The Tech Council of Australia (TCA) and Accenture have today released the Digital Assets in Australia report to map out how digital assets can be used for growth and innovation across the nation.

The TCA is the peak body for the tech industry in Australia and works collaboratively with government and businesses such as information-tech firm Accenture.

Some of the key points/conclusions of the study include:

  • Digital assets include a range of technologies that enable digital representations of value.
  • Digital assets will change the way we work and live.
  • Australia can grow a strong and sustainable digital assets sector by improving levels of innovation and investment and building our skills base.
  • A clear principles-based regulatory approach will unlock the benefits of the digital assets sector.
  • A sector development strategy will support strong and sustainable growth.

To dig into some of that a little further, Stockhead grabbed commentary from Chris Jewell, CEO of one of the report’s chief supporters – Zepto, a leading payments fintech.


Poised to become a digital assets market leader

Hi Chris. How positive is the Tech Council, and business partners such as Accenture and Zepto, on the future of the blockchain and crypto industry in Australia and globally? 

Extremely positive about the outlook of digital assets both here in Australia and abroad. There’s a $60 billion opportunity with Australia’s name on it.

The benefits of digital assets stretch far beyond cryptocurrency itself and have the potential to increase efficiencies and innovation in the payment system through the automation and streamlining of the payments process.

Australia’s payment system is the fundamental infrastructure that supports the flow of value through the economy and enhancing this with trust, speed, and security is key to supporting a thriving economy.

Zepto is already building the foundations for digital assets in Australia, and we envision the likes of stablecoins, cryptocurrencies, and CBDCs to allow faster, and more secure transactions.

Are there any other crypto or blockchain sub-sectors or use cases that you feel strongly about? 

I think that the tokenisation of real-world assets can increase liquidity, accelerate settlements, lower costs, and lower the barrier for entry for many Australians. Underpinning that, smart contracts, and decentralised finance will result in a better, trusted experience for consumers and organisations, while saving them money.

This will have a profound impact on Australians through the creation of faster and safer methods of exchanging value.

Are the report’s creators anticipating innovation-friendly crypto regulations from the Australian government? Or is there some expectation or concern that the crypto industry will cop overly strict rulings in the wake of the FTX debacle

First of all, the Treasurer should be commended for his swift and responsible response to the collapse of FTX. This is the type of custodial regulation that will help to protect Australians without slowing down innovation.

The FTX collapse is evidence enough that, like any market, digital assets must be met with regulatory frameworks that enhance transparency and protect the consumer.

Australia is poised to become a leader in the global digital assets market. Regulatory action that balances the protection of consumers and encourages innovation is key to capturing this opportunity.


Further findings

If you ever wanted to argue the case for digital assets and the crypto/blockchain sector but didn’t quite know where to begin, then the 59-page Digital Assets Australia report has a good deal of the ammunition you might need.

Here are some more takeaways and projections:

•  The report finds that the digital assets sector (and we notice that phrase is used far more frequently in the study than cryptocurrencies or stablecoins) could add $60B per year to Australia’s national GDP by 2030, given the right regulatory framework.

• “Digital assets could contribute to a further 80% reduction in retail payment costs by 2050.”

• “Consumers could save almost $4B per year, or $160 per person, by using digital assets for international transactions.”

• “Blockchain and “digital twin NFTs” can allow consumers and businesses to verify provenance and environmental impact of a supply chain.”

• “By unlocking the benefits of DAOs, community groups and businesses can automatically and transparently spend funds.”

• “Instant settlement of business transactions could benefit the 4,000 businesses each year that fail due to poor cash flow.”

• “[Digital assets] could represent over 20% of retail payments by 2050, or up to 100% of payments if a retail CBDC is introduced.”


The report also noted that while Australia has kept pace with other countries when it comes to patents in the digital assets space, it’s actually lagging when it comes to start-ups and investment in the sector per capita compared with the likes of the USA, UK, Canada and Singapore (per capita).

“The technology in the DA space is rapidly evolving,” notes the report, “and to be successful, Australia will need to be at the forefront of innovation.”

The study goes on to explain how Australia can achieve this, which you can read about here.