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Blockchain could inject growth into the NZ economy

04 Jun 2019

Blockchain has the potential to offer many benefits to inject growth into the New Zealand economy, BlockchainNZ executive director Mark Pascall has just told a government select committee.

New Zealand has a golden opportunity to take leadership globally by using blockchain for a positive economic impact, he says.

Pascall addressed the economic development, science and innovation select committee hearing in the Beehive late last week to increase the level of the government’s understanding of blockchain so they may be able to influence the stellar new form of transaction systems.

Blockchain technologies give a way to build decentralised software systems and organisations.

A decentralised system is one where incentive structures are created in software code that encourages participants to behave in a way that helps the system succeed.

These systems are not controlled by any single person, company or government, they are controlled by people who are in the communities behind the systems.

Pascall explained to politicians the history of decentralisation from bitcoin, through to smart contracts, tokens and decentralised autonomous organisations.

“Blockchain is more than a new technology, this is a new infrastructure as powerful as the Internet that could change how organisations, governments and society operate,” he says.

“Governments around the world are proactively moving forwards in the blockchain and cryptocurrency market. There is a risk that New Zealand will get left behind."

“We appeal to the government and Kiwi corporations to see blockchain as the next completely neutral public digital infrastructure, like the internet or email."

“For blockchain to serve the public good, governments need to actively co-lead policy frameworks with the private sector and focus on actively shaping the market outcome, together."

“Seriously, a passive attitude would quickly put New Zealand at risk of falling far behind its peers globally. Do governments and regulators want to be architects of the future or victims of it?"

“We believe it is vital for the government to take a holistic approach to this once in a lifetime opportunity, potentially in the form of ministerial responsibility and/or cross-agency working group.”

Pascall says BlockchainNZ backs a Callahan Innovation recommendation to convene a cross-agency blockchain working group.

He says New Zealand’s small size and agility is a big advantage because it is easy to get key people in the public and private sectors together and make decisions.

“New Zealand is known for its stable government and low corruption. Blockchain is all about trust and our international brand of trust and integrity is outstanding."

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