Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies

By Nick Cliff, Emerging Technology Lead at AusPayNet - 22 October 2018

Blockchain is the decentralised digital recording platform that’s taken the world by storm, attracting over $2 billion investment worldwide in the past three years. 
We recently invited Deloitte representatives, Jonathan Perkinson, Partner in the Payments Advisory Practice, and Vinod Rahl, Director of Platform Engineering, to take our members through the technology underlying Bitcoin and brought to mainstream attention in 2009.

Why Blockchain?

While the blockchain underpins Bitcoin, there are much broader business applications in development. Jonathan took us through the properties that make blockchain appealing:

  • Near real-time – Transactions occur almost immediately
  • Trustless environment – Cryptographic proof allows parties to transact directly without the need for a trusted intermediary
  • Distributed Ledger – Distributed and highly available, the blockchain retains a secure source of proof
  • Irreversibility – Making transactions difficult to double spend, abuse or manipulate
  • Censorship resistant – Participants are incentivised to continue mining, securing the chain.

When Blockchain?

The presentation moved on to examine the types of use cases blockchains can excel in. Typically, these involve environments where multiple writers share a data source of transactions that have a level of dependency between them (the ‘chain’ in blockchain). Blockchain is particularly useful in operating environments where there is mistrust between parties.

What this means is that blockchains often lend themselves to highly competitive industries, or those operating across multiple jurisdictions.

Which Blockchain?

Since 2009 there has been an explosion of solution providers offering blockchains for a range of purposes. Vinod spent some time walking through the taxonomy of a blockchain discussing various components and how they can be used to solve different problems.

Australian Blockchains

We closed out the session looking at the blockchain initiatives currently occurring throughout Australia. A short three-minute video was helpful in explaining how blockchains can assist in an often complex and heavily manual trade finance use case.
I would like to extend personal thanks to Jonathan and Vinod for the great session, and to all the attendees for their participation and fantastic questions.


Nick Cliff represents our members and industry on the International Technical Committee for Blockchain Standards (ISO/TC 307), which is run by Standards Australia.