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  • Writer's pictureSteven Pettigrove

The R word: Calls for regulation at AusCryptoConvention

Regulation was the word on everyone’s lips at the first Australia Crypto Convention on the Gold Coast this weekend.

Attendees were welcomed by a queue stretching the length of the Gold Coast Convention Centre and packed theatres as people clamored to hear more about Web3 and the state of crypto regulation in Australia. It was standing room only for many sessions. Some even lined up outside to hear speakers discuss and speculate on the future direction of Government regulation.

Despite the recent change in Government in Australia, the appetite for a regulatory regime for digital assets that would facilitate innovation and better protect consumers remains strong. A broad diversity of speakers weighed in to voice their support for regulation.

Dimitri Baveas at Independent Reserve, a leading Australian cryptocurrency exchange, identified three factors holding back institutional adoption of digital assets:

  1. Regulation including a robust framework to further consumer protection and innovation

  2. Research and education

  3. ESG

In a session on the road to mainstream adoption, Mark Monfort from the Australian DeFi Association commented that 3 years is too long to wait for regulation.

A legal panel on the future of crypto regulation addressed the difficulties posed by gaps in the existing regulatory framework including the recognition of digital assets as a form of property, the financial product regime and taxation relief for token grants to employees.

Jamie Kennedy, Country Director for FTX, addressed the Government’s planned token mapping consultation and reiterated the need for urgency in establishing the right policy settings in advance of the next bull run.

Senator Andrew Bragg lamented the new Government’s decision to pivot to a token mapping exercise rather than push forward with the Liberal Government's proposal for a licensing regime for cryptocurrency exchanges. He then announced his attempt to drive the debate forward by releasing today his own draft crypto bill covering a broad sweep of issues considered by last year’s Senate inquiry including licensing, custody, stablecoins and aspects of CBDCs. Senator Bragg will be seeking broader industry and public feedback on the proposal. More details will follow today.

The strong attendance and high quality conversations at this year’s Convention demonstrated the continued high level of interest in Web3 and digital assets despite the onset of crypto winter. The appetite for a broadly based regulatory regime to unlock that future also remains strong.


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