Australian Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg started the Australia Blockchain Week conference with a surprise legislative proposal that he thinks would pave the way for a new digital asset ecosystem in Australia.
The proposed Digital Services Act (DSA) legislation package includes proposals for changes to cryptocurrency market licensing, custody, decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs), debanking, and taxation. Senator Bragg stated during his conference address that he expected the Act’s laws to “protect (crypto) customers from rogue operators.”
— Senator Andrew Bragg (@ajamesbragg) March 20, 2022
Senator Bragg identified the four fundamental pillars that drive the DSA. He emphasised that the DSA would be technologically neutral, have broad and flexible principles, be governed by a minister rather than a bureaucratic body, and employ government resources and staff. Such guidelines, in his opinion, would assist Australia in demonstrating that it is ready to play a larger role in the crypto business.
He stressed that the act will demonstrate that Australia is open for business and that everything is transparent and clean.
The Senator also addressed DAOs, pushing different sectors of the government to take them seriously. Under present restrictions, he went so far as to term them an existential danger to the tax base.
According to data given by the Australian Parliament, corporation tax is the government’s second-largest source of revenue, trailing only income tax. However, DAOs are not taxed as businesses. Michael Harris, the head of business development at Australian crypto exchange Swyftx, is in support of the government establishing tighter rules for the local crypto market. He stated that increased regulations pose no threat to exchanges since most Australian exchanges already take their duty of care to clients extremely seriously.
Because of its high rate of use, Australia should be leading the developed world in crypto legislation, he added.
Harris went on to say that:
We consider this a significant step forward. Australia has one of the highest rates of cryptocurrency adoption in the developed world. It makes perfect sense for us to take the lead on regulation.
One of the biggest issues in the crypto sector recently has been the use of cryptocurrency by people and governments to bypass global economic sanctions.
On March 15, Elliptic, a blockchain tracking service, discovered that some sanctioned people were hoarding crypto, but Senator Bragg indicated that the Australian government was helpless to enforce punishment on such criminals under the present Digital Currency Exchange (DCE) legislation. The DCE’s lack of authority motivated the new suggestions to prevent sanctioned persons from exploiting slack crypto rules, adding:
The fact is that we do not live in a libertarian utopia. Regulatory arbitrage is not an option.
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