Australia teams up with IBM, law firm for national blockchain project

The Commonwealth and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), an independent federal government agency in Australia, is set to launch a blockchain-based platform for legal contracts in the country, Business Insider Australia reported.

The project, called the Australian National Blockchain (ANB), is put together by major players in science, technology and law—CSIRO’s innovation center Data61, IBM and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. ANB aims to offer “a more secure and efficient process” for business management.

In 2017, Data61 carried out a research on how the government and private sector can use blockchain to streamline processes. The center submitted two reports to the federal government, which “identified distributed ledger technology as a significant opportunity for Australia to create productivity benefits and drive local innovation,” according to Data61 senior research scientist Mark Staples.

Reporting on the how the blockchain will work, the report explained that, “Construction site sensors could record the time and date of a delivery of a load on the blockchain and trigger a smart contract between the construction company and the bank that would automatically notify the bank that terms have been met to provide payment on that load delivery.”

The Data61 reports ultimately led to the formation of the ANB. According to Herbert Smith Freehills, “The ANB will enable organisations to digitally manage the lifecycle of a contract, not just from negotiation to signing, but also continuing over the term of the agreement, with transparency and permissioned-based access among parties in the network.”

Natasha Blycha, blockchain and smart legal contract lead for the law firm, said the project “presents a huge opportunity for agile and forward-thinking firms and has potential to deliver significant benefits to our clients and the business community as a whole.”

The Australian National Blockchain project will be tested as a “pilot concept” using the IBM blockchain before the end of 2018.

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