Sydney: Australia will create a licensing framework for cryptocurrency exchanges and consider launching a retail central bank digital currency as part of the biggest overhaul of its A$650 billion-a-day ($463 billion) payments industry in a quarter of a century.
The country will also broaden its payment laws to cover online transaction providers like Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google as well as buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) providers like Afterpay Ltd, ending their run of operating without direct supervision.
“If we do not reform the current framework, it will be Silicon Valley that determines the future of our payment system,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in the speech. “Australia must retain its sovereignty over our payment system.”
The use of cryptocurrency and non-cash payments has exploded in Australia during the pandemic as people’s lives shifted online.
During the pandemic as most people’s lives shift to the online world there also seen tons of use of cryptocurrency and non-cash payment.
About 63% population use online payment methods in Australia this year compared to last year.
Frydenberg said the government would begin consultation in early 2022 on establishing a licensing framework for digital exchanges, allowing the purchase and sale of crypto assets by consumers in a regulated environment.
Australia’s move was a “timely and sensible response,” said Chloe White, a former federal government adviser on cryptocurrency who now runs Genesis Block, a consultancy firm providing the industry with advice on digital asset regulation and policy development.
“There will be a lot of enthusiasm from industry participants to be involved in working through the details”, added White in an email.
Australia’s approach is in line with U.S. regulators, who have said they want to establish a regulatory framework to allow banks to facilitate ownership of crypto assets for customers.
In Britain, regulators have called for powers to govern the online promotion of crypto assets to combat a flood of “problematic content”.