Australia’s Central Bank is Conducting Internal Blockchain Research

Australia’s central bank is involved with several initiatives focused on blockchain technology, public records show.

AccessTimeIconApr 13, 2017 at 4:17 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:14 p.m. UTC

Australia’s central bank is involved with several initiatives focused on blockchain technology, public records show.

In a published report on its work with financial markets infrastructure, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) disclosed that it had set up an in-house working group "to consider the implications of the technology", though it’s not immediately clear when the group was created.

The research is taking place in an environment in which both the Australian public and private sectors are exploring blockchain. AUSTRAC, one of the country's finance regulators, launched an innovation hub in March focused in part on experimenting with different use cases. That same month, the Australian government committed funding to help develop standards around the tech while its chief securities regulator moved to boost engagement with startups working on the tech.

Perhaps more notably, the Australian central bank also has its hands in several cross-institution organizations as well.

Key among these is a group within the Council of Financial Regulators – a sort of umbrella group for Australian finance watchdogs – that is "examining DLT and its implications". On a broader scale, the RBA is also working with the G-20 group of nations on regulatory approaches to financial technology.

That the RBA would develop its own research initiatives is perhaps unsurprising given that, in late 2015, then-governor Glenn Stevens hinted that the institution was looking to learn more about the tech.

Earlier that year, the Australian government began to assess whether its finance regulators, including the RBA, had jurisdiction over bitcoin.


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