Govt to create crypto-asset regulation map

crypto-asset regulation

The crypto-asset sector will be mapped to allow the government to regulate its operation and put in place consumer protections.

The federal government will look at ways to regulate crypto assets and will begin a mapping exercise to identify how the assets and related services should be regulated as more consumers begin to engage with the sector.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Dr Andrew Leigh jointly announced the move, stating: “As it stands, the crypto sector is largely unregulated and we need to do some work to get the balance right so we can embrace new and innovative technologies while safeguarding consumers.

“As the first step in a reform agenda, Treasury will prioritise ‘token mapping’ work in 2022, which will help identify how crypto assets and related services should be regulated. This hasn’t been done anywhere else in the world, so it will make Australia leaders in this work.

“The aim will be to identify notable gaps in the regulatory framework, progress work on a licensing framework, review innovative organisational structures, look at custody obligations for third-party custodians of crypto assets and provide additional consumer safeguards.”

The two ministers noted the ATO estimated that more than 1 million taxpayers have interacted with the crypto-asset ecosystem since 2018 and previous government efforts did not examine the underlying workings of the sector.

“With the increasingly widespread proliferation of crypto assets – to the extent that crypto advertisements can be seen plastered all over big sporting events – we need to make sure customers engaging with crypto are adequately informed and protected,” they said.

“The previous government dabbled in crypto-asset regulation, but prematurely jumped straight to options without first understanding what was being regulated. The Albanese government is taking a more serious approach to work out what is in the ecosystem and what risks need to be looked at first.

“Our government is ready to start consultation with stakeholders on a framework for industry and regulators, which allows consumers to participate in the market while also better protecting them.”

Earlier this year, then superannuation, financial services and the digital economy minister Jane Hume announced the previous government would more closely regulate cryptocurrency trading using a market licensing regime for crypto exchanges and introduce custody arrangements for cryptocurrency exchanges so investors who held their crypto on an exchange could always access their money.

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