Melbourne-based cryptocurrency exchange BTC Markets has become the first crypto company in Australia to gain a financial services licence.

The exchange made the announcement today that its sister company, BTCM Payments, has been issued with an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Why is this news? From the perspective of BTC Markets, one of Australia’s most successful and prominent crypto exchanges, it represents a closer bridging of the gap between the traditional finance sector and crypto, while also helping it to offer new products to its customers.

BTC Markets has been trying to secure this licence for more than 18 months – one that’s currently focused on non-cash payment products and general advice, although additional variations can apparently be made to it over time.

“Our preference has always been to own our own AFSL rather than buying an existing one from a licence holder,” said the exchange’s CEO Caroline Bowler. “We’re now the masters of our own destiny – we have a clean slate and full control over the AFSL.”

Bowler noted that the licence will sit alongside her company’s International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification and will help its progress in obtaining a System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 certification.

She also believes the AFSL will help prepare the exchange for “impending regulation” of the crypto industry in Australia. That said, with the change of government, it’s unclear as yet how impending that regulation is, and how much of the “Bragg Report” – a series of innovation-friendly recommendations compiled last year – will be adopted or tweaked.


BTC Markets’ push for TradFi integration

The licensing news is BTC Markets’ fourth strategic announcement in the past 12 months.

It follows a partnership announcement with Volt Bank in September 2021 – which allows customers to access their banking-as-a-service (BaaS) platform; a trading arrangement with online broker SelfWealth in February this year; and a deal with Mastercard in March.

The exchange has also successfully obtained professional indemnity insurance, which, according to BTC Markets, has proved challenging for businesses operating in the crypto market in Australia.

“From an industry perspective,” said Bowler, “we’re seeking to demonstrate how crypto can sit alongside traditional finance to seamlessly work together in a financially inclusive future.”