Technology

  • Written by William Lusk

The dawn of 2018 saw great euphoria around crypto currencies lead by a huge surge in the price of Bitcoin, the earliest crypto currency known to the world. But, soon, the meteor started disintegrating and across the next 12 months, Bitcoin has nearly touched the ground with prices hovering around the $3,000 mark from a lifetime high of about $21,000. Some people still made money from the rubbles, some others were wise enough to exit at the top, and the majority lost money in tons. Thus, 2018 was a mixed basket for crypto currencies around the world.

In the first week of January, 2019 the number of active coins or crypto currencies traded is in excess of 2000!! Apparently, everyone who saw the meteor rise have jumped into the bandwagon, hoping to make it big one day or the other. Does that make a good story line for human enterprise vs. Avarice? There are many arguments that support the future of crypto currencies, but the fact remains that they are on marshy ground and can hardly grow the roots to sustain.

On the other hand, Blockchain, the technology behind crypto currencies is distinguished from the currency itself. Australia has launched great initiatives in adapting blockchain technology for a wide range of use cases. The 13th largest economy in the world has established itself as the innovation centre for block chain technology. The talent pool is also deepening quickly with an entire district devoted to blockchain innovation in southern Australia. Restaurants, driverless buses, meetup spaces, open space put together, is rising to be the Silicon valley for Australia. This is a clear demonstration of how the Australian government is taking block chain seriously for the benefit of Australians, Australian businesses and governance.





Even with all these desirable initiatives, there are the inevitable criticism, fears and initial setbacks that any new technology has to face before emerging as a force to reckon with. The local eco system in Australia will continue to mature and there is plenty to be excited about with regard to blockchain and what it beholds for Australia.

In the last one year, Australia has been in the forefront on ISO with regard to development of standards for distributed ledgers and blockchain around the globe. During the same period Brisbane Airport also became the first crypto friendly airport and nearly every retailer in the airport is accepting different types of crypto assets.

On that note, Blockchain Australia is now looking at how 2019 will pan out for Blockchain initiatives in Australia


Stablecoin

Stablecoin is expected to be launched pretty soon in 2019. This will also be first digital currency tied to the Australian dollar. The regulatory environment in Australia is very favourable and with Stablecoin tied to a fiat currency, we can expect it to garner widespread acceptance by different market participants as soon as the coin is launched. With new local exchanges expected to be available to Australians soon, it will help the ecosystem and encourage adoption of more digital currencies and facilitate trading of such securities on a broader scale. Launch of stablecoin can also make it significantly easier for crypto currencies to come under regulatory framework.

Enhanced Regulation

With crypto exchanges receiving higher regulatory understanding enhanced regulation is expected to become easier. It is also essential that regulator like the ASIC are able to strike a right balance between consumer protection and innovation, particularly in the context of new ICOs opening everyday to investors in Australia. ASIC has repeatedly demonstrated its keenness to work closely with the blockchain community. Their latest guidelines released in October last also meant that Australian start-ups seeking to raise funds via an ICO can have a closer understanding of the obligations under the ASIC Act and the Corporations Act. This initiative has come in the wake of a new approach adopted by senior stakeholders in the government and ASIC leading to digital currencies spared of double taxation setting blockchain standards internationally. ASIC also launched a publication on MoneySmart to educate consumers on ICOs.

Crypto Focused ETF

The SEC in the United States has been consistently turning down attempts for introduction of a crypto focused ETF and this has happened for the last nine times. However, a general consensus appears to be in place that approval may be granted to a fund that has physical backing. There can be no doubt that ETFs as a low cost investment for passive investors is rising in popularity. The SEC is also on record that it could approve a Bitcoin ETF subject to the proviso that adequate and correct controls are put in place to prevent and deter ‘manipulative and fraudulent acts’. This calls for a regulated market that is significant in size relative to Bitcoin. If the SEC approval does come forth, Australia may follow suit, specially if larger institutional investors are also willing to step in.

 

Crypto Space is Attracting More and More Institutional Investors

Large institutional investors like Goldman Sachs, Fidelity and Blackrock have already evinced keen interest in jumping into the crypto bandwagon. In the days to come, we might well see institutional platforms that are dedicated to bring crypto currencies for institutional investors. Institutional investors have already pumped in as much as $248 million dollars into crypto currencies as at June 2018.


Use Cases Will Be More Interesting As The Sector Matures

Some 13% of Australian fintech is already operating in the crypto currency and blockchain space according to census data provided by EY Fintech Australia. Many solutions based on the blockchain technology have already risen to the forefront because of their ability to improve public services delivery and trust for the public sector. In July last, the federal government has partnered with IBM in a $1 billion deal in order to accelerate blockchain adoption, quantum computing and artificial intelligence in public sector enterprises.

While these initiatives are in different stages of adoption/implementation, a major hurdle is the lack of appropriate policy settings and standards for transitioning in to the permissionless environment that distributed ledger presents.

 

Politics

Scott Morrison at Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce

QUESTION: I suppose one question I'll ask is about the role of social media, YouTube, Facebook. And the sort of thought process that we’re having as a nation of how we can create that sort of societ...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Delivering the rail links Western Sydney needs

The Morrison and Berejiklian Governments will ensure the Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird Walton) Airport has a metro rail line in time for its opening.   The Prime Minister said his Gover...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Nancy-Bird Walton immortalised at Western Sydney Airport

Australia’s biggest aviation project will honour one of the nation’s trailblazing stars of the sky.   The $5.3 billion Western Sydney Airport will officially become Western Sydney International (N...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Psychologist’s 8 tactics to build resilience in the workplace

A clinical psychologist from Wesley Hospital has identified low resilience as a major factor impacting the mental and physical wellbeing of employees. He is calling for more awareness around the nee...

Sophie Harrison - avatar Sophie Harrison

Intense Growth As Car Next Door Launch Capital Raise

Releasing internal revenue figures for the first time, Car Next Door has achieved marketplace revenue of $10m last year and is on track to almost double that again in 2019 as it marks the start of a...

Car Next Door - avatar Car Next Door

How two 30-year old’s made 4 million in 2 years with coffee

Try ordering a “coffee” and chances are you’ll be met with a bored eyeroll and the expectation to specify “how” you’d like your coffee. Will it be, cold-drip, filter, nitro, hell let’s go old school...

Sophia Day - avatar Sophia Day

Travel

The Gold Coast is famous for fun but it is also famous for horrible traffic issues

The Gold Coast is a great place for a holiday but there are problems that tourists need to be aware of. The Gold Coast airport is a busy place. Thousands of visitors arrive every day from around the ...

Holiday Centre - avatar Holiday Centre

Older generation Australians are embracing solo travel

Allianz predicts a rise in solo travel in 2019, revealing those most likely to ‘go -it-alone’ among the 50+ age group   The popular ‘solo travel’ trend is predicted to continue in 2019 with mor...

Media Release - avatar Media Release

Fun Things You Must Do In Perth

Perth: Sun, sand and 19 beaches might seem to sum up the city, but not quite. The sunniest capital city in Australia offers so much more for you to do. Regardless of what your idea of fun is, you wi...

News Company - avatar News Company