The architect of the Senate report into regulating Australia’s cryptocurrency sector, released nearly a year ago, says the new Labor government needs to get on with introducing legislation rather than once again reviewing existing reviews into the issue.
Liberal senator Andrew Bragg coauthored a landmark Senate Select Committee report into digital asset regulation last year, investigating issues such as regulation and consumer protection, the fintech terror of “debanking”, and the taxation of digital assets, setting our a legislative roadmap with 12 recommendations that were embraced by the former Coalition government.
Speaking to Startup Daily on ausbiz today, Senator Bragg said assistant treasurer Stephen Jones and his boss, Jim Chalmers, need to act before Australia misses out on the opportunity digital assets offer.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said “the first step in a reform agenda” for crypto will see Treasury prioritise ‘token mapping’ work for the remainder of this year to help identify how crypto assets and related services should be regulated.
Chalmers said the Treasury work would 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.
A public consultation paper on token mapping will be released soon.
But much of that groundwork was already laid out in the Bragg report and subsequent Treasury consultation, although Chalmers accused the former government of prematurely jumping “straight to options without first understanding what was being regulated”.
Senator Bragg, now in opposition, said the government is trying to create the impression that it is doing something when it’s not.
“Australia is in the midst of a race for consumer protection, capital attraction and innovation. The Albanese government is commissioning another review rather than responding to the Treasury consultation on crypto markets and custody,” he said.
“The Government should get on with the job of producing a draft bill rather than further reviewing. Our competitors are enhancing their regulatory systems while we establish endless reviews.”
Here’s the interview:
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