The government's just-announced 2016 Federal Budget will see the "encouragement" of private companies and the government itself exploring blockchain technology, the peer-to-peer protocol popularised by bitcoin. New legislation, too, will ensure that Australian citizens are not double-taxed when they use, buy and sell digital currencies like bitcoin itself.
In the 2016-17 Budget overview, the government's statement reads that the downsized CSIRO research arm Data61 will pioneer the blockchain development. "the Government will encourage the exploration of Blockchain technology, including through a study and pilot testing by the CSIRO’s Data61. We will also introduce changes to the GST to ensure that consumers are no longer double taxed when using digital currencies such as Bitcoin."
The 'blockchain' is a generalised term that refers to a distributed database of records, with multiple nodes and pieces of infrastructure that protect the network against a single point of tampering or intrusion. It's that distributed nature that is the hallmark of bitcoin, where the blockchain serves as a public and constantly updated record of every single transaction since the bitcoin protocol's inception.