Australia announces plan to develop crypto framework

First step will be for token mapping exercise to identify digital asset tokens in Australia

Australia Crypto                                 
The Australian Treasury has outlined plans for better-informed cryptocurrency regulatory framework than “anywhere else in the world” – Photo: Shutterstock

The Australian Treasury has outlined plans to establish a cryptocurrency regulatory framework that will be better-informed and more thorough than those developed “anywhere else in the world”.

“Australians are experiencing a digital revolution across all sectors of the economy, but regulation is struggling to keep pace and adapt with the crypto asset sector,” said a government statement published on Monday 22 August 2022.

Australia reveals 'token mapping' plan

The statement – which was issued on behalf of Australia’s Treasurer Jim Chalmers MP and Dr Andrew Leigh MP, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury – said the first step was to prioritise token mapping, which has not been tried by any other nation so far.

Token mapping will involve uncovering the characteristics of all digital asset tokens in Australia, assessing the different types of crypto asset, their underlying code and other distinguishing technological features.

The research will “identify notable gaps in the regulatory framework, progress work on a licensing framework, review innovative organisational structures, look at custody obligations for third party custodians of crypto assets, and provide additional consumer safeguards.”

The statement also highlighted the prevalence of cryptocurrency advertisements that fuelled the need “to make sure customers engaging with crypto are adequately informed and protected”.

Critical of former government

The previous Liberal government of Scott Morrison came in for criticism in the statement for “prematurely” jumping to options “without first understanding what was being regulated”. Chalmers and Leigh both serve under Australia’s first Labour prime minister in nine years, Anthony Albanese.

The Treasury’s token mapping policy was one of the 12 suggestions made by a senate inquiry report commissioned in the previous parliament.

Monday’s announcement will raise hopes that the Treasury will soon follow other suggestions, such as a licensing framework for crypto service providers dealing with non-crypto assets, a review of decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) and clearer investor protection safeguards.

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