Australian Senator Andrew Bragg has introduced a new private bill to the parliament proposing regulations for the cryptocurrency industry in the country.
The proposed Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2023 aims to protect consumers and promote investment by recommending regulatory changes for stablecoins, licensing of exchanges and custody requirements.
If passed, the bill would require a licence from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission or a foreign licence for anyone operating a cryptocurrency exchange, custody service or stablecoin issuer in Australia.
Furthermore, the bill also outlines various obligations and requirements for exchanges, custody services and stablecoin issuers, such as minimum reserve requirements, segregation of customer funds and reporting on customer holdings.
— Senator Andrew Bragg (@ajamesbragg) March 28, 2023
“Losing the race”
On his website, Senator Bragg said: “Australia is losing the race to regulate digital assets.
“That is why I have introduced a Private Senator’s Bill, the Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2023.
“When Labor came to power, they had the opportunity to complete the world-leading regulatory process initiated by the former Liberal Government.
“In October 2021, the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre made 12 recommendations relating to digital asset regulation.
“Of these recommendations, 11 were adopted by the former government, and on March 21, 2022, Treasury began public consultations on custody and licensing requirements.
“These measures provided a basis for Labor to complete these regulatory reforms.
“Instead, Labor and Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones have been uninterested in regulating digital assets.”
I have now introduced the Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill in the @AuSenate.
Link to the bill and explanatory statement is enclosed.https://t.co/pkjuNfvE0G
— Senator Andrew Bragg (@ajamesbragg) March 29, 2023
Criticism of token mapping consultation
At present, there is ongoing public consultation in Australia on the classification of cryptocurrencies and various digital asset tokens, services, and platforms, with the “token mapping” consultation paper released in February providing basic definitions for the cryptocurrency sector.
The regulation framework of crypto service providers forms part of an overarching strategic plan for all payments systems across Australia, which was set to be launched this quarter.
However, this is expected to face potential delays which may extend beyond 2023.
Criticising the initiative Senator Bragg added: “Instead of using the consultations already undertaken, Labor and Mr Jones decided to restart the process in May 2022.
“Since November, all we have received from Mr Jones is a skinny pamphlet on token mapping.”