The Department of Treasury, the Australian Government ministerial department responsible for economic policy, fiscal policy, market regulation, and budgeting, announced that the country will introduce stricter rules for crypto in early 2023.
Minister in charge of the Treasury, Jim Chalmers, said in a press release that Australia’s government under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is taking action to improve the regulation of crypto service providers.
However, Chalmers clarified that the legislation will only be introduced after the government completes its ongoing ‘token mapping.’ The process involves uncovering the characteristics of all digital asset tokens in Australia, including charting the type of crypto asset, its underlying code, and any other defining technological feature.
Australia has been carrying out the process since August this year and has plans to release a consultation paper in early 2023. The mapping will inform the government of what financial service laws should regulate digital assets. It will also guide the development of appropriate custody and licensing policies to safeguard consumers, according to Chalmers.
The crypto regulations plans are part of broader financial sector reforms the Australian Government has lined up. The press release reveals that the government has plans to update and strengthen Australia’s payments system.
It will also strengthen financial market infrastructure and establish a regulatory framework for ‘Buy Now Pay Later.’ According to the Treasury minister, Australia fell behind in financial regulations in these sectors due to the negligence and failed promises of the previous government.
“Unfortunately, our regulatory architecture has not kept pace with changes in the market. In many areas, the previous government sat on its hands. In other areas, it made announcements but didn’t deliver,” the release stated.
Australia is still ramping up its CBDC plans
The government of Australia has also not given up its plans to introduce a digital version of its currency, the Australian Dollar. In a consultation paper the Treasury published this month, the ministry stated that the central bank digital currency (CBDC) is part of its strategic plan for the payments system.
The consultation paper posed questions about the policy rationale for an Australian CBDC. These include investigating the economic, legal, regulatory, and technological considerations associated with an Australian CBDC.
The paper revealed that channels for public input on the matter are open till February 2023. The Australian central bank adds that it intends to conduct a pilot test of the CBDC early next year.