Australia Taps IBM To Build National Blockchain

The Australian National Blockchain aims to allow the nation’s companies to more easily share legal contracts.

  • When looking for a public blockchain that could run EDCCs, Australia just decided to build its own. The Australian National Blockchain, announced today, will apparently enable “companies nationwide to join the network to use digitized contracts, exchange data and confirm the authenticity and status of legal contracts.” A press release says that it’s expressly “designed for Australian legal compliance,” but the project’s website notes that it’s “industry-agnostic.”

    The blockchain is being built in part by IBM, who’s been contracted by Data61, the data science research wing of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization’s (CSIRO), a federal agency. IBM will be working with Herbert Smith Freehills, a multinational law firm with offices in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.

    Natasha Blycha, the firm’s blockchain and smart legal contract lead, said: “Our clients are enthusiastic about process automation, and how it can support a move away from paper-based systems, simplify supply chains and quickly and securely share information with customers and regulators.”

    Those clients are not publicly identified, but the press release notes that “regulators, banks, law firms and other Australian businesses will be invited to participate in the pilot,” which is set to begin this year.

    CSIRO has pushed blockchain before, partnering last November on an 8 million Australian dollar project on smart water and power grids for Australian cities. IBM, too, has experience developing blockchain-based solutions for the country. Last month, it signed a five-year contract with the Australian government to incorporate blockchain technology across its federal agencies.

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