Regulation is one of the key aspects in the process of the legitimization of cryptocurrency. Basically, it goes like this: without the creation of the legal framework there will be no regulation, without regulation there will be no trust from the big and institutional investors, and without it there will be no capitals. Without capitals there will be no liquidity. And every kind of the economy requires fuel - money, otherwise, it has nowhere to grow, and it stagnates and dies.
So the government of Australia understands that and actively works on the process of inclusion, that will build up crypto-economy inside of the country’s market. Back in 2013, governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia proclaimed that Australian citizens were free to choose any currency to their liking to pay for goods and services. In 2017, Minister for Justice Michael Keenan stated that Australian laws would be aimed at preventing organized crime and terrorism but at the same time would not hinder the development of any legal, financial sectors.
This is understandable: on the global digital market arena, they have a good, solid 11th place, with a daily trading volume of 305 bitcoin. However, without proper attention and care from the side of the regulator - the country gets nothing from that amount. Because of this, they started to build their own crypto “strategy” and look for the way to deal with it. For starters, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) created a list of requirements for cryptocurrency exchange providers that is updated on a regular basis. Which is a big deal - due to the lack of the clear regulation in the country, many crypto companies simply leave Australia, because as soon as they end up being “down by the law”, they prefer to change the location instead of dealing with the legal stuff and wasting time,money and effort.
And here lies one of the most significant problems of the сгyproccurency and blockchain projects for the government - they can't regulate it however they want according to their view, because the projects teams will simply leave the country. Most of them are not country bound and initially aim at the global level. If forget about obvious examples, like Binance that moved from China to Malta, there are numerous ones when smaller companies decided to relocate. For example, biggest polish Exchange, BitBay chose to leave the country because of the constant issues with banking in the country. Poland failed to provide the much-needed change in the financial climate and BitBay decided to leave.
But overall, the Australian government concluded to take a somewhat neutral position when it comes to crypto. According to the words of the blockchain company consultant from Perth, Johnny SWANEPOEL the regulators will take on the ICOs first: “I believe Austrac and ASIC are going to be looking at ICO's from the past 18 months to see if investors were misled. Australia has an almost government friendly population, and therefore adoption here is harder. When stories that have slight negative connotations hit the press, we seem to overreact. A trifle becomes a scandal that drives the negative sentiment higher, and we have to fight to overcome this. I am trying to take Blockchain mainstream, but the word Bitcoin is misunderstood and still has a bad smell.”
This seems very reasonable since despite minor setbacks and the fact that it has a better alternative, ICO industry is alive and kicking as people continue to carry their hard earned money to them, despite the fact that scams are running rampant in the ICO and a lot of startups simply fail to deliver anything.
Overall - Australia is pretty friendly towards crypto. To the point that local businesses are confident enough to start switching towns to the crypto. Agnes Water and 1770 are small oceanside towns at the Queensland region managed to persuade most of the major businesses to start accepting crypto as a means of payment. One of the creators of this project, Gordon CHRISTIAN is sure that crypto has a bright future ahead: “Australia is a digital currency friendly country. Taxation of digital currency in my view has legitimized it. I see only positive effects here: one is the actual currencies being created and being implemented around the globe; two is the growth of the tokenized economy; three is the tech that is being created to build Web 3.0 to enable the 4th industrial revolution”.
However, some people are not that optimistic - in their eyes most of the changes are not that important or don’t play that much of a role. Australian research fellow from an IT company, Adrian MACKGULLAH commented on this situation like this: “Cryptocurrencies are a very minor aspect of the Australian economy. They do not impact the current Australian economy much. The Chairman of the Reserve Bank of Australia has indicated that the Bank has a minor watching brief on cryptocurrencies and that is all at this stage. There has been some brief discussion as to whether Australia should introduce a CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) but it has only resulted in a discussion.”
To summarize all from above, it’s safe to admit that there is one detail already clearly noticeable and pretty much crucial for the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Each time when a country takes a serious step towards crypto - it becomes a clear indicator of the growth in the system. Fewer people consider it a “tulip” and more see it as a legit financial instrument.
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