dominant industries. He argued that the Australian banking system will be able to utilize DLT to help to transform areas of consumer data rights, open banking reforms, and new legislation.

 

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Australian Red Belly Blockchain to Process 30,000 Cross-Border Transactions Per Second

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has completed a test with the University of Sydney to improve the speed of cross-border transactions.

The new Red Belly Blockchain network, which has been created with support from the Concurrent Systems Research Group (CSRG) from the University of Sydney, is capable of processing 30,000 cross-border transactions per second.

The CSIRO is an independent Australian federal government agency responsible for scientific research. Its chief role is to improve the economic and social performance of industry for the benefit of the community. The organization has a hugely diverse portfolio of aims across all sectors, even monitoring the risk that plastic pollution poses to the world’s declining sea turtle populations.

The recent network test was carried out by CSIRO’s tech arm, Data61, covering 1,000 nodes across 14 countries in the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe. The organization claims its benchmark was set “by sending 30,000 transactions per second from different geographic regions”.

Senior CSIRO researcher at Data61 Dr Vincent Gramoli said, “Real-world applications of blockchain have been struggling to get off the ground due to issues with energy consumption and complexities induced by the proof of work.”

With an average latency of three seconds, the Red Belly Network promises to be capable of facilitating large-scale business in the country and boosting smart contract usage. In keeping with Australia’s push to promote fintech in the country, such research is immensely important if the country is to become the regional blockchain hub that it aspires to be, according to recent government statements.

The new prime minister Scott Morrison has indicated that the country needs to continue on its research and development if its to keep on its current path. Morrison noted that the contributions of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain in the financial sector would continue to create “massive opportunities”. He maintained that the Australian banking system would also be able to utilize these technologies to transform areas of consumer data rights, open banking reforms, and new legislation.

 

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Australian Startup Designs Blockchain Multitask Chip to Track Animal Welfare

A former Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) scientist is heading up a new startup which has designed a blockchain backed multi-tasking microchip for tracking animal welfare.

The startup Ultimo Digital Technologies (UDT) is founded by John Baird, also the chairman of the cybersecurity advisory council advising the NSW government. With the help of students from Sydney’s University of Technology earning up to AUS 100 an hour, the company has designed the incorruptible chip.

The tamper-proof chip takes information directly from the goods via the internet to a secure location that can’t be corrupted and tracks change in temperature, location and radiation levels. Baird claims that the chip could change the future of IoT device communication channels and data storage worldwide. He explained:

Blockchain is completely flexible it can store any sort of IOT data… There’s a lot of people using blockchain for  cryptocurrency, but to actually use them for the storage of IoT data — so you can get that data and store it away securely — I don’t think anyone in the world has done that yet.”

One of its uses, he suggested, is the tracking of animal welfare. Today, a BBC Radio 4 news item suggested that farm animal welfare standards are falling behind in the UK, with concerns over techniques utilized in some farming procedures. These concerns are reflected in other countries too, including the shipment of livestock and their treatment once they arrive overseas.

UDT is currently planning on working within this sector with its first tracked system leaving Brisbane for China in late October. The company will eventually be able to track livestock from the farm itself.

“We can figure out what stress looks like for a cow, and at a later point in the journey, if we can start to see that behavior again we know that the cow is stressed at that point, and… something has got to be done about it,” Baird says.

Sydney Fish Markets are also keen to explore using blockchain for supply chain tracking. General manager Bryan Skepper suggested:

“We’ll be able to have a system where it’s photographed at the point where it’s caught that photo goes into a blockchain ledger, it can never be corrupted and then… the blockchain system will trace that journey.”

Currently, UDT is also trialling an e-nose, which a device which will verify the age, temperature and freshness of fish.

 

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