Countries all over the world are eyeing to the opportunity of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Some states are betting on it to revolutionize their operations and are taking full advantage. Others see it as a potential hazard or threat and are actively working to outlaw it. Thus, depending on each state’s viewpoint on blockchain, the Blockchain Regulation worldwide has deversed and differentiated from each other.
Of course we have great faith in the technology’s ability to transform the world when used in a compliant, regulated way. We therefore believe in sharing information about it as well news on how different countries are responding to it so that future regulations can embrace blockchain and foster its development.
Currently cryptocurrencies like bitcoin occupy a legal gray area in Australia. They are not illegal to hold, but they cannot be used as legal tender. In this way, they are like US dollars in Australia – you can have them in your wallet, but you cannot go into a store and buy anything with them. Australia’s blockchain regulation specifies that any company that accepts them is technically performing an illegal operation. There have, however, been no arrests or enforcement and transactions are made using cryptocurrencies everyday.
While Australia has no plans to make cryptocurrencies a legal tender, they have removed the “double taxation” on Bitcoin. On September 14, 2017, the Australian government announced the elimination of double taxation on digital money. Prior to this, people had to pay the Australian goods and services tax (GST) when purchasing the cryptocurrency in the first place, and then again when making a purchase. Such change in blockchain regulation is encouraged to boost consumer spending and encourage purchasing.
Although some may decry the decision to put restriction on cryptocurrencies, stating the original intent of a decentralized currency free from outside intervention, many users will be reassured by safeguards put in place against malicious actors who may otherwise have greater freedom to cause harm. In this way, it could be seen that the blockchain regulation will likely usher in a rise in cryptocurrency use, and a much larger audience will benefit from them. In the long run, it should help the community as a whole.
The removal of the double taxation is a big stepping stone for Fintech’s future-oriented policies. It is the result of the Australian government having discussions about cryptocurrency with regulators which reflects a growing understanding of blockchain’s importance. Moreover, Australian politicians and officials established Blockchain’s Union Parliament and led the 307 Technical Committee in the International Organization Standardization.
Australia is now implementing regulatory measures which may be a sign that things are moving into a more serious phase with adoption of these technologies being seriously considered on a wider scale. As the government becomes familiar with blockchain thanks to cryptocurrencies, it can start using the technology. Already independent companies and state companies are using blockchain for solar energy rights, travel needs, supply chain management and banking. It is also already being used in various supply chains for commodities such as wheat and minerals.
While the legal status and future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain regulation in specific in Australia is uncertain, it is clear the country is going to rely on the underlying blockchain technology to revolutionize private and public life. It will be exciting to see the developments and watch what Australia can teach other countries about blockchain adoption.
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