The Australian Government is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency and yeah, we get it, you just love to mine.
Josh Frydenberg, federal treasurer for a party notoriously terrible with money, announced today the Commonwealth and Reserve Bank was sussing out the feasibility of an Australian central cryptocurrency.
It’s part of a new plan to increase consumer uptake of digital technologies that Frydenberg said would be the largest reform to Australia’s payments system in 25 years.
He said it was time for crypto to come “out from the shadows” and operate under the umbrella of a “considered regulatory framework”.
The idea is that consumers would be better protected to buy and sell crypto in a more regulated environment, rather than the highly unregulated one that has existed to date.
The government will also look into potential reforms to other payment systems including buy now, pay later services like Australian-founded Afterpay.
It wants more oversight, rule-setting and intervention powers, which it claims would result in better customer fees and transparency, and more innovation and competition.
Under the new legislation, the treasurer will gain the power to label new platforms, such as Apple Pay, as “payment systems”, which would hold them to the same rules as regulated Australian banks.
Frydenberg will address the Australian-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) today, where he will argue that, without regulation, it will be “Silicon Valley that determines the future of our payments system”.
“Australia must retain its sovereignty over our payment system. These are significant shifts that we need to be in front of.”
Globally, cryptocurrency assets are now worth more than $A2.8 trillion and are used by more than 200 million people.
In Australia, more than 800,000 have owned cryptocurrency at least once, and it’s steadily becoming more mainstream.
Commonwealth Bank was the first major Aussie bank to announce it would allow its customers to buy and sell cryptocurrency through its app last month, while cryptocurrency exchange Coinspot was the ninth most searched term in Australia in 2021.
Almost half of Australians now make payments using their mobile phone, with around 55 million non-cash payments made every day.