Data61, Commonwealth Bank of Australia Partner On Blockchain-Based “Smart Money”

Blockchain, Innovation, News | October 9, 2018 By:

CSIRO’s Data61, Australia’s digital innovation network, and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) have partnered to explore the potential for blockchain technology to create “smart money” – also known as programmable money.

As part of the trial, called Making Money Smart, the two parties developed an app that could be used to impose ‘smart money’ limits on the spending of funds provided through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which involves highly personalized payment conditions. In the NDIS, participants have individualized plans that can contain multiple budget categories – each with different spending rules.

The trial aims to enhance the experience of participants and service providers through the creation of smart money. The app allows participants to manage their plan by enabling them to find, book and pay for services from service providers without the need for paperwork or receipts. Smart money is enabled by a blockchain token solution that could integrate with Australia’s New Payments Platform, and is accessed through the app.

Sophie Gilder, Head of Experimentation and Blockchain, Innovation Lab, CBA, said that programmable money represents an opportunity to re-envisage how we think about money and how payments function across the economy.

“The potential of this technology for the NDIS is exciting, ranging from greater empowerment for participants, reduced administration costs for businesses and greater visibility for Government,” Gilder said. “It’s been rewarding to collaborate with Data61 on a project that could have such a large, positive impact for the community.”

Mark Staples, Data61’s software and computational systems program senior principal researcher, said that this has been a really interesting research project into how blockchain technology can integrate with new payments technologies to provide more choice, control and flexibility for conditional payments for NDIS participants and service providers.

“We’re particularly interested in the broader research opportunity around programmable money, because it should reduce friction in business transactions, and enable companies to create new business models and innovative ways of delivering and paying for products and services,” Staples said. “This would benefit customers and reduces the administrative burden involved in managing payments.”

The proof of concept is currently undergoing user testing with NDIS participants and carers. Data61 and CBA will release a report that examines the benefits and limitations of the system for NDIS payments in November.