Employment and education are among the biggest problems facing widespread blockchain adoption.

That's according to a new ACS whitepaper, Blockchain Challenges for Australia.

“There are 14 job openings for every blockchain developer,” the report says. “And a 28-fold increase in the number of people citing cryptocurrency skills on their resume since 2013.”

When it comes to blockchain, Australia punches above its weight yet this technology is still underutilised and misunderstood.

We know how emerging technologies drive employment demand.

But while blockchain offers direct opportunities for skilled workers, it will also act as a disruptive force on the labour market.

“With regards to employment, the specific challenges include blockchain’s disruption to traditional administrative roles,” the report says.

“It presents the potential to make jobs by automating the processes previously conducted by intermediaries while creating entirely new jobs where opportunities will be in future for new industries.”

You might only know of blockchain as the technology behind cryptocurrency, but it has a raft of other potential uses that can flow onto many industries.

Not mainstream yet

The ACS Blockchain Advisory Committee authored the report, headed by Vincent Gramoli – creator of the Red Belly Blockchain – from the University of Sydney.

“Blockchain has some way to go before it becomes a mainstream technology,” said Gramoli.

“We’re already seeing blockchains have scalability issues. For example, the Bitcoin blockchain hasn’t been fast enough to cope with the volume of transactions requested for some time, and it’s not designed to scale.”

When cryptocurrencies peaked last year, it was estimated that the Bitcoin network had an annual energy consumption rate higher than that of New South Wales.

“Then there are other issues, both legal and regulatory,” said Gramoli.

“The good news is that there are solutions for these problems, and in this paper, we wanted to explore how we get to those solutions.”

Australia is still at the forefront

Australia led the International Organisation for Standardisation committee tasked with developing global blockchain standards.

According to ACS President Yohan Ramasundara, blockchain remains a technology with tremendous potential for Australia.

“In Australia, we are already a world leader in blockchain technology,” said Ramasundara. “But to take that next step there are issues that need to be addressed.

“We need to figure out how we can integrate the technology into our legal, technical and educational systems.

“We also need to address the skills shortage.

“If we can do that, then blockchain remains a potentially revolutionary technology in which Australia can lead the world.”