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  • L Higgins and S Pettigrove

It's in the mail: Senate to review submissions on Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill

Submissions to the Senate review on the Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2023 (the Bill) are now closed. The Bill was introduced to Parliament in late March this year as a private member's bill by Senator Bragg and proposes the establishment of a licensing and custody regime for cryptocurrency exchanges and stablecoin issues. The Bill builds on an earlier draft bill which the Senator published for public comment in late 2022, being the Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2022.

The Blockchain team at Piper Alderman provided their submission to the Senate this past week, which provided practical suggestions for a more ambitious and robust draft of the Bill. The submission endorses a 'technologically neutral' approach to crypto-market regulation which addresses the specific features of digital assets and encourages the development of local industry to unlock the benefits of Web3 technology. Additionally, the submission encourages a legislative regime which builds upon the best aspects of the EU's MiCA regime and the efforts of other jurisdictions around the world (e.g. Hong Kong and Singapore).

Although the success of private members' bills has historically been low in Australia, they provide an opportunity for the community to be heard and help generate critical and positive discourse within the industry. They can also ventilate ideas for further development as part of Government policy.

The submission of Joni Pirovich of BADASL also endorses a more ambitious regime, supplying a modified version of the Bill with tracked changes that also endorses legal recognition of DAOs. BADASL's submission highlights that Australia is at a key inflection point in formulating its "defensive and strategic position to capture the economic growth possible from the anticipated mainstream transition [to Web 3]" and that more resources need to be allocated to the industry as Australia continues to play regulatory catch-up. BADASL's submission also echoes the need for a more robust bipartisan legislative effort to address the significant regulatory gaps in the Australian blockchain ecosystem.

The Senate is expected to report on its review of the Bill and the submissions received by 2 August 2023. Piper Alderman's submission to the Senate Inquiry can be downloaded and viewed below.

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