With the first indication from the new centre-left administration that it intends to regulate the $1 trillion industry, the Australian government announced on Monday that it would conduct a virtual assessment of the nation’s cryptocurrency assets.
As an initial step in determining which cryptocurrency assets to regulate and how, Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced that his office would carry out “token mapping,” or cataloguing of the different types and applications of digital currency possessed within the nation.
“With the increasingly widespread proliferation of crypto assets, to the extent that crypto advertisements can be seen plastered all over big sporting events, we need to make sure customers engaging with crypto are adequately informed and protected.”
Since 2020, when a rise in the sector’s popularity was brought on by COVID-19 stimulus grants and home working, there have been more calls for legislation.
A Senate investigation conducted last year by the previous conservative administration suggested extensive rules to safeguard bitcoin owners, but that administration lost an election in May before any new legislation was implemented.
The issue of how to regulate cryptocurrencies, which are governed by decentralised networks rather than central banks, has been debated in Australia for years.
According to research conducted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, 44% of retail investors held cryptocurrency as of the end of 2021. This led the commission to declare that the industry should be regulated.
A licencing framework for crypto asset service providers dealing in non-financial product crypto assets, suitable requirements to safeguard consumer crypto asset custody, and a review of the decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) company-style structure are all tasks that Treasury will take on in the near future.