Australia’s DTA Says Blockchain is (Mostly) Hype and There are Better Technologies

Australia’s DTA Says Blockchain is (Mostly) Hype and There are Better Technologies

In Tuesday’s senate hearing, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) conveyed blockchain as interesting but hyped; believes there are better alternatives to the blockchain

The agency received 700,000 AUD (approximately 494,361 USD) from the Australian government back in May to delve into use cases for the new technology to enhance the efficiency of government services. The objective of the research was to focus on the delivery system of welfare payments.

Hype

Peter Alexander, the head digital officer of DTA, says blockchain is still in its early developmental stage. He continues by saying the technology is at the peak of a hype cycle.

According to Alexander, the hype was brought about by tech vendors, not by the governments or users, as these vendors see sales and revenue generate from it.

It's not that we don't trust any of the vendors — that would be an unfair characterization — we trust the vendors, but note that the motivation is generally sales and making revenue.

Peter Alexander, the head digital officer of DTA

Alternative Technologies

Alexander considers blockchain as an interesting technology. But the lack of standardization makes other existing technologies a better substitute. The technologies mentioned are alternative databases, secure connections, and standardized API engagement.

He then follows that blockchain can be used in settings with low trust, but the government wants trusted relationships by knowing who it is interacting with.

Use Cases

Last May, Randall Brugeaud, CEO of DTA, stated the agency was exploring ways to integrate blockchain into the Centrelink welfare payment delivery.

On the Tuesday hearing, Alexander gave an in-depth explanation on how the system will operate. He says the smart contract and programmable currency can release, without an intervention, a fund for a particular purpose, whilst saying no to another.

The DTA is collaborating with other local government agencies for blockchain use cases.

IP Australia is experimenting on how the technology can be used to manage food attribution.

The Department of Home Affairs is studying blockchain applications for monitoring freight and smart contracts for tariffs and duties.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) are examining the technology’s use for settlements and payments.

According to Brugeaud, the DTA will commence its digital identity pilots in the weeks to come. This pilot will reduce the month-long waiting time in obtaining government-issued digital identity and Tax File Number, to less than thirty minutes.

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