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  • T Masters and M Bacina

Senator Bragg releases draft bill on Digital Assets regulation

Updated: May 3

Following Treasury Consultation over the proposed shape of a centralised exchange licensing regime, Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg has pressed the legislative agenda ahead by publishing a draft Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2022 which proposes a new licensing regime and reporting requirements for digital asset exchanges.

Bragg, a champion of sensible crypto regulatory reform and Chair of last year's bipartisan parliamentary inquiry that produced a 168 page final report outlining a number of recommendations to regulate the industry, sees progress as stalling under a Labor government, having previously accused it of not moving to prepare it's own bill, and is urgently pressing for legislation.

Australia must keep pace with the global race for regulation of digital assets.

Bragg states in today's media release.

Australia is falling behind on consumer protection and investment promotion.
The Senate Select Committee I chaired last year was bi-partisan and the Treasury consultation is a non-partisan departmental process.

The draft Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2022 introduces a licensing regime for:

  • Digital Asset Exchanges; and

  • Digital Asset Custody services, and

  • Stablecoin Issuers (which includes requirements for frequent reporting and Australian or foreign currency to be held in reserve in an Australian bank account).

On licensing, Bragg said:

The rationale for these licences is two fold. Firstly, by providing a standards based regime, we give confidence to the consumer that risk exposure is managed, and on par with other financial services and products.
Secondly, by providing regulatory certainty, this regime opens the door to greater investment and growth in Australia’s crypto ecosystem and virtual economy.

The draft bill also seeks to establish disclosure requirements for facilitators of the e-Yuan in Australia. The E-Yuan is the first major Central Bank Digital Currency in operation and has been the subject of criticism that it enhances the Chinese government's ability to conduct surveillance.

The Labor Government has announced an intention to increase consumer protections for crypto assets, but has not yet provided any details of potential legislation except to say it will focus first on a 'token-mapping' exercise, promising to release a public consultation paper soon. It is unclear what shape the token mapping will take. A number of other consultations are underway, and expected to finalise by the end of the year, with the Board of Taxation's review being closely watched.

Senator Bragg is seeking submissions in relation to the draft Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2022 prior to 31 October 2022.


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