By Nick Giuretto, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA)
Blockchain is currently the talk of the financial services industry, but its impact will potentially be far more wide-reaching. An open, distributed ledger that records sequential transactions with each new transaction – or block – independently verified for truthfulness, this technology has the potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries, from the obvious financial services to agriculture and healthcare.
And with new data breaches hitting the news cycle on a near weekly basis, blockchain is positioned to drastically change the way consumers relate to their own data and privacy. Australia’s blockchain industry – one of the most advanced in the world – offers an instructive example of how distributed ledger and trust verification have the power to transform industries.
The financial services industry is one of the most obvious sectors that will be upended by blockchain technologies. With new credit card breaches coming to light seemingly every week, there is a growing public understanding that the financial services industry is unable to protect our most sensitive, vulnerable data using existing technology and protocols.
Blockchain offers a potential solution – because data on the blockchain can only be shared or altered by its creator, ownership of consumer data may soon shift from large data-mining corporations back to consumers, and its decentralized nature makes security breaches on a massive scale that much harder.
Australia has been an early adopter and proponent of blockchain as a data security solution, particularly for real-time payment processors, launching the New Payments Platform in 2013 to develop critical infrastructure for blockchain innovation in Australia. The NPP represents an infrastructural system that enables customers to make and receive real-time payments across several different banks, offering substantial advances in data capabilities to companies looking to digitize their operations and improve efficiency and overall customer experience.
Australia is also home to several up-and-coming startups like Tide, which has developed a personal data marketplace that restores control of personal data back to users and helps safeguard against data breaches.
Blockchain is also being adapted to solve some of the agricultural sector’s biggest challenges. Farmers can apply blockchain solutions to their supply chains, enabling them to better monitor livestock and to track and distribute information on crops from planting to harvest. Aussie startups like AgriDigital – which offers a suite of blockchain-based solutions for global agricultural supply chains – are leading the way in innovating blockchain capabilities to help farmers and other industry players get ahead of the latest developments in agricultural supply chains to better anticipate consumer demands.
Healthcare is another key sector in which blockchain is positioned to have a huge impact. Several innovative startups, including Australia’s Secure Health Chain, are developing blockchain-based universal EHR’s, or health passports, to help provide patients and providers with all of the information they need, and reduce redundant testing and delays in care.
Further, distributed ledger and trust verification capabilities may someday be applied to independently verifying compliance with HIPAA regulations, and other health privacy legislation around the world. All of these innovative uses of blockchain will allow doctors to spend more time treating patients, and less time on paperwork and bureaucratic red tape.
Whether bitcoin is a passing fad remains to be seen, but it’s clear that blockchain is here to stay – and it’s set to revolutionize processes across all industries, from offering better protection from large-scale data breaches, to providing verified, actionable agricultural supply chain data, to providing patients with a universal “health passport” to facilitate better healthcare.
These applications have the potential to change how consumers and institutions interact with data, safeguarding sensitive information and restoring control of our digital fingerprints to the users.
Nick is a B2B marketing and product professional and prior to joining ADCA in 2016, he held senior management roles with CEB, Experian Australia, the federal government’s export credit agency Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, and AAPT.
Nick is enthused by the potential for Blockchain technology to transform business models in every industry sector – and in government service delivery. He has become a champion for the Blockchain industry and leads the efforts of ADCA to accelerate adoption of Blockchain technologies in Australia. He is proud to have been a founding member of the Global Blockchain Forum which is striving for global regulatory alignment to support a global transformation. Nick is also a member of Standards Australia’s Technical Working Committee on Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.