There are a lot of places around the world where cryptocurrency seems welcome in today’s financial markets – but “down under” is not one of them, at least if you go by recent Australian government and business statements from the nation’s cognoscenti.
In a document titled “Cryptocurrency 10 Years On” released yesterday, Australian bankers argue that cryptocurrency really doesn’t have staying power as an asset.
Here’s a quote from the document:
“This article examines why Bitcoin is unlikely to become a ubiquitous payment method in Australia, and summarises how subsequent cryptocurrencies have sought to address some of the shortcomings of Bitcoin – such as its volatility and scalability problems.”
Australia’s government remains highly risk-averse on cryptocurrency in general, choosing to warn consumers about perceived risks while adopting an aggressive taxation and data collection policy,” writes Cointelegraph’s William Suberg this morning, examining the newest released statements for meaning.
For instance, the Australian Tax Office has implied it’s going to conduct audits on individual holders with information gleaned from exchanges.
If that’s not throwing cold water on cryptocurrency involvement, then in the words of David Allen Coe “It’ll hairlip the Pope.”
There’s an interesting counterargument put forward by Darryn Pollock also at Cointelegraph last year that suggests Australia really is the place for cryptocurrency after all, and the regulatory regimen is paving the way toward adoption.
“Australia has been very direct and positive in terms of cryptocurrency regulation and is already implementing some of its bigger plans, such as exchange registration,” Pollock wrote. “However, their plans and rules relating to cryptocurrencies are not unreasonable, stifling, or damaging, rather, they could be viewed as progressive and potentially uplifting for both the country and cryptocurrencies in general.”
Looking at Australia’s regulation through the lens of statements like those expressed in its white paper it seems that Pollock may be a little off the mark.
If Australian regulators really feel that cryptocurrency is ‘not money’ and that it’s not a very practical way to invest, then all of their regulatory efforts might more rightly be seen not as good faith efforts to accommodate cryptocurrency, but as efforts to squash its use in the southern continent in its crib.
Investors look at national activity as a bellwether for crypto growth: in this context, Southern Asian countries represent a vanguard, with the U.S. and Russia both trying to tread a middle ground, regulating but staying muted on enthusiasm, without ceding important ground on innovation.
Countries like India and, arguably, Australia, have been more austere. Meanwhile, China remains the biggest mining environment for Bitcoin, even though officials there have also been lukewarm on crypto. Look for this math to change quickly as 2019 wears on.