Australia Senate Committee Rejects Crypto Bill From Opposition Senator Andrew Bragg

Australia's Senate Economics Legislation Committee rejected "The Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2023" introduced by opposition senator Andrew Bragg, recommending instead that the government "continue to consult with industry on the development of fit-for-purpose digital assets regulation in Australia."

The committee's report is along party lines. Bragg, who represents New South Wales, criticized the rejection, saying the Labor government had "put regulating crypto in the slow lane."

The committee said the bill lacked detail and certainty and was at odds with the government's approach. The bill was "not congruent with international regimes" and caused "genuine concern for regulatory arbitrage and adverse outcomes to the industry," it said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese introduced a token mapping consultation paper through the Treasury in February which was supposed to lead to a separate consultation paper proposing a licensing and custody framework for crypto asset service providers in mid-2023, but that has not happened yet.

“The Senate Committee was expected to report on this Bill over a month ago and the industry has been eagerly awaiting Treasury consultation on crypto-custody and licensing," said Blockchain Australia Chair and Digital Assets Lawyer Michael Bacina. "That consultation should be able to build on the industry submissions published as part of the Senate Committee’s review of this Bill.”

The central bank started a pilot test to explore potential use cases for Australia's own CBDC and last month concluded "any decision on a CBDC in Australia is likely to be some years away."

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