Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Glenn Stevens has issued new comments on blockchain technology as part of a broader conversation on the APAC nation’s economic outlook for 2016.

Speaking to The Australian Financial Review, Stevens voiced his belief that the country’s banks should investigate the potential benefits of the distributed ledger, which he suggested was the true innovation behind bitcoin.

“Blockchain is actually the bit about bitcoin that was, I think, the really clever bit,” Stevens told the news source, adding:

“In areas where you’ve got a centralized ledger, the question is whether the distributed way of doing it will end up being more efficient and cheaper.”

The acting head of the country’s central bank since 2006, Stevens went on to state that domestic businesses are seeking answers to such questions, a process he called “important” and “fascinating”.

Elsewhere, Stevens advocated for new financial technologies broadly, voicing his belief that regulators should be willing to allow potential innovations to develop.

The comments come as those in the blockchain industry are increasingly viewing the Australian market as one of first likely to adopt the technology, even while local startups struggle to gain access to banking services.

In a panel session at Finnovasia last week, for example, WIP Solutions CEO Alex Edana predicted that Australia would be “the first market on the blockchain”, due to reports local banks are already collaborating on ways to test the technology.

Stevens’ remarks were some of the first from the Australian central bank since 2014, when it issued findings that bitcoin was unlikely to destabilize the domestic payments system.

Australian currency image via Shutterstock

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