Volatility, security in crypto need to be political priorities in Australia
An incredible number of Australians hold crypto, when you consider that the government’s official position is still to be very cautious as experimenting in crypto offers no guarantee of value.
The latest Roy Morgan research found that one in twenty (over one million) Australians aged 18+, currently hold a cryptocurrency investment. However, between security concerns and a highly volatile and poorly-regulated market, there is no certainty regarding the quality of these assets, and with an election and political change potentially on the horizon, much-needed certainty may be some way off yet.
This is a concern that the current government is taking seriously. On Monday, while campaigning for re-election, a coalition spokesperson told AAP, “but we can make sure Australian exchanges, custodians and brokers – Australian players in the crypto ecosystem – work within a regulatory framework that is better, safer and more secure.”
The digital asset economy has already grown to $2.1 billion. With the right regulatory settings, the government spokesperson said, it could be as large as $68.4 billion by 2030.
Stephen Koukoulas, a market economist tweeted: ‘one Bitcoin is still worth one Bitcoin’.
Despite the most recent crash, neither major party has committed to accelerating comprehensive reforms.
Concerns remain over security, too
Commissioner Cathie Armour from Australian Securities and Investments Commission, warned at a cryptocurrency summit last month that the market conditions were prime to affect the rise of the small investor that occurred during the pandemic, as well as noting an increase in scams.
In 2021 alone, Australians lost nearly $100 million to crypto-asset scams.
ASIC also hears from Australians who have been caught out on unlicensed 24-hour crypto trading platforms.
“Some people experienced significant losses due to excessive leverage, platform outages, or unfair liquidations,”
Commissioner Cathie Armour.
Politically, the coalition says it wants to make sure that consumers can trust the exchanges they use to buy crypto, which is why their planning to introduce licensing and custody requirements.
The spokesperson said “these two changes will make it better, safer and more secure for Australian consumers to invest in crypto.”
With a potential change of government occurring with the election this weekend, however, the political response to these crypto concerns remains uncertain. Labor has yet to make a substantial comment on any of these challenges, and has not responded to a request for comment at this time.