Callaghan Innovation has released a report into the potential of blockchain and distributed ledgers sating they have the potential to drive significant innovation and technology exports and help ICT to become the second biggest contributor to gross domestic product by 2025.
According to the report, there is much unclaimed terrain in the blockchain space, including widespread use of security tokens, social bonds on the blockchain, mass digital identity adoption, and centrally banked digital currencies. and New Zealand could be a world leader in the space.
"We have a highly educated society with a rapidly growing ICT sector. Our reputation and ability to attract talent are second to none, and our government is agile and willing to engage," it says.
The report calls on the Government to consider convening a cross-agency working group that could keep abreast of international research and development, engage with the emerging industry and develop policy and recommendations for legislative change, if required.
It says consideration could be given to establishing a multidisciplinary research centre with a focus on distributed ledger and blockchain technologies, funded from both the public and private sectors, but aiming to become self-sustaining through private funding from top tier blockchain foundations.
"Such a centre might for example have research chairs focused on technology, entrepreneurship and public policy with the flexibility to add chairs in other disciplines as opportunities arise," it says.
The report also suggests New Zealand could lead the world in using blockchain to combat financial crimes, saying that a blockchain financial crime prevention forum could provide an initial opportunity for deeper collaborations across the public, private and academic sectors.
"Blockchains and crypto-assets have been widely criticised for enabling financial crime, but the technology also offers significant potential to provide solution," it says.
The report was authored by Joshua Vial from entrepreneurs' network Enspiral. It was commissioned by Callaghan Innovation and blockchain venture studio Centrality and jointly funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).