Virtually Everything | Episode 6 | Down Under Digital: Australia's Approach to Blockchain and Virtual Asset Regulation

  • Balado 27 mai 2024 27 mai 2024
  • Global

  • Technologie, externalisation et données

This is the sixth episode of the Clyde & Co Virtually Everything podcast series. In this episode, hosts Lucy Nash and Vyasna Mahadevey delve into the virtual assets sector in Australia with insights from Will Deeb, an associate from the financial services regulation team in Brisbane.

Navigating Australia's booming virtual assets landscape: Insights from down under

Will introduces the episode by explaining his role in handling complex licensing applications for a range of clients, including cryptocurrency exchanges and tokenised funds. The team have also actively contributed to shaping Australian law regarding virtual assets through various submissions and senate committee insights.

Will highlights that Australia has a significant consumer appetite for cryptocurrencies, particularly among younger Australians, making the market attractive for businesses. The process for launching a fully licensed cryptocurrency exchange in Australia is relatively straightforward and cost-effective, though more complex products like derivatives require more challenging licenses.

Australia's financial services are regulated by three main bodies: 

  1. APRA, which oversees banks, superannuation, and insurance businesses; 
  2. AUSTRAC, which issues Digital Currency Exchange (DCE) licenses and monitors for money laundering and terrorism financing;
  3. ASIC, which supervises financial products and services, requiring comprehensive licenses that are difficult to obtain and maintain. Depending on their offerings, entities may require multiple licenses, leading to complex regulatory work.

Will discusses recent legislative developments, including a proposal by the Australian Treasury to introduce digital asset facilities to modernise the regulatory landscape. He also addresses the challenges businesses face in accessing banking and insurance services, as many banks and insurers are wary of the risks associated with cryptocurrencies.

ASIC actively enforces regulations, as evidenced by a recent federal court case where a fintech company was penalised for offering unlicensed crypto-backed products. Disputes in this sector are typically handled by federal courts, where judges often specialise in relevant areas like financial services law.

To conclude, Will explains some key terms, such as fiat currency, which is government-issued money not backed by a commodity, and sandbox environments, which allow companies to test financial products or services without a full license. This episode provides a comprehensive overview of the regulatory environment and market dynamics of the virtual assets sector in Australia. 

Don’t miss our next episode as Virtually Everything welcomes guest speakers Andrew Spink KC and Justina Stewart, both from Outer Temple Chambers, to discuss the new digital assets laws which have just been enacted in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).  

This podcast forms part of the Virtually Everything podcast series. To find out more about the topics discussed in the series, please visit our dedicated Digital Assets and Blockchain page.


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