Swinburne partnership to develop blockchain-based solutions for Australian businesses

Wednesday 29 January 2020 by Alayna Hansen

Asta Solutions Blockchain

In summary

  • Swinburne researchers from the Blockchain Innovation Lab are collaborating with software company Asta Solutions to improve blockchain-based management 
  • Blockchain is a connected, digital list of economic transactions. It contains data that can track, verify and exchange items of value
  • The project will help Australian businesses and contribute to national cybersecurity

Researchers from Swinburne’s Blockchain Innovation Lab have partnered with software company Asta Solutions to develop a unique approach to managing Australian supply chains with blockchain.

As part of a multi-year partnership, the project focuses on three challenges faced by businesses using blockchain-based supply chains. The project will ultimately improve the traceability and authenticity of exported products.

Swinburne researchers hope their innovative methods will also promote wider use of blockchain technology through multiple industry sectors, such as manufacturing and healthcare, and contribute to national protection against cybercrime.

What is Blockchain?

A blockchain is a growing list of digital records about digital transactions that can be programmed to trace anything of value.

In this context, the “block” is the digital information, and the “chain” links this information from one block to another through shared data. The data is permanent and secure, as it can be quite difficult to manipulate.

Blockchain networks are managed by a collection of connected computers, so the same information is open to all users and can be verified accurately and efficiently by multiple parties.

One of the most popular uses of blockchain technology, Bitcoin, is a digital currency without a central bank or administrator, so finances can be stored and payments made without the typical fees or intervening authority.

New and improved

The project focuses on providing solutions to three current limitations of blockchain-based supply chains:

  • Existing mechanisms of blockchain require large communication networks. As the number of users increases, the performance rate slows. Researchers hope to improve functioning as the supply chain is scaled.
  • Blockchain-based supply chains can have problems with efficiency. Researchers hope to improve the speed at which networks perform.
  • Blockchain-based supply chains can be vulnerable to faulty parties. Researchers hope to develop software that will defend the chain against these types of malicious attacks and contribute to national cybersecurity measures.

Dean of Digital Research & Innovation Capability Platform, Professor Yang Xiang, says the project has made exciting progress.

“We are currently in the proof-of-concept phase, which is where we determine how feasible the project is in a real-world situation,” he says.

“Working with Asta Solutions, we have developed the prototype and tested the functions of the system, and the outcomes have been successful. Our research shows how using blockchain and artificial intelligence, among others, can achieve a higher level of performance, privacy, and security.”

The newly developed methods will make the supply chain system more practical and contribute to Swinburne’s expertise in research and technology.

CEO of Asta Solutions, Bill Angelidis, says the partnership with Swinburne will provide excellent research and development capabilities.

“Asta Solutions has the experience and commercial reputation to advance Swinburne’s blockchain research,” he says.

“Our customers expect a high standard of data management and transparency, and the solutions developed through this partnership will strengthen their trust in our services. Collaborating with Swinburne researchers will certainly deliver benefits for multiple sectors in the future.”

Asta Solutions has also extended their brand to include Emerging Technology Consulting, which has advised and worked on insuretech start up Day By Day, a world-first insured asset ledger platform for the insurance industry.

Research with impact

The project will jointly run in the Blockchain Innovation Lab and Swinburne Cybersecurity Lab, joining other Swinburne facilities in analysing and developing programs for data security.

The Swinburne-Capgemini Centre of Excellence in Blockchain launched in 2018 to provide leadership in research and drive strategic blockchain projects to address complex industry problems.

Swinburne also collaborated with national financial intelligence agency, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac), to trial the use of blockchainto automate the reporting of international funds transfers.