May 2020 Newsletter
CEO’s Update: National Blockchain Roadmap & New Leadership for Blockchain Australia
National Blockchain Roadmap
We stand in the middle of an unexpected crisis that has upset our way of life.
Yet as we all adjust to the reality of life under the impact of COVID-19, it is also clear that things will not snap back to the old model as we emerge from the immediate crisis. There is an increasing recognition among both political and business leaders that many of the systems that we have perhaps taken for granted are not as robust or resilient as many had thought. The new normal will see distributed working become embedded in daily life and the integrity and transparency of supply chains will become ever more important.
Blockchain technology and the associated distributed systems thinking is a natural fit for overcoming many of these challenges. Of course, this has long been recognised by the blockchain community but the COVID-19 crisis is seeing an increased willingness around the world to seek out transformation opportunities that are essential to both recovery and building more resilient systems in the future.
This impact could be seen in the first meeting of the National Blockchain Roadmap Steering Committee, held on April 23rd. The roadmap had already identified agricultural supply chains, credentials and identity as three key areas for blockchain innovation. The Steering Committee recognised that the supply chain focus could be extended to manufacturing supply chains and PPE and the work on credentials could include both vocational and training qualifications as well as the possibility of a serology passport for COVID status. Finally, a robust self-sovereign identity model would enable privacy respecting track and trace, smooth distributed working models and target delivery of financial support all to be effectively delivered.
The immediate focus for the National Blockchain Roadmap process is to establish industry working groups to share insights and help identify opportunities for reform and new capability in the three key areas of supply chain, credentials and identity. Blockchain Australia members along with others will have the opportunity to help shape these programs through direct engagement with the roadmap process.
The launch of the National Blockchain Roadmap in February was always just the first step on a journey. Pleasingly, we have now begun to walk down that road.
Time to Move On – New Leadership for Blockchain Australia
Pushing a policy agenda in Canberra is rewarding – but exhausting – work. At times, it can feel like pushing a boulder up a steep hill. So after four and a half years with first ADCA and then Blockchain Australia, it is time for me to move on and take on some new challenges – watch this space! I will be stepping down as CEO of Blockchain Australia when my current contract comes to an end on June 30.
It’s time too for someone with new insights and new energy to take on the role of CEO of Blockchain Australia. I am working with the Board to help in the search for a successor and to help ensure a smooth transition. I am working full time and full steam up until June 30 and will also remain as a Policy Advisor to the Board beyond that time.
Looking back on my time with ADCA and Blockchain Australia, some real highlights stand out:
- launching the Australian Digital Currency Industry Code of Conduct;
- partnering with Quest Events to make the APAC Blockchain Conference Australia’s premier blockchain event;
- forming the Parliamentary Friends of Blockchain and taking advocates for blockchain technology to Parliament House each year to directly demonstrate both the passion and insight of the Australian blockchain community to our political leaders;
- working with Austrade to take Australian blockchain delegations to New York, Shanghai, Taipei and Dubai and helping link them in to commercial opportunities in all those places;
- driving the merger of ADCA and Blockchain Australia to ensure that the Australian blockchain community speaks with one strong voice;
- launching the Australian Blockchain Industry Awards to recognise and celebrate the incredible talents and achievements of Australian blockchain innovators;
and perhaps most importantly in the long run;
- working with four successive Ministers for Industry and Innovation to advocate for Australia to develop a national strategy for blockchain adoption – a vision that was realised with the launch in February of the National Blockchain Roadmap.
But the stand out memory for me has been the opportunity and privilege to work with so many amazing people who understand the potential for blockchain technology to change our economic and social systems for the better. I won’t attempt to name everyone as there are literally too many too count but the combination of passion, insight, technical brilliance, courage and determination that is found right across the Australian blockchain community can only be applauded.
The next few years will see a building wave of blockchain-based innovation that will transform our society and make us a stronger and fairer place for our citizens in the decades ahead. I am beyond proud to have helped in some way to build that momentum and am certain that Blockchain Australia and the extraordinary blockchain community in Australia will continue to lead the way in shaping that journey.
5 Questions in 5 Minutes: Takis Diakoumis, Chief Technology Officer of Digitary
What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career in blockchain?
Like all technology paths, a firm grounding in core software and systems engineering is critical. This should include significant experience working as a developer or infrastructure engineer. Aim for either of those paths to provide sufficient exposure to distributed systems and especially cryptography. Broad technical experience including a variety of industry sectors will help you get a good grasp of where and how blockchain could be applied in a smart and mature way.
Who are the three people who have been the most influential to you?
Limiting this to three is rather difficult. Coming from a core software engineering background, two people that continue to influence the way I think and want to build software and systems are Robert Martin and Kent Beck. These two titans of software engineering have for over 20 years influenced thousands of engineers with their core message of simplicity and core design principles. Lately I’ve been looking at Christopher Allen and his work on Self-Sovereign Identity. Christopher Allen is one of those critical thinkers that really embodies that spirit that drives us to build systems and networks for the benefit of everyone.
What developments in the blockchain industry are you most excited about?
Our focus at the moment on Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) is an exciting evolution in the application of Blockchain technologies. SSI begins to address that inherent problem with the internet itself in not having what might be called an identity layer. We have built millions of systems with their own often unique approach to identity and focused our personal information within these providing all sorts of bad actors rich honey pots of information. SSI reimagines digital identity and begins to build on Web of Trust theories to empower everyone to take control of who they are online and how we interact with other people and organisations.
What does your company do in one sentence?
Digitary enables millions of people to share their verified digital credentials and academic achievements online securely, quickly and easily.
Where can our members & readers connect with you online?
CoinSpot Awarded ISO 27001 Certification for Information Security
CoinSpot is the first Australian exchange to be awarded the internationally recognised ISO 27001 certification for information security.
In order to achieve the ISO 27001 standard as mandated by the International Organisation for standardisation, CoinSpot was required to complete an external audit undertaken by SCI Qual International (an accredited JAS-ANZ certification body).
SCI Qual conducted an in-depth investigation into the exchange’s Information Security Management processes and practices. This includes processes relating to the management of; digital asset storage, information relating to employees, contractors, suppliers, clients, products, processes, and intellectual property. These stringent policies are designed to eliminate unauthorised access, use, destruction, modification or closure of the organisations information management systems.
With the industry now trading over 15 billion dollars and participation growing to more than one million Australians, CoinSpot has been an integral part of the evolving landscape of cryptocurrency in Australia. This includes supporting; AML regulation development, maturing of taxation laws, stabilising banking relationships and now forging ahead as the first Australian exchange to receive the ISO 27001 certification.
This certification, combined with industry best practice security features, stringent offline storage practices, and customisable account level security, reinforces customer security as a primary focus in CoinSpot’s product development.
Blockchain Young Professionals Update: Louise Xu, Piper Alderman
We are living in an age of a pandemic where working from home is the norm, but what does that mean for networking for young professionals in the emerging industry of blockchain?
It has been almost a year since we started Blockchain Australia Young Professionals. We set out with the purpose of engaging with industry and providing networking opportunities whilst promoting education and discussing issues around blockchain technology. Given COVID-19 has drastically changed how we work and how we communicate, I reached out to some of our young professional members to understand how the pandemic impacted them and the challenges they were facing during isolation.
Some young professionals were optimistic and welcomed organisations removing unnecessary procedures and processes, accelerating digitalisation and driving ahead with projects online. Others said they were “clinging to optimism” given many young professionals previously worried about being made redundant by automation and blockchain are now worried about being made redundant, period. With many businesses putting projects on hold and others cutting staff hours, the rising stars’ of organisations are concerned about the going concern of their position, career opportunities, and the ability to make meaningful connections through networking. At the same time, the workforce is willing to work hard during this tough period and have the energy and drive to step up for their organisations.
Blockchain Australia Young Professionals have been thinking of ways of reinventing the forum we started for young professionals to debate issues and share ideas related to blockchain technology. We also wanted to connect our members and reduce the impacts of social isolation by coming together virtually.
We are pleased to announce our next event will be a virtual event with opportunities to network before and after the event “Houseparty” style. This means that attendees can socialise with other attendees not previously known to them by virtue of having a mutual connection, which commonly happens at Meetups. It will be followed by a panel discussion on privacy issues, the right to be forgotten in the age of blockchain, immutability issues, privacy laws governing the management of data and the AA Act. The event will be on Tuesday 19 May 2020 at 6.00pm and you can register here. All are welcome and we look forward to seeing you there.
The 2020 Australian Blockchain Industry Awards (The Blockies) have been postponed but we are still accepting entries. So apply now for recognition in the Australian Blockchain Industry Awards.
Welcome To Our New Members
Binfinity Securities Limited (BSL) provides digital asset exchange services via an ASIC regulated and AUSTRAC registered entity. The firm is focused on building trust in distributed ledger technology (DLT) with the goal of facilitating wider adoption of fintech solutions on the blockchain.
View their profile HERE
Decentral Mining Australia was established to help the individuals who wish to join the cryptographic money wave and either mine for Digital currency or assemble the equipment required to mine a portion of the present cryptographic forms of money including Ethereum, Zcash, Monero utilizing GPU based equipment just as giving availability to Bitcoin, Run, Litecoin mining equipment and cloud based mining administrations.
View their profile HERE
Digitary was launched in Dublin, Ireland, in 2005. Digitary has since grown to become a world leader in digital certification of academic achievements and a trusted provider of secure verified documents to learners, educational organisations, and employers globally. Learner-centric since the beginning, Digitary enables millions of learners to access their verified achievements and to share them with others securely, quickly and easily.
View their profile HERE
Secure Data Link is an Australian company that is focused on providing reliable data for innovative Ethereum applications.
View their profile HERE
Fresh Supply Co will capture and deliver your data to their secure blockchain without disrupting your production process. We query this data, providing supply chain transparency, with the support of Mastercard and VeChain blockchain platforms.
View their profile HERE