A terminal to accept payments using bitcoins is displayed on the bar at the Old Fitzroy pub on September 19, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.
Cameron Spencer | Getty Images
Australia’s corporate watchdog said on Friday that holders of underlying crypto-asset investment products would need a license, as part of a new set of guidance it hopes would improve transparency and protect investors.
Many of Australia’s top financial institutions have not engaged with the high-risk cryptocurrency sector despite its huge growth in the past year.
A senate report called on Australia to introduce new laws such as tax discounts and a licensing regime for digital asset miners to be more competitive with other countries in the fast-growing space.
Australia’s Securities and Investments Commision (ASIC) has introduced a new “crypto-asset” section in its licensing applications that holders of underlying assets that comprise crypto-asset will need.
“Crypto-assets have unique characteristics and risks that must be considered by product issuers and market operators in meeting their existing regulatory obligations,” ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said.
Estimates of the size of the digital asset industry in Australia vary. One researcher finder.com.au says a sixth of Australians owned cryptocurrency in 2021 worth A$8 billion ($6.02 billion), with bitcoin the most popular.
The ASIC also provided guidance on best practices for monitoring, holding and prices crypto-assets as well as disclosure and risk management.