How Will Australia Regulate Cryptos

The Albanese Government has announced plans to regulate the digital asset market in Australia, including the imposition of licensing for marketing and financial services. The aim of this action is to protect consumers and position the economy to take advantage of new digital products and services. The previous government had failed to future-proof the regulatory framework for this emerging class of assets, leaving consumers exposed to unsustainable business models.

The government’s multi-stage approach consists of strengthening enforcement, boosting consumer protection, and establishing a framework for reform. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) is increasing the size of its crypto team and increasing enforcement measures, while the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is stepping up efforts to prevent scams involving crypto assets.

The government will also reform the licensing and custody of crypto assets, particularly those that currently fall outside the financial services regulatory framework. The government plans to consult with industry and advocacy groups to design a custody and licensing framework, with consultation set to begin in mid-2023.

The Albanese Government has also released a consultation paper to explore which elements of the crypto ecosystem are already regulated and which require additional attention. This exercise is a step towards understanding the risks and opportunities that crypto presents for the future. The government is committed to working with regulators, industry, and advocacy groups to get the policy settings right to protect consumers and support innovation in this emerging sector.