Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg has revealed that peak crypto industry body Blockchain Australia is likely to get its wish for regulatory clarity, with new crypto legislation “coming soon”.

The crypto-positive senator was speaking as part of a panel at the Blockchain Australia-supported NFT Fest virtual event on September 30 and said that fresh crypto policies could be enacted in 2022.

Steve Vallas, Blockchain Australia’s CEO, recently took part in a Senate committee discussion hosted by Senator Bragg, and emphasised the point there that the local blockchain/crypto industry is in desperate need of clear regulations so that the burgeoning sector can innovate with confidence and knowledge of where it stands.

Bragg told the panel and audience that the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology & Financial Centre (even its acronym is a mouthful) will publish a new report pertaining to the crypto industry by the end of October. It will include regulatory recommendations to potentially legislate over the next 12 months or so.

“The review is due to conclude in about three weeks from now,” said Bragg, “and the promise that I made you, I will keep. We will give you a plan, and that plan will be designed to put Australia at the front end of the digital asset society and the world.

“I think that you deserve more than just a series of recommendations for new inquiries, task forces and further review,” the senator added. “So we will be making some hard recommendations. We will want the major parties, including my party, to adopt these policies as part of their election manifestos.”

Bragg didn’t give any particular details about the recommendations, but said the plan will be based around a “robust policy framework” focused on consumer protection, investor promotion and market competition.


‘Way too much power over our society’

The senator was in great quote-bomb form throughout the panel discussion, some of which Chloe White highlighted in a tweet stream as it was taking place. White is the managing director of Genesis Block, an advisory group specialising in digital asset policy in Australia.

Much like his Republican counterparts in the US, Senators Pat Toomey and Cynthia Lummis, Bragg has made it clear that he is “very conscious” about not harming or stifling innovation in the wake of policy making.

Unlike Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s recent “Do nothing” suggestion, however, Bragg does believe in a firmly regulated crypto industry.

“For those of you that say we don’t want to have regulation,” he said, “I would remind you that your industry reps and the vast bulk of the industry is asking for some regulation, so there will be some regulation.”


Crypto and renewable energy

Senator Bragg wasn’t finished there. He was also keen to highlight the need for the Australian cryptocurrency sector to address the issue of energy consumed in the process of crypto mining.

The Australian government has an environmental goal of transitioning to a “net-zero economy” – that is achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere.

With this in mind, the senator said he wants to see the Australian crypto and blockchain industry function purely using renewable energy.

“I’ll just put the simple fact that we are trying to get to net zero,” he told the NFT Fest panel and audience, adding: “We want to get there as soon as we can… And in the area of digital assets using a lot of electricity, we want that to happen on a renewable basis. I think it’s a unique opportunity for the industry to pull this, pull those two things together.”