Australian blockchain delegation heads to US

Data61, Aus Post participate in Austrade-backed delegation to Consensus 2017

A group representing businesses and research organisations is heading to New York to spruik the local work on developing technology inspired by and based on Bitcoin’s blockchain and similar distributed ledger technology.

The delegation will be travelling to the Consensus 2017 conference in New York later this month.

It is the third year that the Consensus conference has been staged. The conference is organised by CoinDesk. This year the organisers are expecting more than 2000 attendees for the four-day event.

The delegation is backed by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission — Austrade — as well as the NSW and Victorian governments and the CSIRO’s Data61.

The 26 participants represent a range of organisations working on applications and services that employ blockchain and distributed ledger technology, digital currency companies, professional services firms, and the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA).

RMIT University and Australia Post are also participating. Australia Post earlier this year joined the ADCA.

“Australia is well positioned to provide global leadership and has become a pioneer in proof-of-concept and adoption of blockchain technologies,” Austrade’s Nicola Watkinson — the agency’s senior trade and investment commissioner, USA and Canada — said in a statement. “Australian financial institutions, in particular, stand in a globally competitive position.”

This government is set to change the tax treatment of Bitcoin and similar digital currencies from 1 July. Currently Bitcoin is treated as more like a commodity than a currency for GST purposes, with transactions using the cryptocurrency akin to barter under Australian tax law.

As a result, GST can end up being paid twice: Once when Bitcoin is ‘purchased’ and another when it is used to purchase GST-eligible services or goods.

Major Australian enterprises including the ASX and the country’s major banks are experimenting with blockchain and distributed ledger technology.

The ASX is preparing to make a decision later this year on whether to roll out a DLT-based replacement for its Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS), which provides clearing, settlement and asset registration services.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia had conducted a number of high-profile tests of DLT, including for issuing bonds and smart contracts.

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Tags distributed ledger technologyBlockchainaustralia postAustradeData61Bitcoin

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