Business

Derek Tonin

Australian politician promises blockchain academy if elected

The Australian Labor Party is making big blockchain promises if they win the upcoming elections. ZDNet reports they have promised A$3 million (US$2.11 million) to create a blockchain academy near the western city of Perth.

Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy Ed Husic criticized the ruling party, saying, “The Liberal government has failed to tackle major tech skills shortages that are holding back Australian businesses.” He added, “Labor wants to address this, investing in Australians to develop job skills that are in high demand now and into the future.”

The plan is if the blockchain academy proves successful, Labor will put more funds towards other academies throughout the country.

If Labor wins the upcoming May 18 elections, Husic would be put in charge of the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), which is the body currently looking into blockchain technology for Australia. He would likely signal a big shift for the agency, which has been pessimistic about the potential for blockchain technology in the past.

“For every use of blockchain you would consider today, there is a better technology—alternate databases, secure connections, standardised API engagement,” DTA chief digital officer Peter Alexander said in October.

At the same time, Australia hasn’t been afraid to benefit from blockchain tech, including cryptocurrencies. We recently found out Australia will be stepping up their efforts to tax cryptocurrency investors.

It’s not surprising that Australia has taken a more pessimistic stance towards blockchain technology. A review of Australian crypto stories show a litany of scams and heavy losses caused by the crypto winter. That’s obviously not the whole story when it comes to the technology, but perception plays a big role in what politicians will be willing to invest in. Luckily, Husic sees potential in blockchain and is willing to make it a priority.

Based on recent polling, it appears Husic will have a good chance to put his plan into place as well. Political scientist Andy Marks said recently that its “virtually unquestionable” that Labor will take power after the May 18 elections based on poor polling for the Liberal party.

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