Australia seeks licenses for crypto exchanges via Digital Services Act

  • The proposed legislation is a consolidation of reforms outlined in a final report by a Senate committee in December
  • The Australian government has announced its Digital Services Act, which aims to regulate the nascent crypto industry

Australia is moving forward with plans to regulate digital assets and seeking industry input on measures focusing on custody, DAOs, taxation, licensing and industry debanking issues through the government’s Securities Act. digital services.

Calling for the consolidation of reforms set out in a final report by a Senate committee last year, Australian Liberal Party Senator Andrew Bragg said the Digital Services Act would provide greater regulatory oversight while deterring companies from exploring their options overseas.

“To do this, Australia would be one of the only jurisdictions facing this issue, signaling that we fully appreciate the promise and potential of blockchain technology,” the senator said during his opening remarks at the The country’s annual Blockchain Week.

The Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Hub, which presented its findings in a final report in December, received and reviewed a multitude of submissions and consulted on a number of issues with experts from around the world. industry, including some instances of crypto firm unbanking.

As part of its efforts, the government said on Sunday it had released a consultation paper asking industry to comment by the end of the month on its proposals for licensing and custody of crypto-assets. The document also discusses the first stage of a symbolic mapping exercise which should be completed by the end of this year.

“We have been in active consultation with the Federal Government and agencies throughout this process and are very pleased to hear of a licensing and market custody requirement for Australia,” said Caroline Bowler. , CEO of crypto exchange BTC Markets. “This commitment puts Australia in a leadership position in a global regulatory environment and levels the playing field internationally.”

Crypto taxation is also a major part of the government’s proposed legislative package which released the terms of reference on Sunday which tasks the country’s Board of Taxation with reviewing the country’s crypto tax landscape.

The council will review the current tax climate with respect to digital assets, understand the characteristics of the nascent asset class, compare the existing framework to that of comparable jurisdictions, and determine whether any changes would be appropriate.

Its review, which is expected to be concluded no later than December 31, is being conducted on the basis that it “would not increase the overall tax burden” for investors, the government said.

As part of the proposed tax reform, the Liberal Party is also seeking to bring DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) under the fold of the Corporations Act.

“Because DAOs are recognized as partnerships and not corporations, they are not required to pay corporation tax,” the senator said. “DAOs are an existential threat to the tax base. They urgently need to be recognized and regulated.

The next federal election is due to be called before May 21 and will pit the incumbent party against its rival, the Australian Labor Party.

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  • Sebastien Sinclair


    Senior Reporter, Asia News Desk

    Sebastian Sinclair is a senior reporter for Blockworks operating in Southeast Asia. He has experience covering the crypto market as well as some developments affecting the industry including regulation, business, and mergers and acquisitions. It currently does not hold any cryptocurrency. Contact Sébastien by e-mail at [email protected]