The federal government has awarded $2.6 million to tech consulting firm Convergence.Tech to automate key parts of the excise tax system.
Convergence.Tech, with headquarters in Melbourne and Canada, is leading a consortium including KPMG, Mills Oakley, the Australian Distillers Association and Spirits & Cocktails Australia.
Convergence.Tech CEO Chami Akmeemana said he had been part of a small group championing blockchain in Australia for the last five years.
“We started an association to fire-up the ecosystem and running hacks to show hands-on what it can do in regulatory environments. We have a great team and we’re excited to begin the discovery process and roll up our sleeves to trial a solution,” Akmeemana said.
The grant consortium will work with the federal government to automate key parts of the excise tax compliance and payment process, leveraging smart contract automation and an Australian dollar stablecoin. The goal is to help companies reduce the compliance effort and costs of the creation, storage and transportation of products.
Akmeemana said the AUD stable coin will help excise tax compliance but could also be used more broadly in Australia.
Blockchain is a digital ledger system that records transactions such as the movement of goods through a supply chain in a way that is extremely difficult to change or “hack” because the information is duplicated across a network of computers.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said the projects would help to accelerate Australia’s adoption of blockchain technology and assist businesses to solve real-world problems.
The grant was one of two awarded as part of the government’s Blockchain Pilot Grants, established to investigate ways to ease regulatory burdens and in turn enhance productivity and competitiveness.
These grants are funded under the Australian Government’s Digital Business package, announced in the Federal Budget 2020-21, and directly align with the Government’s National Blockchain Roadmap, released in February 2020.