Australian Finance Regulator Unveils Blockchain Research Effort

NEWS
Stan Higgins
Mar 6, 2017 at 14:59 UTC  |  Updated  Mar 7, 2017 at 11:56 UTC

An Australian financial regulator has opened a new innovation center dedicated in part to blockchain research.

According to AUSTRAC - the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre - its innovation hub is aimed at exploring new technologies like blockchain in partnership with private-sector firms. As part of the initiative, it also plans to open a regulatory 'sandbox' in which firms can test new financial products.

The hub is part of a broader effort focused on financial intelligence, launched last week by AUSTRAC, aimed at reducing money laundering.

The agency said in a statement:

"The impacts of emerging technologies and initiatives such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies and the New Payments Platform will be explored. This will flow into broader engagement allowing AUSTRAC to improve its services and policies, and develop online information, public seminars and webinars."

AUSTRAC was one of several agencies in Australia to back a wide-ranging fintech policy statement released over a year ago, and aimed at providing a bridge for the government to experiment with, and potentially deploy, financial technologies.

At the time, representatives for the agency said that it would work to develop regulatory approaches around blockchain as part of its mandate.

Further, in August, the regulator announced that it was working with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to explore technologies like blockchain for their potential use in data tracking and management.

Sydney image via Shutterstock

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