The Australian government is making the biggest reforms to payments in the country in 25 years, which includes regulations for cryptocurrencies, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Wednesday.

Speaking in an interview with 7NEWS, Frydenberg said the the reforms “will firmly place Australia among a handful of lead countries in the world” and will take cryptocurrencies and digital assets “out of the shadows” and into a “world-leading” regulatory framework.

It’s more strong recognition for the crypto industry from the government, which plans to implement much (although not all) of a Senate Select Committee’s innovation-friendly regulatory proposals put forth by Senator Andrew Bragg in October.

According to the Australian Financial Review, the government agrees with at least six of the reforms proposed by the senate committee, with others up for further review and consideration.

Significantly, the government will include a licensing structure for crypto exchanges, laws to govern DAOs (decentralised autonomous organisations) and a common-access regime for new payments platforms.

Proposals relating to tax and financial compliance have been referred to the Board of Taxation and the Council of Financial Regulators, respectively.

Unfortunately for local Bitcoin miners, however, the government has knocked back a proposal that would give them a 10 per cent company discount for using renewable energy.


‘Great to see gaps in regulation finally being addressed’

Despite not all of the Senate Select Committee’s proposals landing (at least not yet), what we’re seeing here from the highest echelon of Australian government can be taken as a net positive, especially considering the industry-accepting language being used.

The Treasurer also addressed the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) today, saying:

“What is clear is that if we embrace these developments, Australia has an enormous opportunity to capitalise on the convergence between finance and technology.”

In response to Frydenberg’s speech, Caroline Bowler, CEO of the BTC Markets crypto exchange, said:

“Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s announcement today is deemed as the biggest shake-up of the nation’s payments systems since the 1990s, and a major step forward to upgrade Australia’s one-size-fits-all regulatory framework in real-time. 

It’s great to see that the gaps in Australian regulation relating to digital financial products and the exchanges who support them are being finally addressed at the highest level of authority. What’s more encouraging is that we now have a timeline for these reforms to take place, which we didn’t have before.” 

Meanwhile, the Australian government is also reportedly working on a retail-scale, central bank digital currency (CBDC), according to an unnamed senior governmental source speaking with The Australian newspaper this week.