Australia green lights $5.6 million blockchain pilot projects

Two companies have been awarded the funding and will implement the tech in the country’s minerals and food and beverage sectors

The Australian government is investing over $5.6 million (£3 million) in two companies through its Blockchain Pilot Grants programme to investigate the capacity of blockchain to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the country’s minerals and food and beverage sectors.

The first grant is worth £3 million and goes to Everledger to investigate how blockchain technology can be used to create a “digital certification” for critical minerals through the extraction and movement phases. 

This aims to help companies in the sector ensure adherence to compliance regulations and increase the demand for Australian products in global markets, while simplifying the process and lowering costs.

The second grant goes to Convergence.tech, worth $2.6 million, to implement blockchain technology to automate key reporting processes under the Excise system, a commodity-based tax on goods including beer and spirits.

This funding hopes to help companies to reduce compliance costs associated with the creation, storage, and transportation of their products.

“The Blockchain Pilot Grants will demonstrate the potential for blockchain to help businesses to save money and cut red tape by improving processes such as tracking products throughout the supply chain and transferring customer information,” said Christian Porter, minister for Industry, Science and Technology.

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“These two successful projects will also highlight opportunities to improve the technical and regulatory environment for blockchain in Australia, bolster blockchain literacy and support collaboration between Australian governments, the private sector and blockchain companies.

The grants are funded under the Australian government’s Digital Business package, which was announced in the Federal Budget 2020-21, and aligns with its National Blockchain Roadmap.

In May, Australia announced it was investing almost $1.2 billion in its digital future as part of a strategy to become a modern and leading digital economy by 2030. The investment included over $100 million to support digital skills, including a pilot programme for work-based digital cadetships, investments in the cyber workforce, and scholarships for emerging technology graduates.

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