A new report suggests that New Zealand’s third-largest export sector and high-tech workforce could benefit significantly from blockchain technologies.

Economic benefits

The report titled Distributed Ledgers and Blockchains: Opportunities for Aotearoa New Zealand was published by Callaghan Innovation, a state agency dedicated to innovation and research and development of “ambitious businesses of all sizes”.

In it, the agency has thoroughly examined blockchain technologies and concluded that the nation’s IT sector, which presently rakes in NZD 16 billion a year with a workforce of almost 100,000, could grow to become the “second biggest contributor to gross domestic product by 2025” should blockchain be adopted sooner than later.

Examining the present state of the nascent sector, the report reflects on the USD 20 billion raised through initial coin offerings (ICOs) since 2017, which it views as a massive opportunity for “startups, researchers and established businesses”. However, for New Zealand, companies who utilize crypto-tokens through either ICOs or operating cryptocurrency exchanges have struggled due to banking restrictions, as per the report, “urgent action is required to unblock access to basic financial services”.

It is not a biased report; it acknowledges the numerous challenges within the nascent sector, namely “new consensus mechanisms to address scalability and energy efficiency, stable coins to address volatility, or data analytics to detect and prevent criminals from laundering money on public blockchains”. That said, the report goes on to identify how this landscape is changing in order to overcome these hurdles. It does so by highlighting several projects that are underway to address these problems.

Workforce matters

According to a blog post from Callaghan Innovation, the report’s research was partially funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and was produced to promote the technology amongst domestic entrepreneurs and innovators.

Offering his thoughts on the report, Andy Higgs, General Manager of Strategic Partnerships at Centrality said: “Blockchain presents a huge opportunity, with over USD 11 billion raised through initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the first half of 2018. New Zealand has a chance to lead the way, thanks to our sense of fairness and social inclusiveness, to ensure all New Zealanders benefit from the full potential of blockchain and decentralization.”

With the inherently international nature of the blockchain industry, the study says that a blockchain company doesn’t have to be based in New Zealand to be able to provide work for New Zealanders. From this, it suggests that instead, it matters more where the “key personnel” are located within a distributed workforce, and should drive New Zealand to foster a world-leading workforce.

 

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