Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Blockchain Challenges for Australia: An ACS Technical Whitepaper

The Australian Computer Society has released "Blockchain Challenges for Australia". This is a technical whitepaper produced after a workshop at the new ACS HQ in Sydney.  I contributed to the section on blockchain for education and will be speaking on "Mobile Learning with Micro-Credentials for International Students", at EduTECH in Sydney, 4pm 6 June 2019.

This is the third in a series of ACS Blockchain reports. The first was "Blockchain 2030: A Look at the Future of Blockchain in Australia" prepared by CSIRO (April 2019), and "Blockchain Innovation: A Patent Analytics Report" by IP Australia (November 2018).
"Bitcoin gave birth to the blockchain technology ten years ago. Blockchain promises to disintermediate interactions between individuals by offering security of exchanges without relying on a central authority of trust. As a result, blockchain has been trialled in various sectors ranging from finance and insurance to energy.

A decade later, Australia is at the forefront of blockchain technology in terms of regulation, research and industry applications. Among many achievements, its standards organisation has been chosen to lead the secretariat of blockchain standards for the ISO; ARC-funded research has produced one of the most scalable blockchain systems; and the World Bank chose an Australian bank to implement the first blockchain-based bond.

Yet, blockchain poses significant challenges that prevent Australia from fully exploiting its promised benefits for our economy and society. This technical white paper identifies some of the predominant challenges for applying blockchain technology in different contexts in Australia and proposes technical directions to overcome these.

The identified challenges are scalability, security, regulation, education and employment. These challenges are of strategic importance, as blockchain promises not only to reshape the Australian economy but also to rethink business interactions within the Australian society.

The directions that this technical white paper explores for solving these challenges include the analysis of use cases; the education of key actors; the exploration of blockchain development, especially surrounding consensus; and further understanding of regulations. They specifically include assessing the requirements for each use case in terms of speed, volume, scalability and security, in order to identify the most appropriate blockchain proposal for a given application. They also include a roadmap to help
technical and legal professionals interact on specific topics."
From: Blockchain Challenges for Australia, ACS 2019.