Australia proposes new laws to regulate cryptocurrency

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Australia is seeking to create a licensing framework for cryptocurrency exchanges and is considering launching a retail central bank digital currency as part of the biggest overhaul of the A$650 billion ($463 billion) payments industry in a quarter of a century.

The country will also extend its payment laws to online transaction providers like Apple and Google as well as buy now and pay later (BNPL) providers like Afterpay Ltd, ending their operation without direct oversight.

“If we do not reform the existing framework, it will be Silicon Valley that will determine the future of our payment system,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a letter. “Australia must retain sovereignty over our payment system.”

The conservative Australian government is putting itself at the forefront of global efforts to rein in big tech companies, taking a more comprehensive approach from countries like India and China, which have criminalized cryptocurrency.

The use of cryptocurrency and cashless payments in Australia has mushroomed during the pandemic as people’s lives change online. About 55 million cashless payments are made in Australia every day, according to government data, and half of the population uses their phones to make payments.

While the number of Australians dealing in cryptocurrency is up 63% so far this year, compared to last year, Frydenberg said the government will begin consulting in early 2022 on creating a licensing framework for digital exchanges, allowing consumers to buy and sell crypto assets in a regulated environment. .



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