What does the change in government mean for crypto regulation and legislation in Australia? It’s a question Stockhead recently asked Blockchain Australia‘s Steve Vallas. 


Some background

• Steve Vallas is one of several prominent identities leading the conversation on national crypto-industry regulation. 

• The peak body he heads was instrumental in helping last year’s Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre formulate a 12-point crypto-regulation framework. 

• That’s a set of proposals and recommendations that has been championed by the Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg and late last year was largely endorsed by the Treasury

• Labor supported the draft regulations, too, but copped some criticism (from the likes of venture capitalist Mark Carnegie among others) in the run up to its election win for being pretty light on its own crypto-related policies. 

• At least 18% of Australians have invested in crypto at some point, according to crypto exchange Gemini’s recently published Global State of Crypto Report.


State of play

Vallas told Stockhead that the local blockchain industry is well prepared for the regulatory priorities of the new government, led by Australia’s 31st prime minister Anthony Albanese. 

And those priorities seem to be largely focused on consumer protections and addressing the risk of scams and how they affect regular investors. 

“The emphasis on strengthening consumer protections and educating retail investors with respect to the risk of scams is well underway,” said Vallas. “The custody framework discussion is well developed thanks to work already underway with ASIC.”

The Labor government’s Treasury department, led by Treasurer Jim Chalmers, is “engaging actively” with the crypto industry on regulations, licensing and token classification, Vallas continued.

“Getting this process right – regulations and ultimately legislative reform – far outweighs any benefit associated with rushing decision making. 

“Australia is now recognised globally as a forward-thinking jurisdiction in digital assets. Building on that reputation will deliver the tech jobs and investment that the Labor party has put at the centre of its digital-first agenda,” concluded the Blockchain Australia CEO.


‘Australia can become a market leader’: Kraken Australia MD

The need for Albo and co. to keep crypto regulations in focus is felt keenly across the fledgling local industry. 

Jonathon Miller, Managing Director for Australia at cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, for instance, emphasised the importance of an innovation-friendly regulatory strategy for crypto down under. 

“I hope to see the incoming government recognise and support the opportunity for Australia to become a market leader in fintech and crypto/blockchain technology,” said Miller. 

“Australian entrepreneurs enjoy an open playing field for crypto and we’re encouraged by the positive industry consultation on the development of future regulation.”

He added that he’d like to see a regulatory strategy under Labor “allow for innovation and competition, so that local projects can flourish without overburdensome requirements”.


‘We risk losing our best talent overseas’:  Dacxi CEO

In further comments shared with Stockhead, Ian Lowe, CEO of crypto wealth platform Dacxi, also weighed in: 

“The incoming government needs to move swiftly to provide a clear roadmap and a timeframe for the regulation of crypto assets. Lack of regulation continues to negatively impact investors, institutions and the industry itself.

“We’d also like to see the creation of an evidence based framework for the banking industry, in their treatment of blockchain technology related businesses,” he added.

Like Miller, Vallas and many others in the crypto industry, Lowe believes there is significant scope for innovation still to be realised in the space. Moreover, he thinks structured government incentive programs would go a long way to driving blockchain innovation. 

“These programs should include added incentives for investment (and therefore talent) to remain within Australia, said Lowe, adding: 

“Without these mechanisms in place, we risk losing our best talent overseas if they feel they’re being held back by remaining here.”


At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Kraken Australia and Dacxi are both Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.