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Australia Testing Blockchain-Powered ‘Programmable Money’ for New Payments Platform

Digital money

Since the introduction of the blockchain, we’ve commonly seen the decentralized technology associated with digital currencies like Bitcoin or Ripple. While those are viable use cases, Australia is looking to innovate on traditional blockchain-based payment solutions.

To do so, the country is testing blockchain-powered “smart money,” according to a press release from October 9th.

Rethinking Digital Money

A partnership between CSIRO’s Data 61 and the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has resulted in an application developed to take control of the “programmable money.” Entitled “Making Money Smart”, this program was tested in tandem with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as a way to “enhance the experience of participants and service providers.”

Smart money is conditional. Who can use these coins, what they can be spent on, and when they can be spent, is all pre-programmed into each token. Because of its selective nature, the NDIS was a perfect testing ground due to its “highly personalised payment conditions.” There, each user has specific plans, budgets, and needs.

With the application, users can manage their plans while also scheduling services without any extra paperwork or receipts. The testing has received feedback from both the Australian government and blockchain experts.

Sophie Gilder, Head of Experimentation and Blockchain at CBA, is excited about the team’s innovation:

“Programmable money represents an opportunity to re-envisage how we think about money and how payments function across the economy. The potential of this technology for the NDIS is exciting, ranging from greater empowerment for participants, reduced administration costs for businesses and greater visibility for Government.”

Increasing Efficiency

According to Dr. Mark Staples, a Senior Principal Researcher at Data61’s Software and Computational Systems program, smart money will “reduce friction” during business transactions while enabling businesses to build new business models thanks to the technology.

Current testing is going well, with Gilder stating that “the response has far exceeded our expectations.“ She continues, revealing that the government “has been a key factor to the success of the project thus far and we are very grateful for their input.”

This November, the team of researchers will publish a co-authored report on their findings, including the design advantages and the limitations of the project.

Australia is no stranger to blockchain technology. So far, the country has tested a “global trade” program, integrated blockchain into its movie industry, and is even funding a “luxury redevelopment” on one of its islands.

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