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Australian Regulators Pushing Crypto Into the Mainstream With Latest Move

AUSTRAC, Australian Regulators Pushing Crypto Into The Mainstream With Latest Move

Australia continues its pro-cryptocurrency stance with the country’s financial regulator, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) now having officially registered 246 cryptocurrency exchanges.

The land down under continues to maintain its cryptocurrency profile in the global arena. The eastern state of Queensland largely leads the way with AUSTRAC issuing its latest cryptocurrency license in December to US-based cryptocurrency exchange, CoinZoom.

Regulation is the key, according to many in the industry who feel it’s the reason Australia is becoming more accepting of the new technology than some other nations around the globe. Australia’s new prime minister Scott Morrison has also noted that the contributions of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain in the financial sector, suggesting that the new technology is opening “massive opportunities.”

Although the registration process with AUSTRAC can be an exacting, one industry player, Adrian Przelozny – the head of cryptocurrency exchange Independent Reserve, sees the importance of regulation in today’s crypto space.  “We always had the feeling that regulation is important to bring cryptocurrency into the mainstream,” he said, adding that the Australian banking system should be utilizing the technology in order to revamp areas of consumer data rights, open banking reforms, and new legislation.

All companies advertising cryptocurrency products must now register with AUSTRAC as new legislation was passed at the end of 2018 to protect users. Non-compliance with government agency rules will now be met with a registration refusal.

Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets (which also offers Bitcoin trading) argues that the wild west attitudes have gone and, whereas in the past, government interference would have been met with disdain. The industry in Australian is now in a better space. He argues “Those newer participants in the market generally do seek regulation, they seek safety.”

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Australian Citizens Now Able to Pay Bills with Crypto

Two fintech startups in Australia have teamed up to provide a service to bill payers that lets them settle their accounts with cryptocurrency, regardless of whether the issuer accepts crypto payments.Cryptocurrency exchange Cointree and automated billing platform Gobbill are behind the initiative, with Gobbill accepting the crypto funds from customers and paying the bills on their behalf with an accepted form of fiat currency.

Forward-thinking solutions

Gobbill co-founder Shendon Ewans has predicted that cryptocurrency will become a part of daily life in the near future and although he says he may have been late to the party, the Cointree partnership adds both experience and expertise. The Gobill platform already enabled clients to pay their bills via credit cards or bank accounts, so essentially they have just added a cryptocurrency payment option.

The initiative operates fully under the guise of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) having obtained its own financial services license.

Cointree is also licensed with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) to prove full compliance with anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing legal expectations.

Cointree operations manager Jess Rendon said that the platform had trialed its own bill-paying feature, but expected the partnership to make the process easier and more accessible, particularly to people previously not involved with cryptocurrencies. Last year, they reported around USD 100 million of bills paid with the feature.

Crypto in Australia

Coinmap provides an online heatmap indicating where Bitcoin can be used to purchase goods and services; even considering the extent of uninhabited land in Australia, the country looks particularly barren in this respect. The Australian dollar currently ranks 14th by volume of cryptocurrency trades – just 0.11% of the market cap.

While it may not be at the top of the list in terms of adoption, the government has been praised for progressive cryptocurrency regulations that allow such initiatives as that of Gobbill and Cointree to take place.


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