ABIE France Webinar on Blockchain for Business – 10th February 2021

With Tesla announcing its investment of $US1.5 billion in Bitcoin, plus agreeing to accept the currency itself, there was a breaking news element to ABIE France’s webinar on blockchain held on Wednesday, 10th February. As ABIE France President Bernard Tabary noted when he welcomed panellists and attendees from Australia and France, “it’s a really exciting time for blockchain”.

“Blockchain for Business” was the second in a trio of blockchain discussions organised by ABIE.  The first, in 2019, was held in association with the OECD, and the 3rd, to be held in May in collaboration with FINSIA, the Financial Services Institute of Australia, will place the spotlight on the financial applications of blockchain.

“Blockchain for Business” moderator, Caroline Malcolm, ABIE France Board member and head of the OECD’S Global Blockchain Policy Centre, gathered together the impressive group of panellists from Australia and France.  Named last year as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, Caroline leads the OECD’s advisory board of 100 blockchain experts, and co-ordinates a network of managers working in areas such as fintech, competition policy, privacy and sustainable development goals.

Joining Caroline from Australia were Chloe White, National Blockchain Roadmap Lead at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, and Steve Vallas, CEO of Blockchain Australia.  They were joined by France’s Nadia Filali, Head of the Blockchain and Cryptoassets Programme at the Caisse des Dépôts, and ABIE France member Anne-Cécile Bourget-Davron, co-founder and CEO of Davron Translations and Davron Digital.

Chloe White sketched out the Australian perspective, detailing aspects of the country’s national blockchain roadmap.  Despite the COVID-19 concerns, she said, much had been achieved by working closely with industry, academics and the business community.  “The Roadmap allows us a holistic approach.  Blockchain is still poorly understood across the board, and a vital theme is blockchain literacy.  We want people to ask more questions so we can integrate the idea of blockchain literacy into everything we do.”

One of their successes has been a Blockchain Bootcamp, a capability programme for startups.  It was a team effort, working together with Steve Vallas, Austrade and the Israeli-based Landing Pad, an organisation that brings together startups, entrepreneurs, companies and investors under one roof in Salame, Israel.  “It worked really well”, said Steve.  “The places were oversubscribed tenfold.”

A lawyer, digital strategist and technology consultant, Steve has focused on building value-added relationships for companies seeking development in the blockchain sector.  Noting that the recent Federal Budget allocated $A6.9million to run blockchain pilot schemes, he said he also recognised that the startup question was a problem in Australia.  “It is where the conversation is, but we don’t have the funding.” 

Nadia Filali, who began her career in the financial sector working on software solution management, gave the overview from France, noting that France was very active on the regulatory front. She said a national task force had been launched in 2018, with four priorities: The support of excellence, staying on the cutting edge of technology, stimulating innovative projects and helping fund blockchain projects with legal and regulatory issues. 

She cited the success of Archipels, created by Groupe Caisse des Dépôts, La Poste, EDF and ENGIE offering trust services through blockchain like document certification and self-sovereign identity.  Last year the Banque de France had begun an experiment to create and manage a central bank digital currency, and other commercial bank digital currencies were on their way.

ABIE France member Anne-Cécile Bourget-Davron took the discussion from the broad brush strokes of government and regulations to its daily use.  Through Davron Digital’s system called Popcorn, blockchain enables companies to legalise their documents with an audit trail that is both traceable and secure.  “What was formally a paper process that could take weeks – even months – can now be done in real time monitoring, saving both time and resources.  We are not yet at the 100% digital stage, but we are moving towards that”, she said.

Caroline Malcolm summed the discussion up nicely when, in thanking the panel, she quipped that “blockchain is a team sport that added value to existing businesses and to the creation of new businesses”. Thanks to the panel’s expertise, this game hit a goal.  So don’t miss out on the 3rd of the series, ABIE France’s May blockchain event.

If you would like access to the recording of the webinar and the slides, please contact abie.france@gmail.com.