Australia, government opens up to cryptocurrencies

Jane Hume

Jane Hume, a member of the government and Australia’s Minister for the Digital Economy, was the first to open up the cryptocurrency market in the country in recent days.

Her statements suggested a paradigm shift on the part of the authorities, who until now have been rather sceptical about digital assets.

Why the Australian government should embrace cryptocurrencies

The Senator and Minister said she is looking very carefully at cryptocurrencies, which she does not see as a “passing fad” at all, and suggested that the government should be open to upcoming technological innovations.

Hume also called on the Australian government to create precise regulation of cryptocurrencies so as not to be left behind.

At a public event in Sydney, she said:

“So as an industry, and as a government, we need to acknowledge this is not a fad. We should tread cautiously, but not fearfully”.

Hume also addressed decentralized finance specifically, stating:

“Decentralised finance underpinned by blockchain technology will present incredible opportunities – Australia mustn’t be left behind by fear of the unknown”.

Jane Hume

Australia and cryptocurrencies

Hume’s words came after it was reported that a Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) official warned crypto investors last week, describing cryptocurrencies as a fad.

According to a recent Financial Review report, about 20% of the Australian population holds cryptocurrencies, with Dogecoin alone held by about 5% of Australians.

At the beginning of November, the Commonwealth Bank, one of the country’s largest banking institutions, allowed its customers to invest in cryptocurrency-related products.

This was an almost obligatory decision, according to the bank’s CEO, Matt Comyn. The bank estimates that around 500,000 customers already own cryptocurrencies.

Comyn said:

“We believe we can play an important role in cryptocurrencies to address what is clearly a growing customer need and provide capacity, security and confidence in a cryptocurrency trading platform.”

A Senate report on financial technology estimated that around 17% of Australians currently hold digital assets in their wallets.

According to Tony Richards, head of payments at the Reserve Bank of Australia there should be a robust regulatory framework for stablecoins and all digital assets, to limit the risks for investors.

Richards also called for the rapid adoption of CDBCs by central banks, which could offer faster, safer and more efficient transactions.


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