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Public Hearing on Cryptocurrency and Digital Assets – 27 August 2021

Australia could learn from Singapore, the UK and US frameworks on crypto, and become a global leader in the sector. 

Chaired by Senator Andrew Bragg, the Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre is continuing its investigation into cryptocurrency and digital assets, today hosting the second public hearing. 

The Committee canvassed market licensing, custody arrangements, token classification and corporate structure options. 

Market participants such as Finder, Revolut Australia and Bitaroo provided evidence, in addition to academics from Monash University, ANU and RMIT and various regulators including ASIC and AUSTRAC.

The academics set out a strong investment and innovation case for legal recognition of Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAO), a model that already exists in the US state of Wyoming. 

The Committee heard Wyoming was the first jurisdiction in the world to create legislation for this industry, paving the way for DAOs to be adopted into the mainstream. 

Finder told the Committee 17% of Australians own crypto assets, “this nearly doubles with younger generations.” 

The market participants argued Australia should aim for global leadership on digital assets, noting Australia has the potential to be a custody hub - capturing a $1 trillion market. 

On the regulatory framework, cryptocurrency exchange Bitaroo underlined the ease of access to AUSTRAC digital currency exchange registration, saying it was effectively a “questionnaire” and no one has ever asked to see their anti-money laundering policy.

Yet AUSTRAC told the Committee that their registration process was much more rigorous. AUSTRAC assured the Committee that registration demanded an anti money laundering policy, “know your client checks” and personnel governance arrangements. 

AUSTRAC also said they have 400 digital currency exchanges registered, and have cancelled 6 registrations in the past year. 

The hearings continue in 10 days.

[Ends]

Media Contact:

Charlotte Mortlock

0401 392 624 

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