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Blockchain: New Zealand needs to get up to speed

Fri, 24th May 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

BlockchainNZ is calling on the Government to research and prepare a strategy for New Zealand to get up to speed with countries when it comes to blockchain.

BlockchainNZ executive director Mark Pascall will present to parliament's economic development, science and innovation select committee hearing in Wellington next Thursday on how the economy can accelerate using blockchain.

He says BlockchainNZ has a number of international experts who can help educate the government and help them draft up a strategy to boost the economy.

"The technology can traverse every business domain and can have far reaching impacts on society as we know it," explains Pascall.

“So, we really want government to take blockchain seriously and produce a strategy," he states. "We can help them with that so we strike a balance between trying to plan for an unpredictable future and taking some action so we realise huge potential economic benefits for the country."

Pascall says France is doing some 'great stuff' in this space and 'we want all of New Zealand to be blockchain savvy'.

“Since the beginning of the year, prices and market capitalisation across most of the top 20 crypto tokens have risen by around 100%," he explains. "Bitcoin, the first application of a blockchain, settled over $US400 billion in transaction volume globally last year.

That is more than Venmo, Apple Pay, or PayPal. A few weeks ago, bitcoin settled $US7 billion of transactions in a single day," Pascall says.

“After many years of hype, price volatility and infrastructure building, we are seeing a maturing industry that could have big implications for New Zealanders in an emerging decentralised global economy.

Pascall says his presentation, which will be live streamed from the Beehive, will help the committee to understand the basics, starting at how bitcoin/blockchain works through to smart contracts, security tokens and decentralised autonomous organisations.

He will explain why over the last few years, the conversation has moved on from bitcoins' wild price volatility and its use on the dark markets. He says decentralised technologies now present many opportunities and risks that the government needs to be aware of.

“The blockchain technology that underpins bitcoin now offers a fundamentally new way to build software that has the potential to change the way organisations, government and society operate," Pascall explains.

“Over the last few thousand years we have moved from a decentralised hunter-gatherer society to a highly centralised global village where huge data, power and wealth is now in the control of a small number of global mega corporations such as Google, Facebook and Amazon and government super powers.

“This leaves small countries like New Zealand at risk," he says. "For example, Facebook wiping out our news media organisations, Uber wiping out our taxi businesses, Amazon wiping out our retail businesses, Acme synthetic food corp wiping out our primary industries, and so on."

Pascall says New Zealand is competing against many large and small countries around the globe.

"Many of the opportunities can be boiled down to taking advantage of three key advantages that we have over many other countries," he says.

“Our small size and therefore agility. The reality is that it's relatively easy to get key people in the public and private sectors together and make decisions," explains Pascall.

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

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