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The federal government has given AU$5.6 million in grants to two companies it hopes will deliver successful blockchain-based supply chain solutions.

The funding was awarded through the “blockchain pilot grants program”, which aims to investigate the capability of blockchain to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of Australia’s critical minerals and food and beverage sectors.

Everledger and Convergence.tech were given the funding to show how the nascent tech can support supply chain solutions and help to ease regulatory burdens with their respective pilot projects. Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter hopes the projects will help to accelerate Australia’s adoption of blockchain technology and assist businesses to solve real-world problems.

“The blockchain pilot grants will demonstrate the potential for blockchain to help businesses to save money and cut red tape by improving processes such as tracking products throughout the supply chain and transferring customer information,” Porter said in a statement.

“These two successful projects will also highlight opportunities to improve the technical and regulatory environment for blockchain in Australia, bolster blockchain literacy and support collaboration between Australian governments, the private sector and blockchain companies.”

See also: Home Affairs should look into supply chain technologies like blockchain: Committee

Everledger will walk away with AU$3 million to investigate how blockchain technology can be used to create a digital certification for critical minerals throughout the extraction and movement phases.

Porter hopes this will help companies in the sector ensure adherence to compliance regulations and increase the demand for Australian products in global markets, while also simplifying the process and lowering costs.

Convergence.tech, meanwhile, will take just over AU$2.6 million to use blockchain to help automate reporting processes under the Excise system, which is a commodity-based tax on goods including beer and spirits.

“This will help companies in the sector to reduce compliance costs associated with the creation, storage and transportation of their products,” Porter said.

The grants are funded under the government’s Digital Business package, which was announced in the federal Budget 2020-21, and forms part of the government’s National Blockchain Roadmap, which was announced in February last year and comprises 12 “signposts”.

Earlier this year, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources told the Senate Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology it was using the Budget allocated cash for two pilot projects that are intended to demonstrate to industry how blockchain can reduce the cost of regulatory compliance.

At the time, the department could not disclose the recipients of the grants.

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