Internal documents from the Australian Treasury Department have revealed crypto legislation in the country could be a year away at the very least.
Australia’s crypto laws could be extended beyond 2024 and beyond as the government clearly wants to take its time to get a full picture of the industry, an internal government document has revealed.
The document, which was obtained by The Australian Financial Review under the Freedom of Information Act, reportedly reveals that the government intends to release the advisory document in the second quarter of 2023 and will hold the right to hold crypto roundtables in the third quarter. The industry is waiting to see the next steps in the Australian Labor government’s landmark mapping program, which was announced three months after it began work last year, with submissions closing on March 3.
However, according to the document, the final filing is not expected until the end of the year, which may delay any decision on crypto laws until 2024 and beyond. The department’s statement also states that they expect frustration from the crypto industry and consumer groups in the long term.
“The Treasury expects some stakeholders to be frustrated by the perceived delay in the implementation of the authorization process,” according to a memo by Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers, seen by the AFR. “For example, consumer groups want immediate protection, and businesses want legal protection.”
However, the Treasury believes that after the collapse of FTX, the demand for cryptocurrencies has “reduced significantly”, which may give it more time to cut regulations.
“The sector considers these concerns to be somewhat mitigated by the current market conditions that make the demand for crypto assets low by investors, and the need to complete the token separation process to clarify how any new powers will work in practice.”
Meanwhile, the government has also revealed through the documents that it has created a dedicated “crypto policy unit” within the Treasury Department. In a meeting with the Treasury last November, it was reported that the crypto policy department presented possible measures for crypto licenses, including the “fit and proper person” test, capital requirements, and compliance services reporting bad news and fraudsters in the company.
The department also discussed strengthening consumer protection. Last year, a survey by Australian crypto exchange Swyftx found in September that about one million Australians plan to buy a cryptocurrency for the first time in the next 12 months, bringing the total number of cryptos in the country to more than five million.