Insurance payments on blockchain trialed by Australian federal agency and bank

A new type of smart money, powered by blockchain, has been successfully trialled by the innovation arm of Australian federal agency CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) and the Commonwealth Bank (CBA).

The trial has demonstrated that smart money, also known as programmable money, could be used to help manage insurance payouts, budgeting and the management of trusts and charities in Australia. The technology was trialled with 10 participants and carers in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) using a prototype app.

The prototype app shows how smart money could give participants more choice and control over their disability support services, while cutting administration costs, removing paperwork and reducing the risk of fraud or accidental misspending.

The findings of the ‘smart money’ proof of concept were released today in a new report, which examines the design benefits and limitations of the blockchain-based ‘smart money’ system for the NDIS and identifies other use cases for the technology.

The NDIS prototype app aimed to test the functionality of smart money enabled by a blockchain token solution that could integrate with Australia’s New Payments Platform, which are new technology developments that have progressed considerably since the NDIS was first envisaged in 2011.

“This has been an important research project for understanding the benefits and limitations of blockchain technology in the context of conditional payment environments, such as the NDIS,” said Mark Staples, senior principal researcher in the Software and Computational Systems program at CSIRO’s Data61, in a statement.

The prototype app was tested by 10 NDIS participants and carers in the CommBank Innovation Lab as well as a small number of medium-sized disability service providers. Commonwealth Bank of Australia modelling indicates that — even if these estimates were applied conservatively across the NDIS ecosystem — the economic benefits would equate to hundreds of millions of dollars annually, if the proof of concept was developed and implemented as part of a full-scale solution across Australia.

The smart money proof of concept benefited from advice and feedback from a Reference Group of government and industry leaders, including the Digital Transformation Agency, National Disability Insurance Agency, Department of Social Services, Department of Human Services, The Treasury, Reserve Bank of Australia, Disability Advocacy Network Australia, Ability First Australia, National Disability Services, New Payments Platform Australia, Australian Digital Commerce Association and FinTech Australia.

Read the full release

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