Australia Set for Massive Shakeup to Crypto Regulations: Treasurer
Australia plans to strengthen regulations controlling non-cash payment methods and cryptocurrency exchanges. Josh Frydenberg, the country’s top state treasurer, stated on December 8 that this reform of the country’s banking and payment sector will be the largest in 25 years. This article explains the cryptocurrency regulation in Australia.
The Australian government set aside $573 million for the Digital Business Plan last year, which includes seven grants for distributed ledger technology. Nearly $5 million of the budgeted amount will be utilized to construct two prototype blockchain projects, the primary goal of which will be to minimize corporate expenses. Then, approximately $184 million, is established for the development of a digital identification system. According to Scott Morrison, the current premier minister, the strategy aims to sustain and rebuild Australia’s economy. It will aid in the removal of outmoded regulatory impediments and implement new technologies into the economy. In other words, we can conclude that the Australian government is quite supportive of the integration of crypto technologies into their economy.
Australia enacted a new law in October 2021 that allows law enforcement the authority to freeze digital assets as a result of the upsurge in fraud and theft. The law’s usefulness is still questionable because police must have direct access to the wallet to freeze it. There’s also the 2010 Competition and Consumer Protection Act which is against the law for businesses to mislead their customers. This way, advertising materials, and publications must contain no misinformation.
The government has no plans to restrict the public’s access to digital assets. Regulators are mostly concerned with the level of security since the government is searching for efficient measures to combat cybercrime and fraud. Moreover, the Reserve Bank of Australia announced a collaboration with Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Perpetual, and ConsenSys Software to develop Australian CBDC, in 2020. The project is currently in the research stage. For the time being, the regulator is researching the efficacy, dangers, and novelties of employing blockchain in wholesale markets.
However, the major change of crypto rules will affect cashless payment systems, such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, as well as enterprises that offer installment or deferred payment. Companies would be required to reveal all payment information, including fees and interest. Frydenberg believes that regulating bitcoin will protect consumers’ rights and investors’ interests. The rule would compel firms that acquire or trade cryptocurrencies to get an Australian license and to register with the state fiscal authorities. Every day, the Australian Taxation Office estimates that 55 million transactions worth around $463.5 billion take place in the country. Non-cash transactions account for 70% of all financial transactions. Meantime, According to Friedenberg, more than 800,000 Australians possess crypto-assets in some form, which is around 3% of the population.
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