Australia needs blockchain ‘more than ever’ to flip productivity freeze

Blockchain technology could add $60 billion to the economy and reverse three decades of slow productivity growth, Australian politician Andrew Charlton told a room of digital asset executives on Tuesday.

Australia’s productivity growth grew at a “reasonably healthy” 2.1% in the 2000s, but now it’s simply not high enough to sustain basic increases in living standards, said Parliament Member Charlton at Australia’s Blockchain Week 2024 in Sydney on June 11.

“Without productivity growth, there is no sustained pathway to higher wages or higher living standards,” Charlton said, making his case for increased blockchain adoption in the country.

“We need this more than ever before.”

Labor productivity in Australia only grew by 0.9% in the final quarter of 2023, according to Australia’s Productivity Commission.

Charlton — who is seen a pro-crypto politician in Australia — said blockchain could fuel growth to Australia’s economy in a similar way to air travel, automobiles, silicon chips, the internet and other technologies in previous generations.

MP Andrew Charlton speaking at Australia’s Blockchain Week 2024. Source: Cointelegraph

It has the “rare ability” to improve not just its own industry but several others, Charlton said, noting it could be used in healthcare record management, tax collection, real estate and voting.

It can also improve supply chains by providing real-time transparent tracking and delivery of products, and it can revolutionize how financial transactions are processed by reducing intermediaries and transaction times.

“With the right settings and regulations, the digital assets sector could add up to $60 billion per year to the Australian economy.”

But Charlton wasn’t pleased with the Australian government’s slow progress in developing digital asset regulation.

“We have the strength to be a leader in responsible digital asset innovation, Charlton said. “But the truth is, at the moment, we’re not capturing this opportunity.”

Related: Blockchain Australia CEO calls for unified efforts to stamp out crypto scams

Australia has yet to pass any crypto-specific laws. 

Charlton hopes Australia passes a regulatory framework that would allow Australian businesses to hold digital assets in a similar way to how they hold traditional assets.

“I think that if we get this right, Australia does have the opportunity to be a leader in responsible digital asset innovation.”

Charlton suggested that Singapore, Europe, Hong Kong, and the UAE in the UK were at the forefront of implementing new legislation to drive digital asset innovation across financial services.

The politician also said he wanted to see the Australian government address its tech skills shortage, noting the nation has struggled to attract more digital asset startups in recent years.

Magazine: Australia’s world-leading crypto laws are at the crossroads: The inside story

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