CBA a partner on blockchain-based ‘smart money’ payments project

October 09, 2018
Chris Wheal

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is leveraging its blockchain expertise to help test an application of the technology aimed at making it easier for disabled citizens to settle insurance payments.

CBA is working with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) to test the proof of concept in a blockchain project they call “Making Money Smart”.

Smart money

The two organizations have developed an app as part of a trial to explore the potential for blockchain technology to create “smart money”, for which they intend to use the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as a case study.

Also known as “programmable money”, smart money has conditions attached through computer data that knows what it can be spent on, when it can be spent, and by whom.

This is enabled by a blockchain token that can potentially be integrated with Australia’s New Payments Platform that can be accessed through an app.

Proof of concept

The CSIRO said it had chosen the NDIS as the case study for the proof of concept as it involves highly-personalised payment conditions with participants having individualised plans that contain multiple budget categories with different spending rules.

“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,” said CBA’s head of experimentation and blockchain, Innovation Lab, in a press statement.

Dr Mark Staples, senior principal researcher at CSIRO’s Data61 unit, said: “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.”

CBA’s blockchain credentials

CBA has been particularly active in experimenting with blockchain technology, and was one of the first companies to successfully complete a cross-border trade finance and supply-chain deal involving the shipment of almonds to Hamburg in Germany from Victoria, Australia.

The bank has also pioneered the issue of a bond – partnering with the World Bank – that was created, allocated, transferred and managed using blockchain technology.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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