- B Vrettos and M Bacina
Senator Bragg beckons: 'Ask me anything (about crypto)'
Updated: Jul 26, 2021
Departing from the norm, Senator Andrew Bragg has taken to Reddit asking for the public's comments on the current state of cryptocurrency and digital asset regulation. This demonstrates the expanse of platforms and voices that the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Finance and Technology Centre (Committee) is exploring while drafting its final report. Specifically Bragg asks:
What policy proposals would you like to see? What obstacles are in your way? What reforms would provide the biggest benefit to this sector?
Over 130 responses provided a range of perspectives.
Emerging themes from the comments included:
Tax confusion - specifically the treatment of digital currency as an asset being a particular point of friction as it inhibits the use of digital currency as a currency. Noting the developments in many payment providers enabling digital currency as a payment mechanism, perhaps this is worth revisiting.
Striking the balance - over regulating hinders innovation, under regulation creates uncertainty. Those responding implore the Committee to consider a balance that provides clarity whilst not making compliance so onerous as to push innovators offshore.
International comparison - the excitement in the potential for digital currencies and assets were demonstrated through a variety of international comparisons of some countries pioneering blockchain innovations and their regulatory framework set up to do so.
A majority of the comments included the overriding message of the need to upskill and educate Australian regulators to ensure that they have adequate knowledge and resources to be able to effectively respond to day-to-day challenges start-ups face when operating in Australia.
This is in line with Braggs comments that "we should be mainstreaming" digital assets with existing regulation where ever possible.
Between sharing his appreciation for dark chocolate Tim Tams, the Senator's comments show his excitement for the future adoption of digital assets including:
"I think there is a promising future for stable coins and that includes issuing an Aussie dollar stable coin"
"The Wyoming bill is very interesting as is their whole regulatory framework - we'll see what we can learn from them just as we'll have a good look at Singapore and the UK"
"other jurisdictions to which you refer are getting ahead of us. And we must keep up. We are an ambitious nation!"
The full thread is here.