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Australian crypto laws are at risk of being overtaken by emerging markets: Think tank

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The Australian government must accelerate its efforts to develop cryptocurrency regulations or risk falling behind other emerging markets, according to Loretta Joseph, chair of the Australian Digital Financial Standards Advisory Council (ADFSAC). The newly established policy institute under the ADC Forum has warned that the country’s slow pace of regulatory developments could hamper its progress within the crypto industry.

Earlier this year, the Australian Department of Finance conducted a consultancy for a “token mapping” exercise to classify different crypto assets. Papers proposing a licensing framework are expected in mid-2023, and roundtable discussions on crypto licensing are scheduled for the third quarter. In addition, there are private bills being processed to expedite crypto regulation.

However, Joseph cautioned that Australia’s pace of regulatory development needs to be more active. He expressed disappointment, citing the examples of countries like Bermuda, Mauritius, and Nigeria which have moved more quickly on crypto regulation. Joseph stressed the transformative impact of decentralized technology on global well-being and urged Australia to catch up.

According to Joseph, existing laws in Australia need to adequately cover more of the crypto ecosystem. He believes countries should consider updating or adopting new laws to encourage innovation. Joseph has been involved in writing crypto policies and laws since 2017 and was instrumental in helping Bermuda pass a law on digital currency business in 2018.

To address these issues and facilitate meaningful dialogue, Joseph founded ADFSAC, bringing together industry stakeholders, academics, policy makers and government representatives. He stressed the importance of inclusive think tanks to ensure comprehensive discussion and enable effective legislation.

Education about cryptocurrencies will also be a focus of the new institute, which aims to provide hands-on experience with wallets and promote understanding of their ease of use. Joseph suggested aligning Australia’s policy direction with global standard setting bodies such as the International Securities Commission (IOSCO), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and the Financial Stability Council (FSB).

Joseph believes that G7 and G20 governments will soon be enforcing crypto rules, so it’s important for companies to seek jurisdictions with clear legal frameworks. Establishing operations in jurisdictions that offer regulatory clarity is critical to the company’s future survival.

As Australia seeks to keep pace with the evolving crypto landscape, accelerated regulation, comprehensive dialogue and international alignment will play a critical role in shaping the country’s crypto industry.

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