Australia's journey towards digital asset regulation has had hops forward and slips back, with a brief recap including:
In 2018, an early hop on the world with one of the first AML/CTF laws applying to centralised exchanges in 2018.
In 2019, an ICO Review in 2019, for which no report was every published,
In 2021, a Senate Inquiry into Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre in 2021 making strong recommendations,
In 2022 a Crypto Asset Secondary Service Provider Consultation; and
Earlier this year consideration of tax reform around crypto taxation; and
That private member's bill has been officially sunk in the Senate, with the Economics Committee, having held an inquiry into the Bill, and now recommending that the Bill not be passed, but that the Government continue industry consultation, which will take the most immediate form of the widely anticipated Treasury Consultation on crypto-asset custody and centralised exchange licensing.
The speed of which regulation in Australia has occurred has been drawn into sharp contrast as the likes Singapore and Hong Kong have introduced licensing, Dubai is attracting talent and has a specialist regulator, Europe has moved forward with MiCA, and even the US has had bills introduced to create bespoke licensing regimes.
While Australia has debated whether a bespoke regime has advantages over trying to marry digital assets and blockchains into an existing financial services regime, other countries have bespoke regimes up and running, which it is hoped Australia will be able to learn from swiftly.
The industry consultation around Senator Bragg's Bill has further highlighted the ongoing flight of innovation leaving Australia for jurisdictions with greater regulatory certainty and the benefits that Australia is missing out on in not moving faster to follow the rest of the world into bringing a fit-for-purpose regulatory regime for crypto-assets into existence.