Australia Reevaluates Laws for Crypto Wallets on Apple and Google

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In Brief
  • The Australian government contemplates new, stricter laws for crypto and digital wallets.

  • Services like Apple Pay and Google Pay fall just outside the scope of regulations.

  • Regulations on cryptocurrencies are coming into place around the globe.

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The Trust Project is an international consortium of news organizations building standards of transparency.

The Australian government says it’s considering new laws for more regulated digital payment and crypto services from major tech companies like Apple and Google. 

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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government will “carefully consider” recommendations stemming from a report on digital wallet services. The report proposes whether the payment systems kept up with technology advances and product demand. 

Apple  Pay, Google Pay, and WeChat Pay are three of the services under the government’s watchful eye. These offerings have grown exponentially in recent years, however, they aren’t actually designated as payment systems. This puts them just outside the scope of existing regulations. 

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Afraid of a Silicon Valley takeover, the Treasurer said, “Ultimately, if we do nothing to reform the current framework, it will be Silicon Valley alone that determines the future of our payments system, a critical piece of our economic infrastructure.”

The report from the Australian government recommended these tech companies be listed as payment providers to clarify regulatory status. In addition, it recommended the development of a strategic plan for a single framework for licensing payment systems. 

Members of the Australian blockchain community told their leaders that the country is stagnating in the crypto and digital space, emphasizing a lack of guidance in the industry. Nonetheless, Australian banks reported a rise in payments through digital wallets. 

Crypto regulations on the rise

Currently, global leaders are rushing for solutions for digital payment and transaction systems, be it in digital wallets or crypto services. 

The hot topic of the summer came when the U.S. Senate passed an infrastructure bill that could drastically change the crypto industry. It made the definition of a broker so that most actors in the crypto space fell into the same reporting bracket. So far, no major amendment has been passed

However, it’s not just the U.S. that seeks to impose more regulations in the digital payment space. The Japanese government said last week they’re looking into tighter crypto regulations for consumer protection. Prior to that both Brazil and South Africa made similar comments under the guise of protecting consumers. 

While it may be beneficial for tighter regulations on tech giants like Apple and Google, sweeping regulations which include crypto could damage the space.

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Savannah Fortis is a multimedia journalist covering stories at the intersection culture, international relations, and technology. Through her travels she was introduced to the crypto-community back in 2017 and has been interacting with the space since.

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