$2.6 million grant awarded to Convergence.tech for blockchain pilot

July 14, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Victorian based consortium, Convergence.tech has received $2.6 million as part of the Federal Government’s $5.6 million Blockchain Pilot Grants program.

The pilot is intended to leverage blockchain technology to automate key reporting processes under the excise system, effectively reducing the compliance costs associated with the creation, storage and transportation of Australian spirits.

Convergence.tech is one of two recipients of the $5.6 million Blockchain Pilot Grants program established Australian Government’s Digital Business package in order to demonstrate:

  • how blockchain technology can support supply chain solutions and help to ease regulatory burdens
  • investigate the capability of blockchain to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of Australia’s Critical Minerals and Food and Beverage sectors.

Blockchain is a digital ledger system that records transactions such as the movement of goods through a supply chain in a way that is extremely difficult to change or “hack” because the information is duplicated across a network of computers.

The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter said the projects would help to accelerate Australia’s adoption of blockchain technology and assist businesses to solve real-world problems.

“The Blockchain Pilot Grants will demonstrate the potential for blockchain to help businesses to save money and cut red tape by improving processes such as tracking products throughout the supply chain and transferring customer information,” Minister Porter said.

“These two successful projects will also highlight opportunities to improve the technical and regulatory environment for blockchain in Australia, bolster blockchain literacy and support collaboration between Australian governments, the private sector and blockchain companies.”

The Convergence.tech consortium comprises leading tax specialists from KPMG Australia, and digital transformation and blockchain experts Converge.tech. Convergence.tech is a consultancy that develops and enables technologies such as digital wallets, tamperproof verifiable credential technologies, data protection and privacy, and unified transaction and event registries.

The news has been welcomed by the drinks industry, particularly in relation to excise payments.

Alcohol Beverages Australia Chief Executive Andrew Wilsmore said, “This project offers a unique opportunity to deliver on the goals outlined in Alcohol Beverage Australia’s Vision for Industry 2030  to gauge the effectiveness of Blockchain technology to meet the demands of modern manufacturing in the digital age. We look forward to seeing the results of the pilot to understand the potential benefits for the broader alcohol industry.”

Spirits and Cocktails Australia Chief Executive Greg Holland said:  “This grant provides a great opportunity for the spirits industry to be at the forefront of testing the viability of Blockchain to solve the challenges associated with excise payment processes and compliance. The project offers the potential to form the foundations of new regulations and policies which can transform the food and beverage industry.”

Digital transparency business, Everledger in Queensland is the other recipient. it received a $3,000,000 grant.

As mentioned, the grants are funded under the Australian Government’s Digital Business package, announced in the Federal Budget 2020-21, and directly align with the Government’s National Blockchain Roadmap, which was released in February 2020.

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