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Australia’s DTA recommends pragmatic approach towards blockchain technology

Tue, 12 Feb 2019, 07:36 am UTC

The Australian government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), which assists in guiding, overseeing and driving the government’s digital and ICT transformation agendas, has recommended a “pragmatic” approach to agencies considering adopting blockchain technology.

Last May, the government allocated AU $700,000 to the DTA to explore the potential of blockchain for government services.

The DTA today published “Blockchain: Latest advice for government agencies.” It said that its findings are consistent with the recommendations of other jurisdictions, adding:

“Our team found that blockchain is still an emerging technology and, when applied to various pilots or considered against alternative technologies, gaps become evident across both the technical and business facets of its implementation.”

The agency said that blockchain is only one of the various data storage and exchange solutions, and stressed that “other proven alternatives are ready for immediate use.”

It recommended agencies to objectively compare blockchain solutions to alternative technologies when solving business problems. Also, the technology’s limitations should be weighed against the benefits provided by a blockchain-specific solution for government, it added.

“Depending on the business needs, using more mature solutions allows agencies to move beyond the experimentation or prototyping to real-world applications,” it said. “We recommend agencies focus on the problem they are facing before applying any solution, including blockchain.”

Furthermore, the DTA noted that blockchain technology is, by definition, append-only, which means that data can only be added to the blockchain, but could not be edited or deleted. It explained that this feature could lead to significant issues, for instance, when someone requires deleting someone’s personal details or editing misrecorded details.

“The DTA believes blockchain is still an emerging technology and agencies should be pragmatic when assessing its applications,” it said. “Agencies should continue to monitor blockchain developments, looking for opportunities to enhance service delivery that this technology may unlock in the future.”

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