Whilst we’d wager that you’ve heard of blockchain, there’s a fair chance that you may have misunderstood this technology and its true influence in contemporary society. Whilst it’s typically described as a decentralised public ledger for record keeping, for example, it’s essentially a chain of blocks that contain digital data and are stored in a transparent database.
Despite this simple premise, the global blockchain technology market is expected to see exponential growth through 2023 and beyond, with revenues expected to peak at a whopping $23.3 billion at the end of this period.
Such accomplishments can largely be attributed to the flexible nature of blockchain, which has enabled it to influence a number of different industries. This even includes agriculture in Australia, where blockchain is challenging several misconceptions and modernising one of the nation’s most important economic engines.
How is Blockchain Impacting on Agriculture in Australia?
Whenever concepts such as blockchain, AI and automation are mentioned in the context of industries such as agriculture, there’s an immediate assumption that these technologies will trigger a loss of jobs.
The BeefLedger project, which is based in Australia and focuses primarily on the combination of blockchain and agtech (agricultural technology), is actively challenging this misconception in a number of different ways.
More specifically, it’s actively generating new jobs within the industry, including a high proportion of roles that are not commonly associated with rural locations in Australia.
This $1.5 million project has been rolled out to track and safeguard the authenticity of Australian beef within the lucrative Chinese market, following concerns that so-called ‘food fraud’ was costing the economy a staggering $40 billion per annum.
By developing and deploying an integrated blockchain-enabled beef provenance and smart contract platform, the project has certainly helped to track meat exports more efficiently. However, it has also created a number of surprising job opportunities, including roles for content marketers, brand experts and digital agencies within local communities.
Regulatory Challenges and the Future of Blockchain in Australia
Whilst this project is still in its infancy, it’s clear that the combination of blockchain and agtech is having a profound impact on rural Australia.
It’s certainly diversifying local economies and creating more job opportunities, whilst simultaneously creating a greater sense of collaboration within regional communities.
In theory, this type of blockchain-powered technology could also be applied across other export markets and products, with Australia continuing to rely heavily on commodities such as coal and iron ore.
With this in mind, the implementation of new blockchain could help to improve supply chains and the efficiency of exports to regions such as China, whilst minimising instances of fraud and waste on a huge scale.
To fully realise this goal, however, the implementation of robust frameworks and regulatory policies must be made a key priority by Australian government bodies. Make no mistake; the current legislation is significantly underdeveloped, and this continues to create significant uncertainty and remains the single biggest obstacle to widespread blockchain adoption.
Fortunately, Australia’s ability to transition and diversify its economy is proven, whilst independent consultancy firms like RSM are also helping to inform regulatory responses to innovation and identify the key risks for investors and business-owners alike.
Ultimately, much work needs to be done if Australia is to build on the success of the BeefLedger project and realise the full potential of blockchain in the agricultural and similar industries.
However, there’s no doubt that this technology has the potential to revolutionise Australia’s oldest and most traditional industries, dragging them kicking and screaming into the digital age.