Australia’s new government finally signals its stance on crypto regulation

Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers said his government will improve the way Australia’s system handles crypto assets and provide greater consumer protection.

Three months after being elected to power, the Australian Labor Party has finally broken its silence on how it plans to approach crypto regulation.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has announced a “token mapping” exercise, which was one of 12 recommendations from a Senate inquiry report last year into “Australia as a Technology and Financial Hub”. The report has been warmly welcomed by industry who are eager to see if the ALP government will adopt it.

Intended to be conducted before the end of the year, the token mapping exercise should help “identify how crypto assets and associated services should be regulated” and inform future regulatory decisions.

Cointelegraph understands that the Treasury will also undertake work on some of the other recommendations in the near future, including a licensing framework for crypto asset service providers dealing with crypto assets of non-financial products, appropriate requirements to protect custody consumer crypto assets and a review of the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) type business structure.

In a statement by Treasurer Jim Chalmers, along with Deputy Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones, and Deputy Minister for Competition, Charities and the Treasury, Dr Andrew Leigh, the Albanian-led government says it wants reign over a “largely unregulated”. ” crypto industry.

As things stand, the crypto industry is largely unregulated and we need to do some work to find the right balance so that we can embrace new and innovative technologies.

The statement notes that more than one million taxpayers have interacted with the crypto ecosystem since 2018, and yet “regulation is struggling to keep pace and adapt to the crypto asset industry.”

Politicians claimed that the previous Liberal-led government had already “hugged” to regulating crypto assets through crypto secondary service providers “without first understanding what was being regulated.”

The Albanian government is taking a more serious approach to determining what is in the ecosystem and what risks need to be looked at first.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Michael Bacina, Partner at Piper Alderman, said the token mapping exercise would be an “important step” in bridging the significant educational gap among regulators and policymakers.

“Australia is currently overtaking its blockchain clout, but we have seen regulatory uncertainty lead to companies leaving Australia,” he said.

“A sensible token-mapping exercise that helps regulators and policymakers gain an in-depth understanding of the activities they seek to regulate and how technology interfaces with those activities should help regulation be fit for purpose and to both supporting innovation and jobs in Australia while protecting consumers,” he added.

Caroline Bowler, CEO of BTC Markets, said the move reflected calls from many industry players for “proportionate and appropriate regulation” of the sector.

“The additional benefits of token charting are many. It will bring greater clarity to crypto investors, help companies develop their own blockchain-based innovations, provide guidance to digital currency exchanges, and help regulators shape an appropriate regulatory regime,” she said.

However, Dr Aaron Lane, a senior lecturer at the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub, believes that the token mapping exercise is something of a delaying tactic on the part of the Labor government:

Progress is progress, but it is disappointing that we are not further along the path to greater regulatory certainty for industry and greater protection for consumers.

“Unfortunately, they had to buy time with a symbolic mapping exercise to allow them to catch up,” he added.

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