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Australia Stagnating in Crypto Progress, Says Blockchain Australia

2 mins
Updated by Ryan Boltman
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In Brief

  • Despite still being well-placed in the cryptocurrency space, Blockchain Australia told a Senate committee that the country is falling behind its peers globally.
  • The fundamental challenge has been a lack of guidance, so the blockchain association is pushing for more crypto regulation.
  • The Australian Senate’s Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre started exploring how crypto assets could be regulated in the country earlier this year.
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Despite still being well-placed in the crypto space, Blockchain Australia told a Senate committee that the country is falling behind its peers globally.

Blockchain Australia said that other countries are moving quickly, and subsequently establishing ‘real success’ in the blockchain space. For Australia, it says, the fundamental challenge has been a lack of guidance. To this end, the country’s leading blockchain association extended its call for regulation around the nascent technology. 

Crypto as ‘Wild West’

Blockchain Australia CEO Steve Vallas told the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre that blockchain can’t seem to shake its reputation as the “wild west.” According to Vallas, the narrative continues to be pervasive, and that it lingers from the ICO boom of 2017-2018. However, he said that they were resisting that narrative by seeking out clarity with regulators.

Vallas also established with the committee that his organization and its members don’t benefit from scams. “It hurts us because it’s too easy to point to things that are not well known or considered — and to say it’s part of the industry, it’s just not,” he said. “I don’t represent multibillion-dollar businesses who seek to perpetuate scams. In fact, they all suffer from it.”

The committee and Blockchain Australia

The Australian Senate’s Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre started exploring how crypto assets could be regulated in the country earlier this year. The parliamentary inquiry will consider crypto regulation in an effort to strengthen the local fintech sector, while encouraging financial innovation. Although some institutions accept cryptocurrencies, others are hesitant due to the risk from lack of regulation.

Meanwhile, Blockchain Australia recently sent recommendations to the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre, asking for safe harbor provision for crypto providers. The draft was created by members and industry stakeholders in collaboration with the group. The overall goal of the proposal was to protect clients while also establishing regulation that would encourage innovation. This was the third time Blockchain Australia has made such a submission, acknowledging that a long-term regulatory framework will take time.

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Nicholas Pongratz
Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.
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