Digital finance CRC wins $181m from government, partners

Source: Australian Financial Review


The federal government has provided $60 million to a new Digital Finance Co-operative Research Centre (DFCRC) to seed a commercially focused, decade-long research program examining the digitisation of real-world assets.

The program has attracted an additional $121 million from industry partners, including the Reserve Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, Macquarie Bank, Origin Energy, the National Stock Exchange of Australia and Digital Asset, partly-owned by ASX.


Seven universities – Macquarie, UTS, RMIT, LaTrobe, Wollongong, Western Australia and Curtin – are taking part.

The government said the CRC could add billions of dollars to Australia’s gross domestic product each year. The project will attempt to unlock new assets and make them efficient to trade.

Andreas Furche, CEO designate of the DFCRC, said researchers and corporate partners would examine rules for real-time registers of ownership of digital assets. It would study blockchain technology, decentralised finance applications, and rules and regulations to facilitate digital asset trading.


Industry focus will be on the mining industry, including the “tokenisation” (making digital representations) of commodities and precious metals; the property industry, given the potential for fractionalisation of title; and banks, including the development of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

The centre’s website says academic staff will “embed ourselves in the commercialisation process through establishing special purpose vehicles to operationalise pioneering commercial work” and “our research will be driven by the commercial ambition of our partners and our team”.

Dr Furche said the creation of digital versions of real-world assets “will have a profound impact on the rate of achievable economic growth and pave the way for new types of investable assets and whole new markets”.


The government funding “gives the DFCRC the mandate and financial certainty it needs to undertake effective long-term research and form deep partnerships with industry to help Australia become a global leader in establishing a fully digitised economy”, he added.

The federal government CRC program has provided more than $5.2 billion in grants since 1991, which have been matched with more than $16.2 billion from partners.

The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter, said: “Whether it’s through the creation of dynamic registers enabling the instant exchange of assets and commodities, or the use of artificial intelligence technologies to improve regulation and compliance, the benefits could amount to billions of dollars in both efficiencies and new business opportunities each year.

“The funding provided for the CRC will also ensure the finance sector has the skills and leadership capabilities it needs to capitalise on these opportunities, by increasing education and training to help deliver the highly skilled workforce that will be required.”


Read full article at Australian Financial Review.