The Labor Government is all over the shop when it comes to cryptocurrency regulation.
The Financial Review reports the Treasurer is now belatedly promising new laws on crypto markets, yet this is not the position of the Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones.
New laws to regulate crypto markets and custodians was the key recommendation of the 2021 Senate report and the position of the Liberal Government.
Recommendation 1 from the 2021 Senate Inquiry was: “that the Australian government establish a market licensing regime for digital currency exchanges, including capital adequacy, auditing and responsible person tests”.
A Treasury consultation was then undertaken on licensing and custody requirements commencing on 21 March 2022.
Yet Stephen Jones said on 22 August 2022 that he would not focus on this. Rather he would “prioritise token mapping… '' and “the previous government dabbled in crypto asset regulation but prematurely jumped straight to options without first understanding what was being regulated.”
Recent events have shown that we were right to regulate the gatekeepers. It was not a dabble.
At Senate Estimates last week, the Treasury reported they were focused on Jones’ priority of token mapping rather than continuing the work on crypto market licensing. It was clear the Treasury was being sent down the wrong path.
If the Treasurer is now running crypto policy, he should release draft legislation on regulating crypto markets. There is no need for a further consultation as that has already been conducted by the Treasury.
The Government can fashion a bill from my private Senators’ bill and their own department with a view to passing it in the first quarter of 2023. That way consumers will be protected and investment in Australia will be promoted.
Media Contact: David Nouri - 0401 392 624